As the sensor operates through capacitive coupling, without contact and at long range, the applications are broad, from remote electrocardiopgraphy (ECG) and electroencephalography (EEG) to monitoring muscle movements and breathing and on to non-contact measurements of voltage in electronic circuits. The sensor, which requires no physical or resistive contact to make measurements, will enable novel medical equipment to devices that can "see" through walls, Plessey said. The applications therefore include medical diagnosis and imaging, security, and the human-machine interface.
"We are delighted to have found a partner that we can now go forward with to develop this unique technology into innovative product solutions for the marketplace," said Professor Prance.
Keith Strickland, technology director at Plessey Semiconductors, said, "The EPS technology created by Professor Prance's team at the University of Sussex is a significant innovation that will have a wide-ranging disruptive impact in the sensor market. In conjunction with the University of Sussex, Plessey will be developing an exciting range of EPS sensors utilizing our in-house expertise in semiconductor process technology and design. In particular, our expertise with CMOS image sensors will enable us create very large chips with arrays of EPS sensors. We expect to have our first product prototype available in Q3 of next year for a medical diagnosis product that will significantly advance the ease and quality of cardiac measurements."
The technology is intrinsically low power consumption, Professor Prance said making for the possibility of powering devices by energy harvesting. Plessey's Strickland added: "We think the base technology is highly compatible with CMOS but to combine sensors and wireless we might choose to go system-in-package."
The University of Sussex EPS technology is in the final stages of being granted worldwide patent coverage. It is intrinsically stable and does not need calibration, Plessey said