Medical and sports
Most places on Earth have a vertical electric field of about 100 volts per meter. The human body is mostly water and this interacts with the electric field. EPS technology is so sensitive that it can detect these changes at a distance and even through a solid wall. Thus, for example, in a fire situation, it could be possible to determine if there any people in a smoke filled room before opening the door.
The initial application areas for EPS will be in medical and sports. Key to this is that EPS detects the voltage change in muscles and nerves without electrical contact so there is no need to have electrodes on or in the body to detect current changes.
The initial sensors were hand-made by the University of Sussex to test and improve the EPS technology. These are currently the size of a small coin. Plessey Semiconductors will be developing and manufacturing next generation, silicon based sensors at its facility in Roborough, England. Plessey will integrate discrete components into a system on chip solution with appropriate microcontrollers and software.
The next phase to be developed by Plessey and Sussex will be multi-element sensor arrays that will enable 3-D video imaging to be created with effectively each sensor geneating a pixel of information, which will open up broader application areas.
Michael LeGoff, CEO of Plessey Semiconductors, concluded, "This is just the sort of innovative, completely new technology that made Plessey Semiconductors famous. We have only just begun to imagine the products that can be designed to use the unique sensing capability of EPS. It is tremendous that two British organizations are working together on a genuinely disruptive technology that can deliver products that were previously not possible and in the realms of science fiction."
Video demos of potential applications can be found at http://vimeo.com/channels/142550