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Projects and practicals

Practicals

Practicals on instrumentation and programming complement the Principles of Sensing lecture series. Students will become familiar with the research facilities available across several University departments. The connections made with researchers and academics during the practicals will become useful when our students conduct their PhD projects, giving them access to world-class facilities.

Guided sensor project

The Guided sensor project runs during the first term and helps the students to familiarise themselves with the basic concepts of sensing. We are using open source technology such as Arduino microcontroller boards and Raspberry Pi mini computers to teach how to read out a sensor and store its data for future analysis.

All students receive their own Arduino and Raspberry Pi which they can keep and build their own sensor systems. Students typically form small teams, e.g. comprising engineers, physicists and biologists, to tackle the challenges in electronics, programming and making sens of the data.

The project is interdisciplinary, e.g. building a pulse-oximeter, which engages students from different scientific backgrounds.

Mini research project

Each Sensor CDT student carries out a three months mini research project. In line with the spirit of the Sensor CDT, project supervisors are from a wide range of sciences, technology and medicine. Some projects are in collaboration with our industrial partners.

The range of topics is varied and challenges the students in new areas of sensor technologies and applications with which they are not intimately familiar.

At the end of the project the students present research talks and papers, some of which are published in scientific journals.

Topics of previous mini projects include

  • gas sensor technologies (employing carbon nanotubes, organic TFTs and absorption spectroscopy) and applications (breath analysis and detection of volatile organic compounds inside buildings)
  • tumor cell recognition by detecting chemical markers
  • surface acoustic wave sensors
  • decoding of semantic word categories from electro-/magnetoencephalography data
  • synthesis of nanostructures
  • development of a low cost, open source fluorescence
    microscope capable of continuous live cell imaging
  • wireless sensor networks for bridge monitoring
  • disposable DNA/protein sensors using microfluidics
  • fabrication of lab on chip devices
  • measuring protein binding affinities with AFM
  • rapid optical screening technique that measures the shape of virus particles

Sensor team challenge

During the Sensor Team Challenge all MRes students work together on a project for around three months during the summer. The Sensor CDT teaching team, together with our industry and academic partners, develops a project outline which allows all students in the cohort to use their particular strengths and backgrounds to participate in the project. The Team Challenge outline is kept deliberately open for the students to come up with their own ideas.

Topics

Current topic: A sensor platform enabled by citizen science

Previous Topics:

The students develop the project outline into a full project proposal with work packages, milestones, deliverables, and a management structure. Mentors from academia and industry provide helpful advise to the students, but the project itself is fully run and managed by the students.

Outcomes

The outcomes of the Team Challenge vary from year, depending on the nature of the project. They have included publications, a spin-off company, and fully working open-source devices. Each year the students present the outcomes of their Team Challenge at the international Sensors Day conference.

User engagement

The Sensor CDT teaching team is always open to suggestions for future team challenges. Please contact us.

Upcoming events

Lecture by Jess Wade: 'Changing research culture: Why we need to speak up for under-represented groups in science'

Nov 20, 2018

Johnson Matthey Lecture Theatre (LT2), Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Philippa Fawcett Drive, Cambridge CB3 0AS

Industry Lecture: "Open Data Sharing - A Practical Guide"

Nov 23, 2018

Johnson Matthey Lecture Theatre (LT2), Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology

Supercontinuum in Microscopy and Biological Imaging Applications Workshop

Nov 26, 2018

Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology

Upcoming events