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EPSRC CDT in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy and Sustainable Future

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New paper published in Microsystems and Nanoengineering

last modified Sep 17, 2019 08:46 AM

Sensor CDT student, Oliver Vanderpoorten has paper "Scalable integration of nano-, and microfluidics with hybrid lithography", by Vanderpoorten et al, published in Microsystems and Nanoengineering (Nature publishing group) as featured highlight article on the main homepage.  

Congratulations to Oliver!

Sensor CDT Team Challenge in the Media

last modified Aug 14, 2019 12:43 PM
Sensor CDT Team Challenge in the Media

Solicamb Team Challenge in the media

As well as running very successful Summer School events and a mini Make-a-thon at Cambridge MakeSpace, the Sensor CDT 2018 student cohort have been hard at work with media coverage for their Solicamb project.

They recently saw the release of a double-page spread in The Independent, a feature on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Cambridge 105 Radio, and on That's TV Cambridge


EPSRC National Science Photograph Competition Prize Winner Announced: Peter Pedersen

last modified Jun 28, 2019 10:47 AM
EPSRC National Science Photograph Competition Prize Winner Announced: Peter Pedersen

The image was taken in the Alps, on 1 September 2018, with an Android phone

The 2019 National Science Photography Competition, organised by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) part of UK Research and Innovation, has recently announced the winners.  We are proud to announce Peter Pedersen (Sensor CDT 2017 cohort) won a prize in the Equipment and Facilities category for 'Citizen science abroad'.

Taking our sensor hub that our group developed abroad in the Alps was all part of a citizen science initiative, called Cambike Sensor, on measuring the air pollution that cyclists are subjected to on a day-to-day basis around Cambridge. The aim of the project was to engage members of the public, children and adults alike with the technology and science behind measuring air pollution, and how easy it can be for anyone at home to get involved.

Competition judge, Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “The striking photographs in this year’s competition reflect the real breadth and ingenuity of engineering research supported by the EPSRC.  Many of the projects captured in these images will go on to transform our world for the better, improve people’s lives and the economy. It is fantastic to see such creativity, both in the images and the research projects, captured in the winners’ work.”

Fellow judge, Professor Sarah Sharples, EPSRC Board member and Pro Vice Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Nottingham said: “Judging was not easy, there were some really arresting images that prompted a need to know more. They really demonstrate the breadth of the EPSRC portfolio of research and how it touches people’s lives.”

The competition attracted 169 entries which were drawn from researchers in receipt of EPSRC funding, which were grouped into five categories. 

The judges were:

Sarah Sharples - EPSRC Board member and Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Nottingham.

Hayaatun Sillem – CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering

Kedar Pandya – Associate Director, Business Engagement at the EPSRC

Martin Keene – Group Picture Editor, Press Association

Sensor CDT Students win Deeptech Founders Prizes

last modified Jun 28, 2019 10:34 AM

Congratulations to Sensor CDT MRes students Theo Baissas and Ben Woodington who won two prizes at the MIT Hacking Medicine Grand Hack in Paris.  They were awarded second place within the Mental Health and Neurology section, and the Deeptech Founders prize for their in-ear EEG app.

The MIT Hacking Medicine Grand Hack was the first outside of the United States. The weekend was dedicated to brainstorming and building innovative solutions with hundreds of like-minded engineers, clinicians, designers, developers and business people. 

Hitachi Studentship with EPSRC CDT in Sensor Technologies and Applications

last modified May 15, 2019 12:10 PM

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies and Applications, in collaboration with Hitachi, is inviting applications for a fully funded 1+3 years MRes + PhD studentship, commencing in October 2019. The studentship will be hosted in the BioNanoEngineering group ( in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, but will be shared with Department of Radiology, University of Cambridge. The Studentship aims at developing novel radiolabeled nanoparticles for tracking delivery of therapeutic readionuclides and chemotherapeutics to hard-to-treat cancers. This is inspired by recent developments in nanocarrier design, which provided an opportunity to improve the delivery and efficiency of therapeutics for cancer treatment. However, despite the developments, only few nanotechnology inspired formulations made it to the market due to the lack of control over mechanical and physiochemical properties of carriers, limited biological barrier penetration and limited data on their post-drug delivery fate. We want to combine radiolabels, biocompatible nanocarrier and therapeutic cargo to prepare multifunctional nanoparticle system for targeting lung and pancreatic cancer. This work will be performed across the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Radiology and Oncology, and it will involve use of chemical approaches to nanocarrier design, validation of nanocarriers in in-vivo systems and PET imaging. 

For more information, please visit

Working with the Sensor CDT - AstraZeneca Project Beacon

last modified Apr 04, 2019 02:56 PM
Working with the Sensor CDT - AstraZeneca Project Beacon

Carolina Orozco

To nurture the development of future talent in the Cambridge ecosystem, AstraZeneca's Project Beacon is working in collaboration with the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies to fund PhD projects on an annual basis.  Here, Carolina Orozco and colleagues tell us more about the project.

Sensor CDT student finds a way to design a “ship” inside the nano-sized bottle

last modified Mar 28, 2019 11:03 AM
Sensor CDT student finds a way to design a “ship” inside the nano-sized bottle

Using Pourbaix diagrams, researchers can place a guest material inside nano-sized pores of a host material like a ship in a bottle.

Tiesheng Wang from the 2014 cohort and his collaborators have figured out a generic way to confine materials inside a space with a typical dimension of 1-to-2 nm, a bit like building a ship inside a bottle. 

They have established a rational approach, called Pourbaix Enabled Guest Synthesis (PEGS), to identify the boundary conditions for a desired ship-in-a-bottle synthesis to form guest materials inside nanopores. The work is published in Nature Communications. As an experimental demonstration, Tiesheng successfully placed RuO2 inside the nano-cavity of a metal-organic framework (MOF), MOF-808-P. Tiesheng and his collaborators also found a significantly weaker CO adsorption on RuO2 when RuO2 is inside MOF’s cavity instead of on silica surface like the conventional RuO2-based catalyst. By preventing strong CO adsorption at low temperatures they have developed a highly active and stable catalyst for CO oxidation close to room temperature. 

In the press release, Tiesheng is quoted as saying "The upcoming impact can be enormous. Since quantum theory describes nature at atomic-to-subatomic scales, the work that helps to achieve new confined states at small scales may contribute to the foundation to explore the quantum world experimentally."

Tiesheng recently moved to Australia where he works as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the School of Chemistry, of the University of Sydney. He is also the Warden of the Molecular Materials Laboratory.

Sensor CDT receives EPSRC funding to build the CDT in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy and Sustainable Future

last modified Feb 20, 2019 03:33 PM

We are pleased to announce the establishment of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies and Applications for a Healthy and Sustainable Future at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. The venture will provide PhD training for at least 50 PhD students between 2019 and 2027.

The programme builds on the current CDT in Sensor Technologies but ventures in new directions to address sustainable development goals and provide training in responsible leadership and entrepreneurship. The CDT learning experience is strongly team-focused and the course includes a dedicated MRes (Masters of Research), with continued training provided through the entire PhD phase.

A large number of companies from all sectors of the UK economy participate in the programme and start-ups and SMEs will particularly benefit from a staged engagement programme, which permits the exploration of ideas in mini-research projects, a leveraged studentship funding model, and from access to excellent students, academics, and infrastructure.

Professor Clemens Kaminski, Director of the CDT, says “I am delighted about this outcome and would like to thank my team for their hard work and outstanding efforts to make this happen. It is truly exciting to think about what the students are able to achieve together in the programme – the Team Challenge is just one example.”

The most recent Team Challenge of the current CDT was used as a pilot study for the ideas proposed for the new programme in responsible innovation. Students engaged the public in the CamBike Sensor project to develop a citizen enabled air quality monitoring network. The students were awarded a prize from the Global Challenges Research Fund and are now taking their technology to citizens in Argentina, Africa, and India.

Dr Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley, Director of Innovation and Impact at the British Antarctic Survey, says “Sensor innovation is a powerful enabler to understanding how our environment is changing, and how we can adapt to this change. It underpins the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. I look forward to the vibrant contributions the students will make to address global challenges through sensing.”

The academic leads on the programme are Dr Róisín Owens, Professor Axel Zeitler, and Professor Clemens Kaminski. The management group includes Dr Oliver Hadeler (teaching), Dr Donata Iandolo (industry) and Karen Scrivener (operations). Industrial partners include MedImmune Ltd, Fluidic Analytics Ltd, Alphasense Ltd, British Antarctic Survey, ioLight, Nokia Bell Labs, Zimmer & Peacock Ltd, Panaxium SAS, Anglian Water, TeraView Ltd, Centre for Digital Built Britain, Cambridge Enterprise Ltd, Cambridge Display Technology Ltd, Smart Cambridge, Arm Ltd, National Physical Laboratory, Cartezia, Synoptics Ltd, Silicon Microgravity Ltd, Galvani Bioelectronics, Victoria & Albert Museum, Marks & Clerk LLP, Magna International Inc, Kirkstall Ltd, Iconal Technology Ltd, Blue Bear Systems Research, and the Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory.

More information is available here. 

EPSRC IAA PDA Grant Awarded

last modified Feb 05, 2019 10:44 AM
EPSRC IAA PDA Grant Awarded

Pelumi Oluwasanya

Sensor CDT Student, Pelumi Oluwasanya, and his supervisor, Dr Luigi Occhipinti (Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge), have been awarded an ESPRC IAA PDA grant.  The project will run from 1 April to 30 September 2019.

The grant is a Partnership Development Award (PDA) with Applied NanoDetectors who will supply £45k in-kind support and £5k in cash, to match the £45k EPSRC award. 

Capacitive Detection

Pelumni's PhD research is on the detection and monitoring of particulate matter of sizes smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) in aerodynamic diameter.  Epidemiological studies have shown that exposure to these particles beyond safe limits can be lethal both in the short and the long term.  Data from Air Quality monitoring centers have low spatial resolution, and are arguable non-representative of personal exposure.  The team's goal is to make a miniaturised PM2.5 sensor suitable for this and other applications.

They have shown that detection and monitoring of this is possible via a coplanar capacitive setup, where the device made can effectively separate PM10 from PM2.5 and cause them to be deposited on different sensor surfaces using thermophoresis.

Pelumi Sensor

To further improve sensitivity and miniaturize even more, they are now exploring a MEMS-based implementation of the same device.  This has several benefits such as higher sensitivity and, by implication, smaller parasitic capacitances, ease of integration in smart devices such as smart phones, providing the possibility for non-intrusive/passive personal exposure studies and subsequently online crowd sourcing of air pollution data.

Robotic hand 'plays' piano

last modified Dec 21, 2018 06:21 PM
Josie Hughes from the 2014 cohort has developed a robotic hand which mimics the movements of a human hand to play piano. Using soft and rigid parts the robotic hand helps to understand the complex movements of the human hand.


This robotic hand was developed by Josie Hughes, Perla Maiolino and Fumiya Iida from the Biologically Inspired Robotics Group at the Engineering Department, University of Cambridge.

While the bones and ligaments have been replicated in the robotic hand it cannot move its fingers independently. Still, by just changing the hands position and rotating it around its wrist it can play simple tunes on the piano.

The aim of the research is to understand the role of physical design in the development of robots without relying on active control.


Josie comments that the research can be extended to investigate how even more complex manipulation tasks we can be achieved, e.g. developing robots which can perform medical procedures or handle fragile objects. She says: “This approach also reduces the amount of machine learning required to control the hand; by developing mechanical systems with intelligence built in, it makes control much easier for robots to learn.”

Read more here.

J.A.E. Hughes, P. Maiolino, F. Iida. ‘An Anthropomorphic Soft Skeleton Hand Exploiting Conditional Models for Piano Playing.’ Science Robotics (2018). DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aau3098

CamBike Sensor Team Receive Global Challenges Research Fund Award

last modified Dec 18, 2018 10:55 AM

Congratulations to the CamBike Sensor Team (Sensor CDT 2017 Cohort) for being awarded the University’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) for “Co-creating a context-appropriate mobile air quality sensor network for citizen science in Nairobi".  The team were awarded a grant of £15,000 for the project.

CamBike Update 5 December 2018

last modified Dec 06, 2018 09:19 AM

We had a wonderful evening yesterday when we gave a presentation at Camcycle’s monthly meeting. We are also doing an inventory to make sure we know how many sensor kits we have. The sensors that we built are all working but still need to be secured in their boxes. Some of them will go directly to Scotland to the Highland Cycling Campaign and we are already looking forward to the data they will collect.

The Camcycle meeting

Yesterday, we spoke at the Camcycle meeting about the CamBike Sensor project and also did some new data analysis where we focused on Mill Road (do check out their website about a vision for Mill Road at
We found quite a few interesting points! In the morning, our volunteers avoided Mill Road completely (maybe because the traffic is slow?). Instead they apparently used the bridge at the station, but the PM levels there are actually the worst of the whole area!

Mill Road then gets busy around lunchtime. Something interesting happens between 3 and 6 pm, when parents pick up their children from school. The worst levels can at this time be found close to a primary school on Tenison Road! This is probably due to parents waiting in their cars with the engines running. Our data therefore confirms what lots of campaigners for clean air have called for. There are for example two interesting articles about that issue in the Guardian and the Independent.

The PM levels directly on Mill Road are also higher during rush hour than at noon. Below, you can see 4 maps (one that shows the average of all times of day and the 3 others that were just mentioned).

CamBike Mill Road All Day

CamBike Mill Road Early Morning

CamBike Mill Road Late Morning

CamBike Mill Road Afternoon

We would like to thank all our volunteers and everyone who supported the project so far and we wish you a happy new year!

CamBike Update: 21 November 2018

last modified Nov 26, 2018 11:07 AM

We are also looking into building a newer version of the sensor hub that will measure more air quality indicators (such as NO2). Around one of those new sensors, we will organise another workshop at the Centre for Computing History ( With lots of lessons learned at the workshop in summer, we will not solder a whole sensor hub but will concentrate on the principle behind one sensor and its interface with a computer. Read on for more information (and visit the Centre’s website in the next few weeks, where booking will be possible).

Almost there: the sensors are working

Yes, they are working, but the PCBs and sensors still have to be put into their boxes. The testing was finished last week, but we ran into some trouble because the SD cards are now mounted too high above the board (we changed their position slightly to avoid them getting stolen).

CamBike Boxes

We are currently fitting the sensors in their boxes. We have to take care, though, to fix all components in place with small screws to make sure that they don’t come loose when you ride down a bumpy road

Upcoming workshop at the Centre for Computing History

Mark the afternoon of Saturday, 16 February, in your calendar! We will organise a workshop aimed at children aged from 10 onwards. We will tackle the myth that children fall asleep in class because they are lazy and not paying attention - or is it rather that CO2 levels are getting pretty high when 20 to 30 people are in a room and the windows are closed? We will connect the sensor with a computer and do some basic coding to read out values and display them. No previous knowledge is required.

What’s next?

Work on the next generation of sensors will start soon and the database changes are almost completely implemented.

Francesca van Tartwijk Awarded Robert Barnes Prize

last modified Nov 19, 2018 12:33 PM


Congratulations go to Francesca van Tartwijk, of the 2017 student cohort, who was awarded the Robert Barnes Prize (Chemical Engineering/Biotechnology) (established 2018) last week.  The prize is awarded to a graduate student who, having obtained a distinction in the examinations, attains the highest aggregate mark from among all Queens' candidates for that examination, in either subject.  

CamBike Update: 7 November 2018

last modified Nov 08, 2018 03:27 PM

This week’s newsletter is a fairly short one. We are slowly redistributing sensors from volunteers who have been collecting data for the last months. We are also working on the next batch (we ran out of screws and had to order again). And we are finishing a grant application while the deadline keeps coming closer every day. In the meantime, we finally edited and cut the recording of our presentation and the Q&A from Sensors Day 2018. So if you missed it, now is your chance to watch it at

A quick comment on humidity

The weather in the last days (or weeks) has not been the best. The very nature of particulate matter means that it clumps together when the relative humidity is higher than about 70 percent. On days like today, this means that the sensors give unusually high readings. So don’t worry if you see the data. When analyzing it, we take the humidity in Cambridge into account, but the current version of the sensor sadly doesn’t have its own humidity sensor (we have plans to change that, but that means we have to change the PCB - tedious work, but it will be done). Even the council PM sensors have the same problem. We are looking into a way to correct for humidity, but we don’t want to falsify the data.


The newest boxes are cut and mostly glued (waiting for varnish to cope with the humidity). As soon as we know when everything will be finished and tested, we will let you know.

CamBike Boxes

 Boxes waiting for screws, sensors and varnish

What’s next?

The promised update of the database is not quite finished yet, so we will work on that. The team will also visit AlphaSense ( next week to get more information on their gas sensors. We would like to expand the current sensor hub to measure different gases (while still keeping the price low) and we will keep you updated.

CamBike at Sensors Day 2018

last modified Nov 08, 2018 02:49 PM

This year, the Sensor CDT MRes student cohort developed a low-cost air-pollution sensor which could be built and used by the public.  The team presented the results from their team challenge project at Sensors Day 2018.  Take a look at their presentation:


CamBike Update: 31 October 2018

last modified Nov 07, 2018 11:02 AM

Another week has gone by and we were busy soldering/building new sensors. Our seafaring sensor has come back safely from its trip with SailBritain (we have some wonderful pictures below). We will also propose a very interesting CamBike-related group design project to Part IB Computer Science students as part of their practical work in Lent term (more of this in the next weeks). And last but not least we are going to work together with the Centre for Global Equality and Nairobi Makespace to develop a version of the sensor that can be used even further away from Cambridge, in Kenya.

A sensor on a cruise

A CamBikeSensor was part of the crew on SailBritain's final trip of this year from London to Ipswich. Thanks a lot for your support and taking our sensor along - the photos are wonderful!


Goodbye London!

Sensors on a Cruise

Hello Ipswich!

But the trip resulted in more than pictures, the sensor collected a lot of data. Of course, the situation on sea is very different compared to a street in Cambridge, and we were eagerly awaiting the results. On the 4-day long trip, the weather changed quite a bit. On day 1 (gentle dry winds that were getting stronger over the course of the day), the air quality was good, as it was not very humid. On day 2, when the wind was much weaker, we can probably see the effects of being surrounded by lots of water - a higher amount of water in the air causes particles to clump together which in turn artificially rises the measured amount of PM. This is clearly visible on day 3, when it was foggy. As soon as the fog dissipated, the values are back in the green region. They stay green on day 4, which had gentle winds again.

What does that teach us? For once, weather really makes a difference. We can clearly see how fog influences the readings. This means that there are some challenges left if particulate matter sensors are to be employed in an environment where larger humidity changes are rapid and common - as they are on sea. But we are not discouraged and will hopefully continue those kinds of experiments!

Sail Map

The PM2.5 readings from the trip, the red squares show when the data was taken

Investing in the future

We gave the new SensorCDT cohort a hands-on introduction to CamBike this Monday. They connected the PM sensor to Arduinos and wrote a short program to take readings and display them. That’s a good start into their guided sensor project. We are already looking forward to their Team Challenge!

MRes Guided Sensor

Let the programming begin!


We are alomst ready to give out the next batch! We will send out emails to interested volunteers soon with more information.

What’s next?

We are currently working on improving our database and data file upload system. We will therefore have to ask all our volunteers who have already collected data to check if their login still works (don’t worry, we will send around a separate email in the next days with more details). This will keep the “tech team” busy until next week. The rest of the team will build sensors and write grant applications to be able to start the work with Nairobi Makespace.  

2018 Sensor CDT PhD Showcase Prizes

last modified Oct 26, 2018 03:22 PM

Congratulations go to Oliver Vanderpoorten on winning the Flash Talk prize, and to Peter Pedersen on winning the Networking prize at the Sensor CDT PhD Showcase.  Both are members of the Sensor CDT, and win £100 each.  Our thanks go to Magna for sponsoring the prizes.

Sensors Day Poster Prizes - Sponsored by Magna

last modified Oct 25, 2018 02:39 PM

Congratulations go to Tiesheng Wang (Sensor CDT) and to Philipp Koehler (Nano DTC, Department of Physics and Department of Chemistry) who won the prizes for the Sensors Day Poster Competition.  Tiesheng won first prize of £250 and Philipp the second prize of £100.  Our thanks go to Magna for sponsoring the prizes.

CamBike Update: 24 October 2018

last modified Oct 25, 2018 12:40 PM

A huge thank you to everyone who came to our presentation last week! We enjoyed both the Sensor PhD Showcase and Sensors Day very much and hope you did as well. The presentation we gave is a bit too large to upload (over 100MB) - we shouldn’t have shown so many small videos! We will prepare a condensed version without the videos and upload it to the website in the next few days. Until then, the most important results that we presented are shown below, so read on!

We have analyzed more than 150 hours of data, more than 2 million datapoints. This sounds like a lot but over the coming months, we would like to have billions! So please be patient, we are building new sensors every week.

Lots of data

Finally, here are time-resolved maps of the Cambridge city centre! Grouped in morning and afternoon, it is very interesting to see which way people go.

CamBike City Centre1

From 7 to 9 am when commuters arrive in the city, we can see that the highest PM levels are found around the station and on the way into the city centre. That’s logical - and we are glad to see this. But what happens later in the day, when lazy PhD students slowly wake up? From 9 to 11 am, the highest levels are found on Newmarket Road and on Madingley Road (where the PhD students go to work). On these maps, we show the averaged data from areas where we have the most data points. As can be seen easily, most people come into the city centre before 9 am, and between 9 and 11, most volunteers were moving around in the city centre itself (not even including the train station), coming in from Madingley Road or going to West Cambridge. What about later in the day?

CamBike Stuttgart

We can see the activity around the city centre increases, as do the PM values, probably as people are going in and out for lunch. A very interesting plot is shown on the right side: the post school time/afternoon rush hour. You can see Mill road getting a lot busier around that time, as well as a few other areas, as one might expect. We can clearly see a difference in Tenison Raoad, close to Mill Road. There is a primary school and it's pretty clear that there may be a lot parents coming to pick up their children with cars, as shown by that hotspot of high PM values. If that is the case, they should be considering the comparatively bad air their children breathe in every day.

However, not all is that bad! From our data we can see that Cambridge has on average has much lower PM values than some other areas around the world. For example, compared to Stuttgart in Germany, where a large, stationary network using the same PM sensors is currently active, and that we can therefore directly compare to, the air quality in Cambridge is much better.
But we also have speed data, and here we show the map:

CamBike Speed Data

In green areas, you are making the most of the bike. In yellow areas, you could be doing better, but it’s probably not your fault. It’s probably the bunch of tourists who are getting in your way, such as around the library. And then there are the red areas, where you are better off walking. There are also some areas, such as the market square, where people are not actually riding their bike but walk instead which is why it appears in red.

You can also look at some results directly on our website at You can find the plots as well as non-geotagged data. To access the geotaggged data (that’s the interesting part), just email us and we will send you the file. We have removed every first and last 200m of every recorded track, ensuring the privacy of our volunteers.

Recap: Sensors PhD Showcase and Sensors Day 2018

Again, thank you for coming! Both days were a real success and we got the opportunity to talk to many interested people. There were lots of amazing talks and we would like to thank all the organisers for making the two wonderful days possible. Especially Karen and Oliver, who had the idea of CamBike bike lights! Below are some pictures.

CamBike Sensors Day

The CamBike Team after the presentation

CamBike Stand

The CamBike Sensor stand. Empty, because we took the picture before the conference attendees came

CamBike in Argentina

The sensor has made the long journey successfully. We just got a first picture from Buenos Aires (and more once the weather is better).

CamBike Argentina

Norberto Vidal, the Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development in Argentina, is going to test it there in the next weeks. We are looking forward to the results (and possible challenges).


Distribution is ongoing. We are building sensors for you as fast as we can, but it is still a lengthy process. We will let you know as soon as the next batch is ready to hit the road!

What’s next?

We will have quite a few meetings over the course of the next days, we are for example looking into incorporating Alphasense sensors ( to extend our measurements to different gases. But now we will really focus on distribution. We will let you know once we have a date and location for the next bigger distribution event.

Sensors Day 2018

last modified Oct 23, 2018 06:21 PM

The Sensor CDT hosted another successful Sensors Day conference. Now in its fourth year, 170 delegates attended the conference on 19 October 2018 in Fitzwilliam College, representing UK universities from around the country, including Bristol, Glasgow, UCL, Imperial College, Middlesex, Newcastle and industry_sponsorOxford. International students and researchers from Nuremberg, Copenhagen, Eindhoven, Laval and Beijing enriched the scientific mix. A number of national and international companies attended the conference to find out about sensor related research in Cambridge with the aim of deepening collaborations across a wide range of sensor topics, such as materials, security, automotive, environmental sensing, biosensors and applications in the pharmaceutical industry.

Sensors Day kicked off with a keynote presentation by Hermann Hauser on Intelligent Machines. Hermann’s involvement in a number of large and highly successful Cambridge spin-outs in the area of computing and technology over the past 30 years enabled him to provide an insightful comparison between the human brain and the abilities of artificial intelligence now and in the future. This is a topic which is at the heart of many Sensor CDT students, who were impressed by the potential of sensing and AI.

A key thread weaving through several talks was the use of sensory data to make informed decisions, whether in the areas of agriculture, food production, smart civil infrastructure or the environment. Iain Williams from Defra described how the vast and open data sets in agriculture and fisheries can help improve the environment, while Jennifer Schooling from the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction looked at how a more intelligent use of data can increase the safe lifespan of our, sometimes more than 100 years old, bridges and tunnels. David Coomes from the Department of Plant Sciences showed how the combination of new and improved sensor technologies help monitoring and understanding biogeochemical processes and biodiversity at different scales.

madeline_lancasterMadeline Lancaster from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge continued the biological theme. Her talk described how cerebral organoids, or “mini brains”, can be used to study human brain development. Studying these processes relies on the sophisticated imaging techniques available across Cambridge.

The Internet of Things, or as the sensor community prefers to call it, the oliver_v_posterInternet of Sensors, was the backdrop to talks by Alan Blackwell and Cecilia Mascolo, both from the Department of Computer Science, and Luca Aiello from Nokia. The interaction between sensors and us, the users, is fundamental to the Internet of Sensors. Alan described how we use sensors in different contexts and how our interaction with them varies as a result. Cecilia and Luca highlighted new ways of using mobile and wearable technology to sense the environment around us with the aim of increasing our personal wellbeing as well as that of a city as a whole. E.g. measuring smell across a city provides urban citizens with a new perspective about the city they live in; wearable technology allows early detection of dementia.

Every year Sensors Day provides a platform for the MRes students of the Sensor CDT to present their team project, which they tackled over the summer. This year, the ten students devised a mobile sensor network which enables citizen to measure air quality in the form of particulatebikesensor_team matter concentration. Not only did the students developed the sensor platform, they also got the public involved in building and using the sensors. They ran a makeathon, taught children how to build sensors and distributed their sensors to more than 50 volunteers. Air quality data was collected in Cambridge and other European cities over the summer, leading to a data set of more than 2million data points which allows to study spatial and temporal changes of air quality across cities.

Sensors Day finished with a dinner at Murray Edwards College attended by the new and previous Sensor CDT MRes student cohorts, supervisors and industrial partners. sensors_day_dinnerThis year’s Sensor Champions were announced at the dinner. Lorena Gordillo Dagallier and Francesca van Tartwijk won this year’s prize for their exceptional contributions throughout the MRes year. Their mini projects on printed paper based diagnostics and the study of Xenopus laevis retinal ganglion cells using single molecule imaging led to impressive initial results. Lorena and Francesca will continue working on these topics with their CEB supervisors Lisa Hall and Clemens Kaminski. During the team challenge Francesca and Lorena were driving forces behind the sensor development and outreach activities. Both did extremely well too in the written examinations across different scientific disciplines which underpin sensor technologies.


CamBike Update: 10 October 2018

last modified Oct 15, 2018 03:44 PM
CamBike Update: 10 October 2018

CamBike Sensor

This week we would again like to invite you to Sensors Day 2018. We will present the project and show the latest data at the conference on 19 October in Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge. If you are interested in attending, you can just drop by (the presentation starts at 12:10 and lasts about half an hour). The entry for you is FREE - you don’t need to register. Just mention that you are a CamBike volunteer at the entrance and they will let you in. We hope to see you there!

Centre for Global Equality

We are happy to announce that we will enter the Global Goals Innovation Cultivator of the Centre for Global Equality ( We will be provided with monthly mentoring sessions, workshops, networking events, connections with experts within specific fields, funding opportunities and peer learning events. This way, we can keep the project running and explore challenges across disciplines, sectors and countries to co-create innovative solutions.


Distribution is ongoing. We are building sensors for you as fast as we can, but it is still a lengthy process. We will let you know as soon as the next batch is ready to hit the road!

We want to include as much data in our presentation next week(!) as possible - if you have a sensor and have not uploaded your latest data, could you please do so before Saturday so that we have enough time to analyse it?

What’s next?

We are currently pretty busy with data analysis. We are writing routines that make the analysis much easier and we are also looking into an intuitive way of plotting bike speeds. This way, we can analyse where bikes get stuck in traffic. We hope to show this new map on Sensors day, so please drop by!

New Sensor CDT Students have arrived!

last modified Oct 05, 2018 03:53 PM
New Sensor CDT Students have arrived!

Sensor CDT 2018 Cohort

The 2018 cohort of Sensor CDT students arrived on 1 October 2018.  They were introduced to the CDT Team, current student cohorts and PIs, provided with course information, and treated with tons of health and safety advice!  Quite a lot to take in on the first day.

We have a cohort of 15 exceptionally strong students joining the CDT this year, raising the total in the program to well over 60.  They come from a diverse range of scientific backgrounds including physics, life sciences, chemistry and engineering disciplines. The wide ranging expertise they bring into the CDT is essential to tackle the ambitious, interdisciplinary research challenges the CDT offers and to offer the unique training environment where peers learn from peers.

Tess Skyrme and Chris Valentine   Olli Pelumi   Lorena Chris

Exciting years ahead and busy times - we wish them  luck and success!

Sarah Barron and Chiara Barberio   Matthew and Jan   Erika   Theo Baissas   Chyi

CamBike Update: 6 September 2018

last modified Sep 06, 2018 10:39 AM

The CamBike team members have been enjoying their (well-deserved) holiday and of course combined it with some data collection. Read on to also learn more about the first major distribution event!


The first batch of CamBike sensors in wooden boxes has hit the road! The sensors were given out to interested members of the public and the first data have already been collected! Here ( you can watch a video about the distribution event!

The new design: PDB and wood - no more loose connections, waterproof, not airtight, good-looking.

The new design: PDB and wood - no more loose connections, waterproof, not airtight, good-looking

Sensor Hub

First Data

Insights into the sensor hub and first data (scaled)

Greetings from the Alps

A part of the team spent their holidays in the Alps, enjoying the good air and wonderful hikes. Of course, a CamBike sensor was brought along. Here is some data and a truly wonderful picture of the landscape.

Box in Alps

Alps Data

Data collection can be so much fun, especially in a landscape like this.

What’s next? For now, stilll holiday season…

The team is still scattered around Europe but will come back to you with the next newsletter in two weeks. Don’t worry, there will be air quality data from more countries to make up for it! There will also be another distribution event on 17 September and if you registered on our (waiting) list, we will send you an email closer to the time with more information. The whole team will be back in Cambridge on 24 September. But if you have any questions or problems with the sensors, don't hesitate to contact us!

Supercontinuum in Microscopy and Biological Imaging Applications Workshop, November 2018

last modified Aug 23, 2018 11:57 AM

We will be hosting a 'Supercontinuum in Microscopy and Biological Imaging Applications Workshop' from 26-28 November 2018 inclusive.  The purpose of the workshop is to educate SUPUVIR students in the theory and practice of the principles and use of advanced microscopy techniques. The workshop will consist of lectures, that go through the optical physics of microscopic imaging all the way to application, including sample preparation and data processing. A special focus is on the opportunities and uses for supercontinuum laser sources for biophotonics research. In addition to the technical programme, there will be transferable skills training such as public engagement and presentation skills training. 

For further information visit our website.

CamBike Update: 22 August 2018

last modified Aug 22, 2018 09:25 AM
CamBike Update: 22 August 2018

The CamBike Team

It’s been an intense week for the CamBike Team, with a presentation at the Department and distribution of more sensors to excited volunteers. Read on to learn more!

Distribution: preliminary data and call for action

The team is happy to present some preliminary data from our first volunteers! There will be 40 devices ready to give out starting from next Monday. If you want to try out a sensor, just sign up via this form:

CamBike Cycle Map
Data collection by an avid cycler (PM2.5, scaled).

Final presentation: impressions and received feedback

The team would like to thank everyone who came to the presentation last Friday. To see what happened, you can watch the talk (and Q&A) on YouTube: The feedback received was consistently positive and the CamBike team hopes you will enjoy it as well!

Casing: a design to show off

Inspired by the visiting artist’s ‘future vision’, the team got to work to design an affordable but durable casing. Laser-cutting was chosen as a scalable method that can work with cheap wooden and acrylic materials. The result is a waterproof (but not airtight) box that shows off the custom-made electronics inside!

CamBike Box

Finally, an assembled CamBike Sensor

What’s next? For now, holiday season…

After 10 very intense weeks, the team deserves a short break. The members will start to depart home at the end of this week. The team will come back to you with more news in two weeks. Don’t worry, there will be air quality data from at least 7 countries to make up for it!

CamBike Update: 15 August 2018

last modified Aug 17, 2018 01:02 PM

Another week was filled with preparations for the children’s workshop that we hosted yesterday at the Centre for Computing History (, and with chasing the last missing components. We are also preparing for the presentation of our first results on Friday in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at 10:30am.

Ready, steady, solder!

Yesterday, the team hosted a workshop at the Centre for Computing History, in which children and their parents came together to build their very own bike sensors. After a short introduction to the project idea, with the soldering irons already hot, everyone got started. And as (almost) always in electronics, it involved testing lots of connections and subtly adjusting them. We hope that everyone enjoyed it and we’d like to thank everyone who came!

Team Challenge Soldering

A new casing design: Incorporating the PCB

To make assembly easier, we spent the last weeks designing a PCB - a printed circuit board. Its “plug-and-play” design allows you to stick in components you’d like to use and then mount it easily on your bike. And it’s much smaller than you’d think! 

Finally: We are starting distribution

We have identified several days on which we are able to host distribution events. You can find them in a google form on our website. We will implement a lending scheme in the first instance, where you receive a sensor from us and keep it for 1 to 3 weeks. In case something breaks, you can just bring it back to us and we will repair it. If you want to continue to contribute to the project after that, we can give you a sensor to keep. The distribution event will take less than an hour (including an introduction to how the sensor works) and we will help fit in on your bike. The team is based in West Cambridge and we therefore offer a number of “lunchtime” slots where we are very flexible. Just drop by the reception of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology anytime between 11am and 2pm and get your sensor! Some of the afternoon events will be held in the Cambridge Makespace in the city centre for those who can’t easily come to West Cambridge. In short, please sign up on our website!

What’s next?

We will continue to distribute sensors - so please fill in the form online to let us know when you are free. Or just drop us an email! The team will go on holiday during early September so you will hear a bit less from us for a bit, but don’t worry, we’ll be back!

CamBike Update: 8 August 2018

last modified Aug 13, 2018 01:26 PM

Thank you to everyone who attended the Makeathon at Cambridge Makespace on 3 August 2018.  There were lots of interesting discussions and sketches of new ideas, and by the end of the day even a real-life induction-charging system.

Graduating from tape to cable tie: designing mounting systems

Before the Makeathon, the team were using tape to attach the hubs to their bikes, a rather cumbersome ‘solution’ to the mounting problem. During the Makeathon, many new ideas for the casing and mounting were suggested, and one brave volunteer took home a cable tie-attached sensor for a first test run.

A farewell to wires: the production of a printed circuit board

We’ve been designing a printed circuit board (PCB) for our sensor hub, which will allow us to pack all our different components into as little space as possible. Our PCB is technically a printed wiring board: the board contains plugs that fit the pins associated with each of our components, and copper wires within the board provide the right point-to-point connections between the plugs, allowing the components to interact in the right way. With the PCB, you will therefore be able to simply plug all components into place to assemble the system, and so there will no longer be a risk of the hub malfunctioning due to important wires coming loose!

Makespace Upgrade

2018 Team Challenge Presentation

last modified Aug 01, 2018 10:44 AM


The Sensor CDT MRes students will be giving a final presentation of their fabulous Team Challenge at 10.30am on 17 August 2018 in Lecture Theatre 1, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (Philippa Fawcett Drive, Cambridge CB3 0AS).  Everyone is welcome to attend so why not come along and see just what we've been doing over the last few months?

To being everyone up to date, last week the team set out to collect data, but the experiment was compromised by the occasional torrential rainfall. Nonetheless, it was a memorable experience, and a good test run for another attempt at the same experiment this week. Excitingly, sensor hub production is now also running at full speed: we have ordered enough components to build fifty devices, and assembly is about to begin!

Stars of TV - Sensor CDT Student Team Challenge 2018

last modified Jul 25, 2018 12:48 PM

Our MRes students were recently interviewed by That's Cambridge TV.  Take a look at the interview on YouTube.

We are working on the CamBike Makeathon.  For more information on the goal of the Makeathon see  If's fun and free to sign up.  What you are waiting for?

This week, the CamBike Team has kept busy both by experimenting with some cool prototypes and by looking towards the future. The students have submitted proposals for the research they wish to undertake during their three-year PhD, with subjects ranging from single proteins to whole solar systems. Meanwhile, work has continued to get a set of prototypes ready for data collection, and more!