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Sensor CDT News

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We are also looking into building a newer version of the sensor hub that will measure more air quality indicators (such as NO2).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!


Sensor CDT Student Team Challenge 2018

last modified Jul 25, 2018 12:30 PM
Sensor CDT Student Team Challenge 2018

Peter Pedersen and Francesca van Tartwijk at Cambridge105

The Sensor CDT Team Challenge is well underway and has gone live on the radio.  Check out to hear all about what we're doing. 

Sensor CDT Student first publication with her new team

last modified May 22, 2018 03:19 PM
Congratulation to Johanna Kölbel, Sensor CDT MRes student, on the publication of her first paper with the Terahertz Applications Group.

Paper entitled: "Predicting the Structures and Associated Phase Transitions Mechanisms in Disordered Crystals via a Combination of Experimental and Theoretical Methods", authored by Michael T Ruggiero,  Johanna Kölbel,  Qi Li  and  J. Axel Zeitler.

Faraday Discuss., 2018, DOI: 10.1039/C8FD00042E.!divAbstract

Sensor CDT students at Creativity Sandpit with Imperial and Warwick CDTs

last modified May 22, 2018 02:56 PM
A Creativity Sandpit took place on 15-17 May 2018 at Easthamstead Park near Bracknell in a big old mansion and about 30 brilliant minds working together. It was organised by the High Performance Embedded and Distributed Systems (HiPEDS) CDT at Imperial College. In addition to HiPEDS and Sensor CDT, the Warwick Urban Science CDT joined in as well.
Sensor CDT students at Creativity Sandpit with Imperial and Warwick CDTs

Farah and her team at the Sandpit

Farah Alimagham and Bogdan Spiridon, both from Sensor CDT 2015 cohort, took part in the Creativity Sandpit at Easthamstead Park. 

The main activities focused on "creating a solution to an industry problem".  The Greater London Authority, the Post Office and ARUP were the industry stakeholders.

Both Sensor CDT students prized the experience highly. Farah found it extremely engaging experience, working together with industry representatives and other PhD students to come up with feasible solutions to real-world challenges mainly involving managing and making sense of data and information.  Bogdan highlighted the opportunity to work together with people of varied backgrounds (high-performance computing, urban science and sensors) around real-world challenges. It was an excellent opportunity to network as well.


Bogdan and his team at the Sandpit

Brain Storm

IMG 2959 mod

Sensor CDT Student awarded a £15,000 ChAMP and WAFT Collaboration Fund

last modified May 22, 2018 11:50 AM
Farah Alimagham, a Sensor CDT talented student, has been awarded a collaborative grant to work with the CDT in Metamaterials (Engineering at the University of Exeter).

The successful proposal has been brought together by teams from Physical Chemistry at the University of Cambridge and Engineering at the University of Exeter.

They were awarded £15,000 to investigate chemical sensing based on phase-change IR metamaterials devices. This project will run from June 2018 to September 2018 and will be an excellent opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from the University of Exeter and other EPSRC CDTs.

Further details on


Best poster prize for Sensor CDT Student at the Graduate Conference 2018

last modified May 21, 2018 04:04 PM
Sensor CDT student Oliver Vanderpoorten has accomplished yet another milestone in his excellent work. He received the second year poster prize for his research on "Two-photon lithography for nanofluidic device fabrication".

His research was presented during the CEB Graduate Conference, which took place on Wednesday the 25th and Thursday the 26th of April.

Details of further winners can be found on

Sensor CDT Student creates carbon-based structure with multi-level hierarchy in a simple way

last modified May 15, 2018 01:54 PM

Sensor CDT student, Tiesheng Wang (王铁胜), found a simple way to transform metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to carbon-base structures with ordered multilevel hierarchy, termed as “nano-diatom” (named for the morphological similarities with the naturally existing diatomaceous species). The metamorphosis is enabled by adding salts (metal-containing compounds) into the MOF followed by a high-temperature carbonisation process.

Tiesheng is a PhD candidate supervised by Dr Stoyan Smoukov and Dr R Vasant Kumar, and working closely with Professor Anthony Cheetham. Together with Dr Hyun-Kyung Kim, they have demonstrated one of the nano-diatoms as a superior carbon-based anode material for fast-charging lithium-ion battery. They published their work in JACS (Journal of the American Chemical Society) recently:

In the paper, Tiesheng and his collaborators from University of Cambridge, Queen Mary University of London and Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research proved that the transformation can be controlled by the initial chemical composition (i.e. MOF and metal-containing compound used). They also realized that the discovery can be applied as a working strategy for functionalizing the carbon not only for energy storage but also for catalysis and chemical sensing. Tiesheng, Stoyan and Hyun-Kyung have filed a relevant patent.

Since there are thousands of MOF and metal-containing compounds available, the discovery and its following work on understanding the formation mechanisms will enable the design of future carbon-based functional materials. The work is highlighted in the following press release:

Bottom-up Formation of Carbon-Based Structures with Multilevel Hierarchy from MOF−Guest Polyhedra’. Tiesheng Wang, Hyun-Kyung Kim, Yingjun Liu, Weiwei Li, James T Griffiths, Yue Wu, Sourav Laha, Kara D Fong, Filip Podjaski, Chao Yun, R Vasant Kumar, Bettina V Lotsch, Anthony K Cheetham and Stoyan K Smoukov*. Journal of the American Chemical Society, ASAP



Science Makers: 3D Printing for Science - Saturday 5 May

last modified Apr 26, 2018 03:33 PM
SynBio SRI Join us on Saturday 5 May for Science Makers: 3D Printing for Science! This will also be a great opportunity to share ideas and find collaborators for Biomaker Challenge 2018

3D printing opens up a world of custom science instrumentation that can be instantly shared and fabricated around the world. It has been used to build precision microscopes and alignment tools, modify all manner of standard lab kit, visualise 3D structures from imaging data and more.

In this Science Makers, we'll look at a whole range of ideas for 3D printing in science with both plastics and biomaterials. There will be an opportunity to try out some activities and play with hardware in the afternoon following lunch. Please bring along anything 3D-printed that you would like to show and tell!

Science Makers is a monthly event to discuss and build low-cost, DIY and open hardware for science and education.

Sensor CDT Student Tiesheng Wang wins one of the 2018 CSAR PhD Student Awards

last modified Apr 06, 2018 02:01 PM
The Cambridge Society for the Application of Research (CSAR) recently announced the names of the 10 PhD students from the University of Cambridge who have received the 2018 CSAR PhD Student Awards for Applied Research.

Tiesheng Wang from the EPSRC sensor CDT is one of the award winners. 

His work on functional materials with interpenetrating structures was also recently featured in the recent American Chemical Society National Conference in New Orleans as both press release ( ) and press conference interview ( 

The awards were presented at a ceremony earlier this week, which was jointly hosted by Professor Stephen Toope, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Professor Andrew Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations at the University of Cambridge and Professor Sir Mike Gregory, President of CSAR.

You can find more information about the awards made this year by visiting the CSAR website

Sensor CDT student Tiesheng Wang weaves new material for energy storage

last modified Mar 22, 2018 03:45 PM
Sensor CDT student Tiesheng Wang and his supervisor Stoyan Smoukov have developed a new supercapacitor made from a "candy cane" like flexible polymer material composite. Its flexibility and higher charge holding properties could enable new sensor applications, such as implantable sensors.

t wang candy cane

Tiesheng Wang, a final year PhD student of the Sensor CDT, has developed a new flexible polymer material which moves electrical energy storage to new heights.

He weaved together a conducting polymer with an ion-storage polymer to form a new supercapacitor material with higher charge density than conventional polymer materials. In addition the material is flexible, allowing it to be incorporated into wearable sensors.

Tiesheng presented this work at the 255th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemistry Society (ACS) in New Orleans in March 2018. Read the full ACS press release here.

His ground breaking research captured the scientific audience at a press conference held at the meeting.

t wang press conference


Addressing civil engineering challenges

last modified Feb 05, 2018 11:45 AM
Sensor CDT students teamed up with students and staff from the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction to think collectively about sensor solutions to challenges in the built environment.

Students from all Sensor CDT cohorts teamed up with students and staff from the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction to find potential sensor solutions for a variety of challenges and questions in civil engineering and the built environment.


The discussion focused around the detection of cracks and corrosion in steel reinforced concrete, the effects of salt and air pollution on masonry structures and drain blockages.


Together the students developed potential solutions and road maps for future research with the aim to initiate new collaborative networks, linking Cambridge University with other national and international centres of excellence in the field as well as with industry.


Sensors Day 2017

last modified Nov 13, 2017 12:35 PM
Molecular sensors, sensing in the Antarctic, robotics...

The third Sensors Day conference took place at Robinson College in Cambridge on 20 October 2017.

As always, this conference brought together speakers from a range of sensing disciplines (see full programme here). Allard Mosk, Marina Kuimova, Tuomas Knowles and Ljiljana Fruk presented captivating talks on

  • optical spectroscopy at the nanoscale to further the understanding of 3D materials
  • the use of molecular rotors to image viscosity inside lipid layers, cells and aerosols
  • employing microfluidics and sensors to understand protein misfolding
  • using bio-nano composite materials for drug delivery, sensors
a_mosk m_kuimova
t_knowles l_fruk

Robotics and the "internet of everything" were covered in two fascinating talks by Hatice Gunes and Ozgur Akan.

h gunes AUG 7276

Julie MacPherson's work on diamond electrodes for electrochemical measurements lead seamlessly into the Team Challenge presentation of the Sensor CDT students. They had developed a quantitative arsenic sensor based on cell-free biology and an electrochemical readout.

AUG 7246 mod team challenge presentation

The British Antarctic Survey presented a sweeping overview of sensor technology employed in harsh environments to monitor environmental changes.

b schlarb ridley a flemming


Sensors Day 2017 was sponsored by Cambridge University Press, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Zimmer & Peacock, NPL, OpenIO Labs, Royal Society and Alphasense.