Healthcare technologies and biomedical engineering...
Working with microfluidics, biomedical integrated sensors, and wearable devices for movement analytics, we specialise in translational research to ensure that such advances benefit our society as a whole. Developing integrated microfluidics platforms to study complex fluids and biological environments.
Microfluidics provides a versatile and powerful technology platform for the manipulation of fluids at the microscale and for the integration of sensors and actuators. It enables the creation of static and dynamic environment controlled to high spatio-temporal resolution and multimodal sensing. In addition, we adapt and evaluate off-the-shelf commercial sensor and other devices for applications in the clinical setting and for patient rehabilitation.
We specialise in translational research to ensure that such advances benefit our society as a whole. For this vision to become a reality, we work closely with biologists, clinicians, environmental scientists, physicists, chemists, engineers and social scientists from academia or industry proposing solutions that can be easily manufactured.
We also address the safety of medical devices, validating algorithms including machine learning (artificial intelligence) algorithms used in medical devices. Validation provides legitimacy to new products, enabling them to reach the market more quickly. Capabilities include areas of safety analysis techniques (e.g. FMEA) for medical devices and their associated software, and interpretation of safety standards.
We aim to improve the quality, safety, accessibility and productivity of healthcare by supporting the implementation of digital solutions for the public, patients and professionals, underpinned by rigorous multi-disciplinary research, development and evaluation.
Our model of research-led innovation in healthcare entails identifying relevant theories, selecting appropriate technologies and developing new solutions where necessary. Each solution then needs rigorous evaluation for safety, effectiveness and cost implications before promotion to healthcare systems. All this requires close working with industry, the NHS and across many disciplinary boundaries In order to achieve translational impact in society.
Biomedical Integrated micro/nano-sensors and actuators
Faithful to our philosophy, we do not limit ourselves to one type of sensor or actuator (a single technology will not resolve all issues). For example, we integrate existing sensors (electrochemical, temperature, optical, mechanical etc.) in microfluidic devices to make advanced biosensing platforms. When the sensors available do not meet our needs, we collaborate with experts in the field to develop new sensors and devices. However, we also have a strong expertise in the design and development of MEMS sensors and in particular MEMS resonators
Microfabrication processes for biosensors
In order to ensure that our solutions have a broad impact, we use and develop a range of fabrication processes. In the case the devices are to be used by a large amount of people, we make sure that our solutions are compatible with medium to large-scale manufacturing.
When developing new devices and methods for researchers, we aim to lower the technological barrier to enable higher flexibility and independence. We also work on new fabrication processes that open up new opportunities.
Over the years, we have developed or contributed to the development of the following processes:
- The SOLID process enables the encapsulation of liquid under a polymer membrane and opens up new possibilities for smart devices, including sensors, actuators and energy harvesting devices.
- A low-cost table-top photolithography system suited for the fabrication of microfluidic devices and compatible with biological or chemical laboratories.
- A process to fabricate ultra-stable high-mobility conjugated polymer field-effect transistors.
- Micro-injection moulding for miniaturised devices.
Microfluidics is a powerful technique to manipulate fluids at the microscale. It can be used to develop innovative devices and methods through:
- The understanding and control of the flow properties at the microscale
- The possibility to generate and perturb microenvironments
- The integration of micro sensors and actuators. In our lab, we use these properties to study complex biological processes and to make advanced biosensing platforms.
Safety of medical devices
We develop synthetic datasets to validate algorithms, including machine learning algorithms (artificial intelligence, AI) used in medical devices.
Validation provides legitimacy to innovators' products and bring them to market more quickly by facilitating their NHS procurement evaluation and their CE registration.
Our capability includes areas of safety analysis techniques (e.g. FMEA) for medical devices and their associated software, interpretation of safety standards such as SCCI 0160, and ISO 13485, clinical safety cases, and failure analysis of healthcare technologies.
Wearable devices for movement analytics
Measuring, monitoring and modelling human movement is an essential component in many sectors of healthcare research. This can range from developing advanced physiotherapy methods, through to the data analysis of physiology data for wellbeing (from wearables and smartphone data).
In our lab we apply data science approaches to analyse both large and small datasets of movement data. We have access to a range of state-of-the-art motion capture equipment and sensors, as well as Virtual and Augmented Reality systems.