BVM launches mobile division with new PC system

March 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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BVM Mobile, the new operating division of well-established Southampton electronics company BVM, has introduced a Mobile PC family.

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Nationwide laboratory software for undergraduates for trial by Christmas

March 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Bristol ChemLabS hopes to have trial versions of laboratory skills software for biological science undergraduates ready by Christmas. The software will follow the successful model of undergraduate and A-Level chemistry software developed by Bristol ChemLabS and its Bristol-based software partner Learning Sciences Ltd. See the full story by Sian Harris of SWinnovation News.

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Second round opens for rural broadband bids

March 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Bids are now invited for the second wave of funding for Broadband UK – see  more

£1.5million medical exhibition opens in Bristol

March 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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A permanent £1.5million exhibition all about the human body and the brain opens in Bristol

Focus on aerospace sensors technologies -10th March 2011

March 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Aerospace Sensor Technologies: Ensuring Nanoscale Manufacturing Integrity, BAWA, Bristol

The UK has the largest aerospace industry outside of the USA, with an annual turnover of £22bn and a supply chain supporting over 276,000 jobs. It can genuinely be called a UK manufacturing success story, and Bristol has been a key centre for the technology from the earliest days of flight.

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Bac2 demonstrates economic production for fuel cells

March 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Scalable low-volume production method for moulded polymer bipolar plates simplifies processing and cut manufacturing costs

Southampton startup Bac2 is demonstrating moulded bipolar plates for fuel cell stacks that are made using its patented ElectroPhen electrically conductive polymer. The process reduces the cost of fuel cells because they can be moulded for high volume production and is economical to tool-up and mould relatively small quantities of plates, sometimes just a few hundred.

The unique mould-flow approach means that the plates also do not need post-processing, such as surface machining or drilling, after moulding, further reducing costs and cutting waste.

The ElectroPhen bipolar plates are available for many different types of fuel cell stacks, from high-temperature and low-temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM), direct methanol, alkali and phosphoric acid designs. Unlike those made from metal, the plates are chemically inert, do not corrode, will not poison fuel cell electrodes and are rugged enough to withstand the harshest environments. They are made using a simple,
2-stage, mix-and-mould manufacturing process.
In addition to moulded plates, Bac2 supplies blank plates that can be easily machined for fuel cell development work. Blank plates are available from stock.

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Top eight innovative ideas line up for Bristol entrepreneurs competition

March 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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A birdsong recognition system and a ‘smart’ water-meter development to encourage water saving are just two of the innovative entries submitted for the University of Bristol’s New Enterprise Competition.

The annual event, which is open to students, staff and recent graduates of the University, attracted stiff competition. There is a prize fund of £35,000 along with free professional advice and managed office space at the Bristol SETsquared Centre, to help bring the winning ideas to the market place.

Eight teams have been shortlisted to go through to the final of this year’s competition. The teams are, SunHub – providing solar power systems to rural India, Rapunzel – a new hair-care product range, Gym2 – a new strategy to encourage gym-use, Tweeter – a birdsong recognition and identification system, Puddle – a ‘smart’ water-meter development to encourage water-saving, CheapAFM – the production of affordable Atomic Force Microscopes, and EventBand – a new identification and proof-of-age system for festivals. Your Child Starts Piano – a video tutorial system for teaching the piano was the ‘wild-card’ entry put through by Basecamp, the student business incubator.

The shortlisted entries include thirteen undergraduates, one postgraduate, one post-doctoral researcher, and two staff members – drawn largely from the Engineering Faculty but also including representatives from the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, and the Faculty of Science.

Dave Jarman, Enterprise, Skills and Education Manager in RED and Chair of the competition judging panel, said: “The event is designed to draw and inspire new high-growth business ideas from the University’s entrepreneurial talent. This year’s competition was extremely fierce and the judging panel had a tough time deciding the shortlisted entries.”

The judging panel comprised representatives from the competition’s sponsors, Bristol City Council, Deloitte, EADS, IPGroup, King Sturge, Motorola, Osborne Clarke, Santander, SETsquared Business Acceleration Centre, and the Wyvern Seed Fund.

The finalists will now write up full business plans with the help of mentors from Basecamp, RED and the sponsoring organisations. The final presentations will take place on 11 May 2011 with the winners announced at the University’s Enterprise Dinner on 28 June 2011.

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iPad app helps optical tweezers

March 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Optics researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Glasgow have developed an iPad application for accurate, easy and intuitive use of optical tweezers.

Optical tweezers are used to manipulate tiny particles through the use of highly focused laser beams and are at the heart of much molecular biology. The team of researchers overcame the limitations of computer mouse and joy-stick controlled systems by designing of an iPad app to make it much easier to manipulate multiple particles in more directions.

The new multi-touch-based application allows researchers a clear representative 3D view of particle systems and offers a range of techniques, like pinching the screen or tilting the iPad, for moving single and multi-particles left and right, up and down, and to rotate them.

Due to the iPad’s wireless capability, the app will also help with regards laser safety and avoiding experiment contamination.

“Our iPad-based interface allows intuitive control of a holographic optical tweezers system using a dedicated application on the iPad and a modified version of our tweezers’ control software running on a host PC,” said the researchers in their paper published today. “The interface is responsive and easy to use, so even inexperienced users can trap particles, move them around and translate the microscope stage.”

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Bristol team builds optical components for quantum computing

March 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Quantum Circuits Based on MMI Devices

A research group led by scientists from the University of Bristol has demonstrated the quantum operation of new components that will enable compact circuits for future photonic quantum computers and is starting to build the components.

Building a quantum computer will require a large number of interconnected components – gates – which work in a similar way to the microprocessors in current personal computers. Currently, most quantum gates are large structures and the bulky nature of these devices prevents scalability to the large and complex circuits required for practical applications.

Recently, the researchers from the University of Bristol’s Centre for Quantum Photonics showed, in several important breakthroughs, that quantum information can be manipulated with integrated photonic circuits. Such circuits are compact (enabling scalability) and stable (with low noise) and could lead in the near future to mass production of chips for quantum computers.

Now the team, in collaboration with Dr Terry Rudolph at Imperial College, London, shows a new class of integrated divides that promise further reduction in the number of components that will be used for building future quantum circuits.

These devices, based on optical multimode interference (and therefore often called MMIs) have been widely employed in classical optics as they are compact and very robust to fabrication tolerances. “While building a complex quantum network requires a large number of basic components, MMIs can often enable the implementation with much fewer resources,” said Alberto Peruzzo, the PhD student working on the experiment.

Until now it was not clear how these devices would work in the quantum regime. Bristol researchers have demonstrated that MMIs can perform quantum interference at the high fidelity required.

Scientists will now be able to implement more compact photonics circuits for quantum computing. MMIs can generate large entangled states, at the heart of the exponential speedup promised by quantum computing.

“Applications will range from new circuits for quantum computation to ultra precise measurement and secure quantum communication,” said Professor Jeremy O’Brien, director of the Centre for Quantum Photonics.

The team now plans to build new sophisticated circuits for quantum computation and quantum metrology using MMI devices.

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Vehicle tracking system up for export award

March 1, 2011 by · 2 Comments
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A startup from Bere Regis in Dorset developing an optical tracking system for cars is through to the final of the UKTI‘s Born Global competition for exporters.

Innovative Vehicle Systems was formed in 2007 with the aid of a £50,000 proof of concept award to exploit an innovative concept for measuring the distance between travelling vehicles based on computer processing of visual information. The Distanc—er was developed by George Ferrie who has worked with three major UK Universities on various vehicle safety related projects.

The technology measures the distance to the vehicle in front by processing visual information through a camera, a processing unit based on a microprocessor and an interface. It can be used to inform the driver of the host vehicle, when he/she is at the safe braking distance from the vehicle in front for the speed their vehicle is travelling. If the driver were to encroach on the safe distance by getting closer to the vehicle in front, the system would issue an alert. This system can be integrated into the vehicle sensory network. In this way, the Distanc—er can exchange information/work together with other vehicle systems such as collision mitigation systems, adaptive cruise control, driver alertness tracking systems and autonomous driving.

The Distanc—er is a demonstrator that has been designed to seek and lock onto the only standard sized object on a vehicle; the number plate; and to calculate the distance to that plate. As it is an optical system it is a less expensive option than the radar systems, in tests we have seen a 93% detection rate up to a distance of 40 metres. 75 percent of all collisions occur at speeds of 20 mph or lower. It should be noted that depending on the hardware configuration used, these results could be increased substantially with respect to distance and accuracy of detection. Please click on the Demo link to see the demonstration video.

The algorithms developed by IVS can be used to give lane departure warnings, blind spot warnings, rear alert warnings and as you will see in the demonstration video, Forward collision warnings.

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