Design School

What's happening

9 Apr 2019

Printed Electronics Monitoring the Environment.

Design School Researchers have developed a printed electronics system for the OE-A 2019 Organic and Printable Electronics Competition, which featured at the recent LOPEC, Large-area, Organic & Printed Electronics Convention, in Munich.

Dr. Darren Southee, an expert in innovative additive manufacturing processes for electronics, led the Loughborough University OE-A work, with support from the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI). A printed electronics flexible environment monitoring system (smart wallpaper) freestyle demonstrator was the selected proposal taken forward and fabricated.

Working with PhD students Jack McGhee and Ryan Middlemiss, the system demonstrator showcased on the OE-A stand at the recent LOPEC 2019 exhibition in Munich.

LOPEC is the leading conference and exhibition on organic and printable electronics, and the event is organised in a close strategic partnership with the OE-A (Organic and Printable Electronics Association).

Jack McGhee took a leading role in the demonstrator design and fabrication, with one of the printed sensors, in particular, relating directly to his PhD. Jack commented “during my PhD research I have been developing conductive ceramic based printing inks for electronics in an effort to provide more functionality to the field. The demonstrator was built around printed humidity and temperature sensors developed as part of this research and provides a route to fully printed, flexible IOT devices.”

Loughborough University entered their printed electronics design in the freestyle demonstrator category of the OE-A competition. The design received positive feedback on its application and potential impact for such an IOT monitoring platform (or wallpaper) to be used to easily monitor the environment for measuring damp, temperature and/or air quality in a space and effectively upload data via Bluetooth to an App.

As an OE-A member Loughborough University has access to this working group within VDMA (the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association) the largest industry association in Europe which aims to build a bridge between science, technology and application. In parallel with LOPEC, the University of Applied Sciences Munich, along with industry partners, offered a free of charge (OE-A Working Group Education) hands-on workshop “Printing of diodes”. PhD student Ryan Middlemiss attended this workshop and commented “the workshop was aimed at showing PhD researchers and Academics the process for printing diodes, with lectures and lab sessions given by academics and pioneering companies from around Europe. While the workshop highlighted the difficulties in doing so, this only reaffirmed the value of my own research and the difficulties I’ve experienced. The workshop also provided an excellent environment to meet other academics and PhD students working in my specific area where we could share ideas and network”.

Also, as part of the OE-A General Assembly meeting, prior to LOPEC, Darren was invited and spent some time at the IBM Watson IoT Center in Munich, where the hosts provided a Client Experience Tour, a tour of their Industry Labs and a talk from their Global Director (Electronics Industry) on the evolution of IBM and future challenges in this changing World.

Darren reflected, after the workshop, conference and exhibition, “As someone who has been involved in printed electronics research for 16 years, one of the noticeable aspects of this year’s exhibition was the number of Industry exhibitors demonstrating manufacture capability. Measurable progress for printed electronics, from lab or small scale “not quite ready” technology predominant in previous years.