Collaboration to create versatile wireless vibration sensing technology

The University of Loughborough’s Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering and DJB Instruments (UK) have been awarded funding to collaborate on unique wireless vibration sensing technology.

The project, which represents an investment of almost £150,000, is anticipated to create jobs and boost DJB Instruments’ profits by around £500,000 per year within three years.

Meanwhile, Loughborough University has secured grant funding of almost £100,000 towards the project through Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP).

The vibration sensor is said to be discreet enough to be embedded in clothing, its primary use will be in health and sport applications, but it is also suitable for use in aerospace and automotive settings.

Peter Strutton, business development manager at Loughborough University, said: “Because our wireless accelerometers will be made of smaller and lighter components, this means that they can be used to gather detailed and accurate knowledge of movement and vibration in a variety of settings, including aerospace and automotive, without the restriction, cost and complexity of traditional wired methods.”

It is envisaged that the accelerometer will make an impact in wearable technology because it contains microprocessors that are capable of handling large amounts of data. The device can be used to measure acceleration forces i.e. on a ship or aircraft, and can also sense the vibration of a machine, for example.

The fact that the technology will be wireless means that natural body movements will not be restricted, enabling athletes or sports equipment, such as tennis rackets, to be accurately assessed for instances of impact and shock transmission.

Neill Ovenden, managing director of DJB Instruments, said: “This partnership with Loughborough University is a critical element of our technology platform development. We are very lucky to be working with one of the UK’s leading engineering universities, and we are looking forward to learning from the team there as well as passing on our own industry experience.”

The KTP has helped fund a research and development engineer at DJB Instruments to work on the project, who will be supported by the interdisciplinary research expertise of Loughborough University’s Dr James Flint and Professor Steve Rothberg.