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What is the Story Behind the Research Expo Gold Squares?

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Research Expo on April 18 features a 200+ graduate student poster session, ten-minute faculty talks and a networking reception.

San Diego, CA, March 11, 2013 -- The gold squares on the Research Expo 2013 postcards…what are they?

The gold squares are ceramic packages that house experimental circuits developed in the lab of bioengineering professor Gert Cauwenberghs at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. The research is aimed at developing new circuits that increase the speed and decrease the energy required to wirelessly transfer biological data—such as ECG signals from the heart and EEG signals from the brain—from sensors worn on the body to nearby data collectors.

Developing new kinds of circuits that transmit data quickly and efficiently is of interest because wireless data transmission is a large part of the overall energy budget for small wearable sensors. Reducing energy requirements means sensor batteries can shrink, which is especially important for sensors worn on the human body, explained postdoctoral researcher Christoph Maier from Cauwenberghs’ lab in the Department of Bioengineering at UC San Diego.

This work on rapid, energy-efficient data transfer from biological sensors to nearby monitors complements research on “contact-free” sensors that collect biological data from the heart and brain without coming into direct contact with the skin. If contact-free sensors are bogged down by bulky batteries, they are not going to be comfortable to wear. (For research related to contact-free sensors, electrical engineering Ph.D. student Mike Chi won best bioengineering poster award at Research Expo 2011. See below for more.)

Circuits Embedded in Fabrics

The circuits in the gold ceramic packages interface with conformal flexible antennas that—if the technology were to mature—would allow circuits to be integrated directly into wearable fabrics or even under the skin, Cauwenberghs explained.

The idea: if you stretch or bend the antenna, your wireless transmission frequency will still be locked in.

“That’s the key contribution of this chip,” said Cauwenberghs, “It’s an adaptive frequency locking transmitter, on a very fast time scale.”

The researchers published a technical description of this circuit in a paper presented at the conference “ESSCIRC 2012” last fall.

The ESSCIRC 2012 paper: “BFSK MICS Direct-DCO Transmitter with Adaptive Background Frequency Regulation,” by Tuan-Vu Cao*, Christoph Maier**, Dag Wisland*, Tor Sverre Lande*, Gert Cauwenberghs**.

*Nanoelectronics group, Department of Informatics, University of Oslo
**Department of Bioengineering and Institute for Neural Computation, UC San Diego

Research Expo Ties

In 2011, Mike Chi, from Cauwenberghs’ lab, won the Best Bioengineering Poster Award at Research Expo for research on a custom chip for sensors that detect electrical signals from the body without direct skin contact and act as extremely sensitive amplifiers. After working with the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center at the Jacaobs School,  Chi and Cauwenberghs went on to co-found the start-up company Cognionics, which is developing state-of-the-art dry sensors for EEG and ECG monitoring. Read more about Mike Chi and Cognionics here.

In the meantime, the research continues in the Cauwenberghs' lab. Graduate students from his lab that will present posters at Research Expo 2013 are listed below.

See the full list of Research Expo posters here.

HIERARCHICAL ADDRESS EVENT ROUTING ARCHITECTURE FOR LARGE SCALE NEUROMORPHIC PROCESSOR 
Students: Jongkil Park | Theodore Yu | Siddharth Joshi | Neftci Emre | Christoph Maier 
ProfessorGert Cauwenberghs

 

NEUROMORPHIC ADAPTATIONS OF RESTRICTED BOLTZMANN MACHINES AND DEEP BELIEF NETWORKS
Students: Bruno Umbria Pedroni | Srinjoy Das | Emre Neftci 
ProfessorsGert Cauwenberghs | Kenneth Kreutz-Delgado
Industry Application Areas: Life Sciences/Medical Devices & Instruments | Semiconductor | Software, Analytics

 

STEADY STATE SOMATOSENSORY EVOKED POTENTIALS IN CLOSED-LOOP MOTOR CONTROL 
Students: Abraham Akinin, Nikhil Govil
Professors: Howard Poizner, Samuel Ward, John Iversen, Gert Cauwenberghs
Industry Application Areas: Control Systems | Life Sciences/Medical Devices & Instruments

 

A 103-DB DYNAMIC RANGE BIOPOTENTIAL RECORDING IC FOR A WIRELESS 1024-CHANNEL FLEXIBLE ELECTRODE ELECTROCORTICOGRAM ARRAY
Students: Sohmyung Ha | Jongkil Park 
ProfessorGert Cauwenberghs 
Industry Application Areas: Electronics/Photonics | Life Sciences/Medical Devices & Instruments | Neuroengineering

 

MICROPOWER JAMMER SUPPRESSION FOR DIRECT CONVERSION RECEIVERS USING ANALOG MIXED SIGNAL INDEPENDENT COMPONENT ANALYSIS 
Students: Siddharth Joshi | Kevin Young | Sohmyung Ha | Christoph Maier 
ProfessorGert Cauwenberghs 
Industry Application Areas: Internet, Networking, Systems | Semiconductor | Circuits and Systems

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