Technical prototypes were delivered in 7 out of 9 cases. Of the two cases where prototype systems were not delivered, the MG2 case was due to unavoidable delays at the partner, and the other was due to the technical difficulty involved in the solution. This was the heart rate monitor for Solartrack. In this case a sensor demonstration was given - this in itself is a good result and will allow further progress to be made in the future.
Other partners are progressing or have plans to progress the prototypes internally (P&G, Valcom,M4Data,HF Jensen, SF Control, GS Bandservice), whereas Land Infrared have decided not to pursue further development of the module.
The fundamental objective of this project is to develop a family of low cost field bus compatible microsystems to meet the demanding instrumentation applications of the participating core group proposers for their new generation of products. Each microsystem will be the first of its kind in the world combining on a single substrate state of the art mixed analogue/digital integrated circuits ICs, field bus protocol ICs, recently developed microengineered sensors and recent advances in multi chip module packaging technologies. Research will also be undertaken into novel encapsulation techniques as part of this project to assist high speed microsystem production. The combination of these technologies will present the core group proposers with a means to maintain and improve the competitiveness of their instrumentation products giving them a clear advantage over the latest US/Pacific rim competing technologies. This development is intended to be a platform on which to base new sensor system products well into the 21st century. Each core group proposer has a different requirement for the basic measurand they wish to sense. For example Valcom wish to measure pressure and Jensen wish to measure displacement. However they have common requirements to measure temperature and a target is that the core group all use the same temperature sensor within the microsystem. Where possible it is also intended to satisfy other sensor requirements using microengineered sensors as replacements for the conventional technology currently used by the core group. The electronic interface performing linearisation and temperature correction should be based around a common core mixed signal IC within the microsystem. The mixed signal IC approach offers the advantage of lower cost and increased flexibility over a discrete solution. The protocol by which information is transferred from the sensor to the user is currently a complicated and very application specific process e.g. 4 to 20 mA, RS485/422 . This project addresses this problem by offering within the microsystem the flexibility to select in software the required output protocol. Exploitation of the technology developed in this project will allow European SMEs to take advantage of new market opportunities without incurring the normally prohibitive development costs. The economic benefits will be seen in terms of new sales of the proposed microsystem and increased product sales.The direct social benefits will be increased employment and training as a result of business growth at all participating companies. The project consortium estimate that their combined businesses will see an increase in turnover of 19 MECU per annum as a result of the successful realisation of the fieldbus compatible microsystem.
Funding SchemeCRS - Cooperative research contracts
KT22 7SA Leatherhead, Surrey
146 33 Tullinge
S18 6BS Sheffield
BH23 3TJ Christchurch
RM9 6YS Dagenham