News and events 2010

Shoe Bomb Scanner on Trial in Manchester Airport

Prof. W Q Yang testing the shoe scanner.

Manchester Airport and the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering are working together to deploy a newly developed prototype shoe scanner for a live trial.

Due to the threat of shoe bombs at airports, passengers are often asked to stop and remove their shoes to be checked by an X-ray machine which can detect metallic objects. However, it is difficult to identify plastic explosives by X-ray.

The sensing and imaging technology that has been developed in the Professor Wuqiang Yang at the University will allow scanning shoes in real-time when passengers are walking through the shoe scanner. This technology will be able to detect dangerous objects such as plastic explosives and ceramic knives hidden in the soles of shoes by generating display images of shoes. The basic principle of the shoe scanner is that different materials have different permittivity.

During the twelve month concept study a robust full scale prototype will be developed and installed for a live trial in Manchester Airport. If proven successful, the real-time shoe scanner will significantly improve airport security by providing a cheap and reliable solution to detect dangerous objects.

Barry Lennox receives the IET Measurement in Action award

Xuesong Wang, former PDRA at the University of Manchester and now leading the commercialisation of Acoustek at Pipeline Engineering Ltd accepts the award

Professor Barry Lennox received the IET Measurement in Action award for the Acoustek® pipeline monitoring project.

Winners of the 2010 Innovation Awards, chosen from nearly 400 entries, were announced at a glittering black-tie ceremony on 24 November 2010.

In addition to the Measurement in Action award, Acoustek was Highly Commended in the IET Asset Management and the IChemE Innovative Product of the Year awards.

The winning moment can be viewed by watching the video here.

Acoustek® is a patented technique that, with the support of BP, has been developed at the University of Manchester for the detection of leakage and blockage in long lengths of gas-filled pipelines and is now being commercialised by Pipeline Engineering Ltd.

A series of trials and commercial studies have been undertaken in the UK and USA on static and live gas pipelines and these tests have shown that the technique is able to accurately survey pipelines with lengths of up to approximately 10km.

National Instruments Undergraduate Lab Officially Opened

National Instruments Undergraduate Lab

Dave Wilson from National Instruments, flew over from Texas to open the laboratory in the Sackville Street Building.

The undergraduate laboratory in C18 Sackville Street Building has been equipped with state-of-the-art hardware and software. With financial support from School and Faculty and generous donations from National Instruments (NI) the laboratory is now recognised as one of the best practical teaching facilities in UK Universities.

The laboratory now has enough equipment to accommodate a maximum of 102 students in one session. National Instruments is committed to developing the partnership at The University of Manchester.

This is reflected in the recent arrangement for the availability of the NI myDAQ devices for EEE students and extension to other Schools within the faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Arago Commences Installation at a High Altitude Site

Arago, who are working with the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering have began work installing test equipment at a high altitude site in Scotland. The majority of the current research and development being carried out by Arago Technology Ltd. is focused on creating an electrically insulating transmission tower Cross-Arm. This Composite Cross-Arm is suitable for retrofit to existing transmission towers or as an option for new line build.

Over the last 6 months the team have been working with Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and are currently in the process of installing four full-scale advanced prototype CCA's for a period of at least 12 months on a disused 132kV overhead line in a high altitude and exposed location. The location chosen will ensure the cross arms are subject to high wind speeds, snow and ice in order to understand the manner in which snow/ice affect the mechanical performance of the Composite Cross Arm. The tests will be benchmarked against standard insulators/cross-arms.

For upto date information on the progress of the installation, go to the Arago news page

Portable Breast Scanner Detects Breast Cancer Instantly

Professor Zhipeng Wu has invented a portable scanner based on radio frequency technology, which is able to show in a second the presence of tumours – malignant and benign – in the breast on a computer.

Using radio frequency or microwave technology for breast cancer detection has been proven by researchers in the US, Canada and UK.

However, up to now, it can take a few minutes for an image to be produced, and this had to be done in a hospital or specialist care centre.

The image to the right shows the scanner protoype made within the University's workshop and a laptop running the processing software. The red dot on the screen represents the detection of an abnormality.

Now Professor Wu, from the University's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, says concerned patients can receive real-time video images in using the radio frequency scanner which would clearly and simply show the presence of a tumour.

Nobel Prize awarded for the discovery of Graphene

The School of EEE is delighted with the news that Professors Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov have been awarded the Nobel prize in Physics. The prize winners have been working with academics in the School on the development of their new material graphene. For EEE the impact of this material is likely to lead to:

  • Microchips that run applications hundreds of times faster than is currently possible
  • New brighter display technologies for mobile phones and laptops
  • Next generation carbon based NanoElectronics to revolutionise medical and chemical sensing

For an insight into what graphene means download our article EEE Graphene by clicking EEE Graphene PDF  .

Danielle George shortlisted for the Woman of the Future Awards

Dr Danielle George has been shortlisted for the Science and Technology Woman of the Future Award.

The Women of the Future Awards, are the most powerful platform in Britain to celebrate outstanding young women transforming Britain for the better.

The awards were presented at a celebratory, black-tie event held on Tuesday November 9, 2010 at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square.

For more information go to the Woman of The Future Website.

Eight finalists in the 2010 IET Innovation Awards

Five members of staff in the school have been shortlisted for a total of EIGHT awards for the final of the IET's Innovation Awards

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner, taking place in London's The Brewery hosted by Suzi Perry.

The eight titles are listed below by title (and category):

  • Dr John Oakley 
    ClearVue Image Enhancement System
    (Product Design)
  • Prof Patrick Gaydecki
    Signal Wizard Real Time Filter Design and Control Software
    (Software in Design)
  • Prof Zhipeng Wu
    Real-time RF Imaging System for Breast Cancer Detection
    Portable RF Scanner Based on Complex Permittivity Mapping For Breast Cancer Detection in Real-time
    (Measurement in Action)
  • Prof Barry Lennox
    Acoustek®: Monitoring the Integrity of Subsea Pipelines
    (Asset Management) and (Measurement in Action)
  • Prof Simon Rowland
    Overhead Line Safety Harness to Mitigate Microshocks 
    (Product Design) and (Power/Energy)

There is also another award for the IChem awards where

Prof Barry Lennox
Blockage detection tool for subsea gas pipelines
(The innovative product of the year)

Peter Green - Shortlisted Engineering Subject Centre Teaching Awards

Mr Peter Green has been shortlisted for the Engineering Subject Centre Teaching Awards 2011.

The Engineering Subject Centre Teaching Awards, supported by the Engineering Council, has now been running for over five years, identifying engineering academics who are using teaching methodologies that have been proven to enhance the student learning experience and providing an opportunity for engineering academics to receive national recognition for their outstanding learning and teaching practices.

Subject Centre staff will visit all shortlisted applicants and work with them to produce a case study exploring their teaching in detail. These case studies will be published in the summer and used to decide which of the shortlisted applicants is the overall winner.

Energy award for University of Manchester spin-off company

Arago Technology, a spin-out company started by professors Ian Cotton and Simon Rowland from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, was awarded the Existing Performance Improvement prize at the Energy Innovation Awards ceremony.

Awards in the School for 2010

Distinguished Achievement Award - Teacher of the Year 2010

Has been awarded to Dr Danielle George in part for her activities as First Year Tutor and also for her delivery of taught courses. Danielle has introduced ELVIS into the undergraduate teaching laboratory both for her own first year course, Electronic Circuit Design I, and other course units.

Danielle has recently taken up the post of Director of Teaching in the School.

Teaching Excellence

Peter R Green has received a Teaching Excellence Award from the University. I think that you all know why Peter is a worthy recipient of this prestigious award and it is summed up in the words of one of his students:

"He has demonstrated outstanding commitment to his students by enthusing them in his lectures where he uses interactive and hands-on teaching methods. He treats each student individually, accounting for the different cultures and backgrounds, and is a very good listener. Teachers like Peter are worthy of special commendation as they are the primary reason that I enjoyed the course and achieved results that exceeded my expectations."

More Importantly

Of course the real success of the School is judged by the achievements of our students and we are delighted with the following awards:

Distinguished Achievement Award - Undergraduate Student of the Year 2010

This has been received by Martin Schuster, currently studying in the second year.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers Student Team Working Awards

Were received by:

The fourth year team working on a project titled "Reducing energy usage in domestic housing"

One of last year's EEE Embedded Systems Project teams

More information on these awards (you may want to enter next year) can be found at:

BP Essay prizes

were awarded to:

First Year: Jones Griffith Daniel, David Marcus, Alvaro Novoa

Second Year: Rohit Parakh, Abdiwahid Omar Alasow, Mihnea Catalin Maftei

Congratulations to all students involved.

▲ Up to the top