The research of the Department of Electrical Engineering focuses on three areas: The Connected World, Smart and Sustainable Society, and Care and Cure. The Connected World research program run by the department has two dedicated research centers: COBRA (optical communication) and the Center for Wireless Technology Eindhoven (CWTe).
Optical Connection Network
The COBRA research school is an active partner in innovative collaborative alliances with trade and industry both in the Netherlands and abroad. For example, COBRA was the instigator and project leader of the Freeband Broadband Photonics project. The object of the project – conducted in conjunction with three Dutch SMEs: Genexis, LioniX and AimSys,– was to demonstrate a concept for a future-proof optical connection network. The project offers the customer his or her own choice of bandwidth (up to 10 Gbit/s).
Internationally, a cooperative relationship with Nokia-Siemens and CoreOptics resulted in the global presentation of the first coherent optical 111 Gbit/s transmission system. And together with Oclaro, a UK-based optical components supplier, COBRA is working on technology for the future manufacture of opto-electronic components using standardized production techniques.
Development of the Cognitive Radio
In partnership with NXP, ESIEE, Catena, ITE, TNO, Philips and IMST, the Center for Wireless Technology Eindhoven (CWTe) is working on a cognitive radio. User demand for multimedia services and mobility is growing, which has prompted the partnership to explore technological research and developments related to the cognitive radio.
Smaller and Cheaper Power Amplifiers
CWTe also cooperates with the Radio Semiconductor Corporation (RSC). Researchers are attempting to build a power amplifier using a new technology: CMOS technology, which will replace the current Gallium-Arsenide technology. The new technology enables much smaller and cheaper power amplifiers to be built, which could be used in the fourth generation of cell phones, with functionalities that include internet and TV.
Smart Sustainable Society
Corona Plasma Technology
The Electrical Energy Systems group of the Department of Electrical Engineering is working on corona plasma technology. This technique cleans air of odors and harmful matter. In cooperation with the group, Oranjewoud and HMVT are researching applications in the field of atmospheric emissions. These vary from removing odors and volatile organic matter from industrial processes to purifying the air in cowsheds and pigsties and removing airborne nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from traffic tunnels and multistory car parks. Laboratory tests look promising.
Royal Philips Electronics subsidiary Assembléon has initiated a research project together with TU/e and TNO to develop a new generation of sustainable pick and place solutions for the electronics assembly industry. The new generation will not only pick and place components efficiently, it will also minimize the environmental impact of the machine in its design phase. This SUPREME (SUstainable PRoduction EquipMEnt) project aims to create a better balance between the functional and economic requirements of production equipment and to improve sustainability. Minimizing electricity consumption, volume and weight and using recyclable materials contributes to more than just a better environment. Manufacturers will benefit from lower costs and that leads to better business performance and competitive advantage. Besides TU/e and TNO, the partners working alongside Assembléon in this first initiative to develop a sustainable pick and place machine are Xycarb Ceramics, Tegema Group and Fiberworx.
Care and Cure
Smart Jacket for Premature Babies
TU/e has developed a very special smart jacket for premies, together with the Department of Industrial Design and the Maxima Medical Center in Eindhoven. Premature babies have to spend time in an incubator when they are first born, where the baby’s heartbeat is monitored through tiny tubes attached to his or her skin. The smart jacket replaces these tubes, so that the baby can be monitored through the jacket. This raises the baby’s comfort level and prevents skin damage caused by sticky electrode pads.
Electrode Patch for Predicting Premature Birth
The cooperation between the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Maxima Medical Center has resulted in a new method for predicting premature birth: an electrode patch that measures uterine contractions. At just 3 cm by 3 cm, the patch makes other high-risk, invasive methods of predicting premature birth a thing of the past.
Delivery Simulation Center
As part of the Care and Cure research project, the Department of Electrical Engineering has worked with the Department of Industrial Design to develop the world’s first delivery simulation center, Medsim. It is hoped that delivery simulations and training courses will reduce the number of babies who die during delivery. The courses train the professionals to take the correct action in difficult situations.