My end of year thoughts

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Looking back at 2016

Where 2016 has been a small disaster for the entertainment and sports industries (just think about the deaths of David Bowie, Prince, Muhammad Ali and others), the technology industry has been pushing forward full steam ahead. Will 2016 be the year where re-usable rockets helped pave the way for deep space exploration? Or is the year where Blockchain has become more mainstream now that city councils like the City of Antwerp (link in dutch) are considering this technology for improving regular citizens interactions? Most enthusiastic I become these days when looking at nanotech innovations like this one where the movement of a flexible film can now generate energy. Will our daily walks re-charge our phone batteries soon then? Exciting, exponential times.


Closer to home, we have been blessed with two major events over the past few weeks. A week after publishing my last blog, I had the honor of welcoming the Royal Highnesses Philippe and Mathilde, King and Queen of Belgium, at our Holst Centre in Eindhoven. As one of the best examples of Dutch – Belgian collaboration, Holst Centre was part of the 3-day visit of the royals to the Netherlands. The royal couple visited our offices at the High-Tech Campus to learn more about our activities in the field of Internet of Things and Internet of Health. They showed great interest in the innovations presented by some of our researchers and people from the Holst spin-offs LifeSense and Bloom Life. The unique technologies combining imec's wearable health expertise and TNO's printed electronics make the difference in creating unobtrusive smart sensor systems. Sensor systems that will make a positive change not only to our health, but also in many other sectors such as smart logistics, smart cities, smart food and smart mobility.



Ion sensor

As recent as last week, imec and Holst Centre debuted their latest innovation for applications in fields such as smart cities and wearable health. At IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in San Francisco (USA), a miniaturized sensor that simultaneously determines pH and chloride (Cl-)levels in fluid was presented. This sensor is a must have for accurate long-term measurement of ion concentrations in applications such as environmental monitoring, precision agriculture and diagnostics for personalized healthcare. The sensor is an industry first and thanks to the SoC (system on chip) integration it enables massive and cost-effective deployments in Internet of Things settings. Its innovative electrode design results in a similar or better performance compared to today's standard equipment for measuring single ion concentrations and allows for additional ion tests.




The new year is approaching fast and together with my teams we are prioritizing our innovations for 2017 in alignment to our customer demands or the innovation programs we are part of. I am very excited to see what is ahead and I will share the results of our future work through subsequent blogs. I want to wish you all a great transition into the new year and don't hesitate to send me feedback on this blog. Happy 2017!

John Baekelmans

John Baekelmans

John Baekelmans is Managing Director and VP of imec the Netherlands / Holst Centre.

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