Masdar Institute Scores Again at Semiconductor Olympics in San Francisco

UAE Presents Two Papers Signifying New Dimension in ‘Continuous Health Monitoring’ of People with Chronic Conditions     Abu Dhabi-UAE: 27 February, 2013 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced that students associated with two of their faculty members presented scientific papers at the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) 2013 in San Francisco.   The three papers – two solely led by Masdar Institute faculty and one in collaboration with a faculty from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – signify a new dimension in continuous health monitoring of people with chronic medical conditions. They also place the UAE in the forefront of a league of advanced countries in the West such as the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Austria, Canada and Finland, from where two papers each were presented at ISSCC 2013.   The paper titled ‘A 1.83μJ/Classification Nonlinear Support-Vector Machine-Based Patient-Specific Seizure Classification SoC’, authored by Dr. Jerald Yoo, Professor, Microsystems Engineering and his three graduate students was presented on 18 February by Muhammad Awais Bin Altaf, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Yoo’s research group. A paper titled ‘A 0.5V <4μW CMOS Photoplethysmographic Heart-Rate Sensor IC Based on a Non-Uniform Quantizer’ authored by Dr. Michael Perrott, Professor, Microsystems Engineering and two of his former graduate students was presented on 20 February by Mohammad Alhawari, who was an MS student in Dr. Perrott’s research group.  This paper is also co-authored by a UAE national student, Nadya Albelooshi. In addition, Ms. Wala Saadeh, a PhD student at Masdar Institute, participated in the Student Research Preview.   The flagship conference of the Solid-State Circuits Society, themed ‘60 Years of (Em)Powering the Future’, was held from 17-21 February, 2013 at the San Francisco Marriott. Also known as the ‘Semiconductor Olympics’, the premier forum witnessed the presentation of several papers on advances in solid-state circuits and systems-on-a-chip. Masdar Institute’s success at the premier conference follows the presentation of two papers at ISSCC 2012 last year, the first time in history for a Middle East-based paper to show up at the conference.   Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “The scientific papers by our faculty will bring about innovative and wearable medical equipment that will be a boon to millions with chronic conditions. Additionally, these papers have successfully placed the UAE ahead of the technologically advanced Western countries, bringing honor to the region in terms of technology and special expertise. With the support of the UAE’s leadership, we continue to make headway in innovation as well as research and development, while obtaining clean energy solutions. We commend our faculty members and look forward to fruitful results of their research in the near future.”   Dr. Jerald Yoo said: “The seizure detection System-on-Chip (SoC) is the first work in literature to integrate multi-channel amplifiers, feature extraction, non-linear classification processor and memory, all on a single chip. A Band-Aid type seizure monitoring sensor is under development, which will enable epilepsy care, especially for babies and children. Also, the Photoplethysmographic heart-rate monitor IC is capable of being powered up by a solar cell.”   Dr. Michael Perrott said: “These ISSCC papers demonstrate the excellent work being performed by the students at Masdar Institute, and further our mission to build a high-tech workforce in the GCC region. In addition, the research presented in the papers will enable new, low-cost devices for continuous monitoring in healthcare applications, which is of increasing importance in this region.”   Both papers target healthcare applications, especially for those in chronic disease management. Circulatory diseases account for 27% of deaths in Abu Dhabi, while nearly 50 million people across the world are suffering from seizure. The works in these papers can be expanded to be a larger healthcare system by providing new dimension to ‘continuous health monitoring’ of those who suffer from such conditions or life-threatening situations, bringing down healthcare costs. This is also in line with some of the objectives of Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030, which gives special focus on life sciences, healthcare equipment and services.   The innovations mentioned in the research papers come at the most opportune time for Abu Dhabi. According to estimates by Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), nearly AED10 billion was invested in 2012 alone to enhance healthcare in the emirate. A study by leading investment bank Alpen Capital has pointed out that the GCC healthcare market is projected to grow at an annual rate of 11% to US$43.9 billion (AED161 billion) by 2015 from an estimated US$25.6 billion in 2010, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE rated as the fastest growing markets.   Dr. Jerald Yoo also co-authored a collaborative work with Dr Anantha Chandrakasan, Professor and EECS Department Head, MIT. The paper was titled ‘A Scalable 2.9mW 1Mb/s eTextiles Body Area Network Transceiver with Remotely Powered Sensors and Bi-Directional Data Communication’. The paper is related to wearable body area network transceiver that will potentially be adopted by healthcare applications. Sensor nodes are wirelessly powered by radio frequency (RF). This system is capable of delivering power to sensor nodes while communicating bidirectional – between sensor nodes and a base station – a novel feature.   Earlier, on 17 February, Dr. Jerald Yoo also offered a presentation titled ‘Ultra-Low-Power Design: Towards True Energy Autonomy’ at the invited evening session. In the talk, he emphasized that system-circuit level co-optimization is essential to achieve an energy autonomous system.   Serving as a key pillar of innovation and human capital, Masdar Institute remains fundamental to Masdar’s core objectives of developing Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy and finding solutions to humanity’s toughest challenges such as climate change.   Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow.  With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.


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