Cambridge Mechatronics has been named company of the year at yesterday’s inaugural TechWorks Awards. The company is a world-leader and pioneer in shape memory alloys, which it uses to create single-piece motors the size of a human hair and controlled to a precision of the wavelength of light.
Its technology is being designed into a huge array of products: autofocus and optical image stabilisation used in smartphones cameras and drones; devices to improve the accuracy of 3D-sensing; devices for producing haptic effects in a small and localised space; precision control for accurate dosing and metering; and the manipulation of surgical instruments.
The night also saw Unmanned Life take the Disruptive Innovation of the Year award for its artificial intelligence software platform, and large-area CMOS image sensors specialist vivaMOS took the Emerging Company of the Year award.
Visteon’s Alan Banks was last night awarded the TechWorks lifetime contribution award for his role in making the UK a world-leading hub in automotive electronics.
In addition to his role at Visteon – itself a leading player in the sector, specialising in automotive cockpit electronics and with customers including Ford, Renault/Nissan, Mazda, BMW, GM, Honda, PSA, JLR, VW, Daimler and others – Banks is also chair of the Automotive Electronic Systems Innovation Network, which brings together expertise from over 90 companies developing automotive electronics.
The gong was presented by the awards’ compère, BBC’s head of technology Rory Cellan-Jones at last-night’s award gala. In presenting the award Cellan-Jones highlighted that: “Electronics has become the cornerstone of automotive development, underpinning electrification, autonomy and connectivity.” And said of Alan that: “At a time of great opportunity for our industry, [Alan] has in no small way helped to bring together and promote the UK automotive electronics supply chain as a world-class cluster of excellence.”
Speaking at the event Alan Banks said: “I am delighted and honoured to be receiving this award. I passionately believe in the power of collaboration as an instrument to success, particularly in the changing and challenging world of Automotive Electronics.
“The power of AESIN is in its networking and collaboration, and has given me the platform and opportunity to practice this and the recognition of my personal efforts in this space is gratefully received particularly at this time in my career.”
The awards celebrate the year’s key electronics innovations, people and companies from across the UK and Ireland. While these are the inaugural TechWorks Awards, they follow on from the NMI Awards, which ran from 2001 to 2016.
Speaking at the event, Rory Cellan-Jones said of Cambridge Mechatronics: “The team at CML is highly multidisciplinary, covering materials, mechanical, electronic and software capabilities.
“The company has successfully qualified their actuators of use in one of the world’s top three smartphone brands.
“Crucially, however, they also have a diverse applications portfolio that extends into the drones and wearables markets, with development activities for haptics and medical applications underway.”
Other key winners included WMG / Warwick University’s Siddartha Khastgir, who won the Young Engineer of the Year Award; Xilinx, which took home the Product of the Year Award and the Centre for Device Thermography & Reliability, University of Bristol, which won the University Research Group of the Year Award.
The full list of winners is:
Company of the Year Award – Cambridge Mechatronics
Contribution to Industry Award – Alan Banks, Visteon
Product of the Year Award – Xilinx
Automotive Electronics Innovation & Excellence Award – EnSilica
Disruptive Innovation Award – Unmanned Life
Emerging Technology Company of the Year Award – vivaMOS
More Than Moore Award – Lime Microsystems
Manufacturing Site of the Year Award – Xaar
Manufacturing Supplier of the Year Award – Compugraphics
Research Collaboration Award – Compound Semiconductor Centre
University Research Group of the Year Award – Centre for Device Thermography & Reliability, University of Bristol
Young Engineer of the Year award – Siddartha Khastgir, WMG, University of Warwick
UKESF Scholar of the Year Award: Eliza Law – University of Southampton & Jamie Tuphlome – University of Leeds