5 min

Preface July 2019

Each month our CEO reflects on the events in his (professional) life and discusses some of the articles featured in the magazine. This month he highlights the importance of sport and exercise and how technology can give sports enthusiasts a helping hand.

As part of the Nano4Sports project, we have developed prototypes for a smart cycling jersey and a smart skateboard designed to make exercising healthier and more professional.”

How as a society do we get more people to jump on their bikes? And what approach should employers take to encourage their staff to take up cycling? Imec believes that these are important issues, because cycling gives us healthier workers and fewer traffic jams – plus it’s good for the environment. This is a topic we have looked at carefully over the past year. And this month we were able to launch our Bike Lease campaign by inviting our staff to come and look at various types and makes of bicycle, as well as to try them out. Better still, employees will be able to lease them at preferential rates. The offering is really varied, too, ranging from electric bikes with the battery in various positions, child seats, tricycles (including the famous “bakfiets”), mountain-bikes and folding bicycles. Because also when it comes to bikes, personalization is everything. Everyone has different needs and if we really want people to catch the cycling bug, their bike has to fit in with their lifestyle, family situation, sporting aims and so on. Early reactions to the program have been very positive, so hopefully the project will hit the bull’s-eye!

Cycling is very popular in Flanders. There are a number of famous bike races that people come from all over the place to watch, while at the weekend hordes of tourists on two wheels jump aboard their bikes in droves. Cycling is in our DNA. And our CMST research lab at Ghent University has developed something exciting for these biking tourists as part of the Interreg Nano4Sports project: the prototype for a cycling jersey fitted with sensors in the lower back and pelvis areas. Physiotherapists from UZ Ghent university hospital are currently researching the typical back problems that weekend cyclists have to contend with. And if we allow ourselves to dream – and are able to find a commercial company to work with – this smart cycling outfit will be able to help weekend riders out for a spin by constantly monitoring their back/pelvis position and by telling them, via smartphone or bike computer, when their posture on the bike is becoming unstable as they hunch into the wrong position. Hopefully, this will prevent back problems later in life, along with multiple visits to the physio.

The same Nano4Sports project has also developed a skateboard with sensors, designed to give professional skaters wanting to improve their skills greater insight into the pressure exerted on their skateboard, as well as the position of the board when they are performing certain stunts, etc.

Take a look at the video below to see how this clever technology works and the skaters in action:

In this issue of the magazine we discuss how Ngrave and imec together make cryptocurrency safer, we learn about how a smart cycling outfit can prevent lower back pain, furthermore we delve into the stochastic defects in lithography, and finally we describe a 3D technology toolbox in support of system-technology co-optimization. Enjoy reading!

Luc Van den hove,

President and CEO imec

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