Scientific camera shortlisted for MacRobert engineering award

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A highly sensitive camera from Andor Technology that enables scientists to map a genome in only a few hours has been shortlisted as a finalist for the 2012 Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award.

The MacRobert Award is the UK’s longest running and most prestigious engineering prize. The other two finalists are JBA Consulting for its flood risk modelling system and Jaguar Land Rover for its concept car.

Andor Technology’s Neo sCMOS scientific digital camera allows researchers to capture high resolution pictures of single cells and molecular structures with high accuracy, low background noise and at a fast frame rate (30-100 images per second). The Neo project is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.

With applications from cellular to interstellar across the spectrum of medical, genetic, biomedical engineering, space and solar research, the Neo sCMOS is an enabling technology for super-resolution microscopy, which allows scientists to observe processes at a (20nm) cellular or molecular level more easily and cost effectively. Among other things this will enable the sequencing of entire human genomes within a matter of hours.

The winner will be announced on 26 June at the Academy’s Awards Dinner and receive a gold medal plus £50,000 cash prize. The 2012 finalists were selected from a long list of over 40 nominations, drawn from every field of contemporary engineering. Although the shortlisted innovations are very different from one another, the three are similar in that they were developed in the UK to create future-facing products which have opened up new markets and achieved international sales success.

John Robinson FREng, Chair of the MacRobert Award judging panel, said: ‘We have been bombarded with bad news about the economy in the last few years, so it is all the more encouraging to see three such innovative and successful companies doing so well in very different sectors. There is great engineering like this going on all over the UK and we are delighted to have three of the best examples shortlisted for the MacRobert Award this year.’

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