Message from Claude Nicollier & Mario El-Khoury

Message from Claude Nicollier & Mario El-Khoury

CSEM quickly adapted to the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to its already well-established work-from-home and flexible working model. Even under difficult, restrictive circumstances, we were able to pursue most of our innovation projects and support industry.

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It’s time to connect

It’s time to connect

When Tissot decided to create a connected version of its tactile-interface T-Touch fine timepiece, its vision demanded unprecedented innovation. Tissot wanted the new watch to have as long a battery life as possible and to operate independently via a Swiss digital platform. To achieve this goal, CSEM worked hand in hand with Swatch Group engineers and drew on its decades of experience at the cutting edge of low-power systems and microfabrication.

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Mars in focus

Mars in focus

High-resolution images of rocks, soils, and organic matter are essential to the objectives of the ESA ExoMars mission, which will search for traces of life on Mars. These images will be provided by the close-up imager (CLUPI) developed by the Space Exploration Institute. This camera must be able to refocus with great accuracy to capture sharp images, from rock features at close distance to wider outcrops at a few meters away. CSEM was asked by Thales Alenia Space Switzerland to design a focus mechanism with the robustness and reliability necessary for such harsh conditions.

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Better treatments for muscle disease

Better treatments for muscle disease

There is a huge need for treatments for muscle-related diseases, which are a major contributor to disability worldwide and are increasing in prevalence with aging populations. To improve the success rate of drug discovery, reliable 3D in vitro human tissue models are needed to replace inherently flawed 2D and animal models. Novartis aimed to build on progress in 3D bioprinting to create functional human 3D skeletal muscle models. There was, however, no existing way of automatically analyzing their contractility in response to different drug compounds. Novartis invited CSEM to help.

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From watchmaking to gas sensing

From watchmaking to gas sensing

Gas-insulated circuit breakers are used in power distribution systems to prevent sparks in switchgear. To guarantee safety, the correct gas density must be maintained. The Californian wildfires of 2018 demonstrated the consequences of inadequate safety measures. The company Trafag wanted to develop a new gas density sensor with improved sensitivity and dynamic range, enabling high performance across high- and medium-voltage applications such as photovoltaic power plants.

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Democratizing blood pressure monitoring

Democratizing blood pressure monitoring

Complications from high blood pressure kill 10 million people a year. Studies show that while control has plateaued in developed countries, in the developing world prevalence continues to grow while awareness remains low. As early detection is essential, more accessible and frequent monitoring is now seen as vital. What if it were possible to put control in individuals’ hands by turning a smartphone into an accurate blood pressure monitor? Swiss physician Professor Patrick Schoettker asked that question to CSEM.

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The future is fusion

The future is fusion

The ITER tokamak project, consisting of 30 nations, aims to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale, carbon-free energy source. To do so it must sustain the fusion reaction for long periods of time by confining heat from the reaction within the plasma. Among the many measurement systems needed to achieve this, sensors in ITER’s “bolometer diagnostic” must be able to withstand extreme conditions. A new, ultra-thin substrate needed to be combined with metal films to build on, and improve, an existing sensor design.

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High-speed 3D in-line inspection

High-speed 3D in-line inspection

Time-consuming manual quality control on battery production lines has become unviable in a highly competitive global market. When Renata, which produces one million batteries a day, decided to switch to automated in-line inspection it aimed high: zero defects and a shorter process cycle time. CSEM applied its vision and machine learning know-how to unlock the potential of a century-old 3D imaging concept in a high-speed industrial application forthe first time.

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Adding value to antennas

Adding value to antennas

Antennas are having to become ever more complex to meet the data transmission needs of our instant communication age. This complexity can result in hundreds of intricate parts and increased cost and weight. Swissto12 has already pioneered an additive manufacturing technique for printing multiple components as one single part. Transforming these parts into high-performance antennas, however, meant adapting the metallization processes to fit their novel materials and surfaces, which was made possible thanks to CSEM’s surface engineering expertise.

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Going with the flow

Going with the flow

The accuracy of automatic flow balancers—used in milling machines to measure and control the throughput of grains—is limited by mechanical inaccuracies caused by diverse flow speeds. Bühler Group aimed to improve their precision by using the latest data-driven techniques combined with a compact vision system to capture the speed and mass of flowing grains while allowing real-time quality detection. Bühler partnered with CSEM to capitalize on the latter’s expertise in vision systems and machine learning.

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Partnership powers solar innovation

Partnership powers solar innovation

Silicon heterojunction solar cell technology (HJT) has long been viewed as the industry’s best option for increasing the performance of photovoltaic modules. Determined to bring the technology to maturity, Meyer Burger established a collaboration with CSEM to optimize and transfer innovative HJT cell coatings and module materials to industrial production.

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