Motivation and Need:

The end-product of this project is a multi-purpose Application-Specific IC (ASIC), which can find application in multiple domains extending from structural health monitoring(SHM) to environmental monitoring for hazardous chemicals and harmful pathogens. Motivations behind the development and the needs for such a system are multifaceted and are discussed below

  • From Application Perspective

In a developing country like Pakistan where economy is being accentuated by currently-built mega-structures like economic corridors, pipelines, bridges; smart monitoring of structures is imperative to improve operational efficiency, safety and overall life of structures. Pakistan having one of the highest population densities in some areas, even small-scale leakages of domestic combustible natural gas needs to be detected and reported with time efficiency. Moreover, the health of existing lifeline systems such as fresh water and sewage water pipelines, which has not only become a major global concern, but is also an ominous problem in Pakistan as the structures-built decades ago show signs of aging. Ruptures of water mains occur every day and cause property damages in addition to disrupting daily lives of millions and causing contamination of water. The highway and railway transportation systems are considered to be society’s critical foundations. They face continuously increasing traffic volumes, which degrade the long-term performance of these structures. Even in developed countries like the US, 11% of the bridges are deemed structurally inefficient. Real-time detection and timely damage control is the key to minimizing the adverse impact of structural, bio or chemical hazards.

An overloaded and inaccessible healthcare system in Pakistan is in dire needs of following the global trend of finding efficient detection methods for pathogens, microbial resistance and localization of their growth trends in particular localities. Bacterial pathogens are important targets for detection and identification in medicine, food safety, public health, and security. Bacterial infection is a common cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide especially in developing countries like Pakistan. A global annual burden of 4.62 billion diarrheal diseases caused by bacterial infections was reported in 2014 in which the diagnosis was time critical. In spite of the availability of antibiotics, these infections are often misdiagnosed or there is an unacceptable delay in diagnosis as current methods rely upon laboratory-based techniques. Portable stand-alone systems are needed that can facilitate rapid detection and diagnosis at the point of care. Detection of bacteria is also becoming increasingly important in anti-bioterrorism measures, which is unfortunately again a very relevant scenario in Pakistan.

  • From Academic Perspective

This project would act as an incubator to take Integrated Circuit Design and Integrated Microsystem Design to a mature level in one of the reputed private education institutes in Pakistan.