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Department of Engineering

Best Electronic Engineer 2003

Best Electronic Engineer 2003

James Uren, an electronic engineering student in his fourth year, beat four other finalists in this year's STEP Solutions: Electronic Engineering competition, to take the prize of 'Best Electronic Engineer 2003', for his work on a laser autofocus system for optics for biosciences company, Genapta Ltd. The announcement was made during the STEP Awards dinner, which took place on 29th October at One, Whitehall Place, London.

James was able to complete the tasks set and has designed and built a working solution that gives us the potential to double future sales.

Dr Julian White, CEO, Genapta Ltd

James Uren

The five finalists reached the shortlist as a result of electronic engineering projects that they had completed during the summer with host companies identified by business development agencies working with the STEP programme.

Genapta Ltd in Cambridge is a developer of next generation microarray reader technology. They needed to design and develop a new electronic autofocus system for lasers used in the field of genomics. James was given the task of creating a new and innovative hardware solution that would accurately identify when a laser was out of focus and automatically make the requisite corrections. In the process of completing the project, James was also able to make additional product modifications and improvements, as well as working on a number of other electronic systems connected to the Genapta optical reader system. As a result of the project, a patent will be filed with James as first author.

Chair of the judges panel, Philip Ling, deputy editor, New Electronics says: "James Uren demonstrated an enlightened approach to solving a difficult engineering problem. The ultimate solution was only arrived at after going beyond a point where most other engineers would have perhaps been tempted to stop, showing how the best solutions aren't always the most obvious."

"James was able to complete the tasks set and has designed and built a working solution that gives us the potential to double future sales." said Dr Julian White, CEO, Genapta Ltd. The project was supported by St John's Innovation Centre.