Research leads to innovative biophotonics products and services for global markets

Dr. Munir El-Desouki Biomedical companies are achieving more accurate imaging systems with the help of a startup company that has grown from the post-graduate work of a Hamilton, Ontario-based researcher.

Dr. Munir EI-Desouki founded the fabless company 4SIGHTED, headquartered in Hamilton, Ontario, with expanded operations in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to provide semiconductor circuits and systems engineering consulting services for both academic and commercial clients, and to help bring novel technologies to market.

The company is conducting innovative R&D, for example, in customizing its imaging circuits for their clients' biophotonics applications. Such projects include an imaging system to monitor neural activity in a C. elegans worm (one of the simplest organisms with a nervous system), and a multimodality optical and ultrasound imager to characterize cancer cells.

EI-Desouki was awarded his PhD in Electrical Engineering at McMaster University, where he had previously obtained two Master's degrees, including one in Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The concept behind 4SIGHTED grew from the goals of his post-graduate work, conducted under the supervision of Professor Jamal Deen: to model, design, implement and characterize biomedical imagers that could combine both high speed and sensitivity to attain ultra high-speed imaging rates of over a billion frames per second. The company's clients now benefit from the resulting customizable technologies by achieving imagers with higher frame rates, higher resolution, and better dynamic rates. EI-Desouki explains, "Without 4SIGHTED, clients would buy existing solutions that they would then need to customize, yet possibly never achieve the desired accuracy."

During the seven-year course of his post­ graduate work, EI-Desouki depended on CMC for access to the tools and technologies he needed to design and prove his research concepts. These resources included the Cadence suite of design tools, as well as access to the 0.13-micron CMOS microelectronics fabrication technology from IBM. His research was funded by a multitude of organizations including Gennum Corporation, Micronet, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Research Chairs program and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) of Saudi Arabia.

The 4SIGHTED mantra is "seeing the future by inventing it"- and EI-Desouki notes that his team focuses on thinking outside the box to go beyond mastering the standard design procedures.

The company plans to do just this in their latest project for the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health. In collaboration with the McMaster RFID Applications Lab (MRAL), the team is building a proof-of-concept system for an RFID tracking system for newborn babies at hospitals, with the potential to launch on a full scale.

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