Lyndsay Williams Current Projects & Concepts


August  2007 

 I am an electronics engineer and computer designer working in Cambridge UK.  I specialise in embedded microcontrollers (hardware and software, e.g. PIC, ARM ) and analog sensor applications, e.g. accelerometers.  I designed many of the first digital audio cards for PCs in the 1980's. I have also designed many innovative projects for Microsoft Research Cambridge , e.g.   Sensecam.  I work on consultancy design projects,  I also have my own innovations as below. My past clients have included:

Microsoft, Philips, ABB Kent Meters, Goldstar, Psion, Peek Traffic,  BT Research Labs, Commodore Computers, Amstrad, Olivetti, Datel, Music Sales, Evolution Music,  British Aerospace, Marconi, Ferranti Computer Systems, Aculab, Coin Controls, PACE, and others.

I have designed hardware and software for Z80, 6502, 6805, DSP56001,  8051, 8086, Z8000, 68000, PIC, currently ARM. I programmed in Hex, Assembler, C, Fortran,  Compiled BASIC.

Email me i f you think I can help you with your projects or for full CV.



  • Surface Computing, an Invisible Mouse, The iStroke - August 2007


This technology allows any notebook computer screen to have touch sensitive properties. A novel sensor

plugs into the USB port or Bluetooth and detects finger positions on the table surface. The design also reduces RSI caused by a mouse.  The sensing is done on the table surface unlike other systems that require the fingers to point on the vertical screen surface which can be very fatiguing for the arm as here.

 Multi-touch technology (2 finger control) is also provided allowing panning and zooming. Multiple users can also share the desktop surface  and display.


Another version of the prototype also allows data to be entered into a mobile phone or pocket computer , using Bluetooth,  without using the phone's tiny keyboard . One advantage of this system is that it allows easier data entry for partially sighed people.

For futher details and investment opportunities, email me here

Bill Buxton of Microsoft Research gives some good background on Multitouch here.


  • Touch sensitive screen

You may  be familiar with the latest touch sensitive screens, e.g. the new Apple  iPhone multi-touch phone and  Microsoft Surface.

We know the disadvantages of touch screens in handheld devices:

  •  reduced contrast due to touch sensitive surface
  • finger prints
  • fingers obscure the text

 My design puts the touch surface on the rear of the device, e.g. cellphone,  and so solving the above problems. The fingers touch the rear of the device to select screen items.  An old project of mine from Microsoft.

 Contact me  here if this is the type of challenge you want assistance with.




(image from glassguide)


  • Cut and paste mouse

You are working at home and want to simply transfer some files  from one PC to another.

Yes, you can email the file or transfer it via wireless connection, or use a USB stick. But the easy and  intuitive way to move a picture or a document to another PC, is to cut and paste the data with the mouse. You then walk to the other PC with same mouse and paste data directly into the document. Done! This mouse uses Bluetooth and an SD memory card of up to 2GB. An old project of mine from Microsoft Research.




  • Sleep Paralysis Computer

What's next in Wearable Computers? - SenseSheet

What is Sleep Paralyis? See here in Wikipedia 

I have  designed a multitouch flexible surface that detects sleep patterns and movements. An ARM microcontroller then uses algorithms to detect the state of sleep the person is in. A novel 3 dimensional multitouch surface detects x and y position and also pressure (z). The person's  position in real time can be plotted on a pc. The SenseSheet system can be further developed  with temperature sensors. This surface is the next stage on from wearable computers, the person doesn't need to wear the sensing surface just be in proximity to it.

One application of the surface is for sleep paralysis, an alarm can be sounded to wake the patient up and so escape sleep paralysis.

Example image from here 




Gadgets to try....


Mains power monitoring in the home - power to colour indicator

We have many devices in our home consuming power and money that we forget about. Devices like USB computer peripherals tend to  be be left switched on. These appliances all use in line transformers that can get warm/hot while working. A quick reminder that they are switched on might be a Light Emitting Diode. LEDS might be  harder to retrofit (you would need to solder it into circuit)  but could try Liquid Crystal Thermometers as labels, rather like this:



from RS Components  part 286-169, temperature range 30 to 60C reversible


 The Liquid Crystal changes colour according to temperature. I haven't tested this on a mains power transformer  yet,  but have on laptop computers, USB sticks etc.


  •  Energy Harvesting - A Computer that requires no power?

It is possible to design crystal radios with a sufficiently long antenna (e.g. 150 feet!) that can pick up enough power to drive a Light Emitting Diode, example  here. There are also microcontrollers that use very little power, example a PIC nonowatt microcontroller using a typical 11μA @ 32 kHz, 2.0V, see datasheet  here.

 It would be be interesting if enough power could be harvested from the air in order to drive a microcontroller . This micro could power a Liquid Crystal Display, which also takes only microamps. We could then have displays that can be updated  (via radio?)  to and require no battery. Of course this could be done with solar cells, but  a new challenge to use radio waves. I'm not an expert on radio so perhaps some one can email me  here if any contributions.

Another archive project from Microsoft Research.



  • Headache?

Try a Peltier Chip as here on your forehead. 5 minutes of chilling out will reduce your headache or hangover . The Peltier chip will reduce the ambient temperature by about -20C with 4 x AA cells. There are loads of low cost Peltier chips on eBay.


 Email me here for more details.




Warning   try this carefully in your own home, if the Peltier is disconnected from the power supply for just seconds it will heat up and cook your head. I survived but you may not.


(c) Lyndsay Williams 2007