Pioneer of battery-free tracking technology wins OBE

30th December 2023
Paige West

Dr Sabesan Sithamparanathan, a leading figure in the development of the world's most precise battery-free real-time location tracking technology, has been honoured with an OBE for Services to Innovation Technology and the Promotion of STEM Subjects in Education in the King’s 2024 New Year Honours List.

His RFID location tracking systems boast near 100% accuracy and are utilised globally by numerous NHS trusts, major aircraft manufacturers, airlines, and prominent retailers.

RFID technology operates through electromagnetic fields to identify and locate tags attached to objects. These tags, each with a unique identity, are passive and draw energy from the electromagnetic fields, eliminating the need for batteries. Dr Sithamparanathan’s research has achieved a groundbreaking 99%+ accuracy and a detection range of up to 20 metres, far surpassing the industry standard of 80% accuracy within a two-metre range.

Born and educated in Sri Lanka, Dr Sithamparanathan (BEng (Hons), MPhil, PhD, FREng, FIET) fostered his passion for technology through studies in physics, maths, and chemistry. He moved to the UK for his higher education in Electronic Engineering at the University of Sheffield, earning a Sir William Siemens Medal. His journey continued at ARM as a student electronic engineer, followed by a PhD at the University of Cambridge, under Professor Ian White. There, he invented and developed the world's most accurate passive ultra-high-frequency (UHF) Radio-frequency identification (RFID) location tracking system.

Dr Sithamparanathan founded PervasID to commercialise his innovations. He was elected a Research Fellow at Girton College Cambridge in 2011 and has skillfully combined academia with commercial viability. With support from the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Fellowship Scheme, he transformed his university research into a successful commercial venture. As Founder & President of PervasID, he has raised over $10 million in investment, turning his company into a multimillion-dollar enterprise impacting the retail, healthcare, and aerospace sectors.

Dr Sithamparanathan’s technology has revolutionised retail inventory management, enabling major retailers worldwide to track goods accurately in stores. This integration with stock management applications offers real-time visibility and efficient services, significantly enhancing sales and customer satisfaction. In manufacturing, companies like Stanley Black & Decker use his technology for tracking tools, preventing safety incidents in aircraft manufacturing. In healthcare, NHS hospitals are deploying PervasID solutions for tracking surgical instruments and hospital assets, contributing to efficient care and potentially saving billions for the NHS.

Dr Sithamparanathan is not only a business leader but also an active advocate for STEM education and entrepreneurship. He was elected Enterprise Fellow at Girton College Cambridge in 2022 and remains committed to mentoring students and promoting STEM in schools in the UK and Sri Lanka.

Upon receiving the honour, Dr Sithamparanathan expressed his delight: “I am absolutely delighted to have been recognised in the New Year’s Honour list; this is a great honour and testament to the hard work and innovation of the entire team at PervasID. Our products offer a national and international benefit and we will continue to pioneer technology that has a wider value to society as a whole.”

His achievements include the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Entrepreneurs Award, Young Engineer of the Year, Silver Medal, The UK ICT Pioneer of Connected World Award, Sir George Macfarlane Medal, and a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation. Dr Sithamparanathan has been elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and was named in Business Elite’s ‘40 Under 40’ in 2023.

Product Spotlight

Upcoming Events

View all events
Latest global electronics news
© Copyright 2024 Electronic Specifier