Posts Tagged ‘research’

Human Batteries to Power Wearables

Posted in Academia, Design, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Materials, Medical Devices, Technology on July 30th, 2015 by Chris Penfold – Be the first to comment

Human Batteries - Medical Plastics NewsImagine a world where medical devices such as pacemakers could be implanted into the body, without the need for traditional batteries and cables and powered simply by body fluids. Well, it might not be as far away as you think. There have been some exciting and fascinating developments recently. Researchers have started to utilise a unique property of some materials, known as piezoelectricity, to generate electricity from kinetic energy….the same technology that is used in ‘wind-up torches’ to convert kinetic energy to electricity. Read more about this fascinating topic by following this link.

Pharmaceutcial Packaging Challenges – What are yours?

Posted in Business News, Design Cognition News, Government, Healthcare & Pharma, Medical Devices, Opinion, Technology on July 29th, 2014 by Chris Penfold – 9 Comments
New Challenges in Pharmaceutical Packaging sector

New Challenges in Pharmaceutical Packaging sector

With an ageing population and the growth of emerging economies across the world, the pharmaceutical sector is booming. Research business IMS predicts that the global pharmaceutical industry will reach sales of as much as $1.2tn by 2017 – representing annual growth of 3%-6% and, crucially, a growing market for pharmaceutical packaging suppliers and contract packers.

Yet it is a market that brings particular challenges, and particular opportunities, to those packaging suppliers and packers operating within it, not least the regulatory environment, which is complex and becoming more so. New regulations – notably the EU Falsified Medicines Directive, which requires every individual pack to carry a unique serial number – are posing new challenges to the supply chain both for product and packaging.

Chris Penfold, CEO of Design Cognition, along with a number of other industry experts recently took part in a Packaging News and Essentra roundtable discussion looking at the wide range of issues facing players in the pharmaceutical packaging segment.

You can find a Chris Penfold discusses pharmaceutical packagingmore in-depth transcript of the discussion here:

Packaging News – Tough Talking – Pharmaceutical Packaging

or a short video ‘taster’ by clicking on the photo of Chris to take you to the YouTube video.

If you would like help and advice on any of these or other issues further and would like to contact Chris, please send an email via or via phone on +44 (0)115 846 1914.

Interactive Packaging Club

Posted in Branding, Business News, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Design, Design Cognition News, Drinks Packaging, Events, Food Packaging, Gift Packaging, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Interactive, Marketing, Materials, Medical Devices, Product News, Technology, Uncategorized on April 28th, 2014 by Chris Penfold – 13 Comments

JOIN THE CLUB – What’s in it for YOU?

bionicwomaneye_2Dear All,
Rapid innovation is happening that will enable products & everyday things of all types to ‘interact’ in some way remotely with people or other products.  New devices and processes ranging from: smartphones and their ‘apps’ through 3D printing & nanotechnology to low cost Printed and Plastic Electronics (PPE), are becoming available that can:     Create new visual effects: including static or moving and scrollable images
    Produce a sound
    Contain embedded data: for instant information; for validating the identity or location of a product or person;
    Enable interfaces that can respond to touch, gestures or motion
    Sense & report on an environment, temperature or condition
    Release a chemical substance in a controlled way
    Gather energy from the ‘air’ ….and much more

Smart ‘things’ will form extended data communications networks and lead to the much-vaunted longer term vision of every product having its own unique IP address and being accessed by other intelligent devices anywhere.  This is part of what has been dubbed the ‘Internet of Things’ (IOT).

A new generation of devices and communication protocols that sit alongside RFID is emerging; e.g. Near Field Communication (NFC), Ultra Wide Band (UWB), ZigBee, RuBee etc.  These promise to deliver real time information on location.

So what are YOU doing about it?

If you have enjoyed the recent Pack To The Future (#PTTF) events with presentations on topics such as  ‘Printed Electronics in Packaging’ and the affiliated IPI events such as ‘Game Changing Developments for Brands and Packaging based on Smart Phones’, we have something very special FOR YOU that I’m sure will be very appealing.

Design Cognition is proud to announce an exciting new partnership with Interactive Product Solutions, and the forming of an Interactive Packaging Club dedicated to this area. In particular the club will help Members to find answers to key questions such as:
•    What applications are other early adopters pursuing and why?
•    What technologies can I adopt now & what are the resource and cost implications for me?
•    Which technologies can be used alone or in combination to address my applications and how?
•    What are the realistic time scales and when will it begin to affect my company?
•    What commercialisation activities or development projects are worth engaging in now?


So how will we do this?
Club details:
Together we are planning to run a series of special events:
1. A series of Webinars sessions which will will involve presentations by leading technology suppliers from around the world, followed by a discussion of the commercial implications of the developments presented.  A great way for our international clients to participate…..Webinars will cover specific topics or themes as follows:
-    Flexible Displays (battery & non-battery powered)
-    Sensors (biological & non-biological)
-    Controlled Release Devices
-    Brand Protection, Anti-Counterfeiting & Traceability Devices
-    Physical/Digital (phygital) Experiences, including Augmented Reality
-    Consumer Engagement
-    Packs as active tokens in game play
-    Indicative packaging

2. Regular full-day facilitated Working Group Sessions that will provide the opportunity for Interactive Packaging Club Members to develop an in-depth understanding and debate emerging technologies and identify new applications and commercial opportunities.
3. On-Line Interactive Packaging Resource Centre
Via the restricted ‘members-only’ web site, Interactive Packaging Club Members have access to a comprehensive and authoritative dossier of information relating to Interactive Packaging.


Payment will be via a one-off annual membership fee – see prospectus for provisional details.

If YOU or any of your friends or colleagues would like to find out more, please ask them to send an email to Chris Penfold via: and we will keep you updated as information becomes available over the next few weeks.

Many thanks and we look forward to working with you

Chris Penfold

Design Cognition

If this event is not quite right for you, we are always willing and able to run bespoke workshops at your premises anywhere in the world. Let us know if you’d like us to put together a unique itinerary for you.

To find out more email
Give us a call on +44 (0) 115 8461914

Consumer needs for active & intelligent food packaging?

Posted in Design, Drinks Packaging, Food Packaging, Innovation, Marketing, Materials, Opinion, Retailers, Technology, Tweets, cost-optimisation on July 5th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 9 Comments
Apparently over 30% food produced is wasted before being eaten

Apparently over 30% of food produced is wasted before being eaten

It is interesting to read that the focus of active and intelligent (A&I) packaging has shifted from “manufacturer concerns” such as shelf-life and spoilage to “consumer concerns such as freshness, quality and information”, according to recently published research.

The report – ‘The Future of Active and Intelligent Packaging in Food and Drinks’ said that industry leaders had identified “freshness indicators as the most important innovations in the field over the next five years. A development on quality was listed as the next most important field followed by temperature and time indicators.”

However, with over 30% of all food that we buy being wasted, I would hardly call “shelf-life and spoilage” just “manufacturing concerns”. They are huge and global concerns for everyone, much of which is to do with education and the role that packaging can play to save costs for everyone in the supply chain (very important in the present economic situation) but also, ultimately, to help save the planet’s finite resources.

I’m not sure how the research was conducted, what questions were asked, or how they were asked, but apparently, consumers ranked “health, convenience, safety and enhancing product attributes” as the most important attributes that would make them willing to pay more for A&I-packaged products. “Longer shelf-life and packaging that communicates product information” were also seen as important, but consumers perhaps see these as a ‘given’ and wouldn’t necessarily want to pay extra for them.

It is my feeling that the growth of A&I packaging has been primarily technology-led, by developments in sensor technology including nanosensors and biosensors. This is highlighted by the emerging trend of the incorporation of scavenging functions into packaging with bottles, labels or films. This is great technology, but I’m not sure that most consumers would understand what these are or what benefits they bring and therefore they would certainly not want to pay for their incorporation.

It is true that “Delivery of efficiencies in the value chain and the opportunity for manufacturers to differentiate their products and boost their efficiency by reducing product losses” will be major benefits for manufacturers and retailers – but what about consumers? There is a huge consumer-led marketing ‘trick’ being missed here, especially when “High production costs, compliance with food safety regulations and consumer mistrusts” are being highlighted in the report as “potential challenges”.

So, it is good to see that the consumer perspective is taking greater prominence (to some degree at least), in the New Product developments (NPD) that will help meet consumer needs in the expanding drinks and ready-meals segments. I agree, that the current focus for A&I has to be on luxury goods initially, and that it will move to lower-end products as the technology becomes more widely available and costs fall, but maybe it’s time to take a large ’step back’, flip this around completely and look at it from a consumers’ point-of-view. It is up to us all to educate consumers – highlight the wider issues of food (and water) waste & spoilage, get them to understand the more holistic effects of these on their daily ‘wants & (real) needs’ and ultimately get their ‘buy-in’ to the ‘real’ benefits.
Chris Penfold

You can read the full article at

Many thanks to @PhilCyLaw in Brussels for bringing this to our attention via Twitter.

Bisphenol A (BPA) Confusion – watch this space!

Posted in Drinks Packaging, Food Packaging, Legal, Materials on January 18th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 7 Comments

Confusion still reigns over the use of food packaging containing Bisphenol A.

The food standards agency in Australia and New Zealand seem to think that the risk is ‘very low and does not pose a significant health risk’

The Food and Drug Administration in America announced on Friday last week that they feel it’s use is ‘now of some concern’ – they would like to see it’s used phased out in the food and drink area.

The European Food Safety Authority has said that it wants to discuss the FDA’s announcement and the UK Food Standard Agency says that it’s position remains unchanged and feels that the amount of BPA in food packaging “is well below levels considered harmful.”

Looks like this subject could carry on rumbling for quite a while before a consensus is reached – in the meantime, it might be best to ensure any new food and drink products you develop/launch have packaging that doesn’t contain BPA (Jane)

via EFSA to evaluate FDA decision on bisphenol A.

via Bisphenol A (BPA) and food packaging (January 2010) – Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

A Week in the life of a Packaging Professional!

Posted in Business News, Design Cognition News, Events, Exhibitions, Healthcare & Pharma, Marketing, Opinion, Uncategorized on November 30th, 2009 by Chris Penfold – 5 Comments

You may recall that we recently went on a UKTI Trade mission trip to Los Angeles to better understand the potential of the US market. Hardly a ‘normal’ week for us, but we managed to capture events as we went along and here is our summary of a fantastic adventure that worked out really well for us and certainly raised our profile! Anyone that would like a job – ‘please apply within’ ;-) Chris

My Week: Chris Penfold, of Design Cognition

Published – Tuesday, November 24, 2009, from

Friday: Our company, Design Cognition, provides packing development and consultancy services to the pharmaceutical industry.

We have been thinking about exporting our skills and services to the US, which represents 40% of the global healthcare market, so a trade mission to the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists convention in Los Angeles seems an ideal route in.

Through UKTI, we manage to secure a free Club Class flight with BA – sadly only one. I fly ‘cattle class’ whilst our chief technical officer Annie Dallison enjoys the Club lounge, Champagne reception and a top-of-the-range bed. I sit with my bag of crisps, a bottle of water and a good book.

Arriving at Los Angeles airport we are greeted by a friendly character who directs us to the hotel shuttle bus and then announces that he is a volunteer collecting for the destitute and homeless of LA. We give him a small donation.

As we enter LA, the problem facing President Obama becomes ever more apparent as we see a number of homeless sleeping rough by the roadside. It’s obvious why donations for the destitute are needed. We certainly take our NHS service for granted. Despite its many faults, we can expect a certain level of care from a system which is the envy of the world.

Saturday: Our hotel is actually a ‘motel’ with a few extras such as a pond for a swimming pool. I get the Jacuzzi in my room and Annie doesn’t, so I feel slightly vindicated after the flight arrangements.

Sunday: After breakfast we catch up with George Canty of the East Midlands Healthcare and Bioscience iNet, who is representing UKTI. He will be helping us to meet potential customers, suppliers and partners and to discuss funding with investors.

We decide to spend today on the Pacific coast at Santa Monica and Venice Beach where tea and cake at the Tudor tea rooms includes a choice of any tea from around the world, including Typhoo and PG Tips.

The afternoon is spent at the LA Convention Centre where we set up the stand for the show.

The trade mission has involved a number of our BioCity Nottingham sister companies including Pharmaceutical Development Services and Food & Drink Analytical Services. We will be sharing stand facilities for the next few days.

This evening UKTI holds a networking meeting at the ‘Scottish Pub’ so we get to know the UKTI representatives in the US.

The team get to meet The British Consul General, Dame Barbara Hay

The team get to meet The British Consul General, Dame Barbara Hay

Monday: Still ‘Sleepless in LA’ with a 4.30am awakening. I’m finding difficulty adjusting to the eight hour time difference, so I use my time productively to catch up on emails and to press my crumpled suit.

The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists’ exhibition doesn’t start until 12.30. It is momentarily disrupted by animal rights protestors so security levels are high. The event gets off to a good start and we have a steady stream of visitors to our stand.

The purpose for our being here is to learn as much as possible about the US market and to assess how we might help US pharmaceutical companies to better understand European pharmaceutical packaging requirements and regulations.

Tuesday: A full day at the show is followed by an evening reception hosted by UKTI and the British Consul General, Dame Barbara Hay.

We are on the 54th floor of the Wells Fargo building with fabulous panoramic views of illuminated LA. Today is my 50th birthday so it is great to celebrate in style.

In a quieter moment we get to meet Samuel L Jackson

In a quieter moment we get to meet Samuel L Jackson


I manage to sleep in until 5am as my body continues to adjust. The third day and climax of the show is slower but we attract some potential leads.


We leave for England today and everything seems to be going according to plan.

Annie makes the most of being amongst the privileged in the Club Class environment whilst I have another sandwich. Our expectations for this trip had been modest and we hadn’t expected to come back with a ‘shed full’ of orders, but we both agree that the trip has been invaluable.

You can read the ‘This is Business’ article here: LA Article

Notts firms lead delegation to major US pharmaceutical conference

Posted in Associations, Business News, Design, Design Cognition News, Events, Exhibitions, Government, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Opinion, Product News, Technology on November 3rd, 2009 by Chris Penfold – 5 Comments
Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NOTTINGHAM science companies will lead a delegation of UK firms pitching for business during one of the biggest events in the American pharmaceutical industry’s calendar.

Businesses from the city account for one-third of the firms in the English delegation attending a reception during the American Association of Pharmaceutical Sciences (AAPS) annual meeting in Los Angeles.

They will meet potential customers and investors next week at an event hosted on their behalf by the British Consul in LA, Dame Barbara Hey.

The Nottingham firms taking part in the 20-strong delegation are Critical Pharmaceuticals, Design Cognition, Food and Drug Analytical Services, Molecular Profiles, Pharmaceutical Development Services and R5 Pharmaceuticals.

The US pharmaceutical market is the biggest and most lucrative in the world, with companies bidding for work in a field where the biggest firms routinely outsource research, development and service work to smaller companies.

Some of the Nottingham firms will be going to link-up with existing contacts, while others, such as specialist packaging and product development firm Design Cognition, are first- timers. Chris Penfold, the company’s chief executive, said: “We are on a fact-finding mission, to learn as much as possible about the US market and assessing where and how we can add value for US pharmaceutical companies looking to export, through our understanding of packaging requirements and regulations of global markets.”

His company is working closely with Pharmaceutical Development Services, which already has an office in the US state of South Carolina, another industry hotspot.

“Making a move into the US requires a great deal of market as well as regulatory intelligence,” said managing director Michael Gamlen.

“Close working relationships and collaboration are key to success and our respective consultancy services dovetail perfectly to add potential value for US companies.”

To read the full article, click here:

Watch this space for further information as I will be following up with This is Business- East Midlands (Nottingam Evening Post) after the AAPS event.

Healthcare Packaging

Posted in Design, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Materials, Technology on October 23rd, 2009 by Anne Dallison – 10 Comments

Simulating drug-packaging conditions can save up to six months in development time.

For pharmaceutical companies, time is money: Those who get to market first with a new product will often capture the largest customer share and maximize profits.Innovators of new drugs commit considerable resources to developing and seeking approval for breakthrough products. The sooner they can market a new product, the sooner they can begin to see returns on their investment. Time is of the essence for manufacturers of generic drugs, too, since they often have a suite of drug applications pending and vie with competitors to be the first to commercialize their products for the 180-day period of marketing exclusivity. For these reasons, technologies and services that streamline drug development can provide important competitive advantages to drug manufacturers.Sophisticated packaging simulation modeling can help formulation chemists and packaging engineers identify the right conditions in which to ensure the stability and potency of drugs. This mechanism, referred to as ‘pseudo-empirical’ modeling, can be performed early in the development process, guiding production decisions and helping to avoid costly errors that could prove to be roadblocks to production.Pseudo-empirical modeling is a technique that uses empirically derived data measurements from the packaging materials, including moisture vapor transmission rate MVTR through the bottle, surface area of the bottle, sorbent adsorption isotherms, and drug product adsorption/desorption isotherms. Linking these variables together mathematically will pseudo-empirically predict the relative humidity of a pharmaceutical package’s headspace and drug product hydration level over time. This resulting information will ultimately determine the means by which manufacturers can maintain a drug’s chemical and physical characteristics over time.

via Healthcare Packaging.

European Biotechnology, European Biotech

Posted in Business News, Healthcare & Pharma, Technology on October 8th, 2009 by Jane Bear – 7 Comments

Really interesting article, nice to see that the UK have been named number 1 for something so positive. (Jane)

For decades European countries have been among the most innovative on the planet when it comes to drug development. Scientists at stellar academic centers like the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Oxford/Cambridge university axis in the UK have produced some of the best thinking on new drugs the industry has seen. And clusters of developers in Switzerland, the UK and places like the Medicon Valley in northern Denmark and southern Sweden have spawned their share of start-ups. Germany has seen a whole generation of biotech companies launched with public assistance from the BioRegions it began to establish more than a decade ago.

via European Biotechnology, European Biotech – FierceBiotech.

Barcode replacement shown off – Bokodes come to town

Posted in Innovation, Opinion, Technology on July 27th, 2009 by Chris Penfold – 5 Comments
Bokodes, if you don’t already know, are 3mm-diameter, powered tags that currently consist of an LED, covered with a tiny mask and a lens. They can hold thousands of times more information than their striped ‘bar code cousins’ and can be read by a standard mobile phone camera.
In the longer term they could be used to “encode nutrition information on food packaging or create new devices for playing video games”. They certainly sound like a fascinating technology and if they work as planned & promised, I believe that they will be a great ’step forward’. However, I have 2 areas of concern: (a) I find it difficult to believe that they will be read accurately from 4 metres away (let alone 20 metres as hoped) and that (b) the price will come down from the present £3 cost-point to 5 cents! If both of those targets are hit -  fantastic. If not, failure on either count could ‘blow this innovation out of the water’ before it gets launched. So there is a long way to go yet but watch this space for further information, as it becomes available………Chris Penfold

Barcode replacement shown off - By Jonathan Fildes Technology reporter, BBC News

A replacement for the black and white stripes of the traditional barcode has been outlined by US researchers.

Bokodes, as they are known, can hold thousands of times more information than their striped cousins and can be read by a standard mobile phone camera.

To read the full article, just click on the following link