Proud moment for Kulim electronics firm after US trade show win

Kulim-based Stride Electronics relies on 100% local workforce to build its products.

GEORGE TOWN: A small-time electronics manufacturing services company in Kulim is celebrating a huge achievement after a device using its parts bagged an award at an annual trade show organised in the US.

The Miku Baby Monitor, which won the Best of Baby Tech award at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, provides wireless monitoring of infants’ breathing and heart rate, among others.

Its core chips were assembled in Malaysia, including a circuit board using a special radar sensor chip from Norway – the major sensor in the monitor.

Stride Electronics Sdn Bhd, the company behind the assembly, comprises 100-odd workers and engineers, all of whom are Malaysian.

Stride CEO Vidyadharan Damadaran said the award was a big morale boost for all of them, and that they had seen a jump in requests from international companies after news of the CES win spread in US tech media outlets.

“Although we do not have a direct association with the final product, we are proud to say that they have a bit of Malaysia inside.

Stride boss Vidyadharan Damadaran.

“It’s a proud moment for us as a small electronic parts manufacturer from Kulim,” he told FMT.

Stride acquired exclusive rights to install the state-of-the-art radar chip from Novelda SA, which makes high-resolution impulse radars. The chip measures 4mm by 6mm.

Vidyadharan said his company’s primary role is to make the radar chips work by incorporating them into a board along with a host of other components. Novelda retains intellectual property rights on the final product.

Vidyadharan told FMT his company spent four years in research and development on integrating Novelda’s chip in a circuit board. The product went into mass production last July.

The radar chips can measure a person’s breathing without wires from a distance of eight metres.

Before the baby monitor came into the picture, he said, his company had been installing the chips in circuit boards used in trials to monitor the patients of a 300-bed hospital in Oslo, Norway.

“Nurses could track the movements of every single patient on their computers, measuring their heartbeat and breathing through a single radar chip planted in the wall of the ward,” he said.

He said the Norwegians were also using tech assembled by his company with the radar chip to track prisoners in select prisons and detect health issues in detainees.

“One day, it will be planted in key fobs and will be able to warn you if there is someone hiding behind the beam, say at the car park of a mall,” he added.

“You can hide, but you can never escape from radar.”

Before its work in assembling radar chip sets, Stride had dealt with chip sets for specialised X-ray machines and chargers for medical devices on a small scale.

Vidyadharan, 62, is a Higher School Certificate graduate from the St Marks School in Butterworth. He joined Motorola in Penang in 1976 as a junior production supervisor, later rising to the position of manufacturing manager.

He left in 1995 to join Bakti Comintel Sdn Bhd as its factory manager before becoming vice-president of Asia-Pacific at France’s Thales Group in 2004. He later became CEO of its division, TES Electronics SA.

He left France for Penang in 2012 and started Stride a year later.