Equipping Electronics With a Sense of Smell
Short Business Description:
Today’s electronic devices can do many things, but they can’t taste or smell. The available laboratory instruments are bulky and expensive, while gas sensors cannot distinguish harmful from harmless molecules.
ALIVION provides mobile chemical sensing devices that can trace single molecules by leveraging its revolutionary Molecule Select (TM) technology based on breakthroughs in nanotechnology at ETH Zürich.
The portable gas sensors offer great value in the areas of healthcare (breath analysis), environmental monitoring, occupational and food safety through the detection of relevant molecules.
Nowadays gas analysis is mostly done by gas chromatography- or mass spectrometry-based methods. However, these instruments are rather bulky, cost several tens of thousand USD and require handling by highly trained personnel (e.g., chemists). As a result, these instruments are usually only available in specialized laboratories. There are tiny gas sensors on the market that are sufficiently compact to be integrated into handheld electronics. However they lack selectivity. In other words: They cannot determine if a compund is harmful or harmless.
With Alivion’s registered trademark Molecule Select® technology, the limitations of state-of-the-art gas sensors are systematically overcome. This technology has been pioneered at ETH Zürich and the University Hospital Zürich (USZ) as a result of 15 years of joint research by Alivion’s co-founders and more than CHF 5M of public funding. The company’s molecule-selective sensor materials are designed by cutting-edge nanotechnology, combined with smart evaluation algorithms and integrated into user-friendly devices.
Equipped with a sense of smell, consumer electronics will feature exciting new functionalities: In healthcare, they can provide critical health data on demand through non-invasive breath analysis to detect diseases earlier and personalize therapies. In environmental monitoring and food safety, such tiny sensors could warn us from exposure to hazardous chemicals. Finally, such sensors could enable the safe handling of green fuels (e.g. hydrogen, methanol) to improve ocupational safety. These are just some of many possible use cases.