Smells, such as those from ripe fruit or forest fires are volatile organic compounds (VOC), if this ‘digital fingerprint’
can be detected in the air it can provide useful information about produce in storage or early warning of danger.
Altered Carbon, a spinout from the University of Bristol Robotics lab, is a world leading developer of commercially viable graphene sensors. Graphene has been described as a wonder material for its amazing properties, it has been much hyped but few companies have been able to capture its many benefits in a product.
Altered Carbon has achieved this and K9Sense is a ultra-sensitive, super low-power, highly customisable and scalable graphene sensor technology that recognises the digital fingerprint of a smell.
The K9Sense can be applied to many applications.
Food waste – K9Sense can detect the freshness of produce without being intrusive, resulting in better control of transport conditions. The sensors can be combined with AI to control and adjust variables such as temperature and humidity whilst food is in transit to ensure it is kept at the optimum conditions. The technology is also able to detect which food is closest to its expiration date and therefore needs to be consumed first. These vital adjustments mean that food waste and spoilage will be minimised, and produce will arrive at its destination in optimal quality.
Vertical farming – sensors can be used to monitor plants in controlled environments, detecting VOC emitted by the plants down to concentrations of parts per billion. Combined with AI, they have the ability to critically monitor organic lifeforms and send out alerts regarding their wellbeing, that can trigger changes in stimuli such as water, nutrients, light, temperature, humidity, etc.
Forest fires – currently wildfires are detected using satellite imaging and remote IR cameras. However, this technology has significant limitations. Cloudy weather and smoke make it difficult to see from above, often allowing a wildfire to progress and become virtually unstoppable. Altered Carbon has recently completed a project with the National Physical Laboratory in London to apply its K9Sensors to this problem. The latest models are highly susceptible to No2 and could work alongside the latest IoT communications technology to enable the monitoring of vast landmasses for potential fires in many cases before a flame has ignited.
Altered Carbon has developed its technology to a commercial stage and now wants to test it with real world clients who are keen to innovate with sensors, Ai and IoT.