Turck duotec acquires a stake in SmartNanotubes Technologies
Expanding expertise in the field of sensor technology
Driving innovation and bringing new technologies to market maturity: Turck duotec GmbH is one of the leading service providers of EMS and E2MS solutions in Europe and is constantly expanding its development offering. duotec has become a strategic investor in the deep-tech startup SmartNanotubes Technologies from Freital near Dresden, Germany, in order to offer further innovative technologies. The two companies are developing and industrialising an electronic nose that will enable devices and machines to ‘smell’ for the first time. There are numerous areas of application, which range from use in food production and medical diagnostics, to building technology and smart home solutions, including security technology.
Dr Viktor Bezugly and Dr Birte Sönnichsen founded SmartNanotubes Technologies in the summer of 2020 and received support from Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen, TU Dresden Aktiengesellschaft and a private investor.
The startup company developed an odour-sensing chip based on nanomaterials called the Smell Inspector. The world’s first multi-channel gas detector chip is considerably more sensitive, smaller and more energy efficient compared to currently available systems. ‘duotec continues to strategically position itself for the future. A key element is the expansion of our portfolio of expertise through innovative and disruptive technologies,’ explains Arthur Rönisch, Managing Director and CIO of duotec. ‘This novel sensor technology means we’re ahead of the competition by more than just a nose, literally. Together with our customers, we’ll incorporate this know-how into their products.’
duotec will take over the industrialisation of the electronic nose developed by SmartNanotubes, which will be available from the fourth quarter of 2021. For the first time ever, it is now possible to analyse a large number of smells and volatile organic compounds (VOC) with a very small chip that is cheap to produce in high quantities. ‘In our view, the electronic nose is an extraordinary technology of the future, because with its ability to detect multiple gases at the same time, it approximates the human nose much closer than any other solution already on the market. This makes ground-breaking applications conceivable, such as the ability to diagnose serious diseases like cancer at an early stage based on a person’s breath,’ explains Philipp Mirliauntas, Managing Director and CSO of duotec. ‘For this reason, we see the collaboration with SmartNanotubes Technologies as an ideal complement to our expertise, which will enable our customers in the future to develop their own innovative products and bring them to market, thereby giving them a competitive advantage.’
‘Smell is an important quality feature. This applies to the food production industry. However, it also plays a major role in hazard prevention and in the health sector,’ adds Dr Viktor Bezugly, CEO and Cofounder of SmartNanotubes Technologies. The nanomaterials produced by SmartNanotubes Technologies are highly sensitive and more closely approximate the sense of smell of the human nose. The developed Smell Inspector detects gases at a part-per-billion (ppb) level, making it 100 times more sensitive than technologies that are currently available. In addition, the Smell Inspector learns and detects different patterns of odour using artificial intelligence (AI). The Smell Inspector Developer Kit is compatible with both Raspberry Pi and Arduino computers and can be integrated into existing devices. It has even been implemented in a robot already. In addition, the gas detector chip can be tailored to customer-specific applications and configured for specific odour/gas combinations.