Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

SMS Report Summary

Project reference: 674434

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SMS (SMS - Safety Micro Sensor)

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The Safety MicroSensors (SMS) project was submittted to the EC under the call H2020-SMEINST-1-2014 for the specific topic DRS-17-2014-1 - Critical infrastructure protection topic 7: SME instrument topic: “Protection of Urban soft targets and urban critical infrastructures”; objective of the Safety MicroSensor (SMS) project is to leverage on an innovative and versatile microelectronics platform (codenamed SENSIPLUS) in development at Sensichips, versus potential CBRN-E threats carried-out against EU soft targets and critical infrastructures.
It targets to take to pilot production new miniature, low power, single chip microsensors for the sensitive and concurrent detection of Toxic and/or Warfare chemicals and Ionizing Radiation. The microsensors will be provided in the form of smart cables for the continuous monitoring of infrastructures or as convenient portable CBRNe portal monitors. The SENSIPLUS chip is currently being customized for the detection of hazardous chemicals by combining nanomaterials sensitive to a number of Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TIC) and deadly Chemical Warfare Agents (CWA) such Sarin and Tabun. One chip can host up to 12 different sensors and it can connect up to 4 external sensing elements or detectors. The same chip can be interfaced to an external solid state Radiation Detector (i.e. CdTe) and neutron scintillator for the concurrent monitoring of illicit radiation sources with both dosimetry and Radiation Isotope Identification (RID) capability. The resulting device will provide performance and functionality of commercial Handheld IMS (Ion Mobility Spectroscopy) and Spectroscopy PRD (Personal Radiation Detectors) devices at a fraction of the size, power consumption, weight and costs with the increased robustness required to be installed onto infrastructures for long term CBRNe monitoring.
The standalone chip finds also ideal use also in unmanned vehicles, robotics and it can be included inside smartphones and most other wearable devices, for which it is already being demonstrated.
Within Phase 1 study, the following activities have been done:
• Assessment of baseline drift reduction requirements for consistent sensitivity level;
• Assessment of industrial scale-up feasibility;
• Smart Cables proof of concept prototype demonstration;
• Business Plan development.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The feasibility study (WP1) of the project’s Phase A aimed to assess the fundamental key aspects to take the CBRN-E SENSIPLUS microsensor technology to market.
The WP was subdivided into four main tasks as follows:

Task 1: Requirements of Stability, Baseline Drift, Calibration, Hysteresis, Faults Detection.
New nano-materials enable sensor performance improvements on most metrics: miniaturization, sensitivity, power consumption, specificity. Utmost performance is achieved by closely coupling such materials with the conditioning electronics. But the signal provided by nanosensors is most often very weak and buried into overwhelming levels of noise. An assessment over the feasibility of the EIS tool to implement sensor drift mitigation techniques has benn conducted in deep.

Task 2: Feasibility of industrial scale-up of the MCP manufacturing methodology for Phase 2.
Sensichips has developed the prototype of a custom MCP tool designed for the concurrent deposition of different sensing material types directly on the chips. The process based on the MCP tool does not require aggressive chemicals or special chambers and it is very low cost. It is designed to be used with low cost automated equipment such as standard surface mount (SMT) machines. The tool has been further assessed as fully feasible by Sensichips, and it has been at the basis of the BP development.

Task 3: Smart Cables proof of concept prototype for Phase 2.
Within this task it has been possible to achieve a first feasibility demonstration of the SENSIPLUS microchips assembled as an array along electric cables cables, dubbed as “smart cables”.
These are cables optimized for installation onto infrastructures or temporary settlements and for extemporary use by Law Enforcement Agencies at large crowds gatherings. Multi-sensor cables can reach lengths of up to 200 meters without a repeater. Power consumption of the entire cable, with operating sensors, is very low as it has been demonstrated powered by a USB port of a commercial Smartphone running the Personal Hazard Monitor SW demonstrator.

Task 4: Go to market and five years Business Plan.
As a consequence of the limited available reports concerning chemical agents detection, particularly CWA and TIC related to toxic industrial chemicals, explosive precursors, flammable chemicals as a key topic in security research, Sensichips and Aero Sekur have entrusted the Observatory on Security and CBRNe Defense – OSDIFE to achieve a prospective analysis covering the Eurozone with the aim at pointing out which are the main infrastructures at risk, actors involved and the current state of the art, and therefore the accessible European market opportunity, that the CBRNe microsensors proposed in the SMS (Safety MicroSensor) technology could tackle.
The BP built on such perspectives, has been further submitted to two independent reviewers:
• Menlo Business Partners, for an Investors perspective assessement;
• ZigBee Alliance, for an IoT perspective assessement.

Additional details on the outcome of the a.m. activities can be found in the Technical report.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Sensichips’ SENSIPLUS technology aims at providing the most integrated semiconductor solution eventually enabling possible integration into consumer devices such as mobile phones. Looking at mobile phones evolution, one will notice that most senses have been gradually integrated thanks to a multitude of input/output devices and sensors, and “smell” (gas sensing) will be next: consumers and smart cities’ desire to avoid pollutants, allergens and to crowd-source the spreading of diseases or other CBRNe threats will make the need for connected portable gas sensors prevalent when the technology is miniaturized and affordable enough; until then, larger and fixed sensors will be used giving less valuable insights due to sparser deployment.
Aero Sekur and Sensichips has chosen to start with the CBRNe sensing market which is a smart first go-to-market strategy given initial pricing, size, time-to- market, regulatory environment, and production windows are far less constrained than all the other markets identified above. Sensichips have developed an original and differentiated way to deploy the sensors with smart cables, optimized for installation into infrastructures, airplanes, or for temporary constructions at large crowd gatherings for example. Multisensors cables can reach lengths of up to 200 meters without a repeater and power consumption of the entire operating cable is very low. Sensichips has moreover secured its partnership with an integrator such as Aero Sekur to address the homeland security market. The demonstration of functionality of the smart cable shows ingenuity of the system, and the timing of the CBRNe sensing market - given unfortunate recent terrorist events and threats - is favorable to the proposed new product application.
W.r.t. the expected potential impact, according to European Directive 114/08, Critical Infrastructure (CI) refers to those assets, systems or part thereof located in the EU Member States which are essential for the maintenance of vital societal functions, health, safety, security, economic or destruction of which would have a significant impact to a Member State as a result, of the failure to maintain those functions. In the same way, Directive defines the European Critical Infrastructure, every critical infrastructure located in the EU Member States the disruption or destruction of which would have a significant impact on at least two Member States of the EU. Each sector could be exposed to a malicious use of hazardous materials that could threaten health and security of citizen and society. For this reason, it is fundamental to monitor and survey every critical asset to mitigate CBRNe risk. A continuous surveillance requires security systems and devices that are not invasive and that do not affect the normal execution of any activities and process. Then, it could be proper to survey any chemical contamination of public places such as undergrounds, ports, airports, cinemas, theaters, stations, schools, etc. In the same way, to have a versatile device (such as a sensorized smart cable) could be a no invasive way to control access points during mass gatherings, checkpoints at train stations, airports and ports but also into undergrounds. We have considered that buildings such as airports, ports, hotels, government offices, police stations etc. are seen by the terrorist as high value soft targets. The terrorist knows that because of the nature of these buildings and their usage, it is not possible to make them totally secure, so they are always at risk. Then, the challenge is not to eliminate risk but to manage it. That is, to allow the lawful movement of people, vehicles, goods and services, whilst reducing the risk of the terrorist using that same freedom to mount some form of attack.

Related information

Record Number: 186343 / Last updated on: 2016-07-11