Researchers from Florida International University ([FIU], FL, USA) have developed a sorbent tube, a device that could impact many industries due to its low cost and sensitivity. The team behind the work recently attended the eMerge Americas technology conference (FL, USA), to showcase the new device.
The device uses technology known as CMV (capillary microextraction of volatiles) and is used to sample volatile organic compounds in the air, samples can then be analyzed in the laboratory using GC–MS. One application for the device is in medical diagnostics as patients can breathe through the device and VOCs associated with certain diseases can be collected and later detected in the laboratory. This diagnostic technique is advantageous as the procedure is non-invasive and inexpensive.
Jose Almirall, a chemist and director of the FIU International Forensic Research Institute, and Digno Caballero, a former student at FIUE, have formed IAD-x, LLC to continue development of the device and expand research.
The team was selected by the National Science Foundation (VA, USA) to participate in the Innovation Corps Teams Program (I-Corps). I-Corps connects NSF-funded researchers with the business community and entrepreneurs to promote innovation and transfer of technology. The device was initially developed to detect explosives, however additional applications and potential markets were revealed by the NSF-funded I-Corps customer discovery process.
“I recommend any faculty member wanting to explore commercialization of science and technology to consider going through the I-Corps program,” Almirall commented. “The I-Corps team of a student or post-doc, a business mentor and the PI is provided with the tools necessary to begin to evaluate whether a scientific discovery can be turned into a viable business.”
The device in still in the early stages of development, with the researchers exploring marketing opportunities for industrial applications. Their work is concentrated at the FIU Modesto A Maidique Campus, where IAD-x is being incubated.