Enterprise Europe Network

Sensors for healthy microbial monitoring in indoor environments

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Partner keyword: 
Environmental and Biometrics Sensors, Actuators
Sensor Technology related to measurements
Indoor Air Pollution/Treatment
Measurement and Detection of Pollution
Environmental Medicine, Social Medicine, Sports Medicine
Other medical/health related (not elsewhere classified)
Other consumer products
Air filters and air purification and monitoring equipment
Manufacture of soap and detergents, cleaning and polishing preparations
Manufacture of perfumes and toilet preparations


A Belgian multinational active in consumer goods is looking for sensors (developed or under active development) for accurate monitoring of home /building or car environments for significant levels of harmful microbes, in combination with machine learning algorithms. Licence or technical cooperation agreements are sought with industrial partners, technology providers or research centers.



Rapid urbanization, increases in automobile ownership, increased energy generation and other factors are all resulting in increasingly poor outside air quality for a growing fraction of the world’s population.

As homes and offices get tighter and utilize fewer air exchanges to save energy, building environment health is also negatively impacted.
Many countries are experiencing significant increases in the percentage of population concerned by severe allergies or asthma that are aggravated by poor air quality.
Likewise, as populations age, an increasing number of elderly suffer from various respiratory illnesses that are also aggravated by poor air quality.

A growing number of companies are launching air quality monitoring devices aimed to the home consumer, with the stated intent of helping them manage their air quality. Many of these home sensors suffer from poor accuracy, inability to distinguish between particle types (e.g., dust, pollen, pet dander, etc.), and the lack of a mechanism to take corrective action.

Typical “air care” products, on the market, focus on bulk removal particles via HEPA (high-efficiency particulate filtering) or other filters, as well as the removal and/or cover up of malodors. Solutions are inefficient and sometimes ineffective.

Additionally, it seems that there aren't effective monitoring devices (e.g.biosensors) for detecting microbial content of air, despite the problems that can be caused by microbes (including bacteria, molds, viruses, etc).

The absence of effective microbial monitoring technology leaves consumers unaware of potential problems due to bacteria, molds, etc. in their home and other enclosed spaces.

With the aim of finding a real solution to the above-mentioned issues, this Belgian multinational is looking for sensors (developed or under active development) for accurate monitoring of home /building or car environments for significant levels of harmful microbes, and this in combination with machine learning algorithms to make meaningful recommendations on corrective action for consumers to respond with tailored remedies to environmental health concerns posed by microbes.

The company is looking for collaboration with industrial partners, technology providers or research centers that have developed or are under active development of sensors combined with machine learning algorithms able to provide a sounded solution to this technology need.

The purpose would be setting up a long lasting cooperation via technical collaboration or licence agreement, allowing the large account to comply with its internal strategy and for the potential partner to interact in a systematic way with the large account so as to have immediate access to forthcoming similar requests.

Technical Specification or Expertise Sought

Cooperation sought: 
The company is looking for : - Partners with new sensors or sensor systems for detecting microbial density and/or population in private residences, group living homes, cars, office buildings, and other public gathering spaces. For example, this company expects an effective biosensor would be able to detect: - microbial density at levels as low as 103 cfu/m3 in air or 102 cfu/cm2 on surface quantatitively (cfu meaning colony-forming unit) - The structure of the microbial population qualitatively (who are they, and their relative abudance). The company's primary interest is in: - detection technology/ products which focus on harmful bacteria and/or molds. However, they are also interested in technology for detection of harmful viruses (recognizing that these may be quite different technical approaches). - technology for monitoring indoor air quality but is also interested in technologies which are effective in monitoring microbial contamination on indoor environmental surfaces. The company is NOT interested in: - directly making and selling sensors. They are seeking collaboration partners who have this technology under development or in late stages and envision a number of potential working relationships types which might emerge from collaboration. And NOT interested in air quality monitoring solutions that : - are applicable exclusively in Rx (reception) and heavily regulated fields. - require high costs for installation, which aren’t portable (required fixed installation), or require frequent manual intervention.

Stage of development

Cooperation stage dev stage: 
Already on the market

Partner sought

Cooperation area: 
Type of Partner sought: SMEs or industry, itechnology providers, reserach centers Area of expertise : sensors, indoor monitoring, machine learning algorithms Role of Partner Sought: collaborate with the large account for technical collaboration or provide the technical solution sought under licence agreeement