UNF Has Sensory Perception; Scientists Want to Market Devices to Detect Bacteria, Other Dangers by "Sniffing"

By Cox, Jeremy | The Florida Times Union, November 9, 2009 | Go to article overview

UNF Has Sensory Perception; Scientists Want to Market Devices to Detect Bacteria, Other Dangers by "Sniffing"


Cox, Jeremy, The Florida Times Union


Byline: JEREMY COX

Could this be the University of North Florida's Gatorade?

You know, the product that jumps from the laboratory to the commercial sector, reaping acclaim and millions of dollars in royalties for the university in which it was created.

UNF scientists have developed a quartet of high-tech sensors that can detect the presence of certain substances, gases or disease-causing bugs simply by "sniffing" the air or coming into contact with a chemical.

Among the technology's possible medical and commercial uses: alerting surgeons to staph bacteria on their operating tables, detecting lung cancer on a patient's breath, finding pollutants in lakes and streams and catching spoiled food before it hits supermarket shelves.

David Hayes is the director of the UNF business school's three-month-old Coggin Pilot Project for Innovation, an effort to commercialize the university's scientific breakthroughs. His job is to make a hard sell, and he has no trouble doing that with the sensor technology.

Forget Gatorade, he said Thursday, standing in the cramped university lab where some of the sensors were developed. These will be bigger because they can be used in a myriad of sectors, including government, agriculture, health and manufacturing.

"It's an easy sell for us to say, 'Look at this technology and what it could do for the health community.' So let's push it out," he said.

Hayes is putting the finishing touches on a pitch to prospective manufacturers. So far, his work has concentrated on developing informational materials and commissioning a student-authored market feasibility report. It found that the four sensors offered "unique capabilities and features" but noted that each faces potential competition from similar technologies.

So far, one sensor has been granted a patent, and the other three have patents pending. UNF is looking to either spin off the sensors to a manufacturer, a deal in which the university would get royalties, or create a joint company with a device maker.

Jay Huebner is the lead researcher on two of the devices and helped colleagues develop the other two. The story of one of his inventions is a case study in science leading to happy accidents.

When he joined UNF as one of its founding professors in 1972, Huebner, a trained electrical engineer and biophysicist, wanted to study how plants turn sunlight into energy, a process called photosynthesis. Since no devices existed to measure the transfer of energy, he diverted his attention to creating one.

"All of a sudden, we realized we were making sensors," Huebner said, grasping an early version of the device between his thumb and forefinger. It looks relatively primitive: a trio of silver sensors attached to a circuit board the size of a fortune cookie message.

Six years later, the now-patented device is known as a photoelectric chemical sensor (PECS). It works by measuring the variation in voltage created by a certain substance on a sensor when it is exposed to a special light strobe. That burst of electricity, though tiny and brief, is enough to tell researchers what substance is present. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

UNF Has Sensory Perception; Scientists Want to Market Devices to Detect Bacteria, Other Dangers by "Sniffing"
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.