Armed with a new SBIR grant from the National Science Foundation to fund research and development activities related to vibration energy harvesting, EngeniusMicro is looking to the future – one that involves Department of Defense technology and industrial equipment.
Founded in 2007 by Brian English, a postdoctoral researcher in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech, EngeniusMicro develops cutting-edge sensors for hazardous environments. In recent years, the four-man team has developed ceramic sensors to measure pressure, heat-flux and strain in temperatures up to 3000° F. They have also developed nanofabricated substrates for portable chemical fingerprinting.
From the development of a wireless brake and tire monitoring system for the Air Force to an Army project involving transducer technologies for track health monitoring, EngeniusMicro’s operations have predominantly catered to Department of Defense needs. They are now looking to tap into the industrial market as well.
“A lot of startups would try to take a year off work to bootstrap, find some money and grow the company,” said Chris Heaton, Vice President of Operations. “We’ve really taken a different approach and continued to go after SBIRs while also trying to find a way to develop products that appeal to more than just one market…We have some demos coming up, so if we can pull together good traction on this work from NSF, it could morph into some great opportunities.”
The recently awarded $150,000 Phase 1 SBIR grant will help the company research the use of environmental vibrations to increase the range of wireless sensors. If successful, the commercial potential of this project will be the ability to remotely monitor high-temperature machinery and processes to increase lifetime and efficiency while reducing operating costs.
A member of ATDC for the past year, Heaton said the accelerator has helped EngeniusMicro connect with potential partners, including Sentrinsic, an Atlanta-based sensing and controls technology company that adds intelligence to industrial equipment. EngeniusMicro has also discussed the development of new sensors with corporate giants including Honeywell and GE.