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Technological Compentence Leveraging of Mores ® - Optical Sensor Technology

Wintersemester 2013 / 2014

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The MORES® technology, developed by CiS, a non-profit research institute in Germany, is an optical sensor which integrates the source and the receiver of light in one compact unit. MORES® is already applied for precise levelling measurements in scientifi c high precision scales. It enables very accurate measurements taking into account the sensors small size.

Project Goal

The goal of this project was to fi nd as many potential new application fields as possible, to evaluate them and to fi nally come up with commercialisation strategies for the most promising ones.

Method

In order to find new application fi elds for the technology, the scientific “Technological Competence Leveraging” method was applied. To overcome the complexity inherent in this project and to be able to talk freely about the technology without revealing it, the technological features were translated into benefi ts. Those benefi ts express which of the user’s problems MORES® is actually able to solve.

In line with this problem-based approach, broadcasting and pyramiding were used to fi nd new applications fi elds. For broadcasting online communities where asked if they faced a certain problem solved by the technology. Pyramiding is a systematic interview approach in which one is sequentially referred to fi nally reach the expert in a particular industry. After identifying new applications for MORES®, these were analysed and evaluated. When having consulted the project partner, the two most auspicious fi elds of application were selected. In a last step, a commercialisation strategy for these two fi elds was assembled.

Results

The aggregated core benefi ts data accuracy, small form factor, durability and cost saving potential were used to communicate which problems MORES® is able to solve. During the extensive search process a total of 37 different potential application fields for MORES® in 16 industries were discovered. Amongst those: art verifi cation, use in prosthetics, medical devices, transmission oil analysis, surface analysis and tilting measurement. Of the many fi elds found, the following two were determined to have the best strategic fi t for CiS as well as making best use of all the relevant benefits mentioned above and thus selected for detailed analysis:

1) A flow rate sensor based on MORES® can be used in the particular field of microfl uidics which is a comparably fi eld of research in the areas of engineering, physics, chemistry, nanotechnology and biotechnology. Basically, the sensor is used to determine the speed at which a liquid flows and by that allows for further analysis. The modular architecture of MORES® and thus its easy implementation as well as its durability can be seen as the biggest advantages over existing solutions.

2) MORES® could as well be used in optical microphones to guarantee a higher resistance against a variety of external infl uences such as humidity, pressure or magnetic fi elds - compared to classical electromagnetic microphones. This would allow for microphones to be used in areas with high electromagnetic radiation, for example in CT scanners. Moreover, the sensor is able to provide an excellent quality of records relevant to record studios.

The market potential for flow rate sensors in microfl uidics lies between EUR 6 million and EUR 23 million, dependant on both final price and the quantity demanded per institution. Due to the newness of this very narrow application fi eld there are no real competitors to be found yet, as most other institutions in this fi eld had rather shown interest in shared research efforts than in competition.

The market potential for optical microphones adds up to EUR 90 million to EUR 575 million. There are over a dozen players in the market. Keeping in mind that R&D resources are limited and that further research effort for both application fi elds is necessary, CiS would be well advised to enter the application fi elds sequentially. As potential research partners in the fi eld of fl ow rate analytics and microfl uidics have expressed their high interest in a future collaboration and due to research experience in similar fi elds, it is suggested to enter this market first.

Cooperation Partner

  • CiS Forschungsinstitut für
    Mikrosensorik und Photovoltaik GmbH
    Konrad-Zuse-Straße 14
    99099 Erfurt
    Germany

  • Ralf Röder
    rroeder@cismst.de
    www.cismst.de

Student team

  • Eva-Maria Kindl
    Markus Krennmayr
    Arno Kompatscher (CERN)
    Afroditi Koutoulaki (CERN)
    Maximilian Lunacek
    Caroline Lutz
    Carina Mistelbauer
    Moritz Moser
    Katja Schuh