The National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL) has developed a nanochip that can detect a variety of toxins and pollutants to help prevent gas explosions or poisoning.
The NARL spent two years developing the nano gas sensing chip, which is small enough to be fitted in a smartphone, watch or other wearable devices, and can detect carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde, researcher Hsueh Ting-jen (薛丁仁) told a news conference in Taipei.
Following the Kaohsiung gas pipeline explosions in 2014 — which killed 32 people and injured 321 — the NARL began developing a chip that can turn smartphones and smartwatches into portable gas detectors to help improve public safety and government response.
“Smartphones installed with the chip can issue a warning when they detect a gas leak or unhealthy levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogenic material commonly used to produce paints and coatings, Hsueh said.
“The chip can also be used to perform breath tests for alcohol, detect carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide levels, and monitor air quality,” he added.
Data collected by individual smartphones can be uploaded to fire departments and hospitals, and collectively processed to prompt emergency responses, he said.
The chip, which is smaller than a grain of rice, is made with nanoparticle and nano-pore forming technology to create a thin sensing film that has a large exposure area and is highly accurate, Hsueh said.
It can resist temperatures of up to 250°C, and uses different metals to recognize different types of gases.
Commercially available gas sensors are generally palm-sized, can only be installed in a fixed position and are usually designed to detect only one type of gas, with each sensor costing hundreds of New Taiwan dollars.
While new detectors smaller than 1cm have been introduced to the market, they lack the accuracy to detect different gases and are still too large to be integrated into smartphones, Hsueh said.
The cost of one chip is only about one-sixth that of a gas sensor on the market, the NARL said.
The NARL plans to transfer the technology to a local LED manufacturer for modular programming to be used in smartphones, it said.
It is estimated that the market for gas detectors would grow to US$2 billion by 2021, while global production would increase from 1.2 million to 350 million units, the NARL said.
NARL president Lo Ching-hua (羅清華) said that the chip could also be installed in vehicles to prevent people whose alcohol levels exceed legal limits from starting their cars.
THE CHINA CONNECTION: As Beijing’s aggression increases, so does Taiwanese consciousness, making a new constitution imperative, Hsu Wei-chun said If the nation is to ratify a new constitution, it must first end any illusions about the current document’s relevance to Taiwan, an academic told a forum in Taipei yesterday. For the constitutional revisionist movement to succeed, it needs public enthusiasm, the right timing and a clear plan of action, Chung Yuan Christian University associate professor Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) told attendees at the event titled “Imagining a New Constitution for a New Era,” which was organized by the National Taiwan University Graduate Student Association. The Constitution exists under the “one China” framework and has little relevance to Taiwan, Hsu said, adding that
IDENTITY: The time is right to press on with a referendum, as the nation has heightened visibility and support in the global community, the Taiwan United Nations Alliance said The Taiwan United Nations Alliance yesterday said that it is considering launching a petition for a referendum proposal to have the nation join the UN under the name “Taiwan.” Alliance chairman Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) was joined at a news conference in Taipei by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Hsiu-fang (黃秀芳) and leaders of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan and civic organizations. They said that it is the right time for a petition because Taiwan’s visibility on the world stage has increased, as it has been praised for its success in containing its COVID-19 outbreak and for helping other countries by sharing
An advertisement displayed in the corridor of the underground Taipei City Mall has caused contention online with social media users saying that it depicts Taiwanese bears as servants of Chinese pandas. The advertisement — which imitates the style of an ancient Chinese painting, but replaces people with bears — shows a scene in imperial China, with Formosan black bears laboring, while pandas relax and enjoy beverages. “The development of the tourism industry is important, but this type of targeted advertising is extremely disrespectful — and it makes people uncomfortable,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chen E-jun (陳怡君) said. The advertisement, under
‘LONG OVERDUE’: The Republic of China is a military-political regime of the KMT that illegally occupied Taiwan, Taiwan Republic Office director Chilly Chen said Independence advocates yesterday at a rally called on government leaders to “rectify” the nation’s official name as “Taiwan” as they denounced Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu’s (吳釗燮) remark of “not seeking formal ties with the US” during a media interview. Organized by Taiwan Republic Office director Chilly Chen (陳峻涵), the advocates chanted slogans, such as “Taiwan is not the Republic of China [ROC],” and held a banner that read: “If the nation’s title is not corrected as ‘Taiwan,’ how can it fully establish diplomatic relations with the US?” as they gathered outside Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) headquarters in Taipei at