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.
FEW REMAIN: Conservationists tried to stop the demolition, but to no avail, and the owner cannot be fined, as the structure was not listed as a historical building One of the few remaining Japanese colonial-era granaries in Taiwan was dismantled by its owner on Friday, prompting outrage from conservationists. The granary, which was at No. 16, Lane 11, Hangzhou S Rd Sec 1 in Taipei, belonged to Taiwan Takushoku Corp during the colonial era, conservationist Chang Wan-lin (張琬琳) said, adding that she and others had been collecting information to reapply to have the building protected as a historical structure. During the colonial era, the granary served the area from Monga (艋舺) to what is now Songshan District (松山) in the north, she said. “Back then the eastern part
SEEING THE POSITIVE: A majority of respondents in Taiwan said that they favored Trump because they think Taiwan-US ties would improve with him Among eight Asia-Pacific countries and regions, only Taiwan prefers US President Donald Trump over his challenger, former US vice president Joe Biden, in the upcoming US presidential election, a survey released on Thursday showed. According to the poll published by UK-based market research firm YouGov, 42 percent of Taiwanese favor Trump in the Nov. 3 election, while 30 percent back Biden and 28 percent have no opinion. In contrast, respondents in Malaysia favor Biden over Trump 62 percent to 9 percent, and in Singapore by 66 percent to 12 percent, the survey showed. Biden also led Trump in Australia (60 percent to 21
TROUBLEMAKER: The missiles, capable of striking up to 2,000km away, would likely be used to deter other nations from coming to Taiwan’s aid, a legislator said The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has reportedly deployed advanced hypersonic missiles along China’s southeast coast, which Taiwan’s missile defense system might have difficulty intercepting, an analyst said yesterday. Citing an unnamed military source, the South China Morning Post said that the missile bases on the coasts of China’s Fujian and Zhejiang provinces have been upgraded and are stocked with DF-17 missiles, equipped with hypersonic glide vehicles. “The DF-17 hypersonic missile will gradually replace the old DF-11s and DF-15s that were deployed in the southeast region for decades,” said the source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic. “The
AIR CONTROL INCIDENT: The Hong Kong side said it ‘cannot accept this aircraft,’ ordering it to ascend to an unsafe altitude and forcing it to return to Kaohsiung The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) on Friday disclosed a full transcript of the communications between Taiwanese and Hong Kong air traffic controllers, rebutting the latter’s claim that a Taiwanese plane had voluntarily abandoned its flight path. Hong Kong denied permission for the plane to proceed to the disputed Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島), which are claimed by both Taiwan and China, the CAA said. The incident happened on Thursday when a civil aircraft chartered by the military was advised by Hong Kong air traffic controllers to not enter the airspace over a group of islands in the South China Sea