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AirSpeQ Announces National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research Competitive Grant Award
(January 30, 2018)
AirSpeQ Announces National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research Competitive Grant Award

Aerodyne Microsystems Inc. d/b/a AirSpeQ is excited to announce that it has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant.

Air pollution is a serious health hazard. In East Asia and the Pacific alone, the World Health Organization estimates that 1.3 billion people are breathing unsafe, unclean air each day. Particulate pollution is linked to heart disease, cancers, and early death. Worldwide, poor air quality prematurely kills over 4 million people per year and is effectively responsible for more annual deaths than HIV and malaria combined. Children, elderly and the sick are especially vulnerable.

Existing consumer grade air pollution monitors are designed to address superficial, visual, and olfactory symptoms of air pollution, but do not and cannot address fundamental air pollution hazards due to inherent deficiencies in their designs. Employing optical detection techniques, these monitors only provide a proxy estimate of the level of air pollution, swiftly lose signal in the presence of particles with diameters smaller than 0.5 microns, and are completely incapable of detecting ultrafine particulate matter (which has a diameter smaller than 0.1 microns or 100 nanometers). Ultrafine particulate matter is especially toxic as it not only penetrates the lungs but also the circulatory and nervous systems directly reaching the brain.

“The National Science Foundation supports small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts," said Barry Johnson, Director of the NSF's Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships. “We hope that this seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology."

With the support of this National Science Foundation's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program grant, AirSpeQ's technologies will leapfrog the existing solutions by allowing the accurate measurement of these most pernicious particulates. AirSpeQ's gravimetric sensor uses MEMS techniques to weigh particulates directly and achieves accurate detection over the full size spectrum. In contrast to competitors, AirSpeQ's monitor accurately measures particulate matter across the full range of concentrations, is reliable across a range of harsh environmental operating conditions, has a smaller form factor, consumes less power, works longer without maintenance, and at high volume costs substantially less to produce.

Founder and CTO, David Woolsey, noted that "AirSpeQ is excited to win this competitive award as it further bolsters our understanding that not only is particulate matter pollution a serious health problem but that the government and the National Science Foundation are willing to support development of these type of solutions. We look forward to growing with NSF and applying for a Phase II grant as well as additional matching funds."

Once a small business like AirSpeQ is awarded a Phase I SBIR grant of $225,000, it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $750,000). Small businesses with Phase II grants are also eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.

NSF accepts Phase I proposals from small businesses twice annually in June and December. Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions, and commercial potential are encouraged to apply. All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program undergo a rigorous merit-based review process.

To learn more about the NSF SBIR/STTR program, visit:

About the National Science Foundation's Small Business Programs: The National Science Foundation (NSF) awards roughly $200 million annually to startups and small businesses through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. The non-dilutive grants support research and development (R&D) across almost all areas of science and technology helping companies de-risk technology for commercial success. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $7 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

About AirSpeQ: Founded in 2016, AirSpeQ is committed to improving and saving lives by commercializing sensors for fine and ultrafine airborne particulate matter detection. Based on proprietary Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) and Thin-film bulk acoustic resonator (Thin-FBAR) technology, it leverages over ten years of of research and development at the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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