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Posted on October 14, 2005 by  & 

Unpowered smart holograms sense many parameters

Smart Holograms (Smart) was founded in 2002 as a spin out company from the University of Cambridge to exploit an exciting technology ("sensor holograms") that enables the development of a new generation of sensors for use in the Life Sciences Industry. To date the Company has raised £6.0 million in Venture Capital from the University of Cambridge Challenge Fund, Partnerships UK and Porton Capital.
Smart has also won a number of grants, such as a BBSRC grant of £216,000 on pathogen sensing in May 2003, a DTI grant of £1.3 million on E-Health for Diabetics in December 2004, a DTI grant of £1.1 million on Smart Materials in July 2005 and two Home Offices grants of circa £2.4 million for chemical and pathogen sensor development.
The Company has also had income from four partnerships: one in the area of non-invasive sensors for diabetes with a Top 5 Healthcare firm, one for development of a novel immunodiagnostic with a global diagnostics firm, one in sensor development for a global petrochemical company and the other in out-licensing, consultancy and royalty fees from a cross-licensing of its intellectual property to a Top 5 Chemicals firm.
Smart has a Laboratory and Office facility in Cambridge (UK), a Commercial Office in San Ramon (California, USA) and is opening another Commercial Office in Boston (Massachusetts, USA). The Company currently has a team of 35 people (including 17 PhD's), its first products in development and recently initiated development of a manufacturing system for sensor holograms. Smart is currently doubling its headcount and UK facility space.
Smart is applying sensor holograms for the development of "Advanced Systems for Disease Diagnosis and Management". These devices are mainly being commercialized in the areas of monitoring metabolic (e.g. diabetes) and infectious (e.g. microbial) diseases and in applications for infection control. Due to the enablement of the technology, Smart is also out-licensing the technology for applications in other industries.
Smart has developed a technology that comprises novel interactive holograms ("sensor holograms") that can be engineered to change wavelength, image, brightness or position in response to a wide range of biological, chemical and physical stimuli as shown below. The image is stored in a thin polymer film that is chemically sensitised to react with a specific substance in, for example, a bioassay or a sample of body fluid. During the test, the target substance reacts with the polymer leading to an alteration in the image displayed by the hologram.
For qualitative and semi-quantitative applications, a sensor hologram can be read by eye (i.e. it is a virtual instrument). However, a simple wavelength sensor can be used to read the signal when quantitative measurements are required.
The format of the sensor allows multiplexing for simultaneous detection of several substances. Reversible and irreversible sensors can be designed to meet different requirements and continuous monitoring of a particular substance of interest feasible. Sensors can also be miniaturised for use in various Life Sciences applications.
Smart has 25 granted/filed patents (includes granted US, PCT and European patents). The Company already has its first two products in development: a novel sensor for glucose monitoring (Glucoview™) and a portable sensor device (the PathoTester™) for detection of microbial contamination. Both are being developed in collaboration with leading, global firms.


For Measuring Microbial Contamination
Smart has developed a portable sensor device for detection of microbial contamination in the clinical, petrochemical and military sectors. These markets (in total) represent over a £2.0 billion per annum opportunity.
This device has many advantages over conventional technology including: speed of detection, multiplexing, portability & miniaturisation. For example, the Smart device can analyse samples within a few minutes at the nano-litre scale utilising its unique NanoCartridgeTM technology. This compares to conventional approaches which use large instruments, up to 1000-fold larger sample volumes and can take many hours or days to obtain results.
The Company is also now developing sensor strips and devices as well as other sensor formats to measure the presence of bacteria or disinfecting agents for various markets.


The flexible nature of Smart's sensor hologram products allows this platform technology to be applied to a wide range of areas in a variety of formats. The company is currently actively engaged in seeking out new potential partners in a diverse range of fields such as smart packaging and quality and freshness monitoring. Smart's sensors can also be integrated easily with other technologies, such as RFID where it could provide power-free detection systems.


Smart is aiming to collaborate with global Life Science Companies, particularly in the Diagnostics and Pharmaceutical sectors. The Company is also interested in providing out licensing and product development opportunities to other non-Life Sciences companies.
Depending on the partnership, they can involve some or all of the following: R&D sponsorship, consultancy, intellectual property licences, sensor hologram manufacturing services, milestone and royalties on product sales. The Company is currently aiming for ISO accreditation by Summer 2006.
The Company already has four major partnerships with leading Life Science firms and has successfully delivered all milestones to date.

Europe office

Smart Holograms Ltd
291 Cambridge Science Park
Milton Road, Cambridge
Tel: +44 (0)1223 393400
Fax: +44 (0)1223 393401

North America office

Smart Holograms Inc.
2010 Crow Canyon Place
Suite 100, San Ramon
CA94583, USA
Tel: +1 925 277 3451
Fax: +1 925 277 3450

The conference Active RFID Summit will cover RFID with sensing.
Active RFID Summit, San Antonio Texas Nov 15-16 External Link
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