(2005), "Portable screening makes cybersense", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 54 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijppm.2005.07954baf.002Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Portable screening makes cybersense
A University of Surrey spin-out company, Cybersense Biosystems Ltd, has developed a new portable toxicity screening device.
The rapid on-site toxicity audit system (ROTAS) system can be literally wheeled on to a brownfield site to carry out field-based screening of contaminated soils and waters and the results can be read within minutes. It is especially relevant with the Government’s vision to see more contaminated industrial land made safe for housing.
The inventor Dr Tim Hart, Cybersense Biosystems Ltd, says: “The key benefit of ROTAS is its ability to dramatically reduce the cost of site remediation by providing reliable data on site quickly enough that it can be used to influence the management of the project”.
Using marine bacteria that naturally emit light (bioluminescent) that ROTAS is an environmentally sustainable method of analysing toxicity when compared to classic tests on higher organisms. When in a state of metabolic health the bacteria glows more, but in the presence of increasing toxicity, they glow less. This powerful new tool, based on a well-recognised technology, allows more rapid, cost-effective and accurate site characterisation and monitoring work. It has been designed to complement, not to replace chemical analysis.
The information provided by ROTAS is much more powerful than can be obtained by chemical analysis alone, and results from its use provide information on the biological effects of contaminants, no matter how complex and ill-defined the pollution is, or what synergistic interactions take place between toxins. The ROTAS system has been specially designed for the analysis of soil samples and is capable of sampling soil in the field in minutes in a very simple to use, disposable piece of kit.
Cybersense has been through three private investment rounds including a further top-up from the seed fund, and also raised some £1 million public grant funding.
Anthony Woolhouse, Head of Ventures at the University of Surrey, said: “I am absolutely delighted that this project has moved on so positively in such a relatively short space of time. We like to back success at Surrey and we were pleased to co-vest with business angels last year. Cybersense is a really good example of an innovative idea being turned into an exciting business with real growth opportunity!”
Cybersense moved from Surrey to Oxford and now occupies two sites around the University of Oxford and on the Oxford Science Park. The product has global interest and Cybersense is setting up distributors across Europe, US, Japan, South Africa and Australia.
The company has 23 shareholders, eight full-time staff and a board of five directors. The inventors started with no capital and have developed, field trialed and manufactured the product in just over two-and-a-half years.