N5 Sensors innovates for a new era of safety

06/17/2021 | Julie Miller

Air quality can impact a home, a workplace, or an entire community, and often those at-risk of the complications have no sense of threats from the chemicals putting them at harm. Enter Rockville-based N5 Sensors, a Maryland Future 20 company, which is developing microscale environmental sensors to address industrial and consumer needs alike. The company is on a mission to reduce the risks associated with air pollution and chemical exposure.

Sensors from N5 detect environmental hazards easily and quickly to inform communities and individuals of the atmosphere around them. Other gas and chemical sensors for industrial use are bulky, costly, and power-hungry. N5’s unique solution is a patented miniature gas sensor technology that enables the detection of 80 percent of the most harmful gases and elements with just one chip, which is about 10 times smaller than a penny.

The sensors are helpful in scenarios that first responders face, and can provide firefighters with insight to the levels of smoke and other harmful chemicals at a scene before they are exposed.
Many industries, along with branches of the military and also industrial manufacturers, find the N5 sensors to be extremely valuable. The N5 sensors’ technology can sense dangerous gases in the environment, so users can react accordingly. Some examples of industrial applications of N5 products include: automotive cabin air monitoring, wastewater treatment, and drone-based monitoring.

The Department of Homeland Security recognized the company’s value when it selected it as one of four global partners in its Smart City Internet of Things Innovation Lab pilot program. As a partner, the company will develop a solution for early detection of wildfires near urban interfaces.

More than 10,000 deaths are caused by chemical exposure every year, and N5 sees opportunity to prevent these deaths not only in the industrial setting, but in the home, too. With the prolific growth of IoT-based products and services, the company is seizing on the opportunity to bring its sensors into the consumer market as well.

Air quality in homes and indoor spaces can substantially degrade due to many different reasons, from remodeling to mold and poor ventilation. Using N5 sensors and systems, individuals can track and monitor different chemicals inside their home to limit personal exposure to these pollutants. The company plans to expand its focus to embed sensors into existing smart/IoT devices such as smart home devices, phones, and smart watches, helping people understand the impact on their health and well being in real-time.

In March, N5 Sensors announced it was adding new team members and settling into a 5,000 square-foot facility that will accommodate in-house production and testing, as well as future workforce expansions.

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