Generation of precise low concentration vapors, particularly in real time, has always been a challenge in the calibration and test of very sensitive instruments, including the human nose. MicroFab incorporated (1) the ability to precisely generate droplets containing minute amounts of the substance of interest, and (2) their fast vaporization onto a heater, in systems that are used to create low concentration vapors in several applications: biomedical (odorant vapors), sensor test & calibration (explosive vapors), and entertainment & virtual reality (aroma vapors).
The original development of the technology was in biomedical field, where the instrument developed by MicroFab was used to establish the olfaction threshold of a patient. Prior research indicated that neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s reduce the sense of smell. The accurate determination of the olfaction threshold can be used as an early diagnostics tool and the means to track the evolution of the disease.
In post September 11 era, the technology was further refined to provide low concentration vapors of explosive substances that are needed to test the vapor trace detectors used in airports and other control points. As the explosive detection technologies become more sensitive, the need for a vapor generator accurate at low concentrations is imperative during the development and operation of new vapor trace detectors.
The generation of aromas followed the same approach and was implemented in systems that could interact with games. Another potential application is in virtual reality type training where, similar to games, aromas would add another dimension to the environment. Aromas can be also included in kiosks and/or in the grocery isles as marketing and point of sales tools.