February 24, 2014
The team at Silverside Detectors is of the firm belief that connected devices are changing the world and the way we look at it. And they’re not wrong either, as we learned at the 2014 International CES.
We saw that the connected device ecosystem already encompasses homes, cars, energy technology, wireless communications, and data analysis. However Silverside Detectors noticed and analyzed an interesting common thread: all of these connected devices allow a network that is greater than the sum of its parts.
They recognized that the same thing is possible when it comes to radiation and nuclear security, but it’s not quite there yet. Silverside Detectors is working to get there, though; they are bringing to market a low cost radiation sensor that operates as a connected device for networks within and around cities.
Sarah Haig enlightened us as to where this idea came from, how their detectors fit into the market, and what keeps them marching forward.
Tech Cocktail: Where did the idea come from?
Sarah Haig: Dr. Andrew Inglis, the founder and CEO, worked for years building large-area, low-cost detectors for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. He realized that the physics community had made tremendous advances in detector solutions that were both highly sensitive and able to be developed on limited research budgets.
He wanted to translate these findings to the Homeland Security context where there were plenty of highly engineered radiation detectors with no low cost solutions that would make global nuclear threat detection possible.
Tech Cocktail: What’s your analysis of the competition in the field?
Haig: We highlight what other experts are already saying about the future of nuclear threat reduction: that more detectors are needed, that networks of discrete detectors are the best way to protect cities, that large-surface-area designs – as opposed to narrow tubes – are the best way to have the most cost-effective detection.
Silverside’s initial product, a large area thermal neutron detector that utilizes lithium metal, is designed to be 1/10 the cost of comparable neutron detectors that are currently on the market. We will hit this price point by integrating advances developed by researchers at CERN and capitalizing on low cost technology out of the window and lithium battery industries.
And the implications of low-cost neutron detection are tremendous. Rather than focusing detection at limited transit points a low-cost solution means that detectors can be discretely placed in urban infrastructure, creating a web of invisible detection around key city targets.
Tech Cocktail: What’s the philosophy that drives you toward success?
Haig: Silverside is a part of a larger team: it takes government agencies, intelligence agencies, the military, law enforcement, academics, think tanks, and an engaged public to ensure that an act of nuclear terrorism never happens. Detection technology is a foundational tool for other efforts, and we want to make sure that the products we’re selling match the operational needs of the groups that are implementing the threat-reduction plans.
We have strong connections in multiple government and research organizations, and it’s a company priority to stay on the front lines of these discussions
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