Olfactory Chip Developer AI-Sensing Secures Tens of Millions in Pre-A Round Financing

Technology Author: EqualOcean News, Jiahui Liao Editor: Jiaqi Li May 16, 2024 09:08 PM (GMT+8)

AI-Sensing Technology Fills Market Gap for Bionic Olfactory Chips.

Perfume, fragrance, smell economy

AI-Sensing Technology, a developer of olfactory chips, has recently completed a Pre-A round of financing, filling a market gap in the bionic olfactory chip industry.

The Pre-A round was led by the XBOT PARK fund, with follow-on investments from HUAGAI Capital, HKX Fund, Gan Jie, Gao Bingqiang, and HOULANG Capital, which also served as the financial advisor for this round. Previous investors include Jialichuang, among others.

Established in 2018, AI-Sensing Technology is currently the only globally commercializable supplier of large-scale gas sensor array chips. The company employs the latest NHC technology from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, along with its proprietary NBHive® and NHC-nose® processes, to produce miniaturized, low-power gas sensors and arrayed olfactory chips. Its main products include NHC single-pixel sensors & modules, and arrayed olfactory chips such as 2x2 and 3x3 arrays.

To address the fragmented gas sensor market, with large performance disparities and an inability to integrate multiple gases, AI-Sensing Technology has introduced a new technical solution—the NHC technology. Based on three-dimensional porous materials, this technology offers a large surface area for designing gas sensor arrays, enabling the simultaneous measurement of high-selectivity and various types of gases. By leveraging artificial intelligence and big data analysis, it accurately measures toxic, harmful, and flammable gases in the air, constructing a comprehensive, three-dimensional air or odor monitoring network.

It is worth mentioning that, unlike existing semiconductor silicon-based processes on the market, the three-dimensional structure of the device makes miniaturization and array chip production possible. This breakthrough overcomes the bottleneck of traditional semiconductor technology, using only additive manufacturing processes and eliminating subtractive manufacturing steps, saving on high-cost processes such as photolithography, and not being constrained by chip production capacity. Compared to existing MEMS silicon-based semiconductor production lines, costs can be saved by more than onefold, with large-scale production line costs reduced to below CNY 10 million.

In terms of realized scenarios, the two gas sensors can be widely applied to various scenarios such as smart home and indoor and outdoor air quality monitoring, industrial waste gas monitoring, flammable gas safety monitoring, livestock breeding air monitoring, and food preservation.

Additionally, AI-Sensing Technology is also setting its sights on the bionic olfactory chip market. Following vision, hearing, and touch, smell is currently the most valuable sense to develop, and at that time, there was a blank slate in this area in China.

According to AI-Sensing Technology, the company successfully broke through the limitations of single-gas detection of the original gas sensors in 2021, developing the world's first highly integrated "bionic olfactory chip" with innovative AI odor algorithms. Its performance, cost, volume, and integration are superior to traditional external PCB-level gas sensor arrays and MEMS semiconductor in-chip array olfactory chips, and there are currently no similar competitive products on the market.

This also enables the olfactory chip to have the opportunity to be applied to smart electronic device terminals for the first time, expanding the gas sensor to a billion-level incremental market space, gradually achieving comprehensive olfactory digitalization. In the future, AI-Sensing Technology will further explore new scenarios such as energy safety, automotive electronics, and embodied intelligence.

In terms of the team, the core team members are mainly professors and doctors from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, with over 20 years of accumulation in the fields of nanomaterials, gas-sensitive materials, and chip device structures. Co-founder Fan Zhiyong is the founding director of the Smart Sensor Center at HKUST and has published over 230 papers in top international journals.