C2Sense

Founders & Leadership

George Linscott, Tim Swager, Eric Keller, JT Mann, Robert Deans, Jeff Takle, Steve Fletcher

Background

MIT Department of Chemistry

Industry

Advanced Materials, Advanced Systems

Miniaturized, mobile sensing solutions for a healthier and safer world.

There is knowledge hidden all around us — knowledge in the form of invisible chemical compounds that can signal profound things about safety, authenticity, and human health. But  the knowledge unlocked by these compounds remains under-recognized, underutilized, and under-leveraged. Until recently, the technology to extract reliable data from these trace amounts of invisible gases and chemicals was limited by sensor sensitivity and specificity, or the sensors’ sheer size and price. C2Sense’s core mission is to develop advanced sensing platforms that make this knowledge accessible to all. 

C2Sense is a sensing company that develops technologies for applications in rapid medical diagnostics, anti-counterfeiting, air quality, and more. Initially spun out of MIT’s chemistry department in 2013 with a focus on gas sensing, the company now boasts three distinct technology families: Halo™ Diagnostics, AuthenTags™ anti-counterfeiting solutions, and its signature chemiresistive carbon nanotube (CNT) gas sensors.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgency and promise of the company’s Halo product line. Halo is a diagnostic technology that transforms a smartphone into a fluorescent immunoassay reader, enabling lab-quality diagnostic testing anywhere. By using a combination of luminescence chemistry, machine learning, and optical decoding software, the technology gives a standard smartphone the power to recognize luminescent tags in diagnostic test strips that are invisible to the naked eye. Halo test results can be instantly communicated to a healthcare provider, boosting the effectiveness and capabilities of the telehealth experience and limiting dangerous in-person contact between providers and patients. 

Halo has proven remarkably sensitive to COVID-19 rapid antigen tests, reading test assays at < 1pg/ml. This improved performance means that the C2Sense Halo sample collection can be less invasive — like collecting saliva rather than an invasive nasal swab — and that Halo may be able detect the disease over a longer period of time. By providing more accurate and less invasive diagnostics that work over longer periods of infection, Halo can extend the battle against COVID from clinics into the home. 

C2Sense’s AuthenTags product line was developed in response to the ever-growing problem of counterfeit goods. The rise of e-commerce has been a boon to increasingly sophisticated criminal counterfeiting organizations and resulted in millions of people being exposed to potentially dangerous knockoffs each year. From basic foods and medicines to upscale luxury products, many of these counterfeits are difficult to identify because of their fidelity to the imitated product and opaque global supply chains.  

AuthenTags work like this: a manufacturer creates a custom chemical compound that is integrated into its products — whether those products are Swiss watches, cosmetics, or heart medication. This compound serves as an invisible signature that is impossible to forge. Once the product leaves the factory, a smartphone equipped with C2Sense software checks the compound’s chemical makeup against the formula provided by the manufacturer. If it matches, the product is authentic. If not, it is counterfeit. By making this technology useable by anybody weilding a standard, unmodified smartphone, C2Sense hopes that its AuthenTagsTM solution will help to eliminate the trade of counterfeit goods by empowering manufacturers, distributors, and customers to confirm the authenticity of a product from the factory floor to the final destination.

C2Sense’s original gas-sensing technology, a product of Professor Timothy Swager’s lab in MIT’s Chemistry Department, allows modified carbon nanotubes to react in highly sensitive ways to specific gaseous compounds. Unlike other CNT-based sensors, C2Sense technology is embedded with proprietary molecular selectors that enable levels of selectivity second to only gas chromatographs, which are exponentially larger, more expensive, and reside as stationary equipment in specialized labs. The CNT technology pioneered by C2Sense has forced us to rethink the capabilities and applications of gas sensing technology. Tiny, inexpensive, efficient, and highly selective, the company’s CNT sensors will enable a future of ubiquitous mobile gas sensing — a future in which experts in medicine, agriculture, and security will be empowered to make the world a healthier and safer place. 

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