Swisens: Diversifying the Applicability of Particle Identification/measurement

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Erny Niederberger, CEO and Co-Founder, SwisensErny Niederberger, CEO and Co-Founder
The success story of Swisens digital particle measurement solutions symbolizes the evolution of a technology that has found its applicability across various regimes such as sustainable and environmental protection, climate research, food production, allergy science, bioaerosol research and more. The seed of innovation for such a particle measurement system was planted when Erny Niederberger—CEO and Co-founder of Swisens—developed sensitive smoke detectors for his previous employer. For Niederberger, the challenge at hand was to conclusively distinguish smoke, water vapour, and dust particles, while deducing the sensitivity to various aerosol particles in the ambient atmosphere. “It is amazing how little we know about aerosol particles. I decided to change this and contribute to the knowledge we have about the different particles in the air,” explains a passionate Niederberger.

This thirst for innovation led to the creation of Swisens instrument for measurement of particles such as pollen and spores, to overcome the disadvantages of the conventional Hirst pollen trap design of 1952 which is still the worldwide standard and the only reference for pollen measurement. The manual Hirst sampling system, based on the identification of pollen by a person with help of a microscope, allows delivering daily pollen concentration once a week. It is a time consuming and cost-intensive process. The Swisens solution, on the hand, brings forth an automatic, real-time identification and measurement network.
Through the amalgamation of the Swisens Poleno, Swisens server and database the company provides remote access, control, maintenance and updates and enables third-party applications and operational services. These advantages over the conventional method have helped Swisens in winning the international tender for Swiss Automatic Pollen Network of MeteoSwiss. And, thus began the exponential growth of Swisens, as a revolutionary leader in the particle identification measurement arena.

It is amazing how little we know about aerosol particles. I decided to change this and contribute to the knowledge we have about the different particles in the air

MeteoSwiss utilizes 14 Hirst pollen traps for monitoring across Switzerland. MeteoSwiss has tested the automated Swisens technology and demonstrated its excellent suitability for real-time pollen monitoring, as published in a scientific journal. Thanks to real-time data from the Poleno System, it will be possible to improve the pollen forecasts substantially, as these calculations are based on current concentrations of pollen measurement. These data allow calibration of the forecast system and improve the accuracy of the projections. Niederberger says timely and precise information about the pollen concentration in the air can help allergic people in taking preventive measures against symptoms. For example daily vacuum cleaning and hair washing, air the home only briefly, adjust leisure activities to the pollen count and a more targeted intake of medication.

Today, this platform technology has transcended its market potential and is found to be applicable to different types of particles and sub-classes. For instance, Swisens is developing a solution to identify fungal spores causing crop diseases. “The biggest challenge in this regard is the selectivity for the spores. If we can detect these early on, the use of fungicides can be optimized based on the requirement,” adds Niederberger. Farmers often have a fixed schedule for fungicide application which leads to the unnecessary application of pesticides. With help of real-time measurement data they know when to apply the pesticides and can save work, spraying agent and can reduce the stress on the plants. Any reduction in the amount of applied fungicide is also good for the environment. In addition to realizing such benefits, the Swisens digital particle measurement solutions offer reliability, long-term uninterrupted operation, inter-comparison, low maintenance cost, easy data management and powerful analytical tools to the users.

Undoubtedly, it redefines the future standard and benchmark of real-time particle identification technology in ambient air. Swisens wants to contribute to a clean, safe and healthy environment for people.
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Horw, Switzerland

Erny Niederberger, CEO and Co-Founder and Reto Abt, COO and Co-founder, Philipp Burch, CTO and Co-founder

Swisens AG develops advanced sensing technologies to monitor environmental threats in our surrounding air. The company focuses currently on detecting and identifying pollen accurately and in real-time, as such allergies affect more than 20 percent of the Swiss population. Swisens was founded in 2016 as a spin-off of Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and takes real-time measurements to help people avoid the problematic areas or make countermeasures in time. The range of the company's detection includes allergens such as pollen, mold spores, or excrements of house dust mite