Technology can help detect normally invisible dangers to humans and the planet. Health startup Poppy has developed a system that identifies bacteria and viruses that surround us in offices or homes. Kairos Aerospace, meanwhile, specializes in finding methane leaks to combat climate change.
This DLD Munich session brings together Poppy CEO Elizabeth Caley, former MIT researcher Kevin Slavin, now also with Poppy, and Kairos Aerospace founder Ari Gesher to illustrate how both groundbreaking technologies work.
“Because there’s so much time we spend indoors, 90 percent of our time, we’re going to breathe in the next 24 hours about 10,000 liters of air”, Elizabeth Caley notes. “And what’s in it? What’s living in it?”
Through sensors and data analysis her company’s “biosafety intelligence system” constantly analyzes the air quality and identifies potentially harmful bacteria and viruses.
The Covid pandemic has given this work additional urgency, Caley emphasizes. “We’re going to need the tools and the ability to take actions based on real data to make [indoor] spaces safe.”
Analyzing the air can even help detect pathogens on surfaces, she explains. Her company’s goal is to work with real-estate companies to create thousands of infection-resistant buildings, as Caley calls it.
“Because if that’s the infrastructure that we have”, she says, “nobody will be worried about breathing indoors again.”
Low Effort, High Impact
Similarly important is detecting methane leaks outdoors because methane is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2.
On the upside, methane also removes itself from the atmosphere much faster, Ari Gesher explains. “All you have to do is put less in the atmosphere, and the level goes down again, on its own.”
And because methane is such a strong accelerant, “it’s a place of low effort and high impact to mitigate climate change”, Gesher argues.
By observing oil and gas fields, and analyzing the airspace above, Kairos Aerospace has mitigated the equivalent of 4.2 million cars taken off the road in the past two years alone, Gesher says.
“So this is having a real effect”, he emphasizes. “That said, we need to scale it up to a global scale to have a really big effect.”