In part one of this series, we took a good look at defining ‘deep tech’. We discovered many definitions, but one main idea:
Deep tech is a brand new type of tech or scientific innovation that makes the world a better place.
Let’s keep digging to find out what deep tech is, and what it isn’t.
The crux of deep tech lies in it being brand new. Recycled technology is not allowed. If a new mobile app is created that employs AR (Augmented Reality) to provide an enhanced view of someone’s surroundings, that’s not deep tech. Why? Because it uses technology that already exists, just in a different way. The root of the software, the AR, already exists.
On the other hand, if you were to produce a mobile phone for people with epilepsy that could detect certain scents in their body chemistry and alert them when they were about to have a seizure, much like some service dogs do already, then that would absolutely be deep tech. That technology doesn’t already exist, and its application could be of huge benefit to individuals with epilepsy. Also, any deep tech engineers who want to steal that idea and make it happen, please be our guest.
That should provide a clearer idea of what deep tech is. When in doubt, just ask yourself: “Is it really, really new?” If so, you’re onto something.
Deep Tech Innovators: Digitized Smell
Speaking of the sense of smell, here’s a company you shouldn’t turn your nose at: Aromyx, headquartered in Palo Alto, California. This deep tech company is attempting to achieve a Herculean goal, and one that truly does not already yet exist. Their proprietary technology has allowed them to digitize smell. That’s right, they “place human olfactory and taste receptors onto a disposable biochip with a digital readout.” This solution is called “EssenceChip”.
Practical applications of Aromyx’s deep tech focus on food and beverage corporations, consumer packaged goods, and chemicals and agriculture industries. But beyond perfecting the taste and smell of some of our most loved foods, they could create ways to use smaller quantities of dyes and colors in food manufacturing, improving overall food safety.
But how does Aromyx advance mankind?
Aromyx also works with robotics manufacturers to enhance the way the robots of the future will be able to smell as a human does. Although not as cuddly as that service dog mentioned earlier, robotics capable of smelling would have a number of applications for the safety of their surroundings.
They could provide the same function for people with epilepsy as our mobile app idea, warning them when a seizure was approaching and automatically contacting an emergency medical team. Smelling robots could alert a user if they detected a burning smell in a house while its residents were out and immediately alert the local fire department. Even the use of the EssenceChip in household sensors could provide huge advances in safety and security.
Deep Tech Healthcare
Another deep tech company with a truly unique offering is Gel-e Life Sciences. Their products are built to stop bleeding quickly by employing binding agents found in the exoskeleton of shrimp. Stephen Hawking is a big fan of Gel-e and recently featured them as a top innovator on the National Geographic Channel. Founded by Dr. Matt Dowling, Gel-e uses their product in a variety of applications to maximize its potential uses.
Patients who use blood thinners can benefit from by applying Gel-e to treat what are called “nuisance bleeds”. Diabetic patients can use a sheet of Gel-e to stop bleeding from chronic leg wounds, a regularly occurring problem; these sheets are purported to treat “all shapes, sizes, and types of wound geometry”. Future projects include the development of gel, foam, and sponge products that can be used during surgery or traumatic injury, from neurosurgery to a car crash. This is a game changer in healthcare, and one that hadn’t existed prior to Gel-e’s innovations. As for the benefits this provides for the greater good, we think that speaks volumes for itself.
Now that we’ve found some deep tech companies who are paving the way to the future, next time we will take a look at how the deep tech scene is quickly changing.