Monday , April 12 2021

Is success with sensors: – The intelligent house needs sensors that follow everything

Norwegian Technology Prize – candidate 1

WHAT: Sensors for monitoring internal and external environmental parameters.
WHO: Airthings

TU's readers should know about phenomena. The company has been shaded by its technology and export capability. They have developed a unique technology and expanded extensions surprisingly fast.

The company was founded ten years ago on the basis of a unique and simple radon sensor. For the first time someone had designed a small, cheap and reliable sensor that could be used again and again. For more than a day, it could give results that it had been for months.

There were some physicists behind CERN who realized how to build a radon sensor that counts alpha articles that are released after radon. These particles are usually not very dangerous if they do not appear in the lungs. There they get sensitive DNA in the tissue and if DNA mutates, it can develop lung cancer.

Independent evaluation:

In the Research Council, Hilde Erlandsen, Director of ICT in ICT and Digitization, notes that since the beginning of 2008, Airthings has used a number of National and European Research Council systems. Together, they have received SEK 17.2 million.

"This is a growing company that creates jobs and earns money. The entrepreneur business based on the basic research industry has succeeded in commercializing and is now a global player."

But it does not help if you have a good sensor at the bottom unless you build products and businesses around it. It's been done by Airthings, and now the radon sensor is just one of many sensors in the company's latest products. Airthings has developed products that measure the indoor environment very accurately and how it varies during the day. This means that new Wave Plus meters can be used much more than clean radon sensors can.

Growth and bottom line

From the very beginning, the company currently has 40 employees. Four of them work in North America, which is the largest in many export markets. The fact that Airthings is technology-driven shows, among other things, that 25 people work with R & D. Despite their rapid growth, they have had a strong profit since 2013.

In addition to selling online, the company has hundreds of North American retailers targeting the consumer market.

"We have been in the consumer technology market with health issues since its inception, and we continue to do so, but now that new multi-sensors and concentrations that can link many of them, we have taken a step in the construction work. In addition to the radon content, we measure continuous pressure, temperature, humidity, CO2 and VOC. This gives us the ability to manage buildings for safety, comfort and energy, says Airy's CEO Øyvind Birkenes.

Norwegian Technical Award

Year award under Tekniske Ukeblad

Criteria: Represents a good technical solution or breakthrough for a technical or social problem.

The winner will be rewarded with a combination of reading research and a professional jury.

The winner will be announced and the prize will be awarded to the Oslo War Council on November 28.

Trond Markussen, Nito (juryleder)
Lise Lyngsnes Randeberg, Tekna
Sverre Gotaas, Herøya Industrial Park
Anne Kjersti Fahlvik, Research Council of Norway
Daniel Ras-Vidal, Abelia
Mette Vågnes Eriksen, Polytechnic Association
Katrine Vinnes, the Norwegian industry
Jan M. Moberg, TU

Control data does not only use individual measurements. Equally important are the measurements of all time series and their variations as well as the combining of different measurement parameters to achieve better results. Sensors perform measurements every 5 minutes. These are downloaded to Airthing's own solution where both private and business customers handle and use them.

– Measurements can be carried out flexibly. We can look at the pressure sensor when the door goes up and then it can trigger a notification or action. Is CO many people in the room?2level. Likewise, the VOC level rises if the ventilation changes poorly and such combination data can be used to adjust the ventilation to optimize the health and energy consumption. We see that CO2the level is very important for productivity. If it becomes too high, people's cognitive performance will be significantly reduced. Many people do not know, and even though it costs a bit of ventilation, it is much more expensive that people think worse, "says Birkenes.

service plan

Air types are for the time being driven by the sale of sensors. But in the future, rental and maintenance sales will be a significant part of the net sales.

"There is a very good growth in the consumer market, and the markets for offices, schools and kindergartens take some time to get started, but when subscribers are in place, this is a very stable entry.

Recently, the company has expanded its database to customers by providing geographically accurate information about the outdoors. Airthings buys information about aggregation and tells customers how air is outside the home or building. How much dust, what is the NOx and SO level2 and other important information on atmospheric pollution. In addition, they have created a dynamic radon map of their own, covering the countries where they have sensors. It is much more accurate than regular radon maps based on a few individual samples and interpolation. You can see the map at

Heavy targets

– By the end of 2015, when NOK 15 million was traded, we set the target to reach NOK 100 million in the net sales this year. We're pretty close to this. The next goal is to trade $ 100 million. We believe that we think we will get there fast. Nobody has developed a multisensor with radon like us, says Birkenes.

The strategy is to produce, sell and rent unique sensors and other devices and use this business to develop a value-creating software platform with a wealth of services.

"To achieve this, we must continue to develop devices that are very easy to use and can be used on batteries for many years," says Birkenes.


  1. Airthings (this article)
  2. Griffin Aerospace
  3. NEL
  4. NSM / Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace
  5. Seabox
  6. Zivid

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