Sensors firm Pyreos aims to tap £18bn wearable tech market

Pyreos chief executive Andrew Wallace said the device was a 'real game-changer'. Picture: Contributed
Pyreos chief executive Andrew Wallace said the device was a 'real game-changer'. Picture: Contributed
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Scottish technology firm Pyreos is looking to break into the multi-billion pound global market for “wearable technology” – such as fitness trackers and smart watches – with the launch of a new product at a major industry event today.

The Edinburgh-based infra-red sensor developer, spun out from Siemens in 2007 and backed by a number of big name investors, has launched a tiny device which can detect gestures but can also provide information on the direction and speed of a movement.

The sensor, the smallest of its kind on the market, has potential applications across industry including flame detection, which can be critical in large industrial facilities, such as oil and gas rigs or petrochemical plants.

The ezPyro sensor, which is much smaller than a five pence coin, also opens up the potential for the company to benefit from the boom under way in the wearable technology sector which is expected to be worth $25 billion (£18bn) by 2019, according to figures from industry analysts CCS Insight.

Forecasts suggest more than 245 million wearable devices will be in use before the end of the decade.

READ MORE: Tech group Pyreos aims to treble sales in key US market

Andrew Wallace, chief executive at Pyreos, said the sensor has the potential to be a “real game-changer” for the Scottish company.

“This is a massive opportunity for Pyreos and our sensors, and it complements the use of our existing range of sensors in mobile phones and other consumer electronic devices.”

A further potential application for ezPyro is in detecting the presence of gases and also analysing their concentration. It can detect poisonous substances such as carbon monoxide from inefficient central heating boilers or the methane produced in industrial processes.

The sensor can also pick-up carbon dioxide, which can be important for monitoring the environment in climate management and ventilation systems, and the nitrogen oxides produced by vehicle engines.

READ MORE: Sensors specialist Pyreos bolsters boardroom

The Scottish company’s technology is based on the equivalent of 75 man-years and some €10m (£7m) of investment and research at Siemens in ceramic thin-film technology.

The company has filed well over 120 patents to protect the intellectual property it has created so far.

Its major shareholders include Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Scottish Investment Bank, Seraphim Partners, Siemens Technology Accelerator and Braveheart. All the shareholders contributed to a further £2.5m funding package for the company last year.

The firm is based at the Scottish Microelectronics Centre on the University of Edinburgh’s King’s Buildings campus.

The new sensor is being launched at the Sensor+Test measurement fair at Nuremburg in Germany, which starts today.

Last month Pyreos was named as one of 23 UK companies in the Red Herring Europe Top 100 table of technology companies.