Enfucell offers supple power for every sensor
If this Finnish company’s flexible solutions are not under your skin yet, they may well be on it before long.
Whilst it may seem difficult to channel notions of Atlanta when looking out an office window in Vantaa – the Nordic October weather having well and truly set in – comparisons can nevertheless be drawn between a certain beverage giant based in the Deep South and a battery technology innovator from Finland.
“We’re a bit like the Coca-Cola Company,” explains Enfucell CEO Markku Ellilä. “They sell the concentrate that is mixed with water at the bottling plant. The bottlers cannot get the job done with any other producer’s concentrate. We have a similar situation in what we do. In essence, we’re a chemical company, preparing inks for our clients in the printed electronics industry, and their printing machines turn this ink into battery power.”
Enfucell’s all-printed power source, SoftBattery, is both flexible and thin, which comes in handy in IoT-related applications in different fields like health care.
“Adhesive smart patches powered by Enfucell batteries offer a supple solution in places such as against human skin, without making the experience uncomfortable for the user,” Ellilä says.
Healthy and sporty applications
One area where the company has made significant impact is that of the quality of life for the more mature members of society.
Staff at Kauniala Hospital in Kauniainen, Finland, had been looking for a remote monitoring solution for their predominantly elderly clients living at home, and they found one with the battery innovator’s help.
“By applying an Enfucell-powered monitoring patch on the client’s body, it is possible to prolong independent life for many people, and if something alarming happens, the care personnel at the hospital will immediately be alerted through the Internet,” Ellilä says.
The batteries in the skin patch have enough power in them for a week’s operation, and the patches are replaced by a roaming nurse on scheduled home visits, and the electronics are reused.
The field of sports is another budding application area.
“We collaborated with the electronics giant Qualcomm in the development of light and inconspicuous smart labels for golf club heads, to measure things such as club head velocity, clubface angles and swing speed and transmit the data via Bluetooth to devices for coaching purposes,” Ellilä pours on with measured clarity.
The solution has attracted plenty of interest among developers of smart sports tech, and there are application scenarios for other sports as well, tennis and ice hockey included.
Amidst all this technical wizardry, one can’t help beginning to imagine high-tech in future sports: “Hey, you know our dads had no smart tags on these things back in the day – what Neanderthals!”
Who knows if Enfucell’s power will one day bring life to inanimate flying objects like baseballs or discs in that other golf game so beloved by the hoodie-wearing members of society? Whatever sensors are used, they all need a power source.
Funding for new horizons
The company is already getting the crowd involved. Aiming to broaden their investor base before potentially going public on First North, they set up a crowdfunding round with Invesdor, attracting over 400 000 euros.
“The funds now acquired will find good use in international sales and marketing,” the CEO continues. “Several promising projects are ready for a monetisation phase over the coming years. These are expected to generate a significant amount of revenue by 2018.”
What’s the pet project for the CEO, heading the currently six-strong team?
“One field I got my sights set on is industrial maintenance,” Ellilä enthuses. “I see potential in smart stickers placed in factory equipment for diagnostic purposes to speed up and facilitate troubleshooting.”