Israeli startup Neteera, which has developed remote sensing technology of various human biological indicators using sweat has completed its first round of funding, raising $2 million from private investors.
Neteera’s novel technology is based on the detection of electromagnetic emissions from sweat ducts, enables reliable and speedy biometric identification, along with monitoring of other physiological parameters, such as, stress, fatigue, pain, alcohol influence, drug abuse detection, and medical diagnostics. These can be remotely monitored with a unique sub-terahertz (THz) imaging camera.
Neteera was founded in 2015 by CEO Isaac Litman, chief scientist Prof. Yuri Feldman, and chief researcher Dr. Paul Ben Ishai.
Neteera CEO Isaac Litman is the former CEO of Mobileye Aftermarket and Yissum Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is responsible for commercializing the system.
Litman left Mobileye in 2014 to set up Neteera. He told "Globes", "In fact the story was born in 2005 in the Applied Physics Department of the Hebrew University. A person's body has between 2 and 5 million sweat glands connected to the autonomous nervous system and sweat ducts, which has a unique spiral structure and this structure was discovered back at the beginning of the 20th century but only now researchers are examining it differently. Over the past 11 years they have examined the changes in the nervous systems demonstrated by sweat ducts."
The researchers found interesting data in everything related to irrational expressions of pressure and stress, which don't necessarily result in sweating but but do lead to electromagnetic changes. Litman explains, "It's possible to liken this to the rev counter in a car. It can be within the normal range or above or below it and this allows possibilities for a range of applications - it can serve for biometric identification for people as well as changes that they undergo, and all this unconsciously, remotely and without any contact. At the moment we are moving forward mainly with hands but in the future we will move to other parts of the body such as the forehead."
"Globes:" Who are potential customers for the technology?
"We see the police as a potential customer. At the moment we are working with entry control companies and companies manufacturing electronic consumer products that find use for our technology from a user experience point of view. Vehicle companies are also interested. The technology allows them to find out what happens to drivers when they are travelling and to remotely identify distress situations such as falling asleep or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs."
It sounds revolutionary. Can the technology replace the Breathalyzer currently used by the police?
"Certainly and identification can be carried out while the vehicle is moving."
You also spoke about biometric identification. Does each person have their own unique structure?
"The dispersal of sweat glands is random and therefore unique to each person. On the forehead for example, there are 150-200 glands in every square centimeter. On the thumb, the density is 400 glands. As a result law enforcement agencies are interested in our technology as well as other companies either for vetting employees or security needs. Another major use is for border control, as I've said without need of contact or false alarms.
But alongside the advantages, this technology threatens privacy?
"Undoubtedly there are issues of harming privacy. Generally speaking, as technology progresses worldwide, we will see more and more threats to privacy. Here we must find the balance."
And how does the device look?
"We produce two things - hardware and algorithms. We are talking about a sensor but at terahertz frequencies that the eye cannot see. The user will receive data after our processing - that is to say the conclusions."
He added, "We began a year ago and today we are at the end of the planning process with the first generation of production. Our aim is to raise another financing round in August-September for the second generation. In 2017, we are readying for marketing and preparing for the market and in 2018 we will begin with sales."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 14, 2016
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