Hokkaido University and NEC conclude an agreement for developing spatial sensing to combat the spread of illness

29 June 2022 | Wednesday | News

Hokkaido University and NEC Corporation (TSE: 6701) have concluded a collaborative agreement to promote the realization of a "safe and secure society through spatial sensing"(1) that helps to prevent the spread of illness.
Image Source : Public Domain

Image Source : Public Domain

In recent years, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on people's lives and economic activities throughout the world. Moreover, in the future, it is possible that additional pandemics may occur due to known viruses or currently unknown viruses. In response, Hokkaido University and NEC aim to offer virus visualization services based on spatial sensing technologies developed through collaborative research, and to link these with measures for business continuity planning (BCP) in the event of a pandemic.

Background on the agreement

Hokkaido University is a multi-disciplinary education and research organization that includes undergraduate, graduate, research laboratories and university hospitals. The university supports interdisciplinary research, such as collaborative research that spans multiple departments and facilities across one of the largest university campuses in Japan.

NEC proposes digital transformation (DX) that can contribute to solving social issues with cutting-edge digital technologies, such as world-class biometric identification technologies and proprietary AI technologies, in addition to the industry and operational know-how that it has cultivated over many years.

To date, Hokkaido University and NEC have been conducting collaborative research(2) on the detection of viruses with biosensors(3) using aptamers(4) and collaborative research on virus aerosol collection methods(5). Based on these initiatives, Hokkaido University and NEC aim to further contribute to society by expanding this collaborative research.

Collaboration details
1. Establishment of technologies for detection of viruses in the air through collaborative research currently underway
2. Verification of spatial sensing services through implementation of virus detection technology on campus and networking of spatial information
3. New co-creation of spatial sensing that makes use of technologies possessed by both parties
4. Expansion beyond campus as part of contributing to society

Future initiatives

Through ongoing collaborative research, Hokkaido University and NEC will establish technologies for the detection of known viruses and efficient aerosol collection, aiming to conduct demonstration tests and implement these technologies on campus by fiscal 2023. Going forward, Hokkaido University and NEC seek to ensure safe, secure, and comfortable conditions by providing spatial sensing services that combine virus detection information with other spatial information to students and other campus visitors.

(1) Spatial sensing: A system that measures, collects, analyzes and visualizes the environmental conditions of a space by various means (CO2 measurement sensors, virus detectors, cameras, etc.) and communication networks, and provides the results to users.
(2) Collaborative research on virus detection: Collaborative research on virus measurement methods between the Hokkaido University International Institute for Zoonosis Control and NEC.
(3) Biosensor: Sensors that can detect viruses by combining aptamer technologies and sensor technologies.
(4) Aptamer: Nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) that recognize the spatial structure of a particular target molecule, such as a virus or protein, and specifically bind to it. It can be artificially produced by the SELEX technique of finding a sequence that binds strongly only to the inspection object.
Reference: www.nec-solutioninnovators.co.jp/en/rd/thema/aptamer/index.html
(5) Collaborative research on virus aerosol collection methods: Collaborative research in the fields of spatial design and aerosol collection methods between the Faculty of Engineering, Division of Architecture, Research Group of Architectural and Environmental Design, Laboratory of Environmental Space Design, Hokkaido University and NEC.


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