How Matsaki’s Unique Technology Arms First Responders During Gas Leaks

First responders make the world safer for the rest of us. From police officers and firefighters to military and public works crews, first responders are our protectors in a multitude of ways, seen and unseen every day.

Matsaki Technologies, an advanced manufacturing startup in Columbus, is developing an infrared system to enable utility company crews to identify and evaluate the danger of natural gas leaks before exposing first responder teams and the public to harm.

“Infrared is good at detecting heat and visualizing it,” said Earl Fuller, Matsaki CEO. “We are developing a low-cost infrared camera for detecting gas leaks to more easily locate the source.”

Matsaki Moves Toward Prototype Testing with Customers

Gas leaks can occur in residences, in commercial buildings, as well as in a number of industrial situations. These are extremely dangerous to homeowners, workers, and other people in the vicinity—and especially to first responders.

Utility companies add an ingredient that emits a scent like rotten eggs or sewage. Dead plants, hissing, or even white mist are other indications that there is a leak. Any of these signs can trigger a call to first responders.

And that’s what utility companies want residents and building managers to do. They want first responders on-site as rapidly as possible. Now that they have trained the public to make the emergency calls, they want to be better at responding safely.

However, once those responders arrive, they likely don’t know where the leak is or how dangerous the immediate situation is. They may be forced to make a decision about exposing themselves and perhaps others in the vicinity to potential harm before they can calibrate what that harm is.

Imagine if those responders from the utility company carried a low-cost, easy-to-use camera that will visualize the cloud of methane gas, helping to identify the location, source, and even the amount of gas present. The infrared technology built into the camera visualizes everything in the scene, even the propane or methane gas that is invisible to the human eye.

Equipping well-trained and dedicated first responders and repair crew teams with the cameras could save both property and lives.

Built on Founding Team’s Expertise and Intellectual Property from OSU

With three decades of experience in the semiconductor industry, Earl Fuller is an engineer who has been involved in technology startups and strategic partnerships for integrated electronics, optics, and photonics.

He came to Columbus a few years ago following his CTO and co-founder, who was recruited by OSU, bringing with him a business focused on custom solutions for infrared sensors. Prior to that, he spent several years in entrepreneurship and engineering management in Silicon Valley.

“I was pleased when I came here. We found a good collaboration licensing technology from Ohio State and working with Rev1 as well as with Dr. Sanjay Krishna, co-inventor and OSU professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the university on technology commercialization,” said Fuller.

“We are using technology to keep people safe before they are in danger,” he said. “Our technology delivers a solution at an affordable price point. Leveraging our traditional technology development business with government customers like the Department of Defense into a successful commercial product using local technology and talent is why we came to Ohio in the first place, and we are glad we did.”