According to the group, the disposable device can be used for a wide range of commercial, medical and industrial applications as a cheaper alternative to traditional pH testing methods without compromising accuracy.
Peter Knox, chairman of Medermica, explained: ‘At the moment when you go into a lab you pick up a pH meter. It’s a rather cumbersome piece of apparatus that you have to calibrate, but the amount of time and money wasted in setting the machine up every day is quite incredible.
‘About a year and a half ago I thought there must be a better way of doing this. Working with a team of bioengineers, we’ve developed tiny little tips with two tongues of electrodes in them. These are precalibrated and can accurately gauge the pH.’
As well as being cheap and disposable, Medermica believes that cost savings will come from the fact that the device needs only a small amount of solution to operate.
‘My vision is that the final product will be a little sachet that contains one of these tubes. They are only a couple of centimetres long and millimetres wide; they are going to be totally disposable,’ said Knox. ‘This becomes very convenient to the individual but it also has tremendous upsides in the manufacturing industry because at the moment, they have to buy one of these machines on every manufacturing run and then have to throw it away because the regulators will not allow you to use it twice.’
Medermica has recently filed a patent application for the device and hopes to begin discussions with potential commercial partners in the next six months. Knox said he is hopeful of having a commercial product ready by the beginning of 2011.