RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC — The MicroPEM, a personal exposure monitoring device developed by RTI International, has been awarded a prestigious "R&D 100" award.
Sponsored by the leading trade journal R&D Magazine, the annual awards recognize the 100 most significant new technologies of the past year.
The MicroPEM is a lightweight, portable device that uses built-in acceleration sensors to determine individual activity levels while predicting how fast individuals breathe pollutants in their environment. The system enables a person’s exposure to environmental pollutants to be linked with individual health effects to help better manage diseases.
“Health impacts from air pollutants are not just based on the concentrations in the environment, but on how much of the pollutant is actually inhaled,” said Charles Rodes, Ph.D., an RTI senior fellow and director of the Aerosol Technology and Environmental Exposure Program at RTI International. “For the first time, with MicroPEM technology, we can now estimate how much of a pollutant is actually making it into the respiratory system."
The approach is completely non-invasive for those wearing the monitors, which are small and light enough (weighing approximately half a pound) to be worn comfortably by children.
The MicroPEM was developed to help scientists collect accurate exposure data for populations of adults and children whose health was being compromised by exposures to aerosols. While personalized exposure monitors have existed for some time, the MicroPEM is the first monitor of its kind to integrate a range of technologies and improvements, including reduced noise level, power requirements and size, in one package.
“We are excited to see this innovative technology recognized with an R&D 100 award,” said David Myers, vice president of RTI's Engineering and Technology Unit. “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the development team, the MicroPEM has the potential to help improve the standard of living for many people worldwide.”
RTI also received the R&D 100 award in 2002 for thin-film and vacuum technologies, in 2004 for its syngas desulfurization technology, in 2010 for the Nextreme thermal solutions 'hot spot' electronics chip cooler technology, and in 2011 for its nanofiber lighting improvement technology (NLITe).