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Mosquito path to market


  1. 1 Executive Summary 
  2. 2 Highlights and key figures
  3. 3 The Project
  4. 4 Background for biomedical applications - force measurement
  5. 5 Presentation of the Mosquito product and example of force measurement applications
  6. 6 Research and Development
    1. 6.1 Immediate application for the Mosquito Scientific Instrument (Phase I and II)
      1. 6.1.1 The services provided by SENSORICA through its members
    2. 6.2 Applications for industry (Phase III)
      1. 6.2.1 Industrial applications: robotics 
      2. 6.2.2 Medical Industry - (Phase IV) Examples of applications
  7. 7 The value network composition 
    1. 7.1 Affiliates actively contributing to this project
    2. 7.2 Close collaborators
  8. 8 SWOT analysis (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats)
  9. 9 Timetable of activities and SMART objectives
  10. 10 Advantages of the Mosquito Scientific Instrument
  11. 11 Positioning
  12. 12 Market Study
  13. 13 Market analysis: scientific instrumentation in the field of physiology
    1. 13.1 First market segment: scientific and clinic research in physiology – Phase I
      1. 13.1.1 Who are the clients ?
      2. 13.1.2 Buying behavior
      3. 13.1.3 How many are they?
      4. 13.1.4 What is the value of the potential market in Phase I ?
      5. 13.1.5 Sales potential for the academic market
      6. 13.1.6 Details on our first customer/tester
      7. 13.1.7 Details on our second partner/tester
      8. 13.1.8 Other potential clients
    2. 13.2 The pharmaceutical and biotech markets (Phase II)
      1. 13.2.1 Sales potential for Phase II - pharma/biotech market
      2. 13.2.2 Growth
      3. 13.2.3 Analysis of the competition in the academic market
      4. 13.2.4 Conclusion - Impact on SENSORICA
    3. 13.3 Overview of the robotics and automation industry (Phase III)
      1. 13.3.1 Examples from the robotics industry
      2. 13.3.2 Key numbers
      3. 13.3.3 Competition – force, pressure and displacement detectors in this industry
    4. 13.4 Conclusion
  14. 14 Outreach/marketing plan
  15. 15 Operations
    1. 15.1 Manufacturing 

Executive Summary 

The scientific world is in constant demand for innovative precision instruments. Faced with international competition, researchers are more than ever on the lookout for devices providing productivity gains, that are user friendly, plug and play, and affordable. SENSORICA OVN encompasses the technological know how, the resources and the market knowledge in the scientific instruments sector to meet the needs of researchers and educators in terms of advanced equipment. 

The Mosquito Scientific Instrument System, is a technological marvel blending ease of use, measurement accuracy and robustness, unmatched by other suppliers. It is based on a miniature ultra-precise force sensors, the Mosquito. In Phase l, the Scientific Instrument System will be used by researchers in biology and physiology for tactile sensing of single living cells, to determine if they are healthy or to determine the effects of experimental treatments. The Scientific Instrument System is used in research on muscles, on cardiovascular, respiratory and digestive diseases, as well as in studies on cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases. It is presently tested at  Montreal Heart Institute

In parallel, we are also designing the Mosquito Educational Systema lower-cost version of the scientific instrument designed for educational purposes. 

In Phase ll we'll approach the biotech and pharma market, which exhibit similar needs as in the biology and physiology research segment. 

In Phase lll, SENSORICA affiliates will focus on applications in the industrial and medical device markets, where the current detection technologies are limited by their sensitivity and their reliability. Our fiber-optic technology is adaptable and offers a great path for miniaturization and increased precision. For example, we anticipate that it will give the sense of touch to robots to enable them to perform meticulous assembling tasks and assisted surgery. We are also working on sensing applications for large structures, to monitor their position and state of bending. 

The scientific instruments market (more particularly instruments used in physiology), is of 1.3G$ / year globally, large enough to develop our value network’s capabilities with financing requirements not exceeding 100 K$ (see our revenue page). Providing for a 2013 turnover of 225K$ and above 80% net margin,  we use this market as a springboard, giving our young network a solid foundation to propel it to new heights.

The educational market - need some data here

Highlights and key figures

Total investment in time, materials and cash

Costs and funding from Sept 2012 to Aug 2013 (live figure)
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Market development

The Project

Note to readers

This development plan outlines the main phases 1 and 2, based on the Mosquito project and the launch of this product into the markets of scientific instruments and pharmaceutical. Subsequent phases (3 and 4) relating to other markets, for the same project/product and their subsequent child projects/products will be detailed later. 
The project is about the design, production and distribution of highly accurate displacement/force sensors, based on an innovative optical technology that we developed for scientific, educational, industrial, and medical applications. 

Our detectors help scientists to measure the mechanical properties (ability to change shape, to generate a force, response to mechanical cues/stimulation, etc..) of individual (biological) cells and tissue for scientific studies, to infer diseases or to develop innovative medical treatments (for heart and respiratory diseases, as well as for diabetes and several types of cancers). The first product using our technology, the Mosquito, is currently a working prototype that is already in use at Montreal Heart Institute.

Our detectors also have a great potential in the industry by replacing the current detection technologies thanks to their robustness and their miniature size. Our detectors do not interfere with electromagnetic radiation, therefore they can be used in the medical field in conjunction with medical imaging, unlike the electronic detectors.

Development background

Background for biomedical applications - force measurement

The human body consists of more than 100 000 billion cells. These are its building blocks and act as micro-factories to provide everything necessary to make possible all biological functions (movements, thoughts, digestion, etc.). The cells are organized into groups: the organs (heart, stomach, lungs, brain ...) and tissue (skin, muscles). Most cells have the ability to change their shape, or to expand or to contract. For example, heart cells contract rhythmically every second or so, causing the heart to beat, which makes the blood flow. Skeletal muscle cells (those muscles that attach to bones) also contract, and are involved in our body movements.

Cellular contraction is a very important function of muscle cells. Aging, certain diseases, bacteria or viruses can impair this function. To fight against diseases and infections, researchers need to measure cellular contraction .

Presentation of the Mosquito product and example of force measurement applications

The Mosquito Scientific Instrument System is scientific grade instrument used in physiological and medical studies to probe dynamic mechanical properties of biological systems, from organs to sub-cellular structures. Three types of transducers can be included with this system. 

  • The Mosquito Smart Needle Technology, an optical fiber-based displacement/force transducer. This is a point-contact, unidirectional transducer. We are currently optimizing three different designs, the joint-type, the constriction, and the intrinsic transducer.  
  • The radial transducer (currently in design phase).
  • The poking transducer (currently in design phase).

The system is also provided with all necessary components for sample manipulation, a container for physiological media in which experiments are performed, a visualization system, and software for data acquisition, visualization, conditioning, analysis and management.
The system is based on the Mosquito displacement/force sensor.


The Mosquito Scientific Instrument system, with chemical activation bath, on a microscope stage.

The Mosquito I is made ​​up of two main parts:
  • The electronic box, decorated with the logo of the Mosquito and SENSORICA, contains a laser and electronic components for signal detection and conditioning. The box connects to a computer through a USB port. The design of the Mosquito is constantly improved and tested at the Montreal Heart Institute. Our short-term goal is to shrink the electronics box to the size of a pen covered with rigid plastic, with colored motives hinting to a mosquito head. Similarly, the plastic housing containing the electronics of the Mosquito is colorful and smooth.
  • The sensing part is the part that can measure microscopic displacements and very small forces. The detector contains an optical fiber that is modified to become sensitive to bending. The amount of force is deduced from the elastic properties of this optical fiber. 

What is fiber?

An optical fiber is a glass or polymer fiber that conducts the light. The largest have millimeters in diameter, the smallest are 100 times thinner. An optical fiber is used in communication to transmit data over long distances.

The telecom industry has made ​​this technology ubiquitous. Increasingly, the properties of fiber are modified to have applications other than telecommunications, and are used for example in the sensing applications (temperature, pressure, etc..), in medical imaging, in surgery, etc..

The invention

Our optical fibers are modified to provide information on the force applied to them. The forces detected can be very small, such as those developed by single muscle cells. There is no perceivable problem to go in the opposite direction and have sensors made for large forces. 

The results of measurements are directly displayed on a computer, where they are stored or displayed. This invention is unique, we carefully reviewed more than 100 patents.

Optical fiber sensitive to bending

In order to measure the force developed during the contraction of an individual muscle cell it is sufficient to fix the tip of the Mosquito (which is an optical fiber!) on this cell using a special glue. This is a trivial operation for a biologist used to such manipulations. See the video bellow.

As the fiber contracts, the sensitive optical fiber bends, changing the properties of the light that travels through it.
The Mosquito detects these changes and correlated them to the tip displacement of the optical fiber and into force.

Watch the Mosquito in action, measuring a small bundle of a dozen of muscle cells

Application Example # 1 of our device

Our first partner/tester, Dr. Hussain, MD and researcher at McGill University, is a specialist in cardiovascular disease. His team needs to accurately measure the contraction of heart cells under different experimental conditions in order to develop a treatment against sepsis?, the infection is widespread in the human body, particularly damaging when it touches the heart. However, existing devices are fragile and difficult to use. The Mosquito will allow Dr. Hussain’s team to easily measure the contraction of heart cells, routinely. This team will deduce how cells respond to new experimental treatments, and may help improve patients' lives!

Ivan with Dr. Hussain in his laboratory

The Mosquito integrates with other laboratory instruments

Here we present how the Mosquito is integrated with other laboratory instruments for applications in muscle physiology. The detector part of the Mosquito is fixed on an adjustable stand (see photo of the 3D model). The muscle sample is placed within a bath filled with physiological medium. The cells are attached to the sensitive optical fiber. Whenever the cells contract, being stimulated on purpose or otherwise, the Mosquito senses the displacement and displays it on the computer screen. The Mosquito comes with software that helps to easily record and process the experimental data. An inspection microscope can also be installed to manipulate the muscle sample and to observe the experiment. All the equipment around the Mosquito is off the shelf equipment that is commonly used in biology labs. 

photo from Montreal Heart Institute
The Mosquito Scientific Instrument at Phil's lab

The Mosquito is based on optical technology, which makes it more robust and more user friendly than other existing technologies, like the ones based on piezoelectric transducers (see example from Aurora Scientific) or its AFM-like counterparts. For the user, this translates into productivity gains. The Mosquito is 100 times more sensitive than piezo-based sensors, while being insensitive to electromagnetic interference, such as those generated during medical imaging. Moreover, the Mosquito comes in a smaller format compared to other devices. This makes it adaptable to the experience rather than adapting the experience to the device.

Application Example # 2

Dr. Philippe Comtois, our colleague and member of SENSORICA, is a researcher at the Montreal Heart Institute. He seeks a device that can easily measure the contraction of heart cells, in order to develop a protocol to determine the type of surgery best suited for patients who experience cardiac problems.

From left to right: François Bergeron, James Elber Duverger (student), Tiberius Brastaviceanu, Ivan Pavlov and Dr. Philippe Comtois

Research and Development

The Mosquito is bound for a continuous improvement, based on user’s input and on newly available technologies. 

We already have in mind the following versions of the Mosquito
  • Mosquito II: improved sensitivity by a factor of 100. For this, we are collaborating with Dr. Skorobogatiy at the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, and are getting ready to apply for an ENGAGE grant with  Younès Messaddeq from University of Laval. This will allow even more precise measurements with even finer detectors (50 um in diameter).
  • Mosquito III: connected to the network - This will allow users to remotely receive data in real time and to remotely control the Mosquito and other instruments around it, like a CCD camera, motion devices pumps and valves, etc. We will realize our lab online network vision, which allows scientists to maintain reach relations of collaboration without spacial constraints. These improvements will also allow SENSORICA members to provide better services to users. Our systems will be able to monitor and to detect malfunctions of instruments before they even occur and cause a downtime in the lab. We’ll be able to remotely solve software failures, to update the software and to know when the user needs to change consumables (the tip of the fiber). The Mosquito III will also integrate more easily with other laboratory equipment (e.g. pumps or actuators). This development was initiated in collaboration with the team of Maroun Massabki, Optech Montreal (CEGEP Andre Laurendeau). 
At the same time, sensors oriented towards medical and industrial applications will be developed (see below).

Immediate application for the Mosquito Scientific Instrument (Phase I and II)

The measurement of cell contraction for the scientific and medical research, for the development of pharmaceutical treatments against diseases that involve a change in shape and size of cells, that is to say cardiovascular diseases, muscular diseases, diabetes and cancer.

The study of cellular response to mechanical cues, by inducing precise force/pressure profiles. This is relevant to cancer research, osteoporosis, effects of zero gravity on astronauts, etc.

The services provided by SENSORICA through its members

The Mosquito Scientific Instrument System will be commercialized by Tactus Scientific Inc. or other distributors. We are open for propositions.

The SENSORICA value network will insure manufacturing, continuous R&D, parts replacements, repairs and some services.

  • Supply of replacement parts: customers will regularly replace the optical fiber tip of the Mosquito, the part that is in contact with the samples. We believe that the tip should be changed every 200 hours of use, which is equivalent to 4 hours per day for 3 months. The selling price of the tip of Mosquito will be around 100$. The Mosquito is supplied with three tips of different diameters to measure different ranges of forces.
  • The Mosquito is guaranteed three years, which does not include consumables. Consumables are not guaranteed. This policy is consistent with current practices within this industry. The Mosquitos that need repairs will be serviced on site by our team. 

Advantages of the Mosquito as a displacement/force sensing device in physiology

  • high sensitivity, robustness and reliability 
  • operation speed
  • wide range of measurement: from single cells up to whole organs with the same device, possibility to compare data at different scales without interruption
  • sensing tip of disposable plastic or glass, not requiring sterilization, without risk of sample contamination.

Applications for industry (Phase III)

Force detectors are also widely used in various industrial applications. For example, in the car industry they are used to control the triggering of airbags, to monitor tire pressure while driving or to verify the proper operation of the engine valves. They have also invaded consumers electronics, since they are found in cell phones and joysticks to detect the pressure applied to the keys. 

Initially designed for scientific research, the technology behind the Mosquito will be made suitable for many other applications. New markets will be addressed as early as 2015 (Phases III and IV). In this section we present an overview of intended applications. 

Industrial applications: robotics 

The detection technology on which the Mosquito was built has several advantages for making tactile sensors for industrial use. The robots that assemble cars, for example, acquire information about their environment using cameras and motion detectors in order to manipulate delicate parts or for security. These robots rarely have the sense of touch and providing them with it is difficult, because sensors must be small, fast, accurate and shock-resistant. Our detector has these qualities. We anticipate that our technology will address important needs in the industry of manufacturing, in robotics or automation.

Example: the smallest force detector from Honeywell, a leader in the design of force sensors for the manufacturing industry, is about 1 cm square. Our force transducer can be smaller than a millimeter and can bring important benefits for industries that are looking for ever smaller sensors.

Our projects related to these applications:

Specific advantages of our technology optical

  • Specific advantages of our technology optical
  • Our force transducer is very small compared to other available products 
  • Our force transducer is compatible with medical imaging, as it is insensitive to electric and magnetic fields. In other words, the Mosquito can be used during surgery, under under MRI imaging.
  • Glass optical fiber: high chemical resistance for industrial applications.
  • Polymer optical fiber : easily applied on plastic objects to monitor their movements.

Other industrial applications considered 

Pressure sensor and flow sensors for liquids and corrosive gases as the glass fiber is highly resistant to corrosive products. Our detector could be used in contact with hazardous chemicals (suggestion of Jean-Marc Bigras, Plant Manager in the pulp and paper).

Medical Industry - (Phase IV) Examples of applications

Intelligent surgical instrument, or force sensitive scalpels or clamps that give feedback to surgeons in real time about the pressure applied to sensitive tissue. This allows less invasive and more accurate interventions. Force sensors for surgical robots.

The value network composition 

Affiliates actively contributing to this project

We are aware of our technical capabilities, but we also acknowledge our lack of expertise. 

Francoishas developed a quite impressive network of local businesses and governmental agencies with a mandate to help local business. For example, Francois is mediating a relationship with Christian Wopperer from CEIM (Centre for Business Innovation of Montreal). He is also in contact with Luis Renaud  (Industrial Technology Advisor, in the Quebec Region) and other local officials.
Ivan  offers his network in physiology and biology, which make up our first target market.  
Tiberius brings with him a vast network formed around the new economy. He also offers access to an academic network centered around lab-on-a-chip, and to high tech companies in laser technology and photonics from California, USA.   
Jonathan electrical engineering - digital electronics
Philippe bio-medical engineering
Steve  network weaver, business development
Danieldesign and 3D modeling 
Yassineelectrical engineering - electronics, control systems, manufacturing
 Add others ...
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SWOT analysis (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats)

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Timetable of activities and SMART objectives

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Advantages of the Mosquito Scientific Instrument

SENSORICA offers an excellent product, one that is more robust, handy, easy to use (plug and play), having fewer moving parts and fewer parameters to adjust. Moreover, the Mosquito optical detector doesn’t interfere with electromagnetic radiation and can function under medical imaging. Furthermore, the Mosquito Scientific Instrument produces a higher quality information compared to other similar products, and it saves 50% of the time required for experimentation. This translates into increased productivity for researchers and their students.

The Mosquito hardware is open, which allows greater freedom for customization. It is also a modular product, which makes it adaptable for a diverse field of applications and updatable with new features. The Mosquito runs on open source software, which is maintained by Tactus, members of SENSORICA as well as other users. The open source nature of the Mosquito nurtures a dynamic community around it, which provides more value to the customer. Users can rapidly find answers to their problems and can support each others.

The design and manufacturing process are transparent, which makes the Mosquito an ethical and sustainable product, because it is always under the scrutiny of its users.


SENSORICA ecosystem contains highly skilled engineers and scientists, which allows it to offer high-end instrumentation, very well-suited for scientific research.

Market Study

Industry Analysis: scientific laboratory equipment

Note: this analysis was performed according to our market knowledge (internal data - most of us have experience in laboratory research), based on data found mainly in external databases like Orbis, Market Share Reporter, Gale (Highbeam Business) and from the annual reports of different companies cited in the text.

This is the first market sector we will address with the Mosquito Scientific System, because of our collective knowledge and know how and because of our reach, through our professional network. The Mosquito displacement/force sensor was actually designed for this segment, to be integrated withing the Mosquito Scientific System

The companies operating in this industry develop, manufacture and sell precision scientific instruments, used mainly in academic research laboratories, hospitals, pharmaceutical and manufacturing plants of high technology products. This industry is international.

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The scientific instruments sector has generated worldwide revenues of over $ 30 billion in 2010, from which about one third is in the United States. This sector includes close to 8000 companies but is dominated by a handful of very large innovative companies. Only 16 companies out of 8000 (around 0.2%) had a turnover of over 1 billion USD, the top five of these companies alone accounts for one third of the market, and the 60 largest companies weigh more than 80% of the total value of this industry.

This industry is fragmented, competitive, under high pressure for innovation and a high standard for entry. It is also characterized by high margins, allowing a multitude of small and medium businesses to prosper by being highly specialized (niche markets).

In developed countries, it is expected that the growth of this market does not exceed GDP growth (an increase from 2% to 3%) for 2011-2014. The growth of this market is very well correlated with public and private spending on R&D, and generally follows the GDP in developed countries. However, the prospects of investment in R&D in Asian countries (mainly China but also Korea) are much more attractive, where growth budgets for R&D will be 15 to 20% per annum in the next 5 years. In total, the growth of asian R&D spending could lead the growth of the world market by 5 to 6% per annum in the coming years.

Key success factors
  • Large sales force (1/3 of employees are in sales and marketing in large companies).
  • Promotion: publications, trade-shows/ international scientific conferences, influence of opinion leaders.
  • Significant internal R&D (R&D budget 11% of sales) and/or acquisitions and/or collaboration with academic researchers.
  • Very high quality for materials and services to justify the high prices.

Factors affecting demand
  • R&D spending in public research institutions (political decisions)
  • Increasing research for new drugs by pharmaceutical companies
  • Needs to test the new industrial products
  • Demand for more efficient equipment and for improved the productivity of research laboratories
  • Risks to public health / environmental concerns
  • Need for industries to comply with new environmental regulations

Trends and market developments
  • Stable market in developed countries, small but steady growth in international markets attributed mainly to Asia.
  • Offshore production to lower-cost labor (Mexico and Asia) for simple devices.
  • Demand for versatile and user friendly products.
  • Closer cooperation with the academic world.
  • Mergers and acquisitions to fuel the need for innovation and cost reduction.

Market analysis: scientific instrumentation in the field of physiology

First market segment: scientific and clinic research in physiology – Phase I

SENSORICA is first positioning itself for the scientific research in physiology, which includes medical research in research labs and in hospitals (clinical diagnosis). This is the segment in which SENSORICA affiliates have a strong expertise and a large social capital (reach through our social network). The Mosquito displacement/force sensor is already meeting the needs in this segment.

Who are the clients ?

Targeted customers in this segments are researchers, professors and medical researchers. They work in universities, research institutes and university hospitals.

Buying behavior

Some of us have been buyers, working in academic research labs. We know the purchasing behavior of researchers. They often want the best quality and better services at any cost, buying peace of mind. They are therefore very committed to the reputation of a brand and tend to remain loyal. The high switching costs also encourage them to be loyal. They are also heavily influenced by leaders of opinion (that is to say, the most renowned researchers in their field) and can even switch brands to buy the same equipment as they use.

They are primarily motivated by productivity gains offered by our Mosquito, which will accelerate their research in order to publish more, and thus to increase their chances of being funded. They are also concerned by the versatility offered by the Mosquito, which allows them to push their experiments further than with other available devices (measuring a broader spectrum of contraction force, from a single cell to a small piece or tissue). 

How many are they?

Labs in physiology in the entire world and market sizes for 
scientirfic instruments used in physiologie et biophysics

In Canada, the number of university research labs in biology (biology and biomedical research) is estimated at 10,250, from a total of 25,000 research labs. Of these 10,250 laboratories, 5% are physiology labs, which gives about 500 labs across the country. These 500 laboratories are our Canadian market segment, plus a portion of 10,250 biology labs that perform physiological experiments. Only 1% of 10,250 labs represents 100 additional potential customers, bringing the total to about 600 Canadian labs.
Globally, the number of physiology laboratories is estimated at 15,000.

What is the value of the potential market in Phase I ?

The Canadian public research budget in physiology and biophysics was estimated at $380 million in 2010. We can safely estimate that 10% of this budget is spent on purchases of lab equipment, which is is $38M. This represents the size of the Canadian market in physiology research. In all, and given the part of Canadian research in the world (3% in 2010), the world market segment for research instruments in physiology is estimated at $ 1.3 billion.

Sales potential for the academic market

Method "of market share" by expecting hardware renewal every 5 years, and assuming that 1% of the 5600 North American laboratories who renew their equipment buy a Mosquito, we expect to sell 10 Mosquitos I ($ 15K) and 3 Mosquito II ($ 25K) in North America, until December 2013. These sales will generate a turnover of $ 225K in 2013.

  $ 225K en 2013 

Another method of calculation: no advertising and simply by word-of-mouth, we already have two clients/testers. Three other parties are interested as soon as the first two customers, who are testers, have demonstrated the qualities of the Mosquito. The goal to sell in total 13 units in 2013 seems realistic. 

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Details on our first customer/tester

The Mosquito has attracted the attention of Professor Sabah Hussain as early as April 2011. Collaborating with Dilson Rassier’s lab, where Ivan and Tiberius worked, he had heard about the invention of the Mosquito. Dr. Sabah Hussain is a physician and researcher at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. He is active in research on cardiovascular diseases and intensive care related to these diseases. Dr. Hussain already works with conventional instruments used in research in physiology. He is always looking for superior performances and he seems very eager to test the Mosquito, which he thinks would make an excellent alternative.

We arranged with Dr. Hussain to buy a Mosquito at cost price, parts and labor needed for manufacturing, as well as for the installation and training. Although the immediate financial benefit is minimal in this operation, SENSORICA obtains a series of other advantages:
  • Testing of the Mosquito in a recognized physiology laboratory,
  • Publicise the Mosquito to 650 other researchers from McGill via the internal newsletter,
  • Publication of results obtained with the Mosquito, which explicitly mentions the name of the device and of SENSORICA (and Tactus Scientific Inc.). Publications are important marketing tools and serve to connect our product with leaders of opinions.
  • Access to a clinical environment, link with the diagnostics industry and intensive care.
Dr Hussain has already wrote a letter of support for Tactus Scientific Inc.
This project needs to be revived!!

Details on our second partner/tester

Professor Philippe Comtois of Montreal Heart Institute, in collaboration with a medical team from the same institute, is looking for a device to test the stiffness of cardiac arrest patients with vascular brain injury (stroke), in order to develop a diagnostic method of stroke prevention. We are collaborating with Dr Comptois and already obtained a grant from NSERC (25,000$) to purchase Mosquito parts and to test it for 6 months. The tests will show to the scientific community that the Mosquito is useful for diagnosing heart disease.

Other potential clients

Dr. Anne-Marie Lauzon from Meakins-Christie Laboratories, McGill University, has manifested interest for the Mosquito. She is now waiting for the Mosquito to be validated by the scientific community before she commits to buy one. This validation will be performed by our customers/testers/partners. The first positive results obtained by Dr Hussain and Dr Comtois will be available during the summer of 2012.

Recently Ivan Pavlov had established a connection with Urals State Medical Academy, Professor Felix Blyakhman, Ph.D, head of Biomedical Physics and Engineering Department. 

The pharmaceutical and biotech markets (Phase II)

We are just starting to explore this market. Our product, which is mostly designed for applications in physiology, can be easily and rapidly customized for the biotech and pharma segments. 

This section is underdeveloped, taking into consideration the fact that our energy goes in developing the first market, Phase I.  

Main sources of information used: discussions with the network and the following databases:

The most common causes of death in the world are, in order of importance, cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. These diseases are also the subject of the biggest spending on pharmaceutical research. They have a significant impact on the integrity of biological tissues and the Mosquito is particularly suitable for the development of drugs that will combat them. We anticipate that the Mosquito will meet important needs in the segment of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology research.

The market for pharmaceutical and biotechnology R&D is the largest R&D market in the world, with a volume of 110$ billion in 2008. In the United States, in 2010, this sector included about 1700 companies that spent just over 17$ billion in R&D.

In Canada, although R&D spending in this industry has diminished after 2007, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry ranks second (after the information technology) in terms of R&D activity, with expenditures that totaled 200$ million dollars in 2009. Ontario and Quebec are the two provinces most active in research with 47% and 43% of spending by private companies. The sector employs more than 2,000 researchers in Canada in almost 300 companies. Over half of these companies are located in Quebec and over 30 in the Montreal area. The majority of these companies are active in research for cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.

Table : key numbers in the pharma/biotech sector
 world United States Europe Canada Québec (estimations) 
number of companies>5000 >1700 >1800 >300 >75 
R&D spending in 2010 (G$) 110 17 3,4 0,2 >0,1 
number of employees in R&D 100 000 (estimation) 60 000 25 000 2 000 500 

Sales potential for Phase II - pharma/biotech market

  70 000 $ extra en 2014 

The North American sector for pharma/biotech research comprises over 2000 companies. As a first approximation, we estimate that over 60% of these companies are potential customers of SENSORICA (and its members), since they are active in research for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

Assuming a hardware renewal every 5 years, and assuming that 1% of the 2000 North American labs who renew their equipment buy a Mosquito, we can predict the sale of four devices per year in 2014. These sales will be shared between the Mosquito I (15,000$) and the Mosquito II (20,000$), which will generate a contribution to turnover of 70,000$ in 2014.


Similarly to what was predicted in the academic market, slow growth of investment in R&D is expected in developed countries (growth around GDP growth, i.e. 2-3%). Also, more sustained growth is expected in emerging markets, including Brazil and China.

Analysis of the competition in the academic market

In the scientific instrumentation market, the main competitors are entrenched and deliver reliable products that have long been recognized by researchers. However, they are also perceived by customers as little innovative and over charging for their products. Moreover, these companies are poorly connected with the medical market, which is lucrative but requires special approvals.

Characteristics of the direct competition

 Aurora Scientific World Precision InstrumentsDanish Myo Tech Kerr Scientific 
quality of products  average (fragility of designs) good but not very innovative  good but not very innovative  
quality of services  good average in Canada because lack of representives  average in Canada because lack of representives   
product line  large large large small (only one product) 
clients   international, academic, industrial international, academic, industrial international, academic, industrial  
distribution international, 2 offices (Ontario and Ireland) + distributor in Japon international international  
price  high prices high prices high prices average- low 
marketing tactics  congress congress  congress  
main strenght well entrenched in physiology and biophysics labs  well entrenched in Europe the largest line of products for the physiology market good design 
main weakness   high prices, fragility of designs not innovative not innovative limited use, for a precise application 

Conclusion - Impact on SENSORICA

In scientific instrumentation market, the main competitors are entrenched and deliver reliable products that have long been recognized by researchers. However, they are also perceived by customers as little innovative and over charging for their products. Moreover, these companies are poorly connected with the medical market, which is lucrative but requires special approvals.

Overview of the robotics and automation industry (Phase III)

We are just starting to explore this market segment. Recently we have straighten our relations with a few local (Quebec, Canada) players in robotics, who guide us to redesign our sensors to better suite the needs in this industry. It seems that our force is in micromanipulation, pick and place applications of very small and fragile objects (see project page).  

The manufacturing industry, is in need of automation and therefore in need of sensing technology for displacement, force, pressures, in need of small, fast and accurate sensors. By offering a robust, fast and accurate force sensor, we anticipates that we’ll be able to meet important needs in these industries.

Examples from the robotics industry

The robotics and automation industry is a global industry with a size of 9G$. It is also a fragmented industry, with more than 200 manufacturers with international presence. The biggest players are FANUC (Japan, 5.7G$ income), KUKA (Germany, 1.3G€ in revenues), ABB (Sweden and Switzerland, 32G$ of income but only 8% in robotics) and Yaskawa Motoman (Japan, 3.9G$ with 30% in robotics).

The main buyers of robots are in Asia, where there are more than half of robots purchased in 2008 (mainly in Japan, Korea and China). Next is Europe with 31% of purchases (Germany, Italy, France mainly) and North America, with 15%.

This industry is divided in 3 principal segments:
  • Industrial robots: for auto plants, electronics, rubber/plastic, in food processing and manufacturing of metal products,
  • Professionals robots: surgical robots, defense/security/rescue, inspection, logistics/construction
  • Domestic Robots: assistance for the disabled, cleaning robots and toy robots.

It is expected that this industry will experience an annual growth of over 15% in four years, thanks to the booming market for domestic robots and attractive growth segment of professional robots.

Key numbers

 segmentsize in 2010  sold units pr year (thousands) expected size in 2014 yearly growth until 2014 
industrial 4,7G$ >110  6 G$ + 6 %  
professional 3,3G$ >13 4 G$ + 22% 
domestic 1 G$ >1500 5,4 G$ + 60% 
total 9 G$  >160015,4G$+ 15% 
Key success factors to become a part (sensor/transducer) supplier
  • Reliability
  • Energetic automomy 
  • Capacity for innovation
  • Improved quality/price ratio
We anticipate that our technology will meet important needs for the robotics industry. Kinova, a Montréal-based manufacturer of robotic arms, expressed a keen interest in its technology, to give the sense of touch to their robotic devices. We are aware that the road is long before we can penetrate this market. We intend to continue to meet with different players in this industrial sector.

Quebec, Canada has several high-performance robotic companies and most international companies are also present here. Louis Renaud, from NRC, offered to put us in contact with some of these companies in robotics.

Competition – force, pressure and displacement detectors in this industry

The following table summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of some industrial sensors compared to ours (“+” means advantage and “-” indicates absence of a given characteristic or a weakness).

 competitortechnology tecnical avantages and inconvenients 
SENSORICA optical fibre +precision, +range +robustness, +size, -pressure detection on large surfaces 
Honeywell piezo - precision, -size, -electromagnetic sensitivity 
Samba optical fibre +precision, -range  (impossible to detect displacement) 
Opsens optical fibre +precision, can’t measure lateral displacement 
Luna innovation optical fibre +precision, can’t measure lateral displacement 
Piezo piezo -precision, -size, -electromagnetic sensitivity 


SENSORICA already has the means to succeed in the markets we target in Phase I and II. It is expected that these markets generate a quick return. We'll leverage our success in Phases I and II in Phases III and IV.

Outreach/marketing plan

SENSORICA is growing a marketing team. Since January 2013 we are actively searching for affiliates with skills in marketing and sales. Three new members have joined us and are now focusing on these two activities. Contact Tony (market study and marketing), Soufiane (marketing, sales and project management) and Vince (online marketing).

Budget for sales and marketing
open to edit


We are building our labonline network at Centre des Technologies de la Santé (CTS): 5795 Avenue De Gaspé, Montreal (Québec) H2S 2X3. Open page. Near Rosemont metro. Rental of premises 200 pi.ca for $470 per month.  
In 2014 we are planning to double our space, and rent will go to $940. 


  • Mosquito I manufacturing
    • joint type transducer manufacturing - spreadsheet and doc (members only)
    • constriction transducer manufacturing
    • opto-electronics - doc not yet created 
  • Supply chain spreadsheet (members only)