Nordic-powered sensor detects the presence of methamphetamine in buildings

graphical user interface

The P Alert Meth Alarm developed by Technosphere uses a Nordic nRF9160 SiP to send alerts and reports to Cloud platform

On behalf of P Alert Industries, India-based product engineering services organization, Technosphere, has developed a preventive solution enabling property managers and landlords to detect the presence of methamphetamine inside buildings. The ‘P Alert Meth Alarm’ can be used to monitor private property, apartment blocks, holiday accommodation, social housing facilities, local government facilities such as gyms and rest rooms, and health providers such as rehabilitation clinics. P Alert Meth Alarm also comes in a version suitable for vehicles.  

Real-time alarms and reports 

If the smoking and/or manufacture of methamphetamine is detected in the property, the P Alert Meth Alarm will trigger an instant alarm activation to the user’s smartphone. Using the cellular IoT connectivity provided by the Nordic Semiconductor nRF9160 low power System-in-Package (SiP) with integrated LTE-M/NB-IoT modem and GNSS, the alerts and real-time meth level reports are relayed to the associated ‘WhizBlox’ secure Cloud-based platform. The solution provides continuous monitoring and users can set the testing frequency. 

“There is a growing awareness that contamination at even low levels of methamphetamine may cause negative health outcomes,” explain James Hansen and Allan Spic, Directors of P Alert Industries. “The harmful effects of exposure to methamphetamine contamination can have serious health consequences for tenants, and the cost of testing and decontamination can be devastating for landlords. 

“The P Alert Meth Alarm provides an indication of the level of methamphetamine particles in a space and therefore contamination. It is a cost-effective solution that will prevent, deter, detect, and protect the health of tenants, while eliminating the need for swab testing whenever there is a concern or between tenancies. Preventing meth contamination is more effective than trying to remediate contamination after it has occurred.” 

The Nordic team has been very helpful and proactive in terms of providing the necessary tools, quick response to our queries, and reviews of our hardware design
Bhaskar Rao, CEO of Technosphere

Cellular IoT advantages

Bhaskar Rao, CEO of Technosphere, adds: “We opted for NB-IoT/LTE-M cellular IoT connectivity over alternative LPWAN technologies to fast-track deployment in many countries across the globe, as well as optimize power consumption while avoiding the need for additional custom infrastructure such as gateways and servers. The cellular functionality is also critical for the product to be used in vehicles such as trucks.” 

In addition to providing the cellular IoT connectivity, the Nordic nRF9160 SiP performs the core processing for the sensor-based device. The P Alert Meth Alarm incorporates three AA alkaline batteries, providing the unit with one year of battery life – longevity achieved thanks in part to the low power characteristics of the nRF9160 SiP.  

The P Alert Meth Alarm is patented, FCC approved, Industry Canada approved, ISO9001 Certified and Telac registered, R-NZ Certified, CE Certified, and has been successfully tested by ESR Laboratories in New Zealand. These certifications allow the solution to be sold worldwide. The device has been adopted across the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia.  

The P Alert Meth Alarm fit with tenancy agreements and privacy legislation. “Guidelines currently vary between regions, local and central government, commercial accommodation providers, and third parties, such as insurers. Depending on local guidelines, the property owner is best placed to decide on a course of action,” says Dan Hansen, Director of Methalarms USA. 

“Social housing and local government housing providers are attempting to find the ESG [environmental, social, governance] balance between their commitment to communities to provide safe and affordable housing and the risk of methamphetamine contamination to their property portfolios.” 

Rao praises Nordic’s contribution to the development process. “The Nordic team has been very helpful and proactive in terms of providing the necessary tools, quick response to our queries, and reviews of our hardware design,” he concludes.