Triple Ring Technologies and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution collaborate on microplastic sensing in water with EPA grant

NEWARK, Calif., Jan. 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Triple Ring Technologies and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) are collaborating to fill an unmet need in environmental sensing – providing a fieldable, portable microplastic sensor that quantifies the number of plastic particles in water. A comprehensive understanding of microplastic pollution is significantly hampered by the unavailability of low-cost, robust, accurate, and rapid analysis techniques. There is an urgent need for such measurement information, toward informing the public and policy makers, and toward developing and managing effective mitigation strategies for plastic pollution in the world’s water bodies. With readout available in minutes, the sensor will ensure that field sampling time is maximally productive while also usable in a lab environment to significantly speed up sample testing.  


The core technology was developed at WHOI in the laboratory of Dr. Anna Michel, Associate Scientist, Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering, with doctoral student Beckett Colson. Developing the proof-of-concept into a rugged, fieldable unit is being performed by Triple Ring Technologies under the leadership of Dr. Sheila Hemami, Sr. Director Growth Initiatives. To further develop the technology, Triple Ring Technologies has been awarded an SBIR Phase I grant by the Environmental Protection Agency entitled “A fieldable, portable, reagent-free microplastic sensor enabling rapid readout and modular operation” and will work with WHOI to execute the grant.  

Drs. Hemami and Michel believe that this new tool will allow easy, widespread assessment of microplastic pollution in waterways, wastewater, stormwater, and other applications in which the presence of microplastics is a concern. “Combining WHOI’s core sensing technology with Triple Ring’s experience in delivering integrated products will significantly move the needle on the understanding of microplastic pollution and will drive data-based mitigation solutions,” said Dr. Hemami. 

Dr. Michel added “My lab is especially interested in developing technologies that enable us to robustly count the number of microplastics in drinking water, ponds, lakes, and oceans. We need field-deployable sensors that provide us this information in order for us to understand microplastic pollution.” 

About Triple Ring TechnologiesTriple Ring Technologies is a co-development company headquartered in Silicon Valley, with offices in Boston, Toronto, and Copenhagen. They partner with clients in medtech, life sciences, and sustainability & the environment to create new technologies, launch innovative projects, and start new ventures. Their capabilities span early R&D, product development, manufacturing, regulatory approval, market access, strategic investment, and incubation. For more information, please visit www.tripleringtech.com. 

About Woods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionThe Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. WHOI’s pioneering discoveries stem from an ideal combination of science and engineering. WHOI is known for its multidisciplinary approach, superior ship operations, and unparalleled deep-sea robotics capabilities. For more information, please visit www.whoi.edu. 

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