Sentek Technologies manufactures scientific sensors and probes for precision measurement of soil water and mapping salinity dynamics. Primary usage is by irrigators, mining and environmental management professionals.
Sentek were developing a ‘Drill & Drop’ product but experienced issues with the materials failing earlier than expected. This led Sentek to seek expertise from UniSA and it was discovered that a researcher was working on a new type of sensor that could potentially be applied to one of Sentek’s commercial goals – selective detection of fertiliser constituents in soil.
Through the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme, and with the assistance of the local Innovation Connections Facilitator, Sentek accessed a Business Researcher Placement grant that enabled Sentek to place 2 of their own researchers within UniSA, working collaboratively to verify the commercial opportunity and develop a proof-of-concept implementation of the sensor.
A second Innovation Connections grant was awarded for further collaboration with UniSA. This time, a researcher from the university spent time at Sentek and at the university’s research laboratory to develop a commercial prototype, integrating the technology within Sentek’s existing sensing architecture. These projects connected Sentek with world-leading materials research at UniSA and developed new intellectual property.
Sentek have employed new staff, internalised knowledge of materials engineering and progressing commercialisation towards releasing a patented product to market. They have been awarded research grants including a SIEF Ross Metcalf STEM+ Business Fellowship and an ARC Linkage grant for a collaboration with UniSA.