A technology company is working on an invisible microwave barrier to boost security at perimeter fences following an investment of nearly £600,000.
MicroSense Solutions based in the Northern Ireland Science Park uses microwave technology to develop detection systems for power plants, airports and borders. Its systems are so sensitive they can distinguish between people and animals.
The company hopes the investment in research and development will open several new markets – and is also set to create 10 jobs as work continues. It currently employs six people.
Chief executive Dr Stephen Seawright said: "Our new research and development programme will greatly enhance our intellectual property and product portfolio, building on the IP we have licensed from Queen's University.
"The research programme will create a number of high-value jobs in Northern Ireland and keep MicroSense at the forefront of innovative solutions. Invest NI's support will accelerate our progress, allowing us to grow our base and our sales abroad."
MicroSense is developing a wireless microwave wire which forms an invisible, curtain-like protective screen alongside a fence.
It is looking at how it can combine its creation with surveillance systems such as CCTV so that information could be sent from a perimeter fence to mobile devices and alarm-response centres.
Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton said the company's technology could be used on a worldwide scale. "This new approach to perimeter security has the potential for widespread global application in many markets, ranging from military, to airports, prisons, power plants, schools and business facilities.
"MicroSense's research and development project will bring together microwave and communications technology to create a security solution that has many benefits over existing systems, and which is already attracting attention from interested parties around the world."
The company is a spin-out from the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology at Queen's University and supported by QUBIS, the university's commercialisation organisation.
Invest NI offered the company £274,424 towards its total investment of £583,881. The firm has raised seed funding of £750,000.