FLEXcon Co. Inc. recently collaborated with Polestar Technologies in Needham Heights, Mass., a company that specializes in high-tech sensors and monitoring equipment. Optical sensor technology is being used with life-support systems such as the mixed gas rebreathers used by emergency personnel, as well as for recreational diving. Polestar holds intellectual property for a sensing composite that needed to be coated on a pressure-sensitive product. FLEXcon, through application testing with Polestar and work with suppliers, has successfully manufactured a commercial quantity of the product that will be available to the diving community.
The rebreather product is a quarter-sized disc of polymer film that covers the Polestar optical sensor. The film changes color, from blue to yellow, when exposed to carbon dioxide. A white LED light illuminates the disc from a sealed pot below. Then a digital meter reads the color, which is converted to show the carbon dioxide level.