Zenosense MRSA Detector

Zenon intends to develop a cost effective system that acts like a “Detection Alarm” for MRSA/SA, detecting infection early, in the patient or in the rooms of a healthcare building.

Zenon is contracted, on a phased basis, to develop the MRSA/SA device for Zenosense, Inc. It will be based on the algal (water) sensor platform already developed, but will use a single commercial “off-the-shelf” gas sensor to sample the air and continuously monitor for the airborne Volatile Organic Compounds (“VOCs”) signature emitted by MRSA/SA.

The MRSA/SA VOC signature is only emitted when the bacteria has infected and expressed itself as a disease in the patient. It can be detected prior to the patient being obviously symptomatic, enabling an earlier intervention.

The MRSA device is intended to be of very low cost by utilising standard components, the only proprietary elements being the Sgenia chip with its pre-loaded processing software. Essentially, the device is intended to work like this;


  • A single standard sensor will continuously scan the MRSA/SA VOC signature spectrum.

    This process would otherwise take 32 sensors (as in a competitor device) with supporting processors, circuit boards and power supply, each sensor pre-set to a detect a certain part of the MRSA/SA VOC spectrum. In the proposed Sgenia developed MRSA/SA device a single sensor will perform the entire VOC spectrum scan, as Sgenia’s adaptive processing software enables it to perform an effectively infinite number of scans, creating tens of thousands of “virtual sensors” (from a single sensor). This enables a huge cost saving over an array of individual sensors.


  • At the detection stage the VOC detection is electronically processed and is pattern processed in a neural network on the patented Sgenia hardware (patent applied for).

    This stage is a patented (patent applied for) process, where the device effectively “learns” to establish the MRSA/SA VOC signature.


  • The VOC signature is referenced to parameters in Sgenia’s software so as to enable continual scanning across the MRSA/SA VOC spectrum

    This stage is powerful mathematical processing to recognise the VOC patterns and contamination positioning - the system can discriminate between bacterial VOCs and contamination. The algorithmic software is protected as an Industrial Secret by FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) “lock and key” encryption on Sgenia’s chip.

The device is intended to be produced in two forms;

  • A low cost wearable / bed positioned device, powered by a rechargeable battery

    This would be positioned on the person; patients and medical staff. In the event of any infection, the MRSA device will detect the VOCs produced by the infected person and express an audio/visual alarm.


  • An adapted, fixed device positioned in the room and/or bed

    This would be mains powered, with culture-amplification of any MRSA/SA presence, to monitor the room volume. This would be network monitored.


The device is intended to detect MRSA or SA. In the event of a positive detection further personal, conventional tests would be used to discriminate between MRSA and SA, as both infections require specific treatment.

The MRSA/SA VOC detection range is estimated to correlate to an approximate 3 meter “bubble” around an infected patient, ideal for a wearable device.

However, it is the intention of Zenon to explore whether MRSA versus SA VOC signatures can be discriminated by the device during the development programme.

The Sgenia detection technology is very sensitive. If the VOC signature of the genetically different MRSA can be separated from the signature of SA, there is every prospect such a discriminatory device can be developed.