Powerful sensor system offers a new way to secure critical infrastructure.
MISSOULA—Covert intelligence and surveillance systems developer TerraEchos Inc. continues to move closer to full commercialization of its Adelos S4 Sensor Array, a system with the potential to transform how the nation’s critical infrastructure and inland borders will be monitored and secured.
“The Adelos system is proving to be one of the most valuable pieces of technology available for addressing very challenging security problems, not just for the federal government but for the private sector as well,” said Alex Philp, president and CEO, TerraEchos.
Adelos combines two powerful technologies. The system’s advanced fiber-optic sensor technology gathers and analyzes real-time acoustic data that is then processed by InfoSphere Streams, IBM technology licensed by TerraEchos last winter.
About 1,600 megabytes of motion data per second can be gathered by Adelos, which can be buried underground or installed underwater, resulting in instantaneous reporting of security breaches, equipment breakdown and other potential risks.
Development began back in 2005 when GCS Research licensed the sensor technology from the Navy. Philp, who founded GCS in 2002, spun off TerraEchos in 2006 to move the technology into commercialization.
Initially funded by GCS and a handful of small grants, TerraEchos was awarded a two-year Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology grant in 2007.
“We owe that program a lot,” Philp said. “We received $200,000 the first year, and then based on our performance, $200,000 the second.”
Also instrumental in the company’s success was its early partnership with S&K Electronics, of Pablo, which helped design and manufacture the prototype.
That relationship in turn led to the June 2009 purchase of GCS’s controlling interest in TerraEchos by S&K Technologies, a federally chartered corporation owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
“This was very important. It allowed TerraEchos to raise funds by selling stock and allowed S&K Technologies to expand its portfolio into the security market,” Philp said.
Although Adelos is still in development and not yet available for commercial use, TerraEchos received Department of Defense funding in 2009 to continue its testing and evaluation, as well as a commitment from the government for a minimum of two more prototype units.
Currently TerraEchos has a staff of five. Philp earned both his masters and doctorate at the University of Montana and is committed to remaining in the state.
“We hope to continue to grow the business here and demonstrate that Montana is a good place for advanced research and development,” he said.