Landsdowne Labs Receives Competitive NSF Grant to Develop New Battery Coating

FAIRFIELD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Landsdowne Labs, LLC, a spin-off from the labs of MIT and Harvard scientists Drs. Robert Langer and Jeffrey Karp, received a $256,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop and engineer a new battery coating to help prevent injury and reduce risk to the thousands of children who ingest batteries every year.

“Every year, thousands of children swallow ‘button cells’ — small, high-density, coin-like batteries increasingly used in consumer devices,” said Melissa Fensterstock, CEO of Landsdowne. “Too often, swallowed batteries cause damage to children’s internal organs and, in some cases, death.

“Our technology uses niobium, a natural element found in the earth’s crust, to deactivate batteries shortly after they come into contact with aqueous environments in the esophagus, stomach or intestinal tract, helping to prevent electrochemical burns .”

Landsdowne will use the NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to assess the feasibility and best design of using niobium to prevent oxidation of stainless steel currently used to coat most “coins” or “buttons”. battery covers, according to Ravikumar Vasudevan. Vasudevan is Landsdowne Labs’ vice president for engineering and director of the project.

Niobium is a soft and ductile transition metal similar to tantalum and titanium. It is currently used as an alloying element in high strength steel and other superalloys, with existing applications in medical and surgical equipment, optics, jewelry, and hypoallergenic cosmetics, among others.

Landsdowne is currently awaiting patent approval for its technology and is testing the technology’s efficiency, scalability and impact on battery performance.

Worldwide, billions of button cell batteries are sold every year, and with the rise of the “Internet of Things”, consumer use of these batteries is on the rise.

In 2019, about 3,500 button cell battery ingestions were reported in the United States, according to the National Capital Poison Center. But, according to Kris Jatana, MD, a recognized international expert on the subject, the actual number of such ingestions could be much higher.

In a recent survey of more than 400 physicians who directly treat patients who have ingested “foreign bodies”, Jatana and his team found that nearly 90% of button cell battery ingestions (and 96% of all foreigners) had not been reported to the data. sources. “Due to poor reporting mechanisms, we grossly underestimate the frequency of serious injury and life-threatening consequences from button battery ingestions,” Jatana said.

Of the reported drum button injuries, 75% occur in children under the age of 6, with toddlers being the most vulnerable population.

By 2030, 125 billion consumer devices are expected to be sold worldwide, many powered by button batteries.

“A battery-level technology solution capable of reducing or eliminating severe esophageal injury is badly needed to reduce morbidity and mortality from these ingestions,” Dr. Jatana said. State University and is an investor/shareholder of Landsdowne Labs.

In congratulating Landsdowne on the award of the NSF grant, Robert Langer, PhD, noted that “the potential for children to swallow small batteries is large and growing. Landsdowne’s technology promises to reduce the associated risks. Langer is a professor at the David H. Koch Institute at MIT and co-founder of the company.

The SBIR/STTR program, also known America’s Seed Fund, powered by the NSF, awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, turning scientific discovery into products and services with business and societal impact. America’s Seed Fund is mandated by Congress under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of approximately $8.5 billion that supports basic research and education in all fields of science and engineering.

Landsdowne Labs, LLC, established in 2017, is a spin-off from the world-renowned Langer Lab. The company’s first product, ChildLok, is an innovative coin-cell battery technology designed to disable batteries after accidental ingestion, made possible by advanced materials science. Landsdowne Labs markets this breakthrough technology to global enterprises looking for a low-cost, turnkey solution for the growing coin cell battery. health crisis. Landsdowne is headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut.