Professors’ venture wins MassChallenge Award

Guardion, a venture developed by two Northeastern faculty members: Swastik Kar, professor of physics, and Yung Joon Jung, professor of mechanical and industrial engineering.

Guardion was recently awarded $50,000 through the MassChallenge accelerator, as well as an additional grant through the CASIS-Boeing Prize for Technology in Space. The venture is based on technology Kar and Jung have perfected over a five-year collaboration: a radiation sensor that’s at least an order of magnitude more sensitive than currently available options. It’s also smaller and less expensive to build.

Jung and Kar’s vision is to deploy a network of these sensors in cities where they act as guards, sensing radiation-generated ions—hence the name, Guardion.

The sensors also have a cosmic application. Guardion was one of three companies to be awarded the CASIS-Boeing Prize for Technology in Space, which collectively totals $500,000. CASIS is the Center for Advancement of Science in Space.

“The CASIS- Boeing funding is a big deal because it would let us make use of the International Space Station for experiments,” Kar said. The value of this is two-fold. First, it will allow for testing of materials in microgravity conditions, which could lead to the growth of better samples here on Earth. Sending the sensors into space also lays the groundwork for a potential future collaboration with NASA.