Distran is a spin-off from the Autonomous System Lab, ETH Zurich, developing advanced acoustic sensors for industrial applications.
Distran’s goal is to reduce risks for industrial workers and the environmental impact of the industry through the use of sound sensing and technology.
Workers use their ears every day, consciously or unconsciously, to assess machine conditions. Traditional acoustic sensors have been used for long for that purpose but are limited by the background sounds that are present in usual industrial environments. Phased-array sensors developed by Distran overcome this limitation by spatially filtering the sounds. It becomes possible to locate defects, such as leaks or discharges, while being at a safe distance.
years of scientific research
Back in 2011, two engineers, Joël Busset and Florian Perrodin, developed a camera at ETH Zurich, the world’s 4th best university for engineering and technology (Top Universities, 2020), that was able to locate sounds, in order to help locate and save people trapped in debris after disaster.
The acoustic camera was able to produce high-definition images in real-time, a breakthrough for real-world applications. With the support of the Autonomous System Lab, the two founders were able to convince the jury of the ETH Pioneer Fellowship to give them the initial amount of money necessary to develop a first product and find commercial partners.
A few years later, the company was founded and two first strong partnerships with Alstom and RUAG allowed the founders to improve the technology and adapt it to the ultrasonic frequencies. A new device was designed and tested in power plants which resulted in multiple success stories, saving hundreds of thousands of euros to the plant owners, not counting the strong positive impact on the environment of the findings, through reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and energy savings.
Distran counts now more than 15 people and keep a strong focus on R&D, developing novel algorithms to improve ultrasound imaging. Ultrasound cameras are assembled and tested in-house in Zurich and Distran is able to support customers worldwide.
Distran is proud to be supported by the Swiss Climate Foundation, the Bundesamt für Umwelt (Swiss federal office for the environment), ZKB and Energie 360°.
Distran cameras are used every day by many of the biggest industrial companies in the world to ensure the highest safety standard, to improve their reliability and to reduce their gas emissions.