The earthquake in February claimed 30,000 lives and destroyed 10,000 buildings in Turkey alone, bringing the necessity and benefits of infrastructural monitoring into sharp relief. The solution by Swiss startup irmos technologies (formerly Seismohealth) could help make infrastructures safer.
Based on a decade of research at ETH Zurich, the startup created a unique platform that revolutionizes the maintenance and preservation of buildings and bridges, maximizing safety and extending their operational life. It combines low-cost sensors with intelligent algorithms that translate vibrations from sources like traffic, wind, construction, and seismic events into structural condition metrics, providing real-time tracking of the global structural integrity, regardless of the construction materials.
The startup acquired and processed valuable datasets from healthy and damaged structures to develop its algorithms and has validated the algorithmic backend in over a dozen buildings and two highway bridges. The platform not only provides assessments of structural damage but also offers degradation analysis to support predictive maintenance. It also acts as an early warning system and rapid condition assessment in case of disasters and accidents. By extending the life of a structure, the platform can drastically increase the efficiency of structural evaluation and extend the amortization of real estate.
Irmos’ platform has been deployed in multiple pilot projects, including Bellevue Palace in Bern and the cantonal hospital in Glarus, and is engaged in a long-term monitoring project with ASTRA, the Swiss Federal Road Office. It has also initiated special collaborations for the monitoring of the Acropolis site in Athens.
CHF 150'000 to facilitate expansion
The startup plans to use the CHF 150,000 from Venture Kick to expand its market reach in Switzerland and develop a business plan for its international growth in 2024. In Switzerland alone, where 50% of 1.1 million buildings have exceeded their design lifespan, the serviceable obtainable market is estimated to be worth CHF 100 million a year. Globally, the structural monitoring market is valued at around USD 4 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 14.6%.
The team consists of Panagiotis Martakis, who earned his Ph.D. in AI for Structural Monitoring at ETH and has three years of corporate experience as a professional engineer; Yves Reuland, an expert in Monitoring infrastructure, who earned his Ph.D. in Structural Performance Monitoring at EPFL and led over 30 monitoring campaigns; and Christos Lataniotis, a senior software engineer who earned his Ph.D. in Data Science at ETH and has fifteen years of corporate and startup experience. Their advisory team includes Prof. Eleni Chatzi, a structural monitoring expert at ETH; Bruno Spicher, an infrastructural insurance expert on the executive board of SBB; and Dr. Clotaire Michel, an infrastructure risk expert at Risk & Safety AG.