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Battelle Introduces Next Generation, Smart Technology for Biodefense and Hazard Avoidance

Posted on Apr 28, 2014

REBS™ eliminates need for costly and perishable reagents, decreasing lifecycle costs to pennies per day

COLUMBUS, Ohio (April 28, 2014)—Battelle, the world’s largest independent research and development organization, today announced production of the next generation chemical and biological hazard sensor system that operates at a fraction of the cost of current technologies.

Battelle is offering the technology, known as the Resource Effective BioIdentification System (REBS), for U.S. Department of Defense, homeland security, and other federal biodefense initiatives, and to commercial industries for contaminant detection, for instance, where sterile production operations must be maintained.

REBS is a rugged, battery-powered system capable of autonomous and continuous use with operating costs of less than $1 per day per unit (compared to current system costs that can range from $500 - $3,000 per day) and assay costs of just $0.04 per sample (compared to current systems at over $100 per sample). These cost savings come from Battelle's new “smart technology” that eliminates the need for perishable reagents. Instead, REBS relies on a combination of patented aerosol collection and optical spectroscopy to detect hundreds of threats ranging from bacteria, viruses and toxins to aerosolized chemicals, and even mixed threats.

“Our warfighters, first responders, security personnel, and many in industry, need an affordable, reliable, high tech detection system capable of identifying new biological and chemical materials quickly, no matter the environment. REBS is that solution. Its elegant, automated design eliminates the need for constant maintenance and support, saving an estimated $56 million for every 1,000 units,” said Matthew Shaw, vice president and general manager of the CBRNE Defense business unit of Battelle.

“Unlike current systems, with REBS there is no need to constantly purchase and replenish the system with expensive, messy chemistries and consumables to keep their identification systems running. REBS can run continuously, without operator intervention, for weeks at a time…that’s like having a car that drives me 90 miles to work and back, day in and day out, without the need to fill it with gas for weeks at a time.”

REBS has been demonstrated in multiple government and independent trials, including successful operational testing in the Boston subway and, separately, successful developmental testing with “live” biological agents, such as anthrax spores, in 2013.

By eliminating the need for laboratory analysis of field-collected samples, the self-contained REBS design reduces the amount of time required to identify agents from hours or days, on average, to as little as 15 minutes, providing early warning and valuable guidance to the user.

The system “smart tech” capabilities also preserve samples for subsequent confirmation, is network-ready, and is able to look for new or emerging threat materials within 24 hours of their identification. Samples are automatically preserved and archived, providing seamless integration into high-level bio-surveillance operations at home or abroad.

REBS can be installed in a fixed site or used in mobile applications; as a single device or as an array of hundreds of systems configured into a network to a single command post. The system can be operated, monitored, and updated via the internet.

For more than 70 years Battelle has helped government agencies and industry solve some of their most complex Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear & Explosive (CBRNE) defense challenges.

Battelle spearheaded development of the military's current automated bio-detection system, the Joint Biological Point Detection System (JBPDS), in the 1990s in response to the U.S. Army’s call for a reliable and automated way to detect and identify biological weapon threats. Today, there are roughly 700 JBPDS deployed worldwide, from Navy ships to the Stryker NBCRV and the M31A2 Biological Integrated Detection System, each containing bio-suite components manufactured by Battelle.

About Battelle

Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information, visit 

Media Contacts

For more information contact Katy Delaney at (614) 424-7208 or, or T.R. Massey at (614) 424-5544 or

Media Contacts

Katy Delaney
Director, Media Relations
Office: 1.614.424.7208

T.R. Massey

Senior Media Specialist
Office: 1.614.424.5544