Canaery-led Research Team Funded by US National Science Foundation Convergence Accelerator

An interdisciplinary team of experts across the fields of olfaction, neuroscience, forensic chemistry, nanofabrication, and detection canine training received $650,000 in Phase 1 funding to identify fentanyl and smokeless gunpowder in real-world scenarios using the Canaery nose-computer interface (NCI)

Credit: U.S. National Science Foundation

ALACHUA, Fla.--()--Canaery, the neurotech company revolutionizing the detection of important scents in real-world settings, today announced it has secured $650,000 in Phase 1 funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Convergence Accelerator leading an interdisciplinary team of scientists, engineers and operators. Teams that successfully complete Phase 1 may qualify for up to $5 million in Phase 2 funding.

The NSF Convergence Accelerator prioritizes projects with potential for positive societal and economic impact. The Canaery-led Phase 1 project, aligned under the program’s Track L: Real-World Chemical Sensing Applications, aims to create a safe fentanyl substitute for training scent detection animals, refine the Canaery nose-computer interface (NCI) system, and validate the system’s ability to detect fentanyl and smokeless gunpowder in real-world scenarios.

For Phase 1 of the NSF Convergence Accelerator program we have assembled an expert team to demonstrate multiple simultaneous detections of critical odors in real world environments,” said Peter Ledochowitsch, PhD, CTO and co-founder, Canaery. “The two most common uses of a detection canine today are for narcotics and explosives, new versions of which are constantly being developed. Fentanyl and smokeless powder will be two of the first entries into what will one day become the largest networked library of detectable odors in the world.”

Alongside Ledochowitsch as principal investigator (PI), the collaboration’s leadership includes:

  • Dmitry Rinberg, PhD, professor of neuroscience, NYU Langone Health
  • Lauryn DeGreeff, PhD, professor of forensic chemistry, Florida International University
  • Travis Massey, PhD, implantable microsystems engineer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Cedric Williams, PhD, professor of behavioral neuroscience, University of Virginia
  • Frank Cilurso, co-founder, 3DK9

Smokeless gunpowder is one of the most widely used combustive propellants in the world. It can be found in nearly every type of small arms ammunition and artillery shell, as well as many improvised explosive devices, such as pipe bombs. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid driving an epidemic of accidental overdoses worldwide. It is extremely toxic, and hazardous even in small quantities, posing a particularly high risk to first-responders and detection K9 units.

Conventional detection canines are considered the gold standard for real-world scent detection, but require frequent retraining and are limited to detecting a single class of odors, for example, narcotics or explosives, but not both. At the same time, human-made detector machines are not expected to approach the capabilities of a trained detection animal for at least several decades.

By combining an animal’s natural sense of smell with advanced neurotechnology and artificial intelligence, Canaery will provide law enforcement, security and defense organizations with the unparalleled speed and accuracy of conventional detection dogs alongside the objectivity and precision measurement of human-made detectors and laboratory-grade sensors.

About Canaery

Canaery is the neurotech company on a mission to unlock the hidden world of scent and contribute toward a safer, healthier society. By combining the natural sense of smell with advanced neurotechnology and artificial intelligence, Canaery can revolutionize the detection of hidden objects for law enforcement, security and defense, health care screenings and disease diagnostics, agricultural and ecological monitoring, and more. To learn about Canaery, or to view our open positions, follow us on LinkedIn or visit


Andrew Flick

Release Summary

Canaery leads research team funded by U.S. National Science Foundation Convergence Accelerator to develop neurotech enhanced working animals


Andrew Flick