Peterborough company develops imaging system that identifies bacteria

Charlotte Products, a family-founded company in Peterborough, has developed a high-tech imaging system called Optisolve to detect germs.

Did you know that 80 per cent of infections are spread by contacting contaminated surfaces or that workplace equipment can be 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat?

Peterborough company Charlotte Products wants to drastically reduce those numbers with their high-tech system called Optisolve Pathfinder (OP)

Mark McInnes is the technical director at CP.

He says after spraying an illuminating liquid onto a hard surface and it’s allowed to dry, a sequence of images is taken with a modified DSLR camera. Ten seconds later, the camera fires off a number of shots and images that can be uploaded onto a computer.

“It makes the invisible visible and helps people clean better,” said company CEO Matt Strano.

OP detects germs left behind on surfaces such as tables and doors after they’ve been cleaned, using colour codes. Green is good, red is bad.

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“We took a picture of a window crank and even though the custodian did a very good job of cleaning the main part of the handle, they missed the main knob”, said Strano standing in front of a blown-up image of the handle in question.

Those leftover germs can spread deadly pathogens such as listeria or C. difficile in hospitals and other places where there are a lot of people.

The system has been in commercial use for about a year. Now with a $1.4-million grant from the federal government and in conjunction with the University of Toronto’s Kelley Lab, Charlotte Products can take OP to the next level and pinpoint specific bacteria.

Charlotte Products was founded in 1986 and employs around 50 people.

More information is available at

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