Boston startup dives into marijuana industry with high-tech sensor to weed out impurities

The compact, high-tech chemical sensors made by the Boston startup 908 Devices are used by emergency responders to scan for toxins after industrial accidents, and by researchers in the pharmaceutical and energy industries to profile the composition of drugs and petroleum products.

Now, the firm has unveiled a new sensor intended to give it a foothold in a less conventional but fast-growing industry: commercial marijuana.

The sensor, dubbed the G908, is a countertop “push-button” mass spectrometer designed to identify cannabis compounds. Its designers say the device approaches the accuracy of traditional “gold standard” lab equipment but is far smaller, faster, cheaper, and easier to use.

The company hopes to sell hundreds of the machines to marijuana labs, cultivators, and processors. Executives at 908 Devices, which has raised nearly $50 million in funding since its founding in 2014, believe the US market for marijuana testing equipment could soon reach a half-billion...

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