INNOVATION FUND REPORT SEPTEMBER 2013 THE $250,000 $225,000 $200,000 $175,000 $150,000 INNOVATION ENTERPRISE REPORT 2013 $125,000 GIFTS RECEIVED: $233,275 $100,000 OUTSTANDING PLEDGES: $8,000 $75,000 $50,000 FUNDS AWARDED: $112,605 $25,000 THANK YOU TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS Bank of Ruston Mr. John E. Barnes, Jr. Mr. William S. Carter, Jr. Mrs. Nell N. Charles Community Trust Bank Mr. Benjamin L. Denny Mr. John E. Denny Rep. Hollis H. Downs Mr. John F. Emory Mr. Randy L. Ewing Mr. Terry O. Ewing Dr. James D. Green Dr. Marvin T. Green, Jr. Dr. Leslie K. Guice Ben P. Haley, M.D. Mr. Bill Hogan Mr. Paul M. Hogan Mr. Wayne B. Hunter Mr. Robert E. James Mr. William A. Jones, Jr. JPS Equipment Mr. Kenneth D. Kilpatrick* Mr. William J. Knight, III Lincoln Builders Mr. James C. Love, III Mr. T. Lewis Love Mr. William K. McConnell Mr. Lucius D. McGehee* Mrs. Mildred McGehee Mr. John J. McHale Mr. William M. McIntyre Mrs. Janice L. Murphy Mrs. Martha Emma L. Napper Mr. & Mrs. Lue C. Napper Mr. Richard O. Nealy Mr. John A. O’Neal, Jr. Mr. Tommy W. Rogers Mr. R. G. “Skip” Russell Mr. James G. Shepherd Mr. Thomas W. Singletary Mr. Robert W. Temple Mr. Bill Tubre Mr. Michael L. Walpole Mr. D. Layne Weeks * Indicates donors who are deceased For information on contributing to the Innovation Fund contact Dave Norris at (318) 257-3978 or [email protected] Find this newsletter online at www.latechinnovation.org. Includes Innovation Fund success stories ON THE COVER Tech Pointe is the first multi-tenant facility in the new Louisiana Tech Enterprise Campus. Letter from the Director Dear Friends, In the Spring of 2009 with support from key community leaders like yourself, Louisiana Tech University established the Innovation Enterprise Fund through the University Foundation. This fund was established to provide small grants to early stage companies spinning out of the University’s technology transfer activities or otherwise affiliated with the University’s business development efforts. The grants are designed to dramatically accelerate the movement of innovation from the research lab to the marketplace and generate new economic activity and investment opportunities in north Louisiana. Engagement of the regional business and investor community in the Innovation Fund is increasing the likelihood of new venture success and maximizing the local economic impact of new technology development. This fund is already beginning to increase the amount and quality of deal flow available to regional investors and set north Louisiana apart from other university communities in our level of local commitment to and engagement in the Innovation Enterprise. We have held two rounds of competitions and will hold the third round in the fall of 2013. All fund members are welcome to participate in the grant decision process, and only fund members are allowed to vote on grant award decisions. Our goal is to grow this into a $1 million fund and dramatically accelerate the growth of high-tech companies and quality job opportunities in our community. We hope to increase the engagement of existing members and significantly grow membership in the fund over the coming months. I want to extend our sincerest appreciation to all who have contributed so far. Your contribution is already working to benefit our community. Sincerely, Dave N. Norris, Jr. Executive Director for Enterprise and Economic Development I N N OVAT I ON FUN D AWA RD W I N N ER Hybrid Energy Harvesting Device Could Be a Game-Changer ABOVE: Student Andy Tseng tests the voltage generated by the hybrid energy harvesting device The sun offers both light energy and thermal radiation. But while a great deal of technologies focus on the sunlight harvesting, little attention has been paid to developing devices that harvest the thermal energy. Solar cell technologies can only convert a very narrow spectrum range of sun light into electricity and only during daylight without cloud cover. Therefore, they waste much of the solar energy, and do not convert the thermal radiation—which actually degrades the solar cells—at all. The ideal energy harvesting devices not only can work when sunlight is available, but also can generate power if thermal radiation is available even at night. There are very few technologies currently available to harvest both sunlight and thermal energy on a single chip, and those available have significant limitations. The recent development of energy harvesting technology by Dr. Long Que’s group at Louisiana Tech offers a new route and technical platform to harvest both sunlight and thermal radiation energy on a single chip with dramatically enhanced conversion efficiencies. This technology could break the bottleneck of current silicon-based solar cell technology and thermoelectric generation technology and vastly expanding our ability to generate clean, renewable energy. The initial target market, being developed in collaboration with CFD Research Corporation of Huntsville, Alabama, is self-powered energy sources for wireless sensors and communication nodes, biomedical devices, low-power VLSI circuits and consumer electronics. I N N OVAT I ON FUN D AWA RD W I N N ER Clay Nanotubes Finding Multitude of Product Applications BELOW: Microscopic images of hallosite nanotubes Nanomaterials with grain sizes on the order of a billionth of a meter manifest extremely fascinating and useful properties, which can be exploited for a wide variety of applications including next generation computer chips, better insulation materials, hi-def television, harder cutting tools, and high energy-density batteries. They can also be used to improve the life of medical implants, clean up pollutants, and deliver drugs. Many of these product applications have great potential benefits, but come with very high material and environmental costs. At LaTech’s Institute for Micromanufacturing—home to some of the world’s leading research on nanomaterials—there is a material emerging as extremely viable. Halloysite clay has significant advantages over other nanomaterials in that it is cheap, durable, and environmentally friendly. The most common nanomaterial on the market today, carbon nanotubes, is vastly more expensive and toxic. Dr. Yuri Lvov, the Small Times Magazine Innovator of the Year in 2009, has developed a host of applications using halloysite nanotubes to provide anti-corrision, anti-fouling, and fire-resistant properties to a host of structures and building materials. Development partners include Cameron International, PPG Industries, and local companies like Storm Wall Industries. Dr. Lvov’s smart protective coating technology uses halloysite nanotubes loaded with the appropriate chemical agents for protecting the structure then either inserted into the building material or applied as a coating with paint. Lad and field test results have been extremely positive, and the market potential for this product is in the tens of billions. Geopolymer Concrete Development Gains Strength and Commercialization Partners ABOVE: Testing formulas for geopolymer concrete blocks at the TTC lab Louisiana Tech is leading the world in developing innovative new products with geopolymer binding technology for concrete. Geopolymer concrete is a novel, environmentally friendly material made from a waste product— fly ash—of coal-fired power plants. In collaboration with local, national, and international partners, Erez Allouche and his team at the LaTech Trenchless Technology Center are developing a range of customized geopolymer products as a replacement for Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC), the most common building material on the planet. For many applications geopolymer concrete provides a 100% substitute for OPC with improvements in compressive strength and corrosion resistance. Also, by using fly ash as raw material, geopolymer generates a lower carbon footprint and turns a waste stream into a product of value. Successful projects to date include high temperature/corrosion-resistant products for high-end refractory applications, corrosion-resistant geopolymer formulations for coastal roadways, bridges and flood control structures, spray-on concrete for manhole rehabilitation, and flexible geopolymer concrete coatings for steel pipes and other critical steel structures. The flexible geopolymer is also being enhanced with nanotechnology for added performance features creating the world’s first smart concrete with self-healing properties. Testing in collaboration with NASA and Aero Jet at Stennis Space Center has proven very successful. Local Ruston firm M.L. Smith, a leader in the refractory construction industry, has also been a development partners. Other commercializations partners include The Azera Group out of Houston, TX and CLECO. eVortex™ Moving to Market BELOW: The view from the top of a tower built to simulate a vortex drop structure Thousands of sewer drop structures across North America ranging from 5 feet to over 300 feet in height convey billions of gallons of water annually. Drop structures direct flow from shallow surface sewers to deeper collection tunnels via a vertical shaft--like a sewer waterfall. An advanced version of a drop structure known as ‘vortex drop structure’ is fast growing in popularity and is designed to dissipate energy. Louisiana Tech researchers saw these sewer waterfalls as an opportunity to generate new energy. So they have developed a novel low cost turbine with an integrated electrical generator called ‘eVortex’ to harvest the enormous kinetic energy available in waste water passing through these sewer waterfalls. This technology was developed in collaboration with Ipex International, one of the world leaders in thermoplastic piping systems for municipal, industrial, and residential applications. The eVortex technology provides an opportunity for municipalities to generate power from sewers for their own use or produce a steady stream of revenue through electricity generation. And since most of the infrastructure required for eVortex is already in place within the municipal water collection systems, there is little cost to cities to begin producing power. IPEX Incorporated has licensed the technology from Louisiana Tech with plans to begin deploying the technology in municipalities across North America and Europe. Biovations™ Completes SBIR Phase I Development, Looks to Phase II Biovations™ is a startup company located in the Tech Pointe facility in the Louisiana Tech Enterprise Campus. They are developing a novel thermoelectric technology which can enable point-of-care detection of genetic mutations. Point-of-care detection means samples do not have to be sent to a lab. Health care providers use genetic mutation detection or genotyping for screening individuals in the general population with predisposition for developing diseases (e.g., cardiovascular, Alzheimer’s) and to identify most effective drug therapies. Current methods of identifying genetic mutations in the general population are prohibitively expensive and not available for wide-spread use at the point-of-care. Less expensive, simple methods of genotyping are needed to meet the potential of personalized medicine. Biovations™ patented technology addresses this need with a dramatically simplified method of sequencing small strands of DNA containing the mutation of interest. This technology offers an affordable and reliable method for genetic mutation detection and disease susceptibility testing in the large and growing commercial market for genotyping and personalized medicine. A number of players are vying for dominance in the genotyping arena, and no clear winners have yet emerged. Biovations™ hopes to take advantage of this fast growing opportunity. The company has already received highly competitive SBIR funding for research and development from the National Science Foundation. HelpFlixTM Turns Static Manuals into Dynamic 3D Videos HelpFlix, Inc. is a video production firm specializing in the production of 3D animated instruction videos that assist in the training of employees, assembly of products, and maintenance of equipment. Their motto is the following: A picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is worth a thousand pictures. The company placed 3rd in the LaTech Top Dawg New Venture Championships and is now headquartered in Ruston with offices in India. HelpFlix produces and markets high quality 3D animated videos that assist with product demonstrations, step-by-step instruction manuals, operator training/safety manuals, and replaces printed instructions and regular video. As opposed to printed instructions, in-person training, or traditional video, their product is dynamic, language-neutral, always assessable, cost-effective, and can even train the functionality illiterate or reading averse. They are currently focused on serving markets in the oil and gas, healthcare, and telecommunications industries. HelpFlix has created a portfolio of work for a variety of clients and is aggressively seeking growth opportunities. They have seen tremendous interest in their product from a variety of industries and are currently seeking partners to support marketing outreach and sales. Haptic Unlimited Makes Connections at the International Consumer Electronics Show Founders Sean Griffin and Jessica Wasserman have developed a handheld Bluetooth keyboard and mouse called the Firebrand. Since winning the La Tech Top Dawg New Venture Championship and the El Dorado G-60 business pitch competition in April 2012, Haptic Unlimited has gone on to patent the Firebrand and move towards manufacturing and distributing the device. The Firebrand is a handheld Bluetooth keyboard that lets a user type the same way they text message to interact with a television, computer or other device. And among the younger generations, and those to follow, the growth of text typing is exponential. In January Griffin and Wasserman took the Firebrand prototype to Las Vegas for the International Consumer Electronic Show where they were able to connect with both manufacturers and distributors. They received excellent feedback and expressions of interest from major corporations and potential customers. Through connections made with Startup America, Haptic Unlimited has been in talks with both Dell and American Airlines and received encouragement from editors of both Engadget and the Huffington Post. Upon returning to Ruston, Griffin and Wasserman have launched a crowd sourcing fundraiser on Indiegogo, www.indiegogo.com/haptic and will be pitching to interested investors in the region. INNO VATIO N F U ND AWA RD W IN N E R FutureScan Goes to Market and Applications Continue to Grow BELOW: A FutureScan UWB Radar unit inspects a buried pipe for soil voids in the New Orleans area. Researchers at Louisiana Tech’s Trenchless Technology Center have successfully developed a new scanning system, dubbed the FutureScan, using ultra-wide band technology which has the potential to provide much more information on underground infrastructure conditions than current methods using closed-circuit television cameras. The system has already been developed and deployed in collaboration with John Deere for use on backhoes to detect underground infrastructure or other obstacles in real-time while digging. It has also been integrated with a roving robot to enter underground pipes to scan for damage and signs of deterioration in and around the pipe. One particularly valuable capability of this system in pipeline inspection—developed in collaboration with CUES, Inc out of Florida—is that it can detect voids around the pipe that could lead to potentially devastating and costly sinkholes. This technology is a quantum leap forward in pipeline inspection providing more information in much greater detail and at much greater speeds than ever before. After these successful deployments other applications are being explored including detecting voids in utility poles (with CLECO) and even prediction of sweet potato harvest yields (with the Sweet Potato Research Station in Chase, La.). Meanwhile, the developers of FurureScan envision even more applications in other areas of civil engineering including inspections of dams, seawalls, bridge decks, and building foundations. I N N OVAT I ON FUN D AWA RD W I N N ER Red Box Technologies Markets Nuclear Shield Technology ABOVE: Laboratory tests of fluorescent doping material for nuclear detection and shielding materials Red Box has met tremendous success in developing the product prototypes and limited production market of nuclear protection technologies licensed from Louisiana Tech University. One success has been nuclear disposal bags. Red Box has partnered with American Strategic Innovations (ASI) for marketing and Heritage plastics for manufacturing of these bags that contain and shield nuclear waste. The same technology has a variety of other applications in developing nuclear shields to protect items from harmful radiation. ASI has been founded in the Humana Enterprise Center to develop the market for these bags and a variety of other products. Nuclear detection products to monitor waste and detect potential efforts at nuclear terrorism has received spectacular accord in the intelligence community. Interest and guidance is being provided by National Security Technologies, the operational division of the Nevada Test Site and by In-Q-Tel, the VC firm owned by the CIA. The inventor, Dr. Chester Wilson and his group were invited to give four talks this year at Air Force Global Strike Symposium. This has spurred direct negotiations on products with major defense contractors, and has defined a new market space in radiation and EMP hard shielding for aerospace defense products. This market is estimated to be worth several billion dollars a year.
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