VentureLab works to commercialize liquid cooling system technology developed at Georgia Tech

Daniel Lorenzini prepares to test a microchip as part of his liquid cooling system technology he developed at Georgia Tech. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

Daniel Lorenzini prepares to test a microchip as part of the liquid cooling system technology he developed at Georgia Tech. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

In the online world of computer gaming, overclocking is a common practice by which hyper-competitive gamers look to push as much processing power as possible for the slightest advantage and edge to win and enjoy the games they play.

 

Running these gaming systems’ graphics or central processing units at rates faster than they were designed for allows for higher performance, including rendering at higher frames per second with higher resolutions and texture details. But it also creates a lot more heat and that requires more cooling and care of those key microlectronic components.

 

But Daniel Lorenzini has developed a liquid cooling system — on a micro scale — that allows for the microchips to be overclocked, or perform more operations per second, but at cooler temperatures than commercial thermal control hardware.

 

Yogendra Joshi (left) and Daniel Lorenzini stand in Joshi's lab heat transfer, combustion and energy systems lab in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

Yogendra Joshi (left) and Daniel Lorenzini stand in Joshi’s heat transfer, combustion, and energy systems lab in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

Lorenzini developed and refined the technology in the lab of Yogendra Joshi at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering.

 

Under conventional liquid cooling methods, microchips are cooled by passing coolant liquids through a block over the chips’ casings, which include a metal lid called an integrated heat spreader (IHS) and a thermal interface material (TIM), which is a gel-like substance. Those components lead to heat resistance and therefore limit the system performance due to thermal throttling.

 

But the liquid cooling system designed by Lorenzini, who is slated to receive his doctorate in mechanical engineering from Tech on May 3, 2019, allows for microchips to be cooled directly.

 

“I’ve been looking at more direct or microfluidic cooling to the chips and by doing this, we are able to remove more heat,” he said.

 

“It’s much more efficient and allows us to remove up to five times the power than that of conventional technologies,” Lorenzini added, “because you can increase the voltage to the processors so it’s faster and stable, while running at a higher frequencies.”

 

Daniel Lorenzini (left), founder of EMCOOL, shows Jonathan Goldman, a principal in Georgia Tech's VentureLab program, his entrepreneurship award he received from the Mexican government for his work in co-founding a startup in that country. (Péralte C. Paul)

Daniel Lorenzini (left), founder of EMCOOL, shows Jonathan Goldman, a principal in Georgia Tech’s VentureLab program, the entrepreneurship award he received from the Mexican government for his work in co-founding a startup in that country. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

With the help of VentureLab, the Georgia Tech program that works with Institute faculty and students to commercialize their research, Lorenzini is forming EMCOOL, as the company being organized around the technology will be called.

 

The breakthrough could be a significant one for the gaming industry, the first sector Lorenzini identified as being ready-made for his micro cooling system.

 

But it has potential for other industries, said Jonathan Goldman, a VentureLab principal, whoevaluates Tech-derived intellectual property and research for viability as commercialized and fundable technology startups.

 

“What he’s done is a disruptive improvement to the challenge of cooling these chips,” Goldman said, adding the technology has use in other high-performance computing applications such as data science, media, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.

 

Through VentureLab and his work with Goldman, Lorenzini was able to secure a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) in 2018 and the EMCOOL team participated in a six-week customer discovery boot camp to further define customer segments.

 

That was followed by another $50,000 grant — with VentureLab’s assistance — from the Georgia Research Alliance for prototype development.

 

Daniel Lorenzini (left) poses for photos with former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2018 after being awarded the Entrepreneurial Ingenuity Award from the Mexican government. (Special)

Daniel Lorenzini (left) poses for photos with former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2018 after being awarded the Entrepreneurial Ingenuity Award from the Mexican government. (Special)

And in the first quarter of 2019, Lorenzini raised $100,000 in an angel round from investors in his native Mexico. Those funds will be received once EMCOOL is formally incorporated, which is expected in June.

 

The Mexican government awarded Lorenzini with its Entrepreneurial Ingenuity Award in 2018 for his work as co-founder of Cooling Tree Systems, one of the first companies in Latin America to commercialize liquid cooling systems when such approaches began to replace air cooling solutions in the market.

 

EMCOOL, which already has a provisional patent on the technology Lorenzini developed at Georgia Tech, expects to formally incorporate in May.

 

“We’re guiding them through this process and getting them getting them ready to incorporate and assemble and sell their first systems,” Goldman said. “We expect to have those commercially available by this fall.”

Enterprise Innovation Institute Hosts Visit from French Embassy for Workforce and Economic Development Discussion

Christophe Bonneau (right), deputy economic counselor of business affairs for the Embassy of France to the United States, discusses his group’s desire to better understand how universities and the private sector collaborate to support workforce and economic development, as Jérôme Vouland (left), the embassy’s counselor for transportation and sustainable cities, listens. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

The Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) recently hosted three representatives from the Embassy of France who visited the Georgia Institute of Technology campus as part of a multi-state tour to better understand how universities interconnect with the private sector to support workforce and economic development.

 

EI2, comprised of a dozen programs, is Georgia Tech’s economic development arm. Through those programs, it supports commercialization of campus research and technology entrepreneurs, as well as industry and communities through business development extension services.

 

“It’s very important for us to understand the common challenges between France and the United states,” Christophe Bonneau, deputy economic counselor for business affairs at the Washington, D.C.-based embassy, said during the March 15 visit.

 

“One of them is filling the gap between what academic institutions have to bring in terms of training, in terms of skills, and the ever-evolving needs of companies, including manufacturing and technology.”

 

Georgia and France trade more than $3 billion in goods and services a year. That includes more than $592 million in Georgia exports to France each year, according to Georgia Department of Economic Development figures.

 

Georgia Tech and France have deep ties. Georgia Tech-Lorraine was established in 1990 in the eastern French city of Metz. The year-round campus — home to 600 each year — offers programs that create synergies between academics, research, and innovation. And since 2010, the Consulate General of France in Atlanta and Georgia Tech have collaborated together to present a multidisciplinary series of events each fall centered on innovation and designed to foster French-American cooperation and synergetic exchange in the Southeast.

 

The Institute also has strong ties with the southern French city of Toulouse with initiatives in aerospace and bioengineering, and the annual Startup Exchange, where startups from Atlanta go to Toulouse and vice versa to better understand international opportunities.

 

(From left) Melissa Heffner, VentureLab program manager, Chris Downing, EI2 vice president and director, and Lynne Henkiel, director of Innovation Ecosystems, listen as officials from the Embassy of France to the United States ask questions about Georgia Tech’s work with private industry to drive economic and workforce development. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

The French delegates learned how different EI2programs, such as the Economic Development Lab (EDL), work with communities to drive innovation at the local and regional level. For example, they learned about EDL’s Soft Landings Program, which helps foreign companies seeking to establish themselves in the United States understand how to do that and the different factors they need to consider before making that decision.

 

They also gained insight into other efforts, including VentureLab and I-Corps South, which help foster commercialization of research beyond campus labs at Georgia Tech and universities across the Southeast, respectively.

 

And, as part of their visit, they toured the Institute’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) to better understand how the state supports technology entrepreneurs who want to create scalable and viable companies in Georgia.

 

“Georgia Tech has had a really long history in — and was founded to spur economic development in Georgia,” said Chris Downing, EI2vice president and director. “We do have a lot of programs that serve different needs and customer sectors, but they all highlight what Georgia Tech is doing directly to have some influence in the economic viability and sustainability of the region.”

 

Bonneau and his team were particularly interested in Georgia because of the state’s urban and rural makeup.

 

“There is the urban-rural divide that we are facing to a certain extent in France and it’s interesting to see how Atlanta is driving not only wealth, but innovation training, better skills for people, and what’s important is how it connects to the rest of Georgia and the rest of the southeastern United States,” Bonneau said.

 

“We thought Georgia Tech was very interesting in how it connects with other incubators in the region, how it manages to bring companies and connect the with the local ecosystem, how it helps manufacturing plants, attracts research and development centers, and to that extent it’s been a great inspiration for us.”

Georgia Tech works with Irish researchers on innovation methodologies

Melissa Heffner, I-Corps South program manager, leads a discussion on evidence-based entrepreneurship at the Science Foundation Ireland in Dublin. (Photo: Keith McGreggor)

Melissa Heffner, I-Corps South program manager, leads a discussion on evidence-based entrepreneurship at the Science Foundation Ireland in Dublin. (Photo: Keith McGreggor)

Wanting to tap into the Georgia Institute of Technology’s expertise in innovation and commercialization processes and methodology, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) recently hosted two lead managers of Tech’s I-Corps program lead managers in Dublin to train a group of research teams developing technologies with a focus on societal impact.

 

SFI invited Keith McGreggor and Melissa Heffner to lead the Jan. 29 workshop series as part of the organization’s Future Innovator Prize project, which is aimed at supporting the development of disruptive ideas and technologies to address societal challenges.

 

The 12 teams were focused on various projects ranging from biomedical devices to diagnostics and all had ideas for a product that could address a particular challenge or process that could be improved.

 

“We were invited to come over to because of our experience as a leading institution in teaching the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program,” Heffner said. “They wanted us to explain and discuss how to develop a business model and how we do customer discovery and how that process is critical to objectively seeing what kind of societal impact these SFI teams could have with their projects and research theses.”

 

The NSF’s I-Corps program — a boot camp that shows what it’s like to form a startup — helps NSF-funded researchers learn how to commercialize their findings and determine if a market actually exists for what they developed.

 

“Our work in Ireland was focused on preparing these team to have the conversations and interviews with potential customers to determine if the problem they feel exists actually does and how they can solve that challenge,” Heffner said.

 

“Identifying what you think is a problem is only one part of the equation. But researchers need to go out and talk to potential customers and users to understand if what they see as a challenge truly exists the way they think it does and how their proposed solutions should ultimately be designed to provide the greatest degree of societal impact.”

 

Heffner worked on a similar project with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016.

 

Georgia Tech — through its VentureLab incubator program — is an I-Corps node and teaches entrepreneurship, and research and innovation methodologies.

 

Because of its long experience with forming companies from university research, Georgia Tech — through its VentureLab incubator — was selected in 2012 to be among the first institutions to become “nodes” teaching the I-Corps curriculum.

 

VentureLab is Tech’s technology commercialization incubator that primarily serves Tech faculty, staff, and students who seek to launch startup companies from the technology innovations they have developed.

 

McGreggor serves as VentureLab’s director and is executive director of I-Corps South, whichincludes Tech, the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Haslam College of Business.

 

In the last several years, SFI has sent a few teams to Tech for I-Corps training and Tech has led similar sessions for the Centers for Disease Control. The government of Mexico in 2018, through its National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT), sent more than a dozen university-based instructors to Tech to learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and how to build and maintain such programs at their schools.

 

The effort in Ireland underscores the Institute’s international reputation for commercialization expertise and supports its efforts to further its reach in Europe, McGreggor said.

 

“We want to leverage our presence in Europe with our Georgia Tech Lorraine campus in Metz, France, to do more entrepreneurship education across the continent,” McGreggor said. “Our work in Ireland and our relationship with SFI is a good example of our global impact and reach in our I-Corps programming and our evidence-based entrepreneurship. They want to work with us because of our strength in it.”

 

Georgia Tech marks startup expansion milestone with visit from Lt. Governor Casey Cagle

Chris Downing (left), vice president of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, shows a new suite of offices to (from left) ATDC Assistant Director Jane McCracken, Ga. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, and Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. The office expansion is designed to meet growing service needs of Tech’s startup programs, ATDC, VentureLab, and CREATE-X. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

In a 2016 visit to the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle challenged the state’s tech startup incubator to double the number of resident startups it served in Atlanta and the rest of the state.

 

Two years later, ATDC — a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology — not only met the challenge, but has exceeded initial expectations, with more than 180 companies now in its Signature and Accelerate portfolios across the state.

 

The growth has led to an expansion of ATDC’s offices in Technology Square to accommodate that demand. The creation of new suites at ATDC’s second floor offices in the Centergy Building — and expansion onto the third floor — allows for the incubator to house an additional 25 resident startups.

 

Cagle was on the Tech campus in a May 8 reception to mark the milestone, visit with some ATDC startup company CEOs, get an update on the Engage venture fund and growth accelerator, and to learn more about the innovation ecosystem that also includes the Institute’s VentureLab, CREATE-X, and Flashpoint programs.

 

His visit was part of a weeklong series of events taking place during Tech Square Innovation Week, which celebrated Tech Square as a hub of ideation.

 

Ga. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, during a visit to Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Develpment Center, discusses how technology startup entrepreneurship programs such as ATDC and VentureLab incubators are to giving new economic development opportunities to communities across Georgia. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

“Entrepreneurship is critically important to what the new economy is going to look like,” Cagle said during his visit. “I am thrilled to be with you here today and I can’t tell you how proud I am of each and every single person here. We’re just getting started and we’re going to take Georgia to even higher levels than we ever imagined, and you are the very reason for that.”

 

The expansion underscores the explosion of demand for ATDC’s services not only in Atlanta, but across the state, including Athens, Augusta, and Savannah.

 

“We were able to meet that demand in part because we received an increase in state funding — thanks to Lt. Governor Cagle’s leadership — that allowed us to increase our services and statewide reach,” said Chris Downing, vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Tech’s economic development arm whose programs include ATDC.

 

In 2017, ATDC’s portfolio companies raised $130 million in investment capital and in the in the first quarter of 2018, they attracted more than $33 million in investment dollars to the state.

 

Jane McCracken, ATDC’s assistant director, explains how the incubator’s portfolio companies raised $130 million in investment dollars in 2017 and about $33 million in the first quarter of 2018. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

“All of the ATDC’s work — the coaching, connections and community building — further establishes Georgia’s reputation a leading place for entrepreneurs and technology companies to flourish,” said Jane McCracken, ATDC’s assistant director. “That means jobs, additional funding and increased revenues, which benefit all of Georgia’s citizens.”

 

Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, who welcomed Cagle to campus, said ATDC’s success is just one of the many successful components in the Institute’s technology startup support.

 

Other programs include CREATE-X, a faculty-led initiative that helps students pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.

 

VentureLab collaborates with Institute faculty and students to create startups based on Tech research. Flashpoint is a startup accelerator, and Engage is an independent, early-stage venture fund and growth program.

 

The additional office spaces will allow for greater collaboration and partnership between ATDC, VentureLab and CREATE-X.

 

Keith McGreggor (left), director of Georgia Tech’s VentureLab program, gives Ga. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle an overview of the incubator and explains how its companies raised $125 million in investment dollars in 2017. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

 

“This success all around Tech Square has been possible largely due to state support, and the lieutenant governor’s vision for fostering innovation in the state,” Peterson said.

 

“Thanks to increased state funding to ATDC and establishment of the Invest Georgia fund, we can continue to foster home-grown innovation. We are dedicated to helping keep these entrepreneurs in Georgia.”

National Science Foundation awards Georgia Institute of Technology $500,000 grant to further Institute’s commercialization efforts

Funding to support I-Corps Sites teams formed from Georgia Tech research.

Free headshot

Paul Freet is VentureLab’s NSF I-Corps instructor.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has named the Georgia Institute of Technology an Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site — and awarded it a $500,000 grant to help Institute-based research teams identify and interview target customer audiences.

 

The grant, spread over five years, will be managed by Tech’s VentureLab program. VentureLab is Georgia Tech’s incubator that works with Institute faculty, staff, and students to evaluate their research and help them create startups based on those findings.

 

I-Corps Sites enable academic institutions to catalyze teams whose technology concepts are likely candidates for commercialization. It also provides infrastructure, advice, resources, networking opportunities, training, and funding to help researchers move from idea to commercialization.

 

At Georgia Tech, the I-Corps Sites grant will support up to 150 research teams — comprised of Institute students, faculty, researchers, or staff — in their efforts to meet with and interview potential customers, said Paul Freet, VentureLab’s NSF I-Corps instructor.

 

“A key part of the commercialization process is learning from customers— what I-Corps calls customer discovery,” Freet said. “We ask our research teams to search for evidence of product-market-fit and learn if there is a market for the commercialization of their research.”

 

All I-Corps Sites teams are expected to conduct 20 customer interviews. To help teams accomplish that goal, Georgia Tech teams accepted into the program will be reimbursed with up to $3,000 for travel to visit customers or attend trade shows.

 

Teams that complete the I-Corps Sites program also will have access to follow-on $50,000 I-Corps Team grants. To date, Georgia Tech researchers have received more than 50 I-Corps Team grants.

 

“The I-Corps program has been instrumental in helping launch a startup based on my research into advanced materials,” said Krista Walton, professor and Robert “Bud” Moeller Faculty Fellow in the Georgia Tech School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. “Early feedback from potential customers was critical in setting the direction of our startup. The I-Corps Sites grant will help get more researchers out of the lab and in front of customers.”

 

About VentureLab:

Created in 2001 and ranked as the No. 2 university startup incubator in the world, VentureLab is the Georgia Institute of Technology’s incubator whose mission is to collaborate with faculty, staff, and students to create startups based on Tech research. Using evidence-based entrepreneurship, VentureLab —a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Tech’s chief economic development arm — has supported the launch of more than 300 startups. Combined, those startups have raised more than $1.5 billion in investments. For more information, visit venturelab.gatech.edu.

National Science Foundation Awards Georgia Institute of Technology’s VentureLab a 5-year I-Corps Grant

Node2-1By Péralte C. Paul

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a $3.4 million Innovation Corps (I-Corps) grant to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s VentureLab program to expand its work in teaching entrepreneurship, support research and innovation.

The NSF’s I-Corps program — a boot camp that shows what it’s like to form a startup — helps NSF-funded researchers learn how to commercialize their findings and determine if a market actually exists for what they developed.

 

“I-Corps nodes support the national innovation ecosystem and help some of America’s brightest researchers test the commercial potential of their discoveries,” Grace Wang, acting assistant director for the NSF Directorate for Engineering, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to support these regional innovation hotbeds, which will help to foster local economic development and expand access to more researchers of all different backgrounds who seek entrepreneurship training.”

 

The grant, one of five the NSF awarded to schools across the country, supports innovation hubs called I-Corps nodes.

 

This new NSF grant expands Georgia Tech’s efforts and creates the I-Corps South Node, which includes Tech, the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Haslam College of Business.

 

Because of its long experience with forming companies from university research, Georgia Tech — through its VentureLab incubator — was selected in 2012 to be among the first institutions to become “nodes” teaching the I-Corps curriculum. VentureLab is Georgia Tech’s technology commercialization incubator that primarily serves Tech faculty, staff, and students who seek to launch startup companies from the technology innovations they have developed.

 

“This effort underscores Georgia Tech’s economic development mission and commitment to creating the next generation of entrepreneurial problem solvers,” said Chris Downing, who is the I-Corps South Node’s principal investigator and vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Tech’s chief economic development and extension outreach arm. “Through our collective service efforts to entrepreneurs, business, researchers, and innovators, Georgia Tech and our partner schools in Alabama and Tennessee are working together to design a foundation of regional innovation in the Southeast.”

 

Specifically, the I-Corps South Node aims to:

  • Accelerate the development of the South’s entrepreneurial ecosystems
  • Provide for increased partnership opportunities between academia and industry
  • Focus on underrepresented minorities through programs at historically black colleges and universities and in Puerto Rico to increase the participation of individuals from those communities in research pursuits and entrepreneurship

 

“We are extremely excited to partner with these three premier schools to collectively leverage our extensive industry relationships, partnerships, mentors, and funding connections to bring economic development through startup formation, workforce development, and entrepreneurial education,” said Keith McGreggor, VentureLab director and I-Corps South Node co-principal investigator and executive director.

 

“Through this partnership, the I-Corps South Node has the potential to reach more than 500,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and many thousands of the nation’s research faculty at research universities and historically black colleges and universities across the Southeast and the island of Puerto Rico.”

 

NSF created the I-Corps program in 2011 and since then, more than 800 teams have completed the NSF curriculum, from 192 universities in 44 states. That’s resulted in the creation of more than 320 companies that have collectively raised more than $83 million in follow-on funding.

 

At Georgia Tech, more than 40 teams have finished the I-Corps program, leading to the creation of more than 20 spinouts that have collectively raised more than $4.5 million in follow-up funding.

 

About VentureLab:

VentureLab — ranked as North America’s No. 5 university-based startup incubator — is Georgia Tech’s technology commercialization program that provides comprehensive assistance to faculty, staff, and students who want to form startups. VentureLab helps those entrepreneurs turn their ideas into early-stage companies through business model development, making connections between the innovators and seasoned entrepreneurs, locating sources of early-stage financing, and preparing these fledgling startups for the business world. Since its 2001 founding, VentureLab — a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s chief economic development arm — has launched more than 250 technology companies that have attracted more than $1.5 billion in outside funding. Visit venturelab.gatech.edu for more information. For additional information about I-Corps South, visit icorpssouth.com.

 

About NSF I-Corps: 

The NSF I-Corps program, a public-private partnership program established in 2011, connects NSF-funded scientific research with the technological, entrepreneurial, and business communities to help create a stronger national ecosystem for innovation that couples scientific discovery with technology development and societal needs. Visit www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/i-corps/ for more information.

VentureLab nanotechnology startup wins TechConnect Innovation Award on technology developed at Georgia Tech

Jeffrey Whalen, co-founder of FullScaleNANO, accepting the TechConnect Innovation Award at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference & Expo May 22-25 in Washington, D.C. Chin-Hui Lee, co-founder and a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Jeffrey Whalen, co-founder of FullScaleNANO, accepting the TechConnect Innovation Award at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference & Expo May 22-25 in Washington, D.C.

FullScaleNANO, an early-stage company that automates nanomaterial imaging and measurement and a VentureLab portfolio startup, received the TechConnect Innovation Award at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference & Expo May 22-25 in Washington, D.C.

 

NanoMet’s technology was developed at Georgia Tech by Chin-Hui Lee, co-founder and a professor in Georgia Techn’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

 

The company also joined VentureLab, the incubator at Georgia Tech for startups created by faculty, students, and staff. VentureLab works with those startups to help them commercialize research into viable companies.

 

“We created the algorithms that allow us to process thousands of images, faster and with better overall reliability,” Lee said. “This is a new frontier in science that we hope will lead to faster and more cost-effective innovation for industry.”

 

The company is headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida, but its software development team hub is in Atlanta.

 

The TechConnect Innovation Awards identify the top 15 percent of submitted technologies. Innovation rankings are based on the potential positive impact of the technology on a specific industry sector. Submissions come from global academic technology transfer offices, early-stage companies, small business innovative research awardees, and government and corporate research laboratories.

Chin-Hui Lee

Chin-Hui Lee, co-founder of FullScaleNANO, is a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

 

FullScaleNANO won for its NanoMet automated nanomaterials software that measures and characterizes thousands of nanomaterials in seconds.

 

“We are honored to receive this award that recognizes our innovative approach to measuring and characterizing nanomaterials, essential particles that are used in today’s product innovations, from medicine to manufacturing,” said Jeffrey Whalen, CEO and co-founder.

 

Nanomaterials are tiny particles that can’t be seen with the naked eye. The only way they can be viewed is by taking pictures with an electron microscope that contains a built-in camera. Measuring and characterizing these images is a slow, manual process — done one by one using a ruler — that takes hours, Whalen said.

 

NanoMet speeds up the task, using an automated system that processes images in seconds, takes thousands of measurements and provides objective quality assurance, enabling a shorter time to market. NanoMet “sees” every individual pixel in an electron microscope image to properly identify the exact edges of nanomaterials, providing a repeatable process that saves time and money.

 

Nanomaterials are used or being evaluated in a variety of products from batteries to shampoos and in a number of industries from food and medicine to electronics and the environment.

 

In medicine alone, applications being developed for nanoparticles include delivery of chemotherapy drugs directly to cancer tumors, resetting the immune system to prevent autoimmune diseases, and delivering drugs to damaged regions of arteries to fight cardiovascular disease. Other industry uses include producing hydrogen from water, reducing the cost of producing fuel cells and solar cells, and cleaning up oil spills, water pollution, and air pollution.

Tech Square’s corporate innovation research centers reflect growing trend

tech-square-1It used to be corporate research and development was always done in-house and inside labs bunkered away from other units within a company and far away from competitors.

 

Now, that approach is no longer ideal.

 

The new model, according to a report in the Harvard Business Review, is what the Georgia Institute of Technology, along with its partners, has created with Technology Square, home to 12 corporate innovation centers, including Home Depot, Coca-Cola Enterprises, and Delta Air Lines.

 

“What’s driving companies to relocate near urban universities is the changing role of innovation within the private sector as firms are increasingly relying on external sources to support technology development,” the report’s authors, Scott Andes and Bruce J. Katz, conclude.

 

Andes is senior policy analyst and associate fellow of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based, non-profit public policy think tank. Katz is the Brookings Institution’s inaugural centennial scholar.

 

Tech Square and the surrounding Midtown neighborhood offer what major corporations seek: proximity to a major research university and various cultural among social amenities, as well as an atmosphere that fosters collaboration, and making connections between startups clustered in the are and the large corporate firms.

 

The authors also note that Georgia Tech is particularly successful in drawing corporate innovation centers because the Institute also focuses on bringing research to market and commercializing ideas into actual companies.

 

“Georgia Tech is a national leader at spinning off startups: VentureLab, a university-run business accelerator, is ranked second in the world,” Andes and Katz write. “Georgia Tech’s incubator, the Advanced Technology Development Center, helps create successful startups by connecting entrepreneurs to mentors, capital, and customers.”

 

Read the full report at this link.

National Science Foundation awards StarMobile $500K funding grant

Raghupathy Sivakumar, StarMobile's co-founder and chief technology officer.

Raghupathy Sivakumar, StarMobile’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

StarMobile, a leading codeless, cloud-based solution centered on faster, simpler, and lower-cost delivery of enterprise mobility, has been awarded a $500,000 Phase IIB Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

 

The startup, which is incubating in Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center’s (ATDC) Signature program, said it will continue its work toward enabling rapid mobilization of enterprise applications. ATDC works with entrepreneurs looking to build successful technologies in Georgia.

 

StarMobile also is a graduate of Tech’s VentureLab startup incubator, ranked No. 2 in North America. VentureLab, a sister incubation program to ATDC in Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), works with Georgia Tech faculty, students, and staff to help them validate and commercialize their research and ideas into viable companies.

 

Raghupathy Sivakumar, StarMobile’s co-founder and chief technology officer, is a telecommunications, computer systems, and software professor at Georgia Tech and the Wayne J. Holman Chair in Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

 

“This Phase IIB SBIR award is a significant milestone for us, as the rigorous NSF selection process for Phase II proposals results in only 15 percent of Phase I grants receiving Phase II awards, and even fewer receiving Phase IIB awards,” said Sivakumar in a statement. “This award is an important validation that StarMobile has created a Rapid Mobile Application Development (RMAD) platform that transforms how enterprises mobilize their systems. This award provides support for further development of our core technology and will help us accelerate our go-to-market plans.”

 

The award is based on progress in product, market, and business model validation under a $750,000 NSF SBIR Phase II grant awarded to StarMobile in 2013, and research conducted under a $150,000 NSF SBIR Phase I grant awarded to StarMobile in 2012. StarMobile has now received a total of $1.4 million in grant awards from the NSF SBIR program as part of their efforts to foster innovative technologies.

 

The NSF Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program seeks to transform scientific discovery into societal and economic benefit by catalyzing private sector commercialization of technological innovations. The program increases the incentive and opportunity for startups and small businesses to undertake cutting-edge, high-quality scientific research and development. NSF SBIR/STTR grants not only address research and development funding, they also give recipients training in key business areas. Grant awardees also receive mentorship from program directors who have extensive industry experience.

 

The NSF SBIR/STTR program awards funds in every area of science and engineering.

 

Péralte C. Paul

Zyrobotics wins $750K National Science Foundation grant

By Péralte C. Paul

Ayanna MacCalla Howard

Ayanna MacCalla Howard

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Zyrobotics a $750,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant that continues the startup’s work in developing an accessible educational platform for children with special needs.

 

Launched in September 2013 by Ayanna Howard, the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Chair professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the company is commercializing assistive technology that enables children with limited mobility to operate tablet computers, smartphones, toys, gaming apps, and interactive robots.

 

“We are extremely excited about the opportunities that this NSF SBIR grant provides,” said Howard, who is the company’s chief technology officer. “It helps Zyrobotics to continue to evolve as a leader in inclusive smart mobile technologies by enhancing our ability to develop accessible learning systems that engage and empower children with special needs and enhance their quality of life.”

 

Specifically, the Phase II project aims to focus on the development of an accessible educational platform that combines mobile interfaces and adaptive educational tablet applications (apps) to support the requirements of children with special needs. While tablet devices have given those children an interactive experience that has revolutionized their learning, in its proposal, Zyrobotics notes that while some tablet devices are intuitive in use and easy for lots of kids, those with disabilities are largely overlooked due to difficulties in effecting pinch-and-swipe gestures.

 

“This project thus addresses a direct need in our society by providing an integrated educational experience, focused on math education that addresses the diverse needs of children, while providing a solution for variations found in their disabilities,” the company wrote in its grant proposal. “This SBIR Phase II project addresses an unmet need by developing an innovative solution to enable children with motor disabilities access to mobile devices and apps that could engage them fully into the educational system.”

 

In this next phase, Howard and her team plan to design accessible math apps geared to children with or without disabilities in kindergarten through 12th grade. The company also plans to design another set of apps that adapt educational content and provide feedback to parents and teachers based on real-time analytics.

 

The company says it sees ample market opportunity for its products both domestically and abroad. Here in the United States, children with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate public education, and Zyrobotics sees its products as addressing that need from both a commercial and societal standpoint. Worldwide, more than 93 million children live with a disability.

 

When founded, the company went through Georgia Tech’s VentureLab startup incubator, ranked No. 2 in North America. VentureLab, a unit of Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), works with Georgia Tech faculty, students, and staff to help them validate and commercialize their research and ideas into viable companies.

 

Zyrobotics is now part of Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a sister startup incubator program that serves all of Georgia. Zyrobotics, with the help of ATDC’s SBIR program, was able to receive its Phase I award in 2015, laying the groundwork for the Phase II grant.

 

“Zyrobotics is a wonderful Georgia Tech startup, based on the fine research in Dr. Howard’s lab, and enhanced by a very successful journey through the NSF I-Corps program,” said Keith McGreggor, VentureLab’s director. “This is a great example of how the research done in the classroom and lab, followed by idea validation, can lead to real breakthroughs that are designed to have a lasting impact on the lives touched by the technologies that Dr. Howard has created.”