Editor’s Note: Every year, the R&D100 Conference highlights emerging technologies that have the potential to transform industries and change the way we work and live. The 2018 conference, held in Orlando November 15-16, did not disappoint.
The conference included the Tech Match Sprint, a special session that provided hands-on examples of typical emerging technologies that form an important part of the R&D landscape and technology transfer process at many R&D institutions. These technologies are readily available for Technology Scouts to investigate and assess alignment with respect to their company or business strategy needs.
Several promising innovations were presented as part of the Tech Match Sprint session. Vicki A. Barbur, PhD. the Senior Director of IP and Technology Commercialization, Battelle, moderated the panel in addition to introducing some new technologies from Battelle. The innovations ran the gamut from advanced materials to biomedicine—and many of them are available for licensing, commercialization and collaborative development currently. Here’s a brief introduction from Barbur of eleven technologies to watch for in 2019 and beyond.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PNNL draws on signature capabilities in chemistry, earth sciences and data analytics to advance scientific discovery and create solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges in energy resiliency and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.
Improving power system performance and transmission reliability is a national priority. PNNL is developing data monitoring and visualization tools for utilities, researchers and vendors that provide greater visibility into real-time grid performance, predict potential problems and recommend corrective actions.
The PNNL team has developed more than 40 analytical and operational tools available for proprietary licensing or through open source licensing, including tools for data visualization, operator decision support, grid planning, oscillation detection, synchronphasor data analysis and high-performance computing.
Solid Phase Processing
Solid phase processing methods have demonstrated potential to create advanced materials with specialized properties impossible to manufacture with conventional melt or thermomechanical processing. These materials, which include high-performance microstructures and metastable materials, have broad applications for many industries, including automotive, aerospace, biomedical, renewable energy, oil & gas, infrastructure, marine and military.
PNNL’s Solid Phase Processing Initiative seeks to understand, predict and ultimately control kinetic and thermodynamic pathways activated in materials subjected to high strain during synthesis to accelerate the development of advanced materials with desirable properties. Researchers at PNNL are exploring materials properties and applications for materials created through Friction Stir Welding, Friction Stir Processing, Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion (ShAPE™), and Cold Spray.
Nanodroplet Processing in One Pot for Trace Samples (NanoPOTS) is a system and technique for analyzing samples 500 times smaller than is possible using conventional methods. PNNL has applied the method to the first-ever broad identification of proteins from single human cells. Proteomics, or the study of proteins created by an organism or biological system, is a growing field with applications for forensics, biomedicine and environmental science.
The NanoPOTS method allows researchers to get usable information out of samples as small as a single cell, vastly increasing the potential applications. Some of the most exciting near-term possibilities are in biomedicine, where NanoPOTS could be used to vastly increase the ability to detect rare cell types, including cancer cells, in very small diagnostic samples. (3).
Peter C. Christensen, Deputy Director of Licensing, Technology Commercialization Office at PNNL presented these innovations during the Tech Match Sprint at the 2018 R&D 100 Conference. PNNL is currently seeking commercialization partners for licensing and further technology development for the above technologies. Contact [email protected], Tel: 509-371-6159 for more information
University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida is an emerging preeminent research university located in metropolitan Orlando. With more than 67,000 undergraduate and graduate students, it is one of the largest universities in the U.S, attracting more than $180 million in research funding annually, supporting a broad range of science and engineering programs. The UCF Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) brings discoveries to the marketplace through intellectual property protection, marketing and licensing processes and connects UCF researchers with companies and entrepreneurs to transform innovative ideas into successful products.
Wrong-way drivers—whether intentional, impaired or simply lost—can cause havoc if they enter a busy highway in the wrong direction. In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports that WWD incidents are responsible for 3 percent all crashes and result in a high proportion of injuries and fatalities.
UCF researchers are collaborating with the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) on a multi-year research project to study and prevent head-on vehicle collisions on the limited-access expressway system in Central Florida. The collaboration has produced several technologies that could help reduce accident rates and prevent fatalities for drivers and first responders. One system uses sensors that trigger high-visibility flashing signage to alerts drivers who enter an exit ramp the wrong way, prompting them to turn around before they enter the expressway. It also alerts law enforcement and triggers additional signage for right-way drivers on the expressway if the driver fails to turn around.
The technology is currently deployed on 35 exit ramps on Central Florida’s Expressway System, a 118-mile user-funded route that includes 69 interchanges and seven named expressways. In real-world testing, 82 percent of wrong-way drivers turned around before entering the mainline—reducing accidents and infrastructure damage, keeping expressways open longer and saving lives. UCF and CFX have patented two WWD countermeasure technologies in the United States and have an additional U.S. patent application pending. UCF is currently seeking licensees to implement the patented technologies outside of central Florida and research collaborators in the transportation infrastructure and automotive industries for co-development of related technologies.
Medical Robot Navigation & Controls
Robotic technologies are playing a growing role in minimally invasive surgeries, including neurologic, cardiac, gynecologic and orthopedic treatments. UCF researchers have developed a novel surgical navigation unit and control system for robot-assisted or automated surgeries. The new system has been specifically optimized for use in skin treatments for dermatology and medical aesthetics. The global market for medical aesthetic treatments has grown rapidly and is estimated to reach $13.29 billion by 2021. More advanced robotic technologies can make these treatments safer, more precise and more accessible for practitioners and patients. Research and development for the project was initially provided by Avra Medical Robotics, Inc. and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council.
Andrea Adkins, Assistant Director, Office of Technology Transfer, University of Central Florida presented these innovations during the Tech Match Sprint at the 2018 R&D 100 Conference. The University of Central Florida is currently seeking commercialization partners for licensing and further technology development for the above technologies. Contact: [email protected], Tel: 407-823-0138
University of New Hampshire
The University of New Hampshire is a premier research university in Durham, NH, serving 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students. UNH is among the top 20 percent of universities nationwide in research funding and is ranked second in North America for ecology research and in the top three for space plasma physics. UNH students and faculty have a long history in basic and applied research and technology development, with research programs spanning climate science, advanced manufacturing, smart city planning, ocean engineering and dozens of other cutting-edge programs.
Versatile Spectrum Sensing Method for Cognitive Radio
The available communications spectrum has become increasingly crowded due to the proliferation of home automation devices, remote-controlled aircraft, remote sensors and Internet of Things (IOT) applications. Cognitive radio systems get around this problem by dynamically detecting and adapting to available white space in local radio communication channels. Wavelet-based energy detectors have been widely used for radio communications, but they are non-adaptive and struggle with low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) signals.
Researchers at UNH have created an Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD)-based energy detector that requires no prior information and is very good at separating noise from real-world signals. This versatile spectrum sensing method collects spectrum data and separates signals from noise through a “sifting” process. It can be used for both short- and long-range signal detection across multiple applications, including Wireless Regional Area Networks (WRAN) and spectrums allocated for regional TV broadcasts. The technology could be applied for security (e.g., drone detection, communication system detection), tactical radio systems, marine mapping and bio-identification, and wireless communication and broadcasting in crowded spaces. It is now available for licensing, start-up formation, sponsored research and collaborative R&D.
Improved Opto-Coupler Design with Enhanced Performance
Sending electrical components into the harsh environment of space requires significant hardening to improve longevity and performance. Existing opto-couplers (electronic components that transfer electrical signals between two isolated circuits using light) have size limitations to prevent damage, making high current transfer ratios (CTR) difficult to achieve. UNH researchers have developed a novel opto-coupler design with increased CTR, high isolation potential and high reverse breakdown voltage. This design provides a 10x to 20x increase in CTR with better thermal management. The compact, streamlined design works well for space-based applications and reduces the number of parts to be designed and machined. Other potential applications include medical devices, industrial automation, professional light-measurement instruments and auto-exposure meters. The patent-pending technology is currently available for licensing, start-up formation and collaborative R&D.
Field-Deployable Imaging Neutron Detector (FIND)
Neutron imaging devices are used by the military and homeland security to detect nuclear materials that pose a risk to soldiers or civilians. However, there are currently gaps in detection capabilities, particularly in the ability to remotely and efficiently detect and identify kilogram-size samples of special nuclear materials (SNM).
There are no devices on the market today capable of detection in the one to 20 MeV energy range. The Field-deployable Imaging Neutron Detector (FIND), developed at UNH, enables fast and accurate detection and geolocation of small quantities of nuclear materials. Based on a patented tri-material dual-species neutron spectrometer, FIND differentiates between source types and locates sources to within 3°, overlaying their location on an optical camera image using a tablet-based graphical user interface. The field-tested device is highly portable, rugged enough to withstand battlefield conditions, and easy to transport and set up. The device gives military and security personnel a valuable new tool for industrial site monitoring, battlefield detection, natural disaster response and detection of “dirty bombs” and radioactive materials at points of entry.
Matthew Simon, Licensing Manager for Engineering & Physical Sciences at the University of New Hampshire presented these innovations during the Tech Match Sprint at the 2018 R&D 100 Conference. The University of New Hampshire is currently seeking commercialization partners for licensing and further technology development for the above technologies. Contact: [email protected], Tel: 603-862-0829
Battelle is the world’s largest non-profit research and development organization, applying science and technology to solve some of today’s most pressing problems. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries.
NeuroLife® Neural Bypass Technology
Nervous system damage and disorders are a leading cause of disability. Battelle developed an innovative neural bridging technology that gives a paralyzed man conscious control over his fingers, hand and wrist. Battelle NeuroLife® technology bypasses the damaged portion of the spinal cord to restore motor function. The system consists of a chip implanted in the motor cortex to pick up brain signals indicating intention, software that analyzes and interprets the brain signals and translates them into electrical stimulation, and a specialized sleeve that stimulates muscles in the forearm to induce movement in the wrist, hand and fingers.
The NeuroLife technology team is now refining the technology and working to expand the range of patients that it can be used to help. The individual components have the potential to be used for a wide range of diagnostic, assistive and therapeutic applications, including stroke rehabilitation, assessment of motor function and cognitive control of a variety of assistive devices. Battelle is currently seeking partners for licensing, commercialization and collaborative development of new applications for the core technologies.
HeatCoat™ Spray-On Carbon Nanotube Heater Coating
Thermal coatings have a broad range of applications, including aviation, medical devices, automotive, and oil & gas. However, existing technologies do not work well for irregular or flexible substrates, applications with power challenges or most retrofit applications.
Battelle’s HeatCoat™ technology uses a high-conductivity carbon nanotube coating that conforms to the surface to which it is applied. When connected to a power source, the coating delivers uniform heat over the entire surface. Intelligent sensors and controls can be used to cycle the power source on and off to maintain a consistent temperature or respond to external conditions. The CNT coating can be direct sprayed or laminate applied.
The HeatCoat system has already been demonstrated for ice management for the aviation industry and can be custom engineered for a wide variety of commercial applications. It is especially well-suited for applications where power is limited, the surface is irregular in shape, flexibility or conformity are critical, substrates are heat-sensitive, or retrofitting is required. HeatCoat technology is cost-competitive with existing thermal technologies, including thin film and fabric heaters, and is ready for market now. Battelle is seeking partners for licensing, commercialization and new application development.
Barricade™ Counterfeit Electronic Component Detection
Counterfeit, cloned and malicious electronic components are responsible for $8 billion in annual losses for the semiconductor industry and present serious threats to security and reliability for all kinds of electronic devices, including military, medical and consumer products.
The Battelle Barricade™ electronic component authentication system detects and classifies counterfeit components so manufacturers and component buyers can control their risks. The signal acquisition hardware uses machine learning to develop a unique “signature” for components based on physically deterministic variations resulting from the specific manufacturing process, foundry and die layout and composition. These variations allow Barricade to quickly determine authenticity and classify counterfeit components based on the way systematic manufacturing variations impact the electrical characteristics of integrated circuits. The low-cost system provides a fast, non-destructive and repeatable authentication method that can be deployed at any point in the supply chain. The technology is available now for application deployment and licensing.
Vicki A. Barbur Ph.D., Senior Director of IP and Technology Commercialization at Battelle presented these innovations during the Tech Match Sprint at the 2018 R&D 100 Conference. Battelle is currently seeking commercialization partners for licensing and further technology development for the above technologies. Contact: [email protected] Tel: 614-424-5640
Want to see more?
The technologies introduced in the Tech Match Sprint Session are at various stages of readiness for commercialization. We encourage everyone with an interest in learning more, licensing or pursuing a technology transfer partnership for any one of these technologies to reach out to the presenters directly whose details are captured above. You may also find more details about these innovations, as well as other technology transfer opportunities, on the websites for each organization.