What if a solider could test for explosive residue on a suspect’s hand in the middle of a warzone with a simple hand-held sensor? Or health care providers could get quick information about a patient’s movement abilities with simple technology in the bottom of a shoe? Or if graphene —a one-atom thick layer of carbon atoms that many experts believe will transform electronic technology in coming decades —could be mass produced?
University of Utah faculty asked those questions, and turned their answers into novel technologies that have now formed spin-off companies. Three products created by U students will be featured at the 2015 International CES, the world’s largest and best-known technology trade show scheduled for Jan. 6 - 9 in Las Vegas. The U’s notable showing at CES reflects its expanding place in developing industry-leading electronics technologies, and its dedication to developing inventions with practical applications.
The U companies will display their products in the University Innovations Marketplace, a subsection of Eureka Park, the popular startups section of CES. Billed as “home to the latest technology ideas and innovations,” Eureka Park will expand in 2015 to accommodate its growing popularity and importance. All three of the U’s startups at CES will offer those in attendance a chance to see emerging technologies aimed at changing the electronics industry.
U spin-off companies attending CES include:
Vaporsens. Based on technology developed by Ling Zang, a professor of materials science and engineering, Vaporsens will demonstrate a new handheld sensor device that can quickly, accurately and cost-effectively detect trace amounts of toxic chemicals, explosives and narcotics. Vaporsens will demonstrate at booth 75391.
Veristride. Based on technology developed by Stacy Bamberg, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, Veristride will display its smart insole and accompanying app and analysis software. Veristride’s product delivers real-time information on the movement abilities of runners, stroke victims, amputees, sufferers of Parkinson’s disease and many other conditions. End users and health care providers track this information to observe improvements over time. Veristride will demonstrate at booth 75388.
Solan PV. Based on technology developed by Feng Liu, a professor of materials science and engineering, Solan PV will display its work integrating mass-produced graphene into solar panels. Graphene is a one-atom thick layer of carbon atoms and is widely expected to transform electronic technology in the coming decades. Many experts believe that if produced on an industrial scale, graphene could enable the production of solar panels that are not only more durable and less costly than today’s panels, but are also flexible. One of the biggest challenges to wide scale adoption of graphene, however, is the ability to keep the material’s valuable properties when mass produced. Solan believes its patented processes will allow graphene production to be produced on an industrial scale.
Bryan Ritchie, executive director of Technology & Venture Commercialization (TVC) at the U, said the university’s expanded presence at CES is partly a result of the U’s ecosystem of practical innovation. “For inventions to be successfully commercialized, they must demonstrate practical use,” Ritchie said. “The U is fortunate to have developed an academic culture of innovation. The utility of a discovery is often just as much of a consideration for the researcher as is its ability to advance science. The fact that three U spin-offs will be displaying their technologies at CES this year demonstrates not only the U’s dedication to developing revolutionary discoveries, but also its dedication to developing solutions that make an impact in industry, business, and people’s lives.”