Seattle, WA — The Washington Technology Center (WTC) awarded more than $400,000 in funding support to nine companies across the state to help support their research and development programs. Each year through its Research and Technology Development (RTD) program, WTC awards over $1 million to joint research projects between university researchers and companies in Washington.
This round of projects is diverse, supporting advances in: ceramic heating elements, remote operation of unmanned aerial vehicles, radiographic imaging, environmentally friendly plastic disposable food packaging, scanned beam displays, diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis, composting from waste materials, power toothbrushes, and drying fruit for cereal.
Harmonics, Inc., Seattle & Dr. Thomas Stoebe, UW Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering:
Harmonics, Inc. develops and commercializes innovative materials for energy conversion applications and pollution control. The company has invented, and partially developed, a proprietary electro conductive (EC) ceramic material that will be used, among other process applications, for heating elements.
The Insitu Group, Bingen & Dr. Rolf Rysdyk, UW Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics:
The Insitu Group manufactures miniature robotic aircrafts (also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles–UAVs) for commercial and military applications. They aim to offer economical, autonomous, miniature aerial platforms for long-endurance surveillance missions through the innovative use of advanced technologies.The team is developing software to make it easier to remotely fly these unmanned aerial vehicles.
LumenIQ, Inc., Bellingham & Dr. David Field, WSU School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering:
In order to evaluate the integrity of industrial structures like pipelines and storage tanks, engineers rely on Non-Destructive Examination (NDE), which allows testing without destroying the structure. LumenIQ is testing its software to evaluate corrosion, determine wall thickness and locate weld deformities using steel and iron. The result will be a series of mathematical calculations that form the foundation for the addition of a material thickness measurement feature to LumenIQ’s core imaging product.
MicroGREEN Polymers, Inc., Stanwood & Dr. Vipin Kumar, UW Dept. of Mechanical Engineering:
Disposable food packaging made from plastics and paper is an $11 billion market. While paper food packaging costs considerably more than conventional plastic foam, it is favored due to environmental and health concerns regarding traditional polystyrene foam. MicroGREEN Polymers, Inc is developing and testing production of environmentally friendly plastic disposable food packaging, such as cups and trays. MicroGREEN’s foamed materials use recycled CO2 gas and 100 percent recycled plastic, and are tougher and stronger than traditional foam plastic. Their foaming process will reduce plastic usage by at least 75 percent compared to solid plastic packaging.
Microvision, Inc., Bothell & Dr. Kannan M. Krishnan, UW Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering:
Microvision, Inc. designs and markets information display and capture products and component technologies. The company develops and commercializes the scanned beam technology, using MEMS micro mirrors for information displays and image capture products, such as a camera or barcode readers. Microvision intends to investigate the development of materials and processes for fabrication of hard micromagnets for actuation of MEMS devices. These new materials can reduce size, power and costs, opening up the growing consumer market.
PriTest, Inc., Redmond & Dr. William Davis, WSU Dept. of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology:
Bovine tuberculosis is serious disease of cattle that can also affect humans, domestic animals and wildlife. Millions of cattle today are tested regularly for Mycobacterium bovis (Mbv) to reduce the risk of disease spread to other cattle and other types of animals and protect public health. PriTest. is working to complete the development of a new rapid diagnostic test kit using the PriTest biodetection platform to significantly improve the diagnosis of Mbv in cattle. The test market for this product is Washington State’s $100+ million cattle industry.
Quincy Farm Chemicals, Inc., Quincy & Dr. Steven Verhey, CWU Dept. of Biological Sciences:
Compost is an increasingly important source of macro- and micro-nutrients and organic matter to improve soil characteristics in production agriculture, and is an alternative to chemical fertilizers. Turning waste material feedstocks into a valuable and saleable product, compost, is one of the goals of Quincy Farm Chemicals. The company is working to: 1) analyze the local mint feedstocks for composting potential, 2) develop “recipes” likely to produce high-quality compost, and 3) produce and test the compost for fertilizer use. Quincy Farm Chemical’s “recycling” process of this previously unused mint straw provides the company with a new product to sell while also solving a waste disposal problem.
Second Act Partners, Inc., Sammamish & Dr. Pierre Mourad, UW Applied Physics Laboratory:
Power toothbrushes represent a U.S. market of over $1 billion. The industry has experienced an annual growth rate of more than 20 percent in the past ten years. Yet, even with this growth, only 25 percent of U.S. households currently use a power toothbrush.
Second Act Partners is an early-stage company that is developing a power toothbrush that will improve the ability to clean the teeth and gums. This project will further refine the prototype for this technology based on in vitro (in an artificial environment) testing that can be used to build a prototype for clinical testing and manufacturing.
Tree Top, Inc., Selah & Dr. Carter Clary, WSU Dept. of Biological Systems Engineering:
The domestic and international market for ready-to-eat (RTE) cereal is large. Tree Top is a grower-owned cooperative currently processing apple products in Central Washington. The company’s Ingredient Division processes dried, frozen and fresh apple ingredients. Incorporating fruit into these cereals is common, using fruits (e.g., raisins) and berries that can be dried by traditional methods such as “sun-drying” or “hot air drying.” Tree Top will use research expertise in microwave vacuum drying to evaluate the feasibility, develop the processing parameters, and produce prototypes of specific fruits and berries (both fresh and frozen) for RTE cereals that surpass the quality of current products.