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WTC reports on progress made in 1997-99 biennium

Washington Technology Center has completed a survey of company partners for the period 1995-1999 (ending June 30, 1999) to determine the impact WTC projects have had on their bottom line. The results from this survey, as well as other salient facts, are detailed in WTC's 1997-1999 Biennium Report. Here is a sampling of what was discovered:

-- Company partners forecast that WTC projects will lead to the creation of more than 1500 new jobs and generate $196 million in sales over the next five years.

-- The percentage of small companies (fewer than 10 employees) participating in WTC programs has increased from 45 percent in the previous biennium to nearly 60 percent.

-- WTC's funding has been leveraged by public and private investments at a ratio of 11 to 1.

-- Revenues from industrial users of WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory have increased by 500 percent since 1995.

The Biennium Report also summarizes WTC's new strategic plan, which has recently been put into effect. The report will be available in late October 1999.

Related WTC links:

  • WTC 1997-1999 Biennium Report

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  • New high-tech approach to centuries-old practice pays off

    Drying of food products is the oldest method of food preservation. Freeze-drying yields the highest quality among commercial processes, but takes several hours and is energy intensive. MCD Technologies, Inc., Tacoma, has created a food drying system that can dry foods in only minutes using half the amount of energy, at 1/3 the equipment costs of freeze drying systems.

    MCD and Juming Tang, WSU Dept. of Biological Systems Engineering, collaborated on a project to study the energy efficiency of the company's patented Refractance Window™ Drying System and its effect on food quality. The study validated MCD's assertion that their system rendered products with a high retention of nutrients, giving a boost to their marketing efforts. "We are already reaping the benefits of our WTC sponsored work," says Karin Bolland, founder of MCD, "and have profited in other areas of our business from our association with Dr. Tang." The start-up has recently added three employees and moved to a larger processing facility.

    Related WTC links:

  • MCD Technologies, Inc. is a WTC client

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  • WTC and UW Technology Transfer host software "Technology & Talent Tours"

    Learn about opportunities for research and collaboration in software development at a half-day tour at the University of Washington. This winter (1999-2000), Washington Technology Center and the Software Transfer Group of the UW's Office of Technology Transfer will host Technology and Talent Tours. While on a tour you can informally interact with UW faculty and graduate students who are working on the cutting edge of software development in applications ranging from medicine to fisheries to business administration.

    Here are some examples of what you might see:

    -- software that enhances a person's experience in the outdoors by providing up-to-the-minute information on local habitat.

    -- image-analysis software that checks children's facial features to diagnose fetal alcohol syndrome.

    -- web-based software tools that help businesses use the Internet to provide service to clients, train their employees, or gather data from Web site visitors.

    The first tour is anticipated to take place in early December 1999 and additional tours will be scheduled in January and February 2000 depending on interest.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • UW TechTransfer

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  • MEMS workshop exceeds expectations

    WTC's third annual MEMS (Micro-electromechanical Systems) Workshop, held September 15, 1999 at the Aljoya Conference Center, Seattle, attracted more than 90 researchers, technologists and commercializers who are active in this rapidly growing technical field. In line with the workshop's title, "MEMS: Moving to Market", the audience was evenly balanced between university and industry representatives.

    Keynote speaker Sid Marshall, editor, Micromachine Devices, set the stage for the workshop with an overview of market projections, applications, and commercial activity in the U.S. and abroad. Sources estimate the market for microfabricated devices, exclusive of integrated circuits, to be between $15 and $30 billion by 2002, employing upwards of 30,000 workers.

    Dr. Noel MacDonald, Director, Microsystems Technology Office, DARPA, outlined the Department of Defense's interest in MEMS as a key deterrent to both biological and information attack. Work supported by DARPA in such diverse areas as micromirror technology, biochips and microfluidics, and their heterogeneous integration, were described from the standpoint of technical achievement as well as commercial success.

    Jim Smith (Allied Signal), Bruce Scharf (Microscan Systems), and Dean Matson (Battelle PNNL) rounded out the list of industry speakers, bringing a local flavor to the workshop as they focused on MEMS work underway in Washington state. WTC's past and current MEMS awards to projects at Washington State University and the University of Washington were showcased at the conclusion of the workshop by presentations and a poster session.

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    Startup turns wood waste into wood preservative

    The timber products industry in Western Washington has generated massive amounts of waste cedar wood that are too hazardous for landfill disposal. Currently more than 100,000 tons of the highly flammable by-product are sitting in waste piles in Grays Harbor County alone. Northwest Quality Products, Aberdeen, has a plan and a process for extracting two viable products from this waste -- a wood-oil preservative and aromatic oils that impart the cedar scent to consumer products such as candles and soap.

    Ron Lunnum, founder of the company, wanted to optimize the distillation method for production on a larger scale. Washington Technology Center introduced him to John Gerdes, a researcher with expertise in organic chemistry at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. The two are collaborating on an Entrepreneur's Access project to further develop the refining process. Upon completion, Northwest Quality Products plans to operate a processing plant in Grays Harbor County and employ up to 50 workers in this economically depressed region.

    Related WTC links:

  • Northwest Quality Products is a WTC client
  • RTD Grant Program

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  • Move over mouse -- make room for Dot

    Imagine being able to move the cursor on your computer screen by turning your head or pointing your finger instead of using a mouse. Everyday computer tasks such as word processing and spreadsheets would become easier by not having to switch from the keyboard to the mouse. New applications would be possible once the user isn't tethered to the computer via a mouse or joystick.

    Dot On, Inc., Issaquah, has developed a new cursor control device called the "Dot Tracker". This prototype system uses a sensor, connected to the computer, that optically tracks the position of a small dot affixed to an object such as a wireless-pointing device or directly to the head or finger of the user. The movement of the dot directs the position of the cursor on the screen. Potential markets for "Dot Tracker" include business applications, PC games, children's programs, and applications for the disabled.

    Using specialized equipment at UW's Human Interface Technology Laboratory, Suzanne Weghorst is performing an analysis of head movements exhibited by average computer users during desktop applications. The results of this Entrepreneur's Access project will determine the precise refractive optics required for the head or eyewear mounted version of the product.

    Related WTC links:

  • RTD Grant Program

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  • WTC welcomes new board member V.S. "Mano" Manoranjan

    Washington Technology Center welcomes V.S. "Mano" Manoranjan as our newest member on the Board of Directors. Dr. Manoranjan, who was appointed by Governor Locke in August, is currently Associate Dean for the College of Sciences at Washington State University. A faculty member since 1989, he formerly served as Chair of the Department of Pure and Applied Mathematics.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC's current board of directors

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