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WTC Awards spring 2000 research & technology projects

Washington's technology-based companies are getting a boost in their product R&D;, thanks to the technical assistance and funding programs provided by Washington Technology Center (WTC). In July 2000, WTC awarded over $1.1 million in R&D; funding to 11 company / university research teams through its Research & Technology Development (RTD) program. The RTD program is one of three WTC funding mechanisms that helps companies develop, refine, or test new products using the scientific and engineering expertise of researchers at the state's universities.

This year's round of projects aims to make advances in areas as diverse as high frequency medical imaging, plastic bone models, and improved streaming video. A summary of these research collaborations is featured below.

Company partners have projected product revenues generated by these projects to exceed $125 million by 2002. As a result, these companies also predict that more than 277 high-tech jobs will be created by 2005.

Awards in Advanced Materials & Manufacturing

Advanced Silicon Materials LLC, Moses Lake
Researcher: David F. Bahr, WSU School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering
Advanced Silicon Materials is a leading producer of polycrystalline silicon, the feed material used by silicon wafer manufacturers in the growth of single crystal silicon ingots. The focus of the project is to develop tests to monitor the fracture toughness of machined polysilicon rods, so that breakage during handling can be eliminated.

ATL Ultrasound, Bothell
Researcher: Amit Bandyopadhyay, WSU School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering
ATL is a worldwide leader in the manufacturing, distribution and service of diagnostic medical ultrasound systems. The project will design and develop high element count, high frequency micro-machined medical ultrasound transducers for skin, eye and heart imaging.

Awards in Computer Systems

RealNetworks, Inc., Seattle
Researcher: Eve A. Riskin, UW Dept. of Electrical Engineering
RealNetworks is a leader in streaming media - a way to make information such as audio and video available in real-time over the Internet. This project will implement code that improves performance of RealNetworks' streaming video over the World Wide Web and in wireless networks by minimizing image loss during periods of network congestion.

Awards in Biotechnology / Biomedical Devices

Amplicon Express, Pullman
Researcher: Jerry J. Reeves, WSU Dept. of Animal Sciences
One goal of livestock management is to keep heifers in the feedlot from becoming pregnant. Dr. Reeves and Amplicon Express, a marketer of genetic and microbiological products, are collaborating on a project to develop and test a hormone fusion protein for use as a sterilization vaccine in cattle.

Sterling International, Veradale
Researcher: Donald S. Matteson, WSU Dept. of Chemistry
Museum collections - plants, animals, books, mummies, etc. - are susceptible to attack from Stegobium paniceum and Lasioderma serricorne, two species of beetles. Sterling International, manufacturer of non-toxic pest control products, is teaming up with Dr. Donald Matteson to develop pilot scale synthesis of pheromones that will attract these beetles into traps.

UNIBEST International Corporation, Pasco
Researcher: Joan R. Davenport, WSU Dept. of Crop and Soil Sciences
Farmers use soil testing and in recent years, plant tissue testing to determine if and how much fertilizer to apply to crops. Applying too much fertilizer can cost farmers both in the cost of the fertilizer and in reduced yield. UNIBEST has developed an ion exchange resin pellet that measures only those nutrients that are bioavailable to the plant and at a lower cost. Dr. Davenport is doing commercial field studies as well as research plot studies to develop protocols for the placement and use of the pellets.

Pacific Research Laboratories, Inc., Vashon
Researcher: Susmita Bose, WSU School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Pacific Research makes Sawbones™, artificial bones used for training doctors and veterinarians, and for testing medical devices. Sawbones™ are designed to simulate the bone architecture as well as the bone's physical properties. Dr. Bose will experiment with polymers and ceramic powders to develop a model of the appearance and physical and mechanical properties of cancellous bone - the porous honeycomb structure inside bones.

Awards in Microelectronics

Advanced Hardware Architectures, Inc., Pullman
Researcher: Benjamin Belzer, WSU School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Advanced Hardware Architectures is a fabless semiconductor design firm that is expanding into the wireless data communication market. This project will develop an error control coding architecture to provide high-performance, complexity-limited error coding and modulation circuits.

HyperLynx, Redmond
Researcher: Leung Tsang, UW Dept. of Electrical Engineering
HyperLynx is a leading supplier of high-speed signal integrity, electromagnetic compatibility and crosstalk simulation products that are used by companies designing digital systems operating at frequencies above 1 GHz. This project proposes to develop advanced computational methods for predicting the effects of integrated-circuit packages on high-speed digital signals. The goal is to decrease system failure and improve performance in signal quality.

IntelliSense Inc. (ISI), Indianola
Researcher: R. Bruce Darling, UW Dept. of Electrical Engineering
The collaboration between ISI and the UW will develop a new type of ion source for an ultra-miniature mass spectrometer. For use initially in providing real-time chemical analysis of air quality and process gas composition, this breakthrough instrument will be the smallest, lowest cost, lowest power consumption, fully functional instrument of its type on the market.

OC Technologies, LLC, Seattle
Researcher: Karl F. Bohringer, UW Dept. of Electrical Engineering
OC Technologies develops electrochemical sensors for water analysis, and switching and sensing technologies. This project will research, design and build a prototype fiber-optic routing switch for telecommunications system applications that is compact, low power and significantly faster than current products.

Related WTC links:

  • RTD Grant Program

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  • WTC announces new technology initiative

    A new initiative -- Photonics Systems -- is planned for the biennium beginning in January 2001. The goal is to create a cluster of optical systems companies in the state. This initiative will build upon existing research programs and facilities at the state's universities. The technology areas to be addressed are:

    -- Optical Switches.
    -- All Optical Devices.
    -- Micro-optic Fabrication.
    -- Photonic Bandgap Structures.

    Three years ago, WTC created a technology initiative program to support emerging technology research that is broadly applicable to Washington companies. Expected to run for about four years with a WTC investment as large as $2M, the initiative's technical work is done through research projects awarded to researchers at the state's universities -- without the requirement of a company partner. The first initiative focused on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technologies and has been a real success.

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    MEMS 2000 workshop set for October 9, 2000

    For Immediate Release

    Seattle - "MEMS 2000: Commercial Transition," the Washington Technology Center's fourth MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) Workshop is set for Monday, October 9, 2000 at the DoubleTree Hotel, 300 - 112th Avenue S.E., Bellevue, Wash.

    MEMS is the design, fabrication and integration of structures and devices at the micron scale. The small size makes devices faster, less expensive, and more reliable with higher precision, in addition to opening up applications that are not possible at larger sizes. Current examples of MEMS-based devices include automobile airbag sensors and ink jet sprayheads; future applications include in-vivo medical monitors, miniaturized scanning and display devices, optical switches and industrial sensor and control systems. Growth of MEMS opportunities continues at an accelerated pace. Market projections of $10 billion by the end of this year to $30 billion by 2004 are an indication of the potential for this far-reaching technology.

    The Washington Technology Center has supported MEMS research at Washington State University and the University of Washington for the past 4 years. Much of the technology developed is now finding its way into the private sector, hence the theme for this year's workshop-Commercial Transition. The workshop is one of WTC's key activities for bringing MEMS professionals in Washington State together for information exchange.

    This year's workshop will feature:

    -- Roger Grace, Roger Grace Associates, internationally recognized expert on MEMS markets, will be the keynote speaker. His presentation, "Commercialization Issues of MEMS: An Industry Report Card," will be of interest to business executives and investors, in addition to the technical audience.

    -- David Bishop, Director of MEMS Research at Lucent Technologies - Bell Laboratories, will present a tutorial on optical MEMS - a topic vital to those working in optical fiber communications systems and scanning / imaging technologies.

    -- CJ Kim, UCLA, will give a tutorial on advanced MEMS processing technology, covering bulk and surface micro-machining techniques, micro-scale mechanics and micromanufacturing

    The registration fee is $100.

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    WTC welcomes new board members

    Governor Gary Locke recently appointed four new members to WTC's Board of Directors.

    Warren W. Buck is Chancellor and Dean of the University of Washington - Bothell. Renowned for his work in physics and physics education, Buck created and directed the Nuclear / High Energy Physics Center of Excellence at Hampton University. In addition to a distinguished career in higher education, he also is an accomplished watercolor artist and yachtsman.

    J. Paul Goll is General Manager of the Boston Scientific Corporation Northwest Technology Center in Redmond. He has directed the manufacturing operations at several companies including CIRCON, Inc., BIOJECT, Inc., Alhtin Medical, Inc. and CD Medical, Inc. He serves on the boards of the American Electronics Association and the Washington Biotechnical and Biomedical Association.

    Jeremy A. Jaech is Vice President of Microsoft's Business Tools Division. He joined Microsoft as part of the company's acquisition of Visio Corporation, which he co-founded. Jaech also co-founded Aldus Corporation, where he helped pioneer the desktop publishing industry by leading the development of the PageMaker software program. He is a board member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Technology Alliance and Pivotal Corporation.

    Stephen M. Jordan is President of Eastern Washington University, a position he has held since 1998. His broad experience in higher education has included positions with the boards of regents for universities in Kansas, Arizona, and Colorado. Jordan is an active board member of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce, Spokane Symphony and Providence Services Eastern Washington.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC's current board of directors

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