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WTC Awards 2000-01 FTI Projects

In addition to the Research and Technology Development (RTD) program, WTC has two programs that facilitate fast-track industry-university research collaborations. The Entrepreneur's Access (EA) and Focused Technology Initiative (FTI) programs are ideally suited to assist small businesses and startup enterprises in collaborative technology development. Both programs are available throughout the year.

FTIs provide up to $10,000–$30,000 and are targeted for companies with under 100 employees with a project duration of 6–12 months.

Advanced Materials and Manufacturing

Nu Element, Inc., Tacoma
Researcher: Fatih Dogan, UW Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering
An alternative energy company founded in 1998, Nu Element is targeting the commercialization of reliable, cost-effective power sources for households and businesses. Currently, the company is concentrating on patent pending technology of proton-exchange-membrane fuel cells, and developing new materials for low operating temperature solid oxide fuel cells - the focus of this project.

ARI Technologies, Inc., Kent
Researcher: Robert Holtz, UW Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Founded in 1990, ARI Technologies has developed thermochemical treatment technology that converts hazardous wastes to a non-hazardous and benign end product. This project will evaluate the engineering properties and environmental characteristics and stability of this end product to assess its suitability for landfill and other commercial civil engineering applications.

Sienna Technologies, Inc., Woodinville
Researcher: Mehmet Sarikaya, UW Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering
Founded in 1992, Sienna Technologies develops aluminum nitride components for high power electronics and microwave communications industries. Occasionally, components will contain visual defects that, while not affecting performance, require the parts be reprocessed. The goal of this project is to identify, analyze and eliminate the source of this cosmetic defect in Sienna's aluminum nitride products.

LAB / COR, Inc., Seattle
Researcher: Thomas Stoebe, UW Dept. of Material Sciences & Engineering
Founded in 1992, LAB / COR provides sophisticated particulate characterization and analyses for environmental remediation and industrial process development and control. The company is interested in developing particulate filters not currently available on the market. This project explores the use of tape casting and SHS-derived SiC ceramic compounds, materials with great promise for high temperature applications, for improved hot-gas particulate filters and traps.

Recycled Plastics Marketing, Inc., Redmond
Researcher: Vipin Kumar, UW Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
Using recycled high-density polyethylene, RPM produces plastic lumbers for fencing, decking, park benches, and other construction applications. This project will develop methods to increase lumber cooling rates with minimal impact to the current production process. The ability to cool the lumber faster will enable the lumber to be produced at a higher speed.

Biotechnology and Biomedical Devices

EKOS Corporation, Bothell
Researcher: Fatih Dogan, UW Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering
Founded in 1995, EKOS is focused on developing proprietary ultrasound-based systems and devices for local drug delivery. Highly reliable piezoelectric ceramic transducers are crucial to the success of the devices developed by EKOS. This project works towards the development of such transducers by identifying the failure mechanisms of the ceramic material and developing improved material strength.

Sonotech, Inc., Bellingham
Researcher: Buddy Ratner, UW Dept. of Engineered Biomaterials
Founded in 1986, Sonotech is a major supplier of medical and industrial ultrasound couplants in the U.S. The project will develop acoustic couplant materials in gel or thickened liquid form for use with medical ultrasound imaging probes in surgical and transcutaneous puncture procedures where in vivo biocompatibility and biodegradability are essential to patient health and safety.

Computer Systems

dB Systems, Inc., Redmond
Researcher: Jeff Bilmes, UW Dept. of Electrical Engineering
dB Systems produces high-reliability cockpit aircraft audio control equipment and is interested in adding voice command capabilities to their line of avionics audio panel systems. The project will develop and test a new approach to voice recognition to be used for controlling various avionics instruments during noisy in-flight conditions.


Inova, Inc., Richland
Researcher: Benjamin Belzer, WSU Dept. of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Inova develops, markets and manufactures innovative human-to-computer interfaces, including the Magi™ IT network management system. The company is designing a wireless KVMS switch for network server monitoring systems, which they hope will compete with and ultimately replace existing wired monitoring systems.

Related WTC links:

  • RTD Grant Program

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  • WTC takes its show on the road

    WTC participated in a unique opportunity to showcase exciting new technologies at the 2001 Association of Washington Business' (AWB) annual Legislative Reception. Held at the WestCoast Olympia Hotel, this event is one of the largest gatherings of business leaders and public officials in Washington. A record 500 people attended this year.

    In preparation for the event, companies and researchers developed exhibits and product demonstrations featuring WTC-funded projects. Attendees received hands-on experience with new and future products from:

    -- Decagon Devices, Pullman, device to analyze freezing characteristics of food, soils, and other materials.
    -- EKOS Corporation, Bothell, ultrasound-enhanced drug delivery system.
    -- Mikron Industries, Inc., Kent, improved materials for vinyl window and door products.
    -- Radiant Optics, Inc., Woodinville, high efficiency radiant heaters.
    -- StressWave, Inc., Kent, process to improve metal fatigue.
    -- UNIBEST International Corp., Pasco, ion capsules for soil testing.
    -- UW Human Interface Technology Lab, Seattle, "MagicBook": 3D imaging via computer interface.

    Related WTC links:

  • RTD Grant Program

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  • WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory is indeed fab

    WTC is home to a remarkable resource for Washington company and academic researchers -- the Microfabrication Laboratory. Located in Fluke Hall on the University of Washington campus, the lab is available on a user-fee basis for research, technology development and prototype product manufacturing in areas such as avionics, micro-optics, micro-fluidics, fuel cells, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), biomedical devices, and biotechnology.

    Opened in April 1995, the 14,000 sq. ft. facility has 8,000 sq. ft. of clean room processing space. Industrial use of the lab has increased by 70% since its inception, with a corresponding increase in revenue of 500%. A catalyst for much of this growth has been WTC's technology initiatives in MEMS and more recently, in photonics / optical systems. Since 1997, WTC has invested $1.5 million into funding MEMS research and building the lab's resources. It has become the only public use MEMS R&D; facility in the state. The recent addition of a Deep Reactive Ion Etcher -- a tool that can fabricate deep, narrow structures - will significantly expand the lab's capabilities.

    Companies can access the lab's equipment and staff to perform the full range of micro-machined product development.

    Other academic-based facilities prohibit their industrial users from performing any 'for-profit' manufacturing of products in their facility, i.e., companies can perform R&D;, but must use some other facility for their manufacturing. WTC does not put any such constraints on its users and, thus, is able to support the product cycle for a longer period of time -- from prototyping through pilot production. This is particularly valuable to small or startup companies who otherwise wouldn't have the financial resources to access facilities of this caliber.

    Currently, more than 15 companies and 120 individuals are using the facility for microfabrication R&D.;

    Significant new technologies have been developed in the laboratory over the past several years. For example, Microvision, Inc., a leader in imaging technologies, used the lab to develop a video scanner for head-mounted displays. This revolutionary way to display images and information promises to make possible cost-effective, high-performance miniature devices that provide personal displays for electronic and computing products in military, aerospace, medical, industrial, and consumer electronics applications. Redmond-based Micronics, Inc. created the prototype for an inexpensive, disposable microfluidic cartridge that is used to perform blood tests and other diagnostics. Just one of these "lab-on-chip" devices can potentially perform up to 20 different medical diagnostic tests using the same sample.

    Related WTC links:

  • Microfabrication Laboratory
  • Micronics is a WTC client
  • Microvision is a WTC client

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