Contact Us Site Map Directions Join our Mailing List
 
Washington Technology Center Funding & Services Microfabrication Lab Industries Initiative News Forum
News Forum

Washington's technology scorecard released

WTC's third annual Index of Innovation and Technology for Washington State is out. The 2003 report looks through a lens of 40 indicators to paint an objective picture of the underlying health of the innovation economy in the state. It assesses growth, financial capacity, human potential, competitiveness, quality of life, and innovation capacity.

- more in full post -- continued below -

Some of the findings:
Despite our faltering economy, Washington still emerges as a state with a very innovative and entrepreneurial economy. The state continues to lead the nation in the creation rate of new companies and has the second highest growth rate for employment in startup firms. Also on the positive side, the growth of non-aircraft technology sectors has steadily increased.

While venture investment in Washington companies declined almost 60 percent during the years covered by the Index, that's not as rapid as in most other technology regions. Washington remains among the top regions of the country for venture investment, ranking ninth overall. Silicon Valley continues to attract an exceptionally large share of investment -- 15 to 20 times more venture capital than Washington state.

The Index does raise some reasons for concern. Washington state retains the dubious honor of having the highest percentage of business closings in the country. Investors are tentative. "Money makes these companies go around," said Lee Cheatham, WTC's executive director. "And they're having a tough time finding enough of it right now. Investors are still expecting higher returns than are available, so many are sitting on the sidelines."

The index also points out the slow rate of increase in elementary and secondary students passing math proficiency -- a key element for participating in the innovation economy.

But overall, the 2003 Index of Innovation and Technology shows that, even in these shaky economic times, the foundations of innovation remain strong in Washington state. People with new ideas keep right on inventing. And strong companies continue to do well.

This year's report has two added features -- regional measures and benchmark measurements against Washington's Strategy for the Innovation Economy.

Related WTC links:

  • 2003 Washington Index of Innovation and Technology

    - end of post -

    Labels: ,

  • Financing tool for rural technology companies

    Washington Technology Center and Evergreen Community Development Association are launching a Rural Technology Loan Fund (RTLF), designed to provide gap financing or late stage product development loans for implementation of value-added production processes and/or technology development. The ultimate purpose of this program is to assist in the creation of family wage sustainable technology jobs that help alleviate poverty in rural communities in Washington.

    Loan funds may be used for development costs for patented technology, equipment purchase, real estate, engineering costs, or working capital.

    Rural technology-based companies in Washington, including start-ups and existing businesses, are eligible to apply. Applicants must meet loan criteria and have a strong business plan.

    - end of post -

    Labels: , ,

    Companies meet state legislators

    Several of the companies that WTC has supported had the opportunity to showcase their developing technologies directly to legislators at the 2003 Association of Washington Business (AWB) Legislative Reception. Held in Olympia, this event is one of the largest gatherings of business leaders and public officials in Washington.

    - more in full post -- continued below -

    Companies and researchers developed exhibits and product demonstrations featuring WTC-funded projects. Legislators could see that technologies are being supported from around the state. The lawmakers and their guests received hands-on experience with new and future products from:

    -- Hyperion Innovations, Inc., Seattle, cordless soldering tool based on Cold Heat™ technology.
    -- InnovaTek, Inc., Richland, diesel fuel injection system for fuel cell processor.
    -- MCD Technologies, Inc., Tacoma, heat transfer technology (Refractance Window™ evaporator) for food drying.
    -- RS Medical, Inc., Vancouver, bone growth stimulation devices.
    -- VisionGate, Inc., Gig Harbor, optical tomography for cancer screening.

    The AWB is a diverse organization with a statewide membership of 3,700 small and large businesses that employ more than 600,000 Washington residents.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Association of Washington Business

    Related WTC links:

  • Hyperion Innovations is a WTC client
  • InnovaTek is a WTC client
  • MCD Technologies is a WTC client
  • RS Medical is a WTC client
  • VisionGate is a WTC client

    - end of post -

    Labels: , , , , , , , ,

  • WTC funds more projects

    OMAX Corporation, Kent
    Researcher: Dr. Mamidala Ramulu, UW Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
    OMAX is a supplier of waterjet equipment to the machining market. Their competitive advantage lies in their software and patented control technology. The company is building a remote and unattended version of their JetMachining® Center (JMC). They are teaming with Dr. Ramulu to develop a proof-of-concept prototype consisting of a software algorithm and associated hardware. The company's goal is to improve productivity and ease of use for its customers' machining operations.

    Magic Wheels, Inc., Seattle
    Researcher: Dr. Brian Flinn, University of Washington Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering
    Wheelchair users have long sought to transport themselves more efficiently to increase their mobility and independence; and to reduce the strain on their arm joints. Current wheelchairs allow limited mobility on inclines and uneven terrains. Magic Wheels, Inc. has developed a simple, cost-effective mechanism in a 2-speed geared drive wheel that enables wheelchair users to negotiate obstacles such as slopes and challenging surfaces with less strain.

    Magic Wheels™ (also the product) incorporates a patent-pending two-speed gear drive in quick release wheels that can be easily installed on existing wheelchairs. In addition to the extra climbing power provided by the gears, it also offers an advanced hill holding feature (with pushrim override) and a pushrim operated down hill assisted braking feature (for finger tip braking-no more burned hands), without relying on complex electronics or cumbersome motors and batteries. Dr. Brian Flinn is working with the company to test the structural strength of this new manual wheelchair wheel that contains a carbon-fiber composite wheel core.

    Related WTC links:

  • RTD Grant Program
  • OMAX Corporation is a WTC client
  • Magic Wheels™ is a WTC client

    - end of post -

    Labels: , , , ,

  • Microfabrication Laboratory recent equipment arrivals

    The capabilities of the Microfabrication Laboratory were strengthened as the result of two equipment donations from industrial sources:

    Intel SEM
    Intel has provided the Microfab Lab with an AMRAY 3800 scanning electron microscope (SEM) from their R&D; facility in Hillsboro, OR. The SEM can accommodate wafers up to 8" in diameter, and the stage tilts 45ยบ to allow full scanning of processed wafers without repositioning. In addition, the SEM has an EDAX (energy-dispersive x-ray analysis) system that permits chemical identification of materials being imaged. The AMRAY SEM represents a valuable addition to the suite of inspection and characterization tools available in the Lab.

    Trion RIE
    Trion Technology has donated a Mini-Lock II reactive ion etching (RIE) system to the Lab. This plasma etching tool is a state-of-the-art version of the Lab's current Trion Phantom RIE system, and includes an inductively-coupled plasma (ICP) source to increase etching performance, a load lock to minimize the etch chamber's exposure to atmosphere, and an electrostatic chuck for secure wafer hold-down during processing. The new RIE will allow a new range of materials to be plasma-etched, at enhanced rates, and with improved precision. The system is expected to be on line in April.

    Related WTC links:

  • Microfabrication Laboratory

    - end of post -

    Labels: , ,

  • New Microfabrication Laboratory Web site launched

    The Microfabrication Laboratory recently unveiled its updated and improved Web site: http://microfab.watechcenter.org/. New features include direct links to process and equipment capabilities, plenty of illustrations, and a descriptive format that addresses questions from the beginning MEMS researcher to the seasoned MEMS professional.

    Currently under development is an enhanced password-protected lab user section, which will enable users to:

    -- make, change or cancel equipment reservations.
    -- enroll in or cancel training.
    -- read and print all lab documentation.
    -- list all equipment the user is authorized to operate.
    -- order lab supplies.

    The Lab is expanding its business to a national audience. The Web site is the most effective tool for providing information to a broad technical audience.

    Related WTC links:

  • Microfabrication Laboratory

    - end of post -

    Labels: , ,

  •