May/June 2005 Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Congrats! Nanocell Power Wins $50K Runner-Up Prize
  • Fall 2005 i-Teams Projects Now Online
  • In the News: Nanoprinting Technique May Help Speed DNA Analysis
  • Eighteen Innovators Pitch New Technologies at 2005 Innovation Showcase
  • "Democratizing Innovation" ¬ MIT World Video Features Prof. Eric Von Hippel
  • Deshpande Grant Recipients Honored

Congrats! Nanocell Power Wins $50K Runner-Up Prize
Nanocell Power, a business plan based on Mechanical Engineering Professor Yang Shao-Horn's fuel cell technology, received the $10,000 first runner-up prize in the 2005 MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition. The technology will enable the viability of fuel cells for portable electronics today and pave the way for tomorrow's automotive fuel cell market. Congratulations to everyone on the team!

Nanocell Power was among seven $50K finalists chosen from 86 entrants with 250 team members participating. It's the second i-Team in a row to make the finals of the $50K; last year, Active Joint Brace won the contest's $30,000 grand prize.

Nanocell Power credited Deshpande Center support and participation in the i-Teams class for its accomplishment.
"We attribute our winning in part to Deshpande Center support. An Ignition Grant led to the first patent filed in July 2004. The $50K team was formed by business students and engineering students in the Innovation Team [i-Team] course. The team worked closely with Deshpande Center Catalyst Arthur Goldstein to develop go-to-market strategies, which in turn led to the $50K business plan," said Nanocell Power team member Jin Yi, who recently earned the PhD in mechanical engineering.

Fall 2005 i-Teams Projects Now Online
i-Teams, a course in which graduate students develop go-to-market strategies for innovations created in MIT laboratories and funded by Deshpande Center grants, just completed its first year. Thanks to all who have participated to make i-Teams an ongoing success.

The projects for the Fall 2005 semester span a range of technologies, including hemostatis (cessation of bleeding), smart drug delivery via coated implants, carbon nanotubes, improved infrared sensors, and fabric manufacturing.

In the News: Nanoprinting Technique May Help Speed DNA Analysis
An article (hyperlink to published in the May 18 edition of MIT's Tech Talk describes a nano-printing technology supported by the Deshpande Center. Materials Science and Engineering Professor Francesco Stellacci is the PI on the project, which could enable the mass production of nano-devices currently built one at a time. These devices include the DNA microarray, used to diagnose and understand genetic illnesses such as Alzheimer's, viral illnesses such as AIDS, and certain types of cancer. The ability to mass-produce these nano-devices would make DNA analysis as common and inexpensive as blood testing, and thus greatly accelerate efforts to discover the origins of disease.

Eighteen Innovators Pitch New Technologies at 2005 Innovation Showcase
Our IdeaStream Symposium, held on April 26, sold out for the third year in a row. In addition to two inspiring speakers, MIT President Susan Hockfield and filmmaker and mountaineer David Breashears, the daylong event featured presentations on several of the Deshpande Center's most exciting research projects, as well as the Innovation Showcase. At the showcase, 18 MIT researchers chosen from a pool of applicants pitched their early-stage technology ideas to venture capitalists and successful entrepreneurs attending IdeaStream. Three technology categories – Health Care, Tiny Tech & Materials, and IT/Communications – included ideas ranging from a new compound that stops bleeding instantly to a one-step process for producing fine chemicals to a method for finding innate data clusters on the fly.

"Democratizing Innovation" – MIT World Video Features Prof. Eric Von Hippel
"If you have ever come up with a work-around or improvement for a balky product only to find that it performs better than the original, you are not alone. Eric von Hippel proffers multiple examples where an ordinary user, frustrated or even desperate, solves a problem through innovation. His research found innovative users playing with all manner of product: mountain bikes, library IT systems, agricultural irrigation, and scientific instruments."

That is an excerpt from a description of a recent lecture by Eric Von Hippel, professor of management and head of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Did you miss the event? No problem. You can view the entire lecture via streaming video on MIT World. A free and open web site that provides on-demand video of significant public events at the Institute, MIT World features several videos on innovation and invention.

Deshpande Grant Recipients Honored
Congratulations to the following:

  • Prof. John Guttag, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, was elected to the American Association of Arts and Sciences.
  • Prof. Robert Langer, Chemical Engineering, received the Albany Medical College Prize.
  • Adjunct Prof. Michael Stonebraker, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, won the 2005 IEEE John von Neumann Medal.
  • Prof. Todd Thorsen, Mechanical Engineering, was a co-winner of the $75,000 Futures grant from the National Academies Keck Futures Initiatives.
  • Ronak Bhatt, a graduate student in physics and a member of research scientist Chiping Chen's ribbon-beam amplifier project, received a "best student paper" prize at the spring Particle Accelerator Conference in Tennessee for a paper detailing the breakthrough behind the project: elliptic beam generation.