MIT's Deshpande Center Announces Fall 2010 Research Grants

Ten Research Teams Receive Over $800,000 to Develop New Technological Innovations

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (October 19, 2010) -- The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT today announced it is awarding $800,000 in grants to ten MIT research teams currently working on early-stage technologies. These projects have the potential to make a significant impact on our quality of life by revolutionizing materials, diagnostics, medical procedures, diabetes treatment, vision correction, high power electronics, solar energy efficiency, and software support.

The Deshpande Center, acting as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship, awards grants that fund proof-of-concept explorations and validation for emerging technologies. “Our grantees are developing exciting and innovative technologies,” said Leon Sandler, the center’s executive director. “We look forward to these technologies solving important problems and creating an impact.”

The fall 2010 grant recipients are:

On-Chip Diagnostic Device: Geoffrey Beach
A chip based, point of care diagnostics device for rapid results in clinical settings. There are many tests that clinicians send to a lab and wait hours or days for results. This project will develop a chip based, point of care diagnostics technology for use in clinical settings to provide rapid test results.

MEMS for Large Area and Flexible Applications: Vladimir Bulovic
A flexible paper thin micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) array that can be used for sensing and actuation over large surfaces. (Renewal from 2009)

Enhancing Solar Cell Performance: Tonio Buonassisi
This project aims to demonstrate a scalable method to eliminate bulk defects in commercial solar cell materials (including silicon blocks or wafers), targeting a 20+% relative improvement in performance at marginal additional cost.

Device for Treatment of Cerebral Edema: Michael Cima
A drug delivery device to treat brain edema with reduced systemic side effects typical of conventional treatments. (Renewal from 2009)

Tissue-Specific Adhesive Materials: Elazer Edelman
A class of biocompatible adhesive materials that can be designed to match tissue type and used in surgery. These adhesive sealants would reduce leakage after surgeries reducing complications and improving patient health.

WikiDo: Large-Scale Automation of Computer Tasks: Dina Katabi
A software platform that will reduce the cost and time for computer support and maintenance by automatically capturing best IT practices and solutions, generalizing these solutions to work for different machine configurations, and automatically implementing them on computers needing maintenance or support. 

A Low-cost, Mobile Diagnostic Tool for Self-evaluation of Eye Refractive Disorders: Ramesh Raskar
Hundreds of millions of people, especially in developing countries have uncorrected refractive errors affecting their daily lives. This project is developing a low cost, rapid, easy to use tool to measure the refractive error and provide data for corrective eyeglasses prescription.

A Robotically Steered Electrode for Tumor Ablation: Alex H. Slocum
A robotically steered electrode for image-guided thermal ablation of tumors which extends the use of thermal ablation as a minimally invasive technique for treating cancer; thus eliminating the need for open or laparoscopic surgery for some patients.

A Wearable Sensor for Continuous Glucose Monitoring for Diabetics: Michael Strano
A carbon nanotube based, minimally invasive, tissue implantable, glucose sensor.  The sensor will allow continuous glucose monitoring for diabetes patients, resulting in improved glucose regulation and better health. (Renewal from 2009)

Nano-engineered Surfaces for Ultra High Power Density Thermal Management: Kripa Varanasi
Heat needs to be removed rapidly from high power electronics or the semiconductors will fail. This project will develop a system to very rapidly dissipate large amount of heat from such devices. (Renewal from 2009)

The Deshpande Center’s mission is to move technologies from the laboratories at MIT to the marketplace. The Deshpande Center grants help recipients assess and reduce the technical and market risks associated with their innovations. In addition to financial support, the Deshpande Center’s network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and academic and legal experts helps recipients assess the commercial potential of their innovations and make decisions that accelerate progress toward the development of business plans or licensing strategies.

The Deshpande Center has provided approximately $11,000,000 in grants to over 70 MIT research projects since 2002. Twenty-two projects have spun out of the center as independent startups, having collectively raised over $180 million in outside financing from investors.

About the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation
The Deshpande Center is part of the MIT School of Engineering and was established through an initial $20 million gift from Jaishree Deshpande and Desh Deshpande, the co-founder and chairman of Sycamore Networks. It is supported by gifts from alumni, friends and sponsors. The center serves as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting leading-edge research and bridging the gap between the laboratory and marketplace.