MIT's Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation unveils newest grant round

Spring Grant Round Includes Innovations in Low-Cost Medical Devices, Microfluidics, Radio Frequency MEMS, Nanomanufacturing, and Security for Portable Electronics

Cambridge, Mass. (March 30, 2004) -- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation (Deshpande Center) announced today that it has issued its newest grant round. The Deshpande Center awarded 8 grants selected from 38 proposals. The five Ignition grants, which fund proof-of-concept explorations, and three Innovation Grants, which help reduce technical and market risk around promising innovations, total $660,000. The grants were awarded to MIT faculty in the School of Engineering and support a wide range of emerging technologies such as low-cost medical devices, microfluidics, radio frequency MEMS, nanomanufacturing, and privacy for portable electronics. The grants will be supported with a Catalyst program that facilitates collaboration among faculty, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists and helps further the innovations towards commercialization.

The Deshpande Center is part of the MIT School of Engineering and was established in 2002 through an initial $20M gift from Jaishree Deshpande and Desh Deshpande, the co-founder and chairman of Sycamore Networks. The Deshpande Center was created to serve as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting the research of MIT faculty and students, and facilitating collaboration among faculty, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and innovative businesses. The center helps researchers bring their ideas to fruition by supporting market-driven innovation, assisting with the intellectual property process, and enabling collaboration throughout the R&D phase.

Announced today, the Spring 2004 grant recipients are:

Ultra-Fast Low Actuation Voltage RF MEMS Switch: George Barbastathis
This innovation could lead to the first commercially viable replacement for solid-state switches, paving the way for next-generation radio frequency products in testing, military radar, and consumer wireless markets.

Slim Format Spectrometer: Vladimir Bulovic
A rugged, slim-format spectrometer the size of a PDA and costing much less than current portable spectrometers could benefit field applications from point-of-care medical devices to environmental sensors.

Authenticating and Protecting Digital Information in Portable Devices: Srini Devadas
This approach could make devices like smart cards unclonable and could have applications in digital rights management, particularly in low-powered devices like cell phones and PDAs.

Tonal management for Digital Photography and Video: Fredo Durand
This new technique for digital photography can compensate for low light, capture the style of master photographers, and improve the quality of medical imaging and video surveillance.

Low-cost X-Ray Imaging Systems: Dick Lanza
An inexpensive x-ray imaging system using off-the-shelf scanners and personal computers could be a boon to medicine in developing countries and could be used in homeland security and inspection applications.

Growth of Long, Strong Carbon Nanotube Fibers: Alex Slocum
This could be the first commercially viable way to produce strong carbon nanotube fibers, whose remarkable properties could create new classes of composite materials with billion-dollar potential.

Contact Printing: Bridging Nano-lithography with Industrial Production: Francesco Stellacci
This innovative approach could solve the most elusive challenge with nanotechnology: scaling the manufacturing process.

Microfluidic Platform for High-Density Multiplexed Biological Assays: Todd Thorsen
Here is a less expensive, more productive platform for identifying genes and proteins that could capture share in a $1.5 billion market.

"We've come a long way in building bridges between university research and commercialization," said Krisztina Holly, Executive Director of the Deshpande Center for Innovation. "Since the launch of the Center a year and a half ago, we have funded 34 projects totaling $3.6 million and paired grant recipients with entrepreneurial resources to help further development of their ideas. We look forward to working with the latest round of grant recipients and watching these innovations make a real impact on people's lives." Prof. Charles L. Cooney, Faculty Director of the Deshpande Center, added, "The collaboration, both within MIT and to Boston business community, catalyzed by these grants is having great impact in bridging the gap between innovation and its implementation in the market place."

Interest in the center continues to grow, with more than $20 million dollars in funding requests since the Center's launch. In addition to the funding, grant recipients have access to a host of resources offered by the Deshpande Center, both on and off campus. Since its launch, the Deshpande Center has been building bridges between academic research and its commercialization. The Center's i-Teams and Catalysts have helped infuse research with market-driven expertise. The Center has facilitated collaboration through successful events including Faculty Workshops, Ignition Forums, and the Center's annual IdeaStream Symposium. Further, the Deshpande Center continues to collaborate with resources on and off the MIT campus including the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, MIT Venture Mentoring Service, the MIT Technology Licensing Office, and other business resources and venture capitalists across the country.

About the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation

Dedicated to supporting leading-edge research and bridging the gap between the laboratory and the marketplace, the Deshpande Center was created in 2002 to serve as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship. The Center assists researchers in bringing their ideas to fruition by supporting market-driven innovation in MIT laboratories and facilitating collaboration among entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and MIT faculty. Part of the School of Engineering, the Deshpande Center supports a wide range of emerging technologies including biotechnology, medical devices, information technology, new materials, "tiny technologies," and environmental innovations.