Case Studies

Innovation is rarely linear.

As you’ll see when you link to the stories featured below, major discoveries can arise from a failed experiment, a childhood invention or a vial of green, glowing fluid. The Deshpande Center’s unique contribution is placing talented researchers in the path of these catalytic moments and helping them recognize and pursue opportunity when it knocks.

Beyond funding breakthrough research projects, our program exposes grantees to a rich network of people and resources that help them explore potential markets, commercialize their inventions and launch startup companies.

A patch-style infusion pump

Key Innovators: Yet-Ming Chiang, Michael Cima

Goal: Replace costly IV infusions with a patch pump that lets patients self-administer biopharmaceuticals.

Spinout: SpringLeaf Therapeutics

Quantum dot light-emitting diodes (LEDs)

Key Innovators: Vladimir Bulovic, Seth Coe-Sullivan

Goal: Create core technology for next-generation displays combining brilliant color, very low power consumption.

Spinout: QD Vision

A lightweight robotic arm brace

Key Innovators: Kailas Narendran, John McBean

Impact: Helps those with a neurologically impaired arm perform routine tasks and restore arm strength and mobility. 

Spinout: Myomo, Inc.

A single-lens, 3D oral scanner

Key Innovators: Douglas Hart, Janos Rohaly

Impact: Allows dentists to digitize and streamline processes for making crowns, bridges and braces.

Liquid metal battery technology

Key Innovators: Donald Sadoway, David Bradwell

Goal: Deliver large-scale, low-cost electricity storage to supplement the overtaxed electrical grid.

Low-cost process for printing microparticles

Key Innovators: Daniel Pregibon, Patrick Doyle

Goal: Enhance multiplexed detection of biomarkers in life sciences research and clinical diagnostics.

Spinout: Firefly BioWorks

Additional Case Studies:

  • A device enabling sustained drug release directly to the bladder, providing extended treatment and symptom relief for bladder illnesses. Spinout: TARIS Biomedical
  • A database architecture that dramatically improves the performance of analytics for big data. Spinout: Vertica Systems
  • Human micro livers used by the drug-testing industry to detect liver toxicity. Spinout: Hepregen Corporation