Redox Named Best Green Incubator Company in Maryland for 2015

Redox Power Systems

Redox Power Systems, an Mtech Technology Advancement Program (TAP) incubator company developing fuel cells and distributed power generation systems for commercial, industrial, residential, military and mobile applications, has won the 2015 Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Award for Best Environment/Energy Company.

The award was presented to Bryan Blackburn and Tom Langdo of Redox, Eric Wachsman of the University of Maryland, and Craig Dye of Mtech at the Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards ceremony on June 4 at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Md.

“Redox is truly honored to be recognized as an Incubator Company of the Year, which is a result of the hard work and efforts of the Redox team,” said Bryan Blackburn, Acting Chief Executive Officer, co-founder, and Chief Technology Officer of Redox. “We are proud to do business in Maryland and look forward to being a driver of significant job creation in the state. We would like to thank Mtech and the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland for helping us as we grow.”

Co-founded by Professor Eric Wachsman, director of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC), Redox is commercializing Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technologies with high power density and lower operating temperatures, enabling the company to drastically reduce the cost, size, and weight of reliable on-site electrical generation systems.

Among the technologies available to convert hydrocarbon-based fuels (e.g., natural gas) to electricity, SOFCs uniquely have an energy conversion efficiency of 45-65 percent, which is nearly twice the efficiency of conventional internal combustion engines.  In combined heat and power applications, the energy conversion efficiency can approach 90 percent. The modular nature of Redox’s products allows the tailoring of systems to a broad range of power generation capacities and fuel options.

Redox Power Systems fuel cell

The Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards publicly recognize achievements by current clients and graduates of all Maryland incubators and provides a forum for the nominees to increase their visibility in the business, technology, and investment communities. The Best Environment/Energy Company category recognizes companies that produce products or provide services that minimize damage to the environment.

Winning companies were selected based on their goals and success in achieving their objectives. Judges considered factors such as technology or product development, intellectual property, increase in employee numbers, growth in revenue or earnings, engagement of significant customers and strategic partners, receipt of awards or grants, attraction of outside investors, innovation, self-sufficiency, impact on the region and usage of the incubator’s services.

Redox has a long history with the Clark School’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech). In 2012, the company was a winner in the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition. That same year, Redox entered Mtech’s Venture Accelerator (VA) program, which speeds the advancement of promising early stage technology companies at UMD through intensive business guidance. Redox graduated from VA program after only one quarter. In 2014, the company received an Mtech Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program grant to characterize the strength, performance, and reliability of enhancements Redox is making to its SOFCs. In late 2014, Redox entered the TAP incubator, which provides high-tech on-campus workspace and continued expert business guidance.

VisiSonics’ RealSpace 3D Audio Software Licensed by Oculus for Virtual Reality

Image Courtesy: Sergey Galyonkin (www.flickr.com/photos/sergesegal/10187117474/in/photostream/)

Image Courtesy: Sergey Galyonkin (www.flickr.com/photos/sergesegal/10187117474/in/photostream/)

Oculus announced the deal at Oculus Connect, the company’s first developer conference, in Los Angeles, Calif.

RealSpace™ 3D Audio enables the virtual placement of sound anywhere in a 3D space with pinpoint accuracy, creating the perception of real source direction, distance, depth, and movement relative to a listener when heard through standard stereo headphones. It re-creates the auditory ambience of an environment, creating a completely immersive audio experience.

“Audio is an essential ingredient for immersive virtual reality,” said Brendan Iribe, CEO at Oculus. “The technology that the VisiSonics team has developed is a great start towards developing a fully-featured VR audio solution, and we’re incredibly excited to be licensing their work to drive VR forward.”

Based on ten years of research at the University of Maryland, RealSpace™ 3D Audio models the transformations sound undergoes as it travels from a source to a listener’s ears in an environment, using a combination of head-related transfer functions, room models and head-tracking, as well as their interplay.

“We are excited to see our RealSpace engine technology as part of the future of Oculus’ virtual reality systems,” said VisiSonics Founder and President Ramani Duraiswami. “We believe we are at a threshold for physics-based personal audio rendering in virtual reality. Oculus’ innovative technology is poised to catalyze the industry, and we are incredibly happy to play a role in this.”

RealSpace™ 3D Audio technology demos are available today at realspace3daudio.com.

VisiSonics is an Mtech Technology Advancement Program incubator company, Maryland Industrial Partnerships grant winner, and a previous finalist for the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition.

CoolCAD Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Security Keychain that Locks Your Computer When You Are Away

GateKeeper Chain

CoolCAD Electronics LLC, a University of Maryland-based electronics design company, just launched a 30-day Kickstarter campaign for its new GateKeeper Chain security product, a small, colorful key fob that automatically locks your computer when you leave and unlocks it when you return, university officials announce today.

The GateKeeper Chain works over Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth SMART) wireless technology, combining a personal sensor with an encrypted connection that allows only its unique key to unlock your computer. The password is encrypted and stored on your PC, not the GK-Chain—so no one can steal it. The result is effortless security for your computer when you walk away, and easy access when you return.

“Our goal is provide people who use computers with optimal security and convenience,” said Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate Dr. Siddharth Potbhare (M.S. 2005, Ph.D. 2008), who co-founded CoolCAD. “It’s easy to forget to lock your computer when you leave your desk, and it’s a chore to log back in when you get back. GateKeeper takes care of both.”

As an extra layer of security, CoolCAD offers a companion smartphone application that lets you manage and track your keys, but more importantly—warns you when you leave your keys behind.

Initial prototypes work with PCs and Android phones, although the company is creating Macintosh and iOS versions as well.

Rewards for backers of the GateKeeper Chain Kickstarter campaign include access to pre-production-run prototypes, custom gold or silver key fobs, laboratory tours with CoolCAD’s engineers and designers, and up to 50 hours of one-on-one consulting to create customized products, which could include logos, additional branding and optional form factors.

CoolCAD plans to use its Kickstarter funding to take the patent-pending GateKeeper Chain from a fully functional prototype to a 200-unit pilot production run, which the company will use to obtain FCC certification and conduct comprehensive reliability testing and failure analysis tests.

Full production runs for the GateKeeper Chain are slated for June, with an expected delivery of the first 4,000 devices in July.

GateKeeper Chain

CoolCAD’s ten-member team includes Co-Founders UMD Electrical and Computer Engineering and Institute for Systems Research Professor Neil Goldsman, and Vice President and UMD alumnus Dr. Akin Akturk, who earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2006.

CoolCAD is a member of the Technology Advancement Program incubator, an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering, whose graduates include Martek Biosciences and Digene Corporation, both of whom were acquired for more than $1 billion. The company’s headquarters are in Mtech’s Technology Ventures Building, located off-campus near the College Park Metrorail station.

CoolCAD has acquired research and development projects and subcontracts totaling over $4 million over the past five years, including Phase I and Phase II SBIRs/STTRs and four Mtech Maryland Industrial Partnerships program grants with two different UMD professors.

Mtech TAP Incubator Graduate Neuralstem Inc. Closes $20 Million Investment

Neuralstem

Neuralstem Inc., a 2001 graduate of the Mtech Technology Advancement Program (TAP) incubator, announced that it closed on a $20 million investment from leading institutional and accredited investors in a registered direct placement of 6,872,859 shares of common stock at a price of $2.91 per share.

neuralstem_logoBased in Rockville, Md., Neuralstem, now a publicly traded biotherapeutics company, features a patented technology that enables the production of neural stem cells of the brain and spinal cord in commercial quantities, and the ability to control the differentiation of these cells constitutively into mature, physiologically relevant human neurons and glial cells.

“We are very pleased to have raised the capital in this offering from leading institutional investors, including dedicated institutional healthcare investors. With the proceeds strengthening our cash balance, we have the resources to further advance our cell therapy and small molecule clinical trial programs,” said Richard Garr, President and Chief Executive Officer of Neuralstem.

Neuralstem’s NSI-566 spinal cord-derived stem cell therapy is in Phase II clinical trials for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Neuralstem has been awarded orphan status designation by the FDA for its ALS cell therapy.

Neuralstem was in TAP from April 1997 to December 2001. The company’s office space was accented with large, white canopies over its desks, creating a neural network-looking appearance when taken in aggregate.

In addition to ALS, Neuralstem is also targeting major central nervous system conditions with its NSI-566 cell therapy platform, including spinal cord injury and ischemic stroke. The company has received FDA approval to commence a Phase I safety trial in chronic spinal cord injury.

Neuralstem also maintains the ability to generate stable human neural stem cell lines suitable for the systematic screening of large chemical libraries. Through this proprietary screening technology, Neuralstem has discovered and patented compounds that may stimulate the brain’s capacity to generate neurons, possibly reversing pathologies associated with certain central nervous system conditions.  The company has completed a Phase I safety trial evaluating NSI-189, its first neurogenic small molecule product candidate, for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). Additional indications might include traumatic brain injury (TBI), Alzheimer’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

For more information about Neuralstem, visit www.neuralstem.com or connect with the company on TwitterFacebook or LinkedIn.

Pixelligent Granted Innovation Research Award for Next-Generation OLED Lighting

Pixelligent

Pixelligent Technologies, an Mtech TAP incubator graduate and MIPS funding recipient, recently announced it was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant by the Department of Energy (DOE).

The nine-month, $150,000 program will enable Pixelligent to accelerate the development of its nanoadditives for use in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) lighting, which is used to create digital displays in devices such as television screens, computer monitors, portable systems such as mobile phones, handheld games consoles and PDAs. As part of this program, Pixelligent will partner with OLEDWorks LLC, a leading OLED lighting company.

“As we continue working with the world’s leading electronics and next generation lighting companies, we are excited to partner with OLEDWorks, one of the leading American manufacturers of OLED lighting solutions”, said Craig Bandes, president and CEO of Pixelligent.

The SBIR program, established by the U.S. Congress, supports scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of federal research funds. The goal of the program, titled Advanced Light Extraction Material for OLED Lighting, is to develop an internal light-extraction structure that will be fully compatible with OLED device manufacturing processes and operating conditions that can expedite the commercialization of white OLED lighting.

“We are honored to receive this highly competitive grant from the DOE that recognizes the significant value our advanced materials can provide in Solid State Lighting (SSL) applications”, commented Dr. Gregory D. Cooper, CTO and Founder of Pixelligent Technologies.

Since 2012, the company has received three SBIR grants from the Department of Energy, totaling $1.3 million, to expedite the development of its advanced materials for commercial use.

Once occupying four wet labs and two offices in TAP from 2005 to 2011, Pixelligent moved to Baltimore in June, 2011. In 2012, the company expanded its footprint to include more than 13,000 sq. ft. and has increased its work force by nearly 150 percent since moving operations to Baltimore. This growth is attributed to the increased demand for its proprietary Zirconia nanocrystal additives and the progress Pixelligent has made in significantly scaling-up its manufacturing capacity. The company is now producing and shipping its nanocrystal additives to customers around the world.

Also in 2005, Pixelligent worked with UMD chemistry and biochemistry Professor Daniel Falvey through a Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) grant on nanocrystal additives for increased resolution in photolithography. The project helped Pixelligent as it transitioned its technology to other applications in semiconductor manufacturing and the electronics industry, according to the company.

In December 2012, The Baltimore Sun reported that Pixelligent was “searching the region for space for a manufacturing facility capable of increasing its capacity to make nanocrystal coatings for electronics and semiconductors by 10 times or more.”

Pixelligent has raised more than $17 million over the past four and a half years.

Pixelligent’s first three employees earned their Ph.D.s from the University of Maryland. Founder & CTO Greg Cooper earned his Ph.D.in Physics, Zhiyun Chen, Vice President of Engineering, earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, and Serpil Gonen Williams, Vice President of Product Development, earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry. Pixelligent also employs three other UMD graduates. Xia Bai and Selina Thomas both earned Ph.D.’s in Chemistry and Lei Zhang earned her Master’s in Material Science and Engineering.

Resensys LLC’s Technology Helps Prevent Bridge and Building Collapses

Pictured: A Resensys sensor installed on an Interstate 495 bridge.

Pictured: A Resensys sensor installed on an Interstate 495 bridge.

By Elena Sten

Nearly six years following the bridge disaster in Minneapolis, structures keep failing, including the I-5 bridge in Washington and buildings in both Philadelphia and Bangladesh.

Each of these could have been prevented with Resensys LLC’s real-time, comprehensive, wireless, low-cost and low-maintenance structural health detection system.

“In most cases, before a bridge or building collapses, measureable, meaningful changes occur on the structure,” said Resensys President and CTO Mehdi Kalantari. “Our technology provides a strong tool for the early and efficient detection of these changes. Whether some portion of the structure is overstrained or deformed, irreversible shifts or transformations can be detected with our technology way ahead of an actual failure so that repairs, and/or adjustments, can be made.”

Comprised of small, networked sensors installed strategically on a bridge or building, Resensys’ system monitors a broad range of factors, including strain, acceleration, vibration, displacement, deformation, tilt, inclination, temperature and humidity, to ensure that a structure is sound.

Each networked sensor quietly and continuously gathers data, after which it is aggregated and sent wirelessly to a data center, where it is continually analyzed.

When a structural issue is detected, alerts are sent out to maintenance or repair engineers at the first hint of a problem.

Resensys’ sensors can be energy self-sustained, drawing their own power from ambient light and radio waves, or battery-operated. Both types of sensors last, maintenance-free, for decades.

More than 20 companies throughout the U.S., Canada, Indonesia, and Japan have deployed Resensys’ sensors on a wide variety of structures. In the Mid-Atlantic region, they monitor buildings and bridges along I-495.

“We believe Resensys sensors provide very useful information about the structures where they have been deployed,” said Marcus Schmieder, industrial engineer, lean consultant and NDT specialist at Vancouver, Canada-based Metro Testing Laboratories Ltd. “The ease of installation, long life cycle and low cost of these systems convinced us to use Resensys sensors for all of our structural health monitoring projects.”

Since the American Society of Civil Engineers published its first report card for America’s Infrastructure back in 2008, the U.S. has yet to receive an overall grade higher than a D+. More than 71,000 bridges in the U.S. are structurally deficient, according to the Federal Highway Administration’s Our Nation’s Highways 2011 report.

While structural health monitoring is core to Resensys’ product development, the company’s sensors are now being used for a far wider range of applications, including utilities and aviation.

Resensys received a $75,000 Maryland Technology Transfer Fund award from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation in 2008. In 2009, the company won both a $165,000 Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) grant and $25,000 through the SAIC VentureAccelerator Competition. The company has also received Small Business Innovation Research grants from the National Science Foundation, a $100,000 Phase I in 2009, $500,000 Phase II in 2010, and $230,000 Phase II-B  in 2013.

A portfolio company of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) Technology Advancement Program in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, Resensys is also an Mtech VentureAccelerator graduate and former UMD $75K Business Plan Competition winner.

The company has three patents pending.

Resensys

Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute Startup Recipe

In honor of our official “State Crustacean,” the Maryland Blue Crab, whose scientific name (Callinectes sapidus) translates to “beautiful swimmer that is savory,” the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) is releasing a Startup Recipe inspired by crab feasts. We might note that September (just nine days away) is one of the best months for picking sweet crab meat.

Over the past 29 years, Mtech, an initiative of the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, has carefully assembled a comprehensive ecosystem of programs and resources to promote and foster entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Maryland and in the region.

Coupled with the powerful and vibrant Mid-Atlantic R&D and venture communities, Maryland is ripe with opportunity for a flourishing economy driven by entrepreneurship and innovation.

Click here to view a larger version of the Mtech Startup Recipe.

Note: This graphic was inspired by the Seattle Startup Recipe released by Gist and developed by Column Five.

Mtech Releases Latest Impact Report

Mtech Impact ReportThe Mtech Impact Report includes an overview of the historical and 2011 impact of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), an initiative of the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, as well as 2011 highlights. Read the report online.

TAP Incubator Graduate Featured in Baltimore Sun

Mtech TAP incubator graduate and burgeoning nanomaterials company Pixelligent Technologies, now with 25 employees, is featured in The Baltimore Sun: http://bsun.md/MtzRGp