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Start-ups with ISR connections awarded SAIC grants

Resensys LLC and FlexEl LLC, two startup companies with ISR connections, were awarded $25K grants from SAIC Inc., through the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech).

The funding, provided by SAIC for 2008, supports university ventures with promising technologies in alternative energy or threat detection. Funding recipients are required to be enrolled in or enter the Mtech VentureAccelerator Program, which systematically guides faculty and student technology entrepreneurs in starting companies based upon their inventions.

Resensys develops self-powered, wireless, distributed sensors for monitoring structures such as bridges, buildings, and pipelines. Its patent-pending technology will detect strain, deformation, and cracks forming in structures, and provide early warnings when problems arise. Resensys’ sensors attach to existing structures. The inventor is ISR alumnus and current ECE Assistant Research Scientist and M.S. in Telecom Program Director Mehdi Kalantari. Kalantari earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2005, advised by ISR-affiliated Professor Mark Shayman (ECE). The company joined VentureAccelerator in July 2008.

Resensys also was recently awarded a $75,000 grant by the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO). Resensys was one of 10 high-tech startups to receive funding from TEDCO's technology transfer fund. The fund encourages partnerships among Maryland businesses, universities and federal laboratories to bring new technologies to market.

FlexEl develops millimeter-thick, high-density, rechargeable batteries made from thin films. Remotely rechargeable, the batteries gather energy from the environment, from sources such as vibrations and existing radio waves. They can even recharge by simply pointing a cell phone at them. FlexEl’s batteries are flexible, meaning they can conform to nearly any shape and act as part of an electronic device’s packaging. They attach to microchips, sensors, RFID chips, and small electronic components. The batteries are comprised entirely of environmentally friendly materials.

FlexEl’s patent-pending technologies were developed by ISR-affiliated Professor Neil Goldsman (ECE) and Professor Martin Peckerar (ECE), as well as ECE research associate and alumnus Dr. Zeynep Dilli. FlexEl has been accepted into the VentureAccelerator program pending final approval.

VentureAccelerator offers faculty and students hands-on assistance with a range of new business processes, including: sound business planning; understanding of markets or customers; proper alignment and timing of efforts; assistance in establishing management teams; and access to capital financing sources.

Thanks to Mtech's Eric Schurr for this story.

January 14, 2009

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