In a six-week Innovative Venture Research course just concluded at Louisiana Tech, undergraduate and graduate students from multiple disciplines evaluated the commercial feasibility of technologies developed at Tech and tried to pinpoint markets for them as well.
Four teams presented product research July 8 at Tech’s Institute for Micromanufacturing. In addition to a stream of audience questions on issues such as liability, the students also got some pats on the back.
For example, Dr. Richard Lester, an assistant professor of management in the College of Administration and Business, was sold on the food-safety idea after hearing the presentation.
“This has huge potential,” he said. “I feel like you should be on an airplane this afternoon going to talk to Procter & Gamble.”
Team members and their projects were:
• Tech students Tristan Pendergrass, James Standard and Charles Boddie and high school students Casey Madden, Jessica Ashley and Janet Moore presented the cantilever sensor badge, designed for workplace detection of hydrogen sulfide, lack of oxygen, combustibles and carbon monoxide. The product’s self-calibration feature was touted as a competitive edge where OSHA compliance is concerned, and the team recommended pursuing a licensing agreement with an existing sensor manufacturer.
• Alan Fowler and Fauzia Khatkhatay presented work on a tire (Tweel) that never goes flat but still has the suspension qualities of an air-filled product. Other team members were Tech student Josh Copeland and high school students Chris Killgore, Tyler Treadway and Lauren Watson. The team expected the wheel to be useful for mowers, wheelbarrows and medical carts. Team recommendations focused on alliances and partnerships.
• Tech students Barb Brown, Sam Tidwell, Weijian Cao, Alycia Norred and Brandon Sirman and high school students Kacey Richard and Misty Dees presented the Sensor Wrap, which could have both industrial and household applications in the area of food safety. The team advocated a licensing procedure that targeted plastic wrap-production companies as well as poultry and beef processors.
• Tech students Kenneth Chelette, Susie Cox, Erin Garner, Jody Glasscock and Joan Grafton and high school students David Gardner and Justin Jetton promoted concentric ring electrode technology that offers bio-electric recording as well as localized tissue stimulation that could fight Parkinson’s and obesity. Students advised advancing the technology into trial stages.
The inclusion of high school students on the teams was a first for the course, which is backed by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for Innovation program.
Jetton, a Haughton High School senior and a team co-presenter, said he was surfing a Tech Web site when he came across the Innovative Venture Research course and saw that it was open to high school students.
“I expected a sit-down-behind-the-desk, traditional class, and it was the opposite,” he said.
Jetton was impressed with the mentors and the Tech students. He liked the facilities, too -- “24/7 access to the CEnIT with the best technology, access to the boardroom for holding meetings and doing conference calls anytime.”
CEnIT is Tech’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology.
The Innovative Venture Research course was led by Jon Pratt, an assistant professor of finance/research in the College of Administration and Business.
For more information about the program, contact Debbie Inman, entrepreneurial studies coordinator, at (318) 257-3701.
(Student presenter Sam Tidwell, along with another Tech student, Devie Sabalza, died in a car crash on July 10.)