MIT's Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation awarded eight grants in its fall round that support a wide range of emerging technologies: cancer detection, nanofabrication, wireless communication, fuel cells, database management, chemical lab design, infrared sensors and ice-cream making. The eight funded projects and their faculty investigators are listed below.
The center awards $50,000 Ignition Grants, which fund proof-of-concept explorations, and $50,000 to $250,000 Innovation Grants to help recipients assess and reduce the technical and market risks associated with their innovations. In the two years since it launched, the Deshpande Center has funded 38 projects totaling $4.3 million.
Ignition Grant recipients:
John Brisson: Novel ice-cream production method
This cheaper, more energy-efficient way to make ice cream could change large-scale ice-cream production as we know it--and create a creamier dessert.
Clark Colton: Finding early-stage cancers using novel contrast agents for enhanced MRI
This technology could help pinpoint early-stage tumors, dramatically improving the chances of cancer survival.
Lionel Kimerling and Anuradha Murthy Agarwal: Low-cost multispectral infrared detector arrays
The large potential for infrared sensors may be unlocked by this novel approach for making commodity-priced multispectral photodetector arrays.
Innovation Grant recipients:
Chiping Chen: Making 3G and 4G a reality with low-cost amplifiers for wireless base stations (renewal)
The cost of base-station amplifiers has been a significant barrier to next-generation wireless deployment. A revolutionary new advancement of a decades-old technology--microwave tubes--could change all that.
Martin Culpepper: HexFlex: Enabling nanofabrication with a six-axis nanomanipulator
Current developments in nanotechnology are limited by the difficulty of manipulating objects to extreme precisions; this invention is an elegant and inexpensive solution to the problem.
Klavs Jensen: Accelerating innovation in the chemistry lab with integrated automated microchemical systems (renewal)
The classical chemical lab has changed little in the last hundred years--until now. These tiny "laboratories" could make chemical and pharmaceutical development faster, less expensive, and more innovative.
Yang Shao-Horn: Engineered electrode assemblies for PEM fuel cells (renewal)
Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells have great potential for powering cars and other applications, but the most expensive part of the fuel cells, the electrode assemblies, have been cost-prohibitive until now.
Michael Stonebraker: Hybrid DBMS optimized for read-intensive applications
Commercial database management systems are designed as "row" stores for update-intensive applications, leaving an opportunity for a radical new hybrid approach that is optimized for both reading and writing.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 27, 2004 (download PDF).