A partnership between the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. and Rose-Hulman Ventures hit a new high in 2016. The collaboration, in which Rose-Hulman students and project managers create prototypes of inventions developed by IU researchers, facilitated work on a record eight projects.

The partnership, which began in 2010, aims to develop high-tech prototypes that can lead to commercialization. Jennifer Finefield, senior technology manager at IURTC, says the two institutions complement each other well.

"The design IU researchers initially sketch will undergo a lot of changes before it reaches even the first prototype," said Finefield. "There needs to be a lot of detail in the design. They work with Rose-Hulman Ventures’ engineers to identify all the parts that need to be made and their dimensions, and how to put them together. This collaboration helps determine what is needed for the goal of the prototype."

Finefield says a prototype created through the partnership boosts the IURTC’s proposals to business leaders interested in licensing and commercializing the product by showing off its features and benefits. The projects developed through the partnership in 2016 include:

  • A device to make skin biopsies more uniform and efficient.
  • A lower-cost alternative to prefilled saline bottles used in emergency rooms.
  • A device to improve the safety of skin grafting.
  • A noninvasive device to monitor nerve activity in the heart.
  • Cloud-based peer-feedback software for educators.
  • A device to standardize the force directly applied to soft tissue during massage.
  • A device that transmits vibrations to reduce biofilm formations on prosthetics.
  • A conical motor that minimizes the air gap in an electric DC motor.

IU says funding from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. helped offset the projects’ development costs last year. 

"These aren’t random projects to be worked on and then shelved once a semester ends," Finefield said. "The students are working on devices that could become products sold on the market and improve people’s lives. The collaboration is providing these students with early-stage manufacturing, developing and engineering experience."

You can learn more about the partnership this weekend on Inside INdiana Business Television. Click here for statewide showtimes. 

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