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UMBC helps faculty turn research into successful businesses

March 30, 2016 10:54 AM

UMBC exemplifies a statewide trend of ramping up efforts to help faculty and students turn their research into commercial products and companies, supporting emerging entrepreneurs and boosting the state’s economy, The Baltimore Sun reports.

The article, which also appeared in The Washington Post, highlights new technologies developed by UMBC’s Nilanjan Banerjee and Ryan Robucci ‘02, computer engineering, both assistant professors of computer science and electrical engineering (CSEE). Banerjee and Robucci, as well as Chintan Patel ‘04 Ph.D., computer engineering, research assistant professor of CSEE, and their research students have worked with university and state officials to commercialize two wearable sensors that they developed in their ECLIPSE research cluster. The support the team received included guidance in obtaining grants, patenting the technology, and creating a viable business.

One sensor, RestEaze, non-intrusively monitors a person’s sleep quality in a home setting by tracking leg movements, and may help to diagnose restless leg syndrome, ADHD or cardiac issues. It is being developed in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, with funding from the TEDCO Innovation Commercialization Program as part of the Maryland Innovation Initiative.

The other sensor, Inviz, is a gesture recognition system that helps people with limited mobility complete everyday tasks, such as turning on the TV or a light, and be prepared for emergencies, with the ability to call 911. It uses low-cost flexible sensors that can be embedded in clothing or other fabric, and is supported by NSF and Microsoft.

UMBC is increasingly encouraging researchers to focus on commercializing their discoveries and research, Banerjee explained. “It’s one of our responsibilities to make sure we have a societal impact, and commercializing is one way of doing it,” he said in the article.

Read the full article “Maryland universities ramp up efforts to help students, faculty create companies” in The Washington Post and in The Baltimore Sun.

Image: Nilanjan Banerjee and Ryan Robucci in a lab. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.
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