Entrepreneurship Fair highlights KUs technological innovations

Lawrence,KS (02-28-2007)

From Lawrence Journal-World
By Jonathan Kealing

The entire spectrum of invention and innovation was on display Tuesday afternoon at Kansas University.

Several organizations at KU staged the event to offer students and community members a better idea of how an idea can become a viable commercial success.

Exhibits included the unmanned helicopter from Viking Aerospace, innovative Radio Frequency Identification tags from the KU Information and Telecommunication Technology Center, and even a model of a spine that doctors can use for training.

"We tried to get things people could either touch or see, instead of your standard scientific poster," said Jim Baxendale, director of technology transfer and intellectual property in the office of the vice provost for research. "Its all about getting people to know whats out there."

Baxendale said he had helped put on a number of similar events in the past, but this one was unique in that it appealed to a much broader audience, particularly students. The event was at the Burge Union in order to be in proximity to the law, engineering and business schools.

"We want to create awareness of the inventions and innovations and technology coming out of KU, as well as the start-ups coming out of KU, too," he said.

Representatives of Viking Aerospace, a local business composed almost entirely of faculty or graduates of KU, said their unmanned helicopter had attracted quite an audience.

With an outer covering of bright silver brushed metal, the helicopter stood out as one of the largest items on display. Its one of the first applications of unmanned aerial vehicle technology for the civilian market, said Richard Colgren, the companys vice president.

"Weve designed and built this for a real hole in the market," he said. "One of our customers is thinking about using it to survey disaster sites."

Colgren said other uses could be to look for hot spots in a house fire, or to map power lines or remote areas.

The helicopter weighs only 15 pounds and can fly for up to an hour.

Also popular were the RFID chips, from KUs Information and Telecommunication Technology Center. These particular chips were designed to fill another market niche, said Michelle Ward, the centers marketing coordinator.

The chips, which are smaller than some other RFID chips displayed, are capable of transmitting through metal or liquids, which can disable traditional chips.

Ward said shed spent a lot of time answering questions.

"I think a lot of people have heard of RFID and theyre not sure how it works," she said.

The Entrepreneurship Fair was a joint venture of several KU groups and was scheduled in conjunction with national Entrepreneurship Week, which runs through Saturday.

For more information, contact ITTC.

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