MEMS iGrant competition attracts 90 participants; winner announced

Medford, OR--The 2013 inaugural iGrant competition attracted around 90 microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and microsystems companies from all over the world. Sustainable Valley Technology Group and Rogue Valley Microdevices (both in Medford), who organized the competition, narrowed the semi-final round to the top 7 companies. Out of that semi-finalist group, the top two finalists--Advanced Microsensors and Emitech, both based in Massachusetts--were invited for site visits. The iGrant is valued at $175,000 and includes up to a $25,000 cash award to help with the recipient’s implementation costs.

Advanced Microsensors has a patented breast cancer screening sensor for clinical use and Emitech has developed a patented bomb-sniffing technology. The winning company, Advanced Microsensors, was chosen based on the following criteria: technological compatibility, team, business development, market characteristics, iGrant potential impact and opportunities to develop in Southern Oregon.

Advanced Microsensors' breast cancer detection device is based on photoacoustic technology. It combines light and sound to go deeper into the tissue with higher resolution to more accurately record defects and abnormalities. "We add value by using MEMS technology in our device so we have better technology at a lower cost," said Nena Golubovic, research scientist with Advanced Microsensors. While Advanced MicroSensors already has manufactured other MEMS products for the industrial market, the company's breast cancer screening sensor is a new product in pre-clinical stage.

Emitech's bomb-sniffing technology would be manufactured as a handheld device or a remote-controlled unit. The military could use it in a drone to detect land mines or explosive hazards; or, a homeland security officer could wand over airport passenger or packages for immediate analysis of any explosive substances. Emitech has a verified prototype and is now lacking only field and environmental testing before being ready to manufacture the product.

There are 5 to 8 patents related to Advanced Microsensor's breast-cancer screening technology, and 5 patents related to Emitech's bomb-sniffing technology.

The winner will receive access to the lab facilities and clean room at Rogue Valley Microdevices. In addition, the winning company will receive mentoring and guidance in legal, financial, and investment areas from veteran entrepreneurs connected to Sustainable Valley Technology Group. Further, the winner’s services package also includes support in the areas of engineering, business development, device design, and consultation.

The mission of the iGrant is to foster technology and business growth. Bringing new technology to market is difficult and the iGrant was designed to help individuals with good ideas see those ideas through to completion by providing funding, business support, equipment, facilities, and expert consultation. For more information, go to http://www.svtg.org/igrant-technology-grant.

SOURCE: Sustainable Valley Technology Group; http://www.svtg.org/igrant-winner2013/#more-2194

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