MIT Deshpande Center Announces $500,000 in Grants to Speed Innovations to Market

MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation announced today that it has awarded $500,000 in grants to help seven institute research teams move their technologies closer to market. The funded projects address a wide array of areas that include improving hearing aids, better wireless broadband transmitters, bioassays for bedside diagnostics, a new approach to semiconductor fabrication, more sophisticated web search, 3-D microfabrication, and novel therapeutics to fight bacterial infections.

Through its semi-annual Ignition Grants and Innovation Grants programs (here’s a story about its awards last fall), the center aims to fill an important gap in the funding of new technologies by supporting very early, proof-of-concept stage research before it is far enough along to attract traditional venture or angel funding. Since its 2002 inception, the center—funded itself by an initial gift of $20 million from Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande, the co-founder and chairman of Sycamore Networks, and his wife Jaishree—has awarded some $8.8 million to 75 MIT research projects, 14 of which it says have spawned startup companies.

Below is the list of the center’s just-announced spring grants and the principal researchers behind the efforts, from the press release:

A New Architecture for Highly Efficient, Broadband RF Transceivers: Joel Dawson

Very energy efficient, high data rate transmitters for broadband wireless communications, which will increase battery life in handsets and reduce heat generation in base stations.

Rapid Multiplexed Analysis for Molecular Diagnostics: Patrick Doyle

A new method to perform multi-target bioassays using microparticles that may enable clinical bedside diagnostics and easier, less-costly diagnosis of disease (renewal from spring 2007 grant round).

Digital Ear Canal Scanner: Douglas Hart

An in-ear, 3D digital scanner for custom fitting hearing aids, resulting in better hearing for hearing aid users.

Developing Novel Strategies to Arrest Biofilms: Susan Lindquist

The development of novel therapeutic strategies to combat difficult-to-treat bacterial biofilm infections.

Gallium Nitride High Electron Mobility Transistors: Tomás Palacios

A new approach to the fabrication technology of gallium nitride semiconductors to reduce the cost and improve the performance of electronic products (renewal from spring 2007 grant round).

A 3 Dimensional Lithographic Microfabrication System: Peter So

A 3D two-photon microfabrication system to rapidly build high resolution micro-scale structures.

Integrating the Deep Web with the Shallow Web: Michael Stonebraker

This project will provide sophisticated search capability for the “deep web” of pages dynamically generated from data entered into forms.

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