Mussel Software developed a "Mathematics Engine" for authors of mathematics-based web pages, online math courses, and other stand-alone applications. The college textbook and software market is estimated to be 5.7 billion and is rapidly growing. The team designed this Mathematics Engine as an integrated package of Java2 Class Files. Individual JCFs (such as differentiation or linear algebra) were created, tested, documented, and integrated into the Mathematics Engine. The package was generic so that the e-course and text book authors could purchase licenses to use the software, concentrating on their front-end interface rather than Java programming. Mussel Software retained resale rights, enabling sale to multiple users using the Federal Express purchase tracking software as an established business model. The team's biggest competitor is the handheld calculator used by math students. The calculator is poised for obsolescence as laptops and palm pilots increase in power and drop in price. The ability of these devices to access the Internet is the final nail in the coffin.
In this project, NCIIA supports faculty at Marshall University in developing a new graduate course that promotes and encourages innovation and entrepreneurship applied to real-world environmental problems in the school's home state of West Virginia. Currently, the graduate program culminates with a capstone project that has students look in-depth at an area within their major; however there are no entrepreneurial aspects of the current course, no team work, and no exposure to mentors. The new course, dubbed MIDAS (Marshall Innovations in Developing Applied Solutions) is a new capstone option in which student teams, working with professors and mentors in the field, explore specific environmental problems in the state with the goal of coming up with innovative solutions.
Mass-produced DNA is used in a number of industries, including nanotechnology applications, gene therapy, and as standards in diagnostic tests. However, existing DNA production technology is slow, inefficient, personnel-intensive, and provides opportunities for human error and cross contamination of products. In response to the need for better, faster DNA production, this E-Team developed the Triathlon Thermal Cycler, a continuous, rapid thermal cycler that replicates DNA 150% more efficiently than the traditional thermal cycler and can potentially produce DNA 800% more efficiently due to its scalability.
The original E-Team consisted of Derek Gregg and Justin Swick, two IST undergraduates in the College of Science. After incorporating as Vandalia Research in March 2004, the company now has five employees, with Derek handling business development, Justin handling research and manufacturing design, a full-time lab technician on hand, and two Marshall professors, Dr. Elizabeth Murray and Dr. Michael Norton, on the management team. They secured an exclusive licensing agreement with Marshall for use of the cycler, and recently completed their first round of significant funding, securing almost $1 million from local West Virginia angel investors.
This E-Team developed an adjustable, lightweight easel called the Spider Easel. The team used user surveys and industry experience to come up with an all-encompassing design that is adjustable, versatile, sturdy, portable, and inexpensive. The Spider Easel consists of four arms and four legs constructed from aluminum tubing. The length of the individual arms and legs can be changed using adjustable compression fittings (much like a photographer's tripod). Artwork is held by gripping hardware not seen in other easels.
This grant will help expand a pilot program in a graduate-level biomedical engineering course by offering additional resources to design teams: equipment, materials, supplies, prototyping funds, and expert lecturers and consultants. During this year-long class, students are completely responsible for idea generation, prototype development and commercialization planning. They are exposed to an entrepreneurial environment and gain entrepreneurial skills not traditionally taught or integrated into university coursework.