TECH Fort Worth Showcase
Who: More than 30 startups exhibited at the event
When: June 5, 2018
Where: The 4 Eleven, 411 South Main St.
Nearly 400 attended the TECH Fort Worth Showcase event on June 5 that spotlighted startups involved in innovative ideas ranging from agriculture to health care technology to robotics.
The Impact Showcase is a free, one-night-only exhibit of 30-plus startups and innovators pushing technology forward. The goal, according to TECH Fort Worth officials, is to speed up innovation and development by sharing ideas and tapping into the social system.
Four startups developed by University of Texas at Arlington faculty and students participated in the fifth annual Impact Showcase of inspirational client startups.
“Participating in the impact showcase is an important way to push our technologies forward by exposing potential investors and other inventors to our strongest ideas,” said Teri Schultz, director of UTA’s Office of Technology Management.
UT Arlington philosophy student Tyler Sickels and physics Professor Wei Chen are developing SolGro, an agricultural research and manufacturing startup that is working on advanced growing technologies. The company is currently working in partnership with UT Arlington and Texas A&M Tyler to further develop light converting greenhouse glazing that helps commercial crop growers increase their productivity by improving the nutritional quality of their crops, extending the lifetime of their greenhouse canopies and significantly increasing crop yield. SolGro’s technology does this without the additional energy costs required by indoor growing facilities.
“We are here because we are TECH Fort Worth clients,” Sickels said. “TECH Fort Worth has been helping us since ‘square one’ with all the business support and corporate strategy. It’s been great support. We are also meeting potential investors.”
Resonant Sensors also has UT Arlington connections. The company is the brainchild of faculty inventor Robert Magnusson, UTA Texas Instruments Distinguished University Chair in Nanoelectronics and professor of electrical engineering, and UTA graduate Debra Wawro. Magnusson and Wawro have developed a technology based on nanostructured resonant sensors illuminated with light, which allows pharmaceutical companies to better define the physical properties of drugs under development.
UT Arlington faculty are also involved in Abexxa Biologics, named one of the 40 Best University Startups in 2017 by the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer. Abexxa Biologics is working to identify a new series of biomarkers or targets for cancer from the many thousands of proteins found within a tumor cell. This is a new field of research that could potentially result in immunotherapies that prove effective for a broad range of patients, according to a UTA news release.
A fourth UTA-related startup, Nano Liquid Solutions, was developed by Ali Farzbod, a mechanical engineering doctoral student. Nano Liquid is developing a device called Medichip that can help diabetic patients check and receive blood tests quicker. The platform enables a blood test with a small amount of sample – a drop of blood – which results in a massive reduction in materials used and eventually results in a more cost-effective screening.
For Carl Copeland, CEO and founder of MuZ Motion LLC, the Showcase provided him a way to demonstrate the company’s novel robotics motion system. It is, he admits, better to see it than to try to explain it.
“The limiting factor in modern robotics isn’t in AI or electronics,” he said. “It’s the physical limitations of contemporary motors and motion systems.”
The company’s product, the Field Modulation Motion System (FMMS) has, at its core, the Field Modulation Motor, which Copeland says is the first truly novel motor design in 150 years. It avoids the limits of contemporary motors with a design that utilizes the full, 3-dimensional spectrum of magnetics while optimizing the use of magnetic materials.
The motor design is novel in several ways, he said, not the least of which is the range of materials that can be used for its construction. The motor is capable of being constructed of more than 80 percent non-metallic, non-magnetic materials. The version he was demonstrating at the showcase was constructed of 85 percent medium density cellulose fiber (paper). Other alternative materials include plastics, polymers, natural and recycled materials, and exotic metamaterials such as aerogels and metallic lattices.
“It makes it incredibly light weight, which can make it useful in a larger variety of applications,” he said.
The TECH Fort Worth Impact Showcase is a precursor to this fall’s Impact Awards program that honors local startups.
Presenting sponsor for the event was Comerica Bank. The Fort Worth Business Press is the media sponsor. – FWBP Staff