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VIDEO: Great Research, Great Results Exhibited at UC’s Statehouse Showcase

UC research is an economic driver for Ohio. And university researchers provided state legislators with proof of that fact with hands-on displays of UC projects that are helping the state’s economy. See video of the event.

Date: 3/18/2010 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Dottie Stover

UC ingot   Applied research from the University of Cincinnati took center stage on March 16 as UC researchers and their industry partners provided Ohio legislators with up-close, hands-on exhibits of ongoing research projects with proven or strong potential for economic benefit to the state. The event was held at the Columbus Statehouse.

Attending the event were Ohio senators, representatives, aides, Statehouse staff, members of the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority, news media, high school students and others.

The event focused on UC research that
  • Has provided significant saving to the state or Ohio companies.
  • Has already resulted in start-up companies and jobs in Ohio.
  • Holds strong potential for significant economic development in the near future.

According to Sandra Degen, vice president for research, the event and the projects on display are real-world examples of UC’s research leadership and why the university ranks among the nation’s elite of public research-intensive universities based on National Science Foundation data on federal research expenditures. Currently, UC research funding from both private and public sources is at an all-time high of $378 million.

The projects on display during the Statehouse Showcase were

Ohio Senator Eric Kearney with Tasos Angelopoulos
Ohio Senator Eric Kearney tries a UC-developed diagnostic device that provides a breath test for diabetes. With him is UC's Tasos Angelopoulos.

Ohio Partnership Promises Better Sensors for Better Health
Anastasios Angelopoulos, assistant professor of chemical and materials engineering, and Jonathan Bernstein, professor of medicine, are partnering with Midwestern firms on medical diagnostic sensors that provide real-time feedback on a variety of health conditions. One of these is an inexpensive, portable breath sensor that has potential as a new non-invasive means to test for diabetes. The research has led to the founding of a start-up firm, A&B Sensor Technologies, which is working with Ohio partners Mound Technical Solutions in Miamisburg, Ohio, and CincyTech in Cincinnati, as well as Flint Hills Resources in Illinois.
Mike Cardarelli and his HERO robot
At right, UC alumnus Mike Cardarelli demonstrates his HERO robot, which serves as a first responder in hazardous situations. He developed the robot as a UC student, and it became the basis for his business.

HERO Robot Provides High-Tech Jobs in Ohio
Former UC student Mike Cardarelli, president, First-Response Robotics in Amelia, Ohio, founded his business on the basis of an applied science senior project completed while he was a student at the university.  Now, the firm’s robots “go in first” to emergency situations like earthquakes or other natural disasters, chemical spills or other hazardous situations or even crime scenes like hostage situations. Clients served by this UC research-based business have included the Environmental Protection Agency and the FBI as well as municipal police forces. For instance, the FBI ordered two of these high-end robots for use in training SWAT teams and for specific use in hostage situations. So, Cardarelli’s firm custom fit robots for FBI reconnaissance use. One of those FBI robots was even outfitted with a food rack so that it could deliver pizza and drinks to hostages in need of food.

For the EPA, First-Response built a robot equipped with air-sensing devices to help identify the source of any environmental pollutants or contamination. And robots built by the firm were also used to help provide perimeter surveillance at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
One Bright Idea: Fire Fighting for Less than $1
UC graduate industrial design student and entrepreneur Noel Leon Gauthier is founding his own Ohio company (UMi Design and Development) and has submitted a patent – while also winning investments – for his innovative design called “FireStop.” “FireStop,” designed at UC, is a one-button, fire-suppressant device made of inexpensive materials and no moving valves. It can be manufactured for under $1.
Powering Ohioans: Waste Converted to Direct-Current Electricity

UC’s Dan Hassett, professor of molecular genetics, is working to harness natural energy to create usable energy for Ohio and beyond. Sewage, fertilizer run-off, farm animal waste and plant pulps will be combined with genetically modified bacteria to create direct current electricity and hydrogen gas. This research has already led to a start-up firm, Pilus Energy in Mt. Washington, Ohio.
Jason Heikenfeld and Ohio Representative Danny Bubp
At left, UC's Jason Heikenfeld demonstrates his research to Ohio Representative Danny Bubp.

UC Electrofluidic Optics Power New Company Seeking to Create Jobs and $1 Billion Impact

UC Research by Jason Heikenfeld, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, has already led to a start-up company, Gamma Dynamics, with the goal of manufacturing – in Ohio – a variety of innovative products that rely on electrofluidic optics for performance: Clear windows that transform into colorful signs, color-changing skins for cell phones, electronic shelf labels for grocery stores, toys and more. The new company has the potential to create thousands of high-paying jobs and a regional economic payoff as high as $1 billion. Partners in this research include Sun Chemical in Cincinnati and FLEX Matters in Kent, Ohio, as well as Motorola in Phoenix, Ariz., and companies in the Netherlands and Taiwan.
UC's Art Helmicki
UC's Art Helmicki demonstrates his research related to bridge safety.

UC Bridge Safety Research Saves Millions of Dollars for Ohio

Art Helmicki, professor of electrical and computer engineering, represented UC engineering research in partnership with companies throughout Ohio – from Cincinnati to Cleveland – to create and employ sensors that provide real-time, pinpoint guidance on bridge safety. These sensors assess the condition of Ohio’s bridges in order to guide decisions regarding the need for immediate repairs or even replacement. It’s work that saves the state tens of millions of dollars while improving bridge safety.  In this work UC partners with both state agencies like the Ohio Department of Transportation as well as private firms throughout the state, including Burgess & Niple, Inc.; HNTB Corporation; Michael Baker Jr., Inc.; Parsons Brinckerhoff, TranSystems and URS Corporation.
UC Aerospace Technology Results in New Spine Support Medical Devices in Ohio
S.R. (Manny) Mannava, professor of chemical and materials engineering, and Vijay Vasudevan, professor of chemical and materials engineering, are innovating new uses of aerospace technology that is resulting in dramatically improved spine-support medical devices made by a Miamisburg, Ohio, firm, X-Spine Systems, Inc., that is four years old and growing rapidly.
UC's Bill Seibel and Matt Wortman and Denise Driehaus.
UC's Bill Seibel and Matt Wortman demonstrate their drug-discovery research to Ohio Representative Denise Driehaus.

UC’s Drug Discovery Center: Unique in Ohio

Representing the work of UC’s Drug Discovery Center was Ruben Papoian, director of the center, and colleagues Sandra Nelson, research scientist, William Seibel, research scientist, and Matthew Wortman, head of computational biology and research assistant professor, UC's Drug Discovery Center. The Drug Discovery Center is unique in Ohio and one of a few institutes in the nation to provide academic and pharmaceutical expertise to researchers around the world, turning scientific findings into therapeutic technologies that benefit people’s health and wellbeing. The center works in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, the Ohio Supercomputer Center in Columbus, Procter & Gamble Co., in Cincinnati, Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center in Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio University and Ohio State University.

Joining UC researchers at the event were industry partners, including
  • Mike Cardarelli, president, First-Response Robotics, Amelia, Ohio.
  • John Gormely of Sun Chemical Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • David Kirschman, CEO, X-Spine Systems, Inc., Miamisburg, Ohio.
  • Doug McClelland, president, Mound Technical Solutions, Miamisburg, Ohio.
  • John Rudolph, president of Gamma Dynamics, Cincinnati, Ohio.