Five teams at the University of South Florida in Tampa were recently selected as part of the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program.
The program is designed to foster an environment within the science community that encourages the development of innovations that benefit society. Each I-Corps team receives a $50,000 grant designed to help determine the viability of their technology, product or process and, if viable, help transition them to the next level. Teams are developed from previously or currently funded NSF projects.
Five teams were selected from the University of South Florida
, making it the largest grant receiver in Florida and ranking them third in the nation out of 153 total teams representing 91 universities.
One of the USF teams created software designed to increase quality control in the use of nanotechnology, or the act of manipulating atomic particles that leads to new discoveries in areas such as medicine and energy production. The software suite provides engineers with the ability to more easily identify defects, saving time and resources and improving quality.
The team wrote the software and enlisted the assistance of the USF Patent and Licensing office to receive a provisional patent. The next step is to use the grant funding to see if there a market for the tool as well as investigate its social impact.
"One of the goals is not to focus on your patent or technology, but where is the pain point? Why are people struggling?" says Sanjukta Bhanja, associate professor, Electrical Engineering at USF and principal investigator for the team.
The teams consist of USF faculty, researchers, graduate students and a mentor with entrepreneurial experience. NSH provides additional mentoring assistance as well as an immersive learning experience to help transition the research into feasible products or processes.
Other projects include a walking crutch/cane and a mobile health network.