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USM Pushes Early Stage Dual-Use Technologies

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 02:07pm | By: Van Arnold

Grant funding provided by the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) has enabled The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) to develop and complete two distinctive competitions designed to help companies with promising dual-technologies.

The competitions establish a mechanism by which Mississippi companies can advance their technologies and also highlight USM's role as a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Chase Kasper, Assistant Vice President for Research Technology Transfer & Corporate Relations at USM, points out that many technologies and innovations serve a dual purpose by providing benefit to both the military and the civilian public sector. To identify and stimulate promising new dual-use technologies, USM's Office of Technology Development (OTD) instituted a Gap Fund to reward the competitions' winners.

“These innovation vouchers are intended to enable product and service developers within the State of Mississippi to reach their next developmental milestone,” said Kasper. “The fund fills gaps and thereby supports and furthers the commercial potential of promising early stage military/civilian technologies.”

USM was awarded a $3 million OEA grant to develop pilot program to aid regions whose economic health is dependent upon defense initiatives. Mississippi was selected for the program's development due to USM's expertise in economic development and the state's dependence on Department of Defense spending with $5.5 billion per year spent in Mississippi. The recent competitions were designed as part of the pilot program process.

To single out the most promising of the new innovations, OTD held two separate competitions. The awards were designed to increase to value of each of the winning technologies and make them appealing to further investment, out-licensing, or for forming a company start-up around the technology. Kasper notes that typically funding was awarded to projects that showed a good likelihood of achieving the next stage of validation, prototype development, or to demonstrate that the technology could work and was scalable.

“A big part of our mission at USM, and particularly in the Office of Technology Development is to help Mississippi companies advance and diversify their technologies,” said Kasper. “This program and these competitions are just another step we're taking to help cultivate entrepreneurship in the state, which is the seed corn of Mississippi economies.”

Competition entrants came from within the USM faculty and student body, affiliated research enterprises, as well as Mississippi entities outside the University. The winners were selected on a competitive basis by a panel of judges from both the business community and the University.

Winners came from a wide array of technology segments: 

  • OSD Technologies – To begin lab testing and FDA certification for their patented Orodrain medical devise to prevent Ventilator Acquired Pneumonia (VAP) which is reportedly a $36.5 billion annual drain on the United States healthcare system.
  • EnergyID – Field testing of a Beta version prototype of their novel patent-pending five-stage heat exchanger, MAXXX, which has been shown to improve fuel economy by up to 30% in diesels.
  • SquelchFire – To begin scale-up of a novel patent-pending polyurethane flame retardant that is lower in cost and with improved health and environmental properties to existing commercial flame retardants.
  • Speedbox – To develop a smaller commercial version of their patented 300 lb. rugged lightweight DoD transport container.
  • SciGenisis – To complete fabric testing on US military uniforms that have been screen printed with their drop-in ready ink to provide flame retardancy to uniforms made from the standard nylon/cotton blends (50/50 NYCO). 
  • Y&C Products – To scale-up production of their novel hand-cleaner which is already in reorder by the military and which was developed to overcome deficiencies of existing commercial cleaners, including odor removal.
  • Innovative Imaging & Research (I2R) – To address an unmet NOAA need to calibrate extremely sensitive nighttime imaging. The effort will allow the calibration of satellite and aircraft mounted visible spectrum cameras that acquire imagery at night under very low light levels.
  • Oji Mobile App – To develop a multi-purpose mobile treatment app designed to provide real-time, user-friendly engagement aimed at reducing reasoning and behaviors that lead to criminal conduct and poor mental health.
  • Kopis Mobile – To extend a portable pump for containment berms already developed for DoD applications to other dual-use applications such as disaster recovery, emergency management, and commercial site cleanup. 
  • Azuled – To manufacture an Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) prototype device using their patented technology to provide thinner, brighter displays while lowering energy and production costs.
  • Cephalopod Optics – To develop a prototype fluorescence sensor to detect and monitor oil pollution in the ocean on a continuous basis with crucial spatial coverage and resolution.

To learn more about the Office of Technology Development at USM, call 601.266.4063 or visit: