The University of Maryland announced its Invention of the Year award winners and honored innovators, entrepreneurs, and campus partners at Innovate Maryland, an annual event hosted on April 11, 2019, at The Hotel at the University of Maryland.
This year’s event began with a Startup Showcase and Corprenect pitch competition and was capped off by the first-ever Innovate Maryland After Party, featuring live music, virtual reality demonstrations, food trucks, and tours of Startup UMD, the Capital One Tech Incubator, and We Work.
“This event is a celebration of all the Fearless Ideas being activated by UMD students and faculty to create solutions that can transform lives,” said UMD Chief Innovation Officer Julie Lenzer. "We also gather to recognize recent accomplishments across our innovation ecosystem, the connective tissue that makes all this possible."
Since 1987, the university has honored exceptional inventions that have the potential to make a transformative impact on science, society, and the free market. At the 32nd annual celebration, Vice President for Research Laurie E. Locascio announced that the Office of Technology Commercialization will retire its name and now be known as UM Ventures – College Park.
“This name change is reflective of the university’s expanded efforts to create a seamless environment for the creative output of our research enterprise,” said Locascio.
UM Ventures – College Park surpassed 100 startups in 2018, helped launch 5 new startup companies, issued 15 new licenses, executed 98 new licensing agreements, and processed 181 new invention disclosures. The team also welcomed a new director in 2018, Ken Porter, and added new services to support faculty startups.
The Invention of the Year award nominees are selected from prior year invention disclosures in three categories: physical sciences, life sciences, and information sciences. A panel of judges selected one invention from each category to win the 2018 Invention of the Year Award and one overall winner.
“Cryogenic Ion Trapping and Storage System for Quantum Information”
Scientists around the globe are engaged in a race to create the world’s first scalable quantum computer, an invention that could revolutionize computing technology as we currently know it. Researchers at UMD have invented a new atom-trapping system to take the next step toward developing a scalable quantum computer. The system utilizes cryogenic technology, which operates at very low temperatures, to trap atoms that are used as building blocks to store and process quantum information for longer times. This apparatus may become an ideal test-bed to investigate both quantum algorithms and simulation of synthetic quantum matter with a number of qubits impossible to simulate on a classical computer.
The invention team includes researchers from the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences:
“Augmented Reality Enabled Catheter”
Working with surgeons at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, computing visualization experts at the University of Maryland have developed an augmented reality (AR) system that provides an accurate virtual representation of a catheter’s tip inside the human skull during external ventricular drainage (EVD), a lifesaving neurological procedure used to relieve the build-up of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. Wearing an AR headset, a surgeon is able to virtually “see” both the location of the catheter’s tip and also see important patient data available from a computer tomography (CT) scan. This invention will allow a surgeon to complete this lifesaving medical procedure with more knowledge and accuracy.
The invention team includes:
“Novel Method of Internal Organ Generation For Therapy and Research in Humans and Animals”
Every 10 minutes a patient is added to the organ transplantation list, and on average 20 people die each day in the U.S. alone due to the lack of available life-saving organs. To address this critical gap in availability of organs for transplantation, resident genome editing experts at UMD have invented a technology that allows generation of “transplantation-ready” and immune compatible human cells and organs in pigs. The invention includes genome editing of pig embryos and complementing them with patient-specific stem cells to generate on-demand human organs for transplantation. This technology will likely revolutionize life-saving organ transplants and also provide a more relevant model to study human disease and treatment protocols.
The invention team includes researchers from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources:
“Strong and Tough Graphite-Paper Composites”
Scientists are trying to prevent the further collection of plastic waste in landfills by inventing new biodegradable materials that are cheap to manufacture and can eventually replace plastic. University of Maryland researchers have developed a potential replacement for petroleum-based plastics and metal-based structural materials: a high-performance hybrid material of graphite and cellulose that is cheap to manufacture and fully degradable. The material is made by dispersing fine graphite flakes into nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) dissolved in room temperature water. The resulting stable and homogeneous graphite-NFC slurry is then printed into large sheets that, once cast dried, are not only stronger than most steel, but also significantly lighter.
The invention team includes researchers from the A. James Clark School of Engineering:
After the Invention of the Year awards presentation, Peter Sandborn, director of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute, and Alla McCoy, director of startup support for UM Ventures – College Park, presented the UMD Startup of the Year award to IonQ, an early-stage quantum computing company co-founded by Christopher Monroe, Distinguished University Professor and Bice Sechi-Zorn Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, and Jungsang Kim, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer Science at Duke University.
Dean Chang, Associate Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship closed the ceremony with the Celebration of Campus Innovators, honoring students from a variety of organizations across campus dedicated to fearlessly pursuing innovative solutions to tough problems locally and across the world.
The UM Ventures – College Park is grateful for the support of its 2019 Innovate Maryland sponsors:
And special thanks to:
About UM Ventures – College Park
April 15, 2019
UMD Innovators Honored for Transformative Inventions, Entrepreneurial Endeavors
Did You Know
UMD's Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility, which simulates weightlessness, is one of only two such facilities in the U.S.