A video lecture on the popular site Ted.com recently caught my attention as an interesting and entertaining way of explaining the big idea behind most tech transfer efforts. In the video, Zach Kaplan and Keith Schacht, co-founders of Inventables, a company that collects and showcases new materials and innovative ideas, talk about six technologies that were born out of new materials. Kaplan and Schacht give viewers some insight into the process of taking a new material and sussing out the possible uses for it and the products or technologies that could be developed from it. This out-of-the-box thinking to conceptualize new applications for technology is fundamental to technology transfer, and it drives technology commercialization efforts. Taking the time to understand and evaluate all of a techology’s potential uses—from the obvious to the abstract—helps to move the technology from research into products.
The video showcases technologies such as magnets made from squishy material and a 10-foot pole that can fit in your pocket. It also features an odor-detecting ink co-invented by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Professor Ken Suslick that resulted in a new spinout company. Fuentek supported the technology transfer efforts at UIUC.
–By Laura A. Schoppe