Student develops learning app for mechanical engineering students

August 17 2017

A Purdue graduate student is developing an easily accessible and informative app aimed at helping mechanical engineering students learn and study more effectively by just a touch of a button.

Jeffrey Alperovich, a graduate student in the Purdue University School of Mechanical Engineering, founded Rooski Innovations LLC to commercialize the app named ME2Go. Alperovich received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 2015.

Alperovich designed ME2Go as an easily accessible and widely informative reference tool. He believes his app will become an integral aspect of students’ educational experience.

“I started this company as a way to solve my own problems,” Alperovich said. “I saw students needed more accessible references at hand, and I wanted to fix it for myself. I realized that if I built a company around the app, I could jump-start a solution for other students needing the same kind of help.”


Website aims to streamline job recruitment process for university students

August 16 2017

InternX, a Purdue student startup, has developed an online platform that would allow company talent recruiters to find and contact collegiate students qualified for job openings.

Nicholas Bachewicz, a senior in Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, launched InternX in March 2017. The company is part of the Anvil, a student-managed community co-working space and business incubator in West Lafayette.

InternX serves as a connection board for students to detail their skills and contact information, and for recruiters to find and connect with students. InternX requires recruiters to pay $1 to a student in order to access his or her contact information which allows students to earn passive income over the course of a semester..

“Companies visit campus career fairs looking for students with very specific skill sets. These events can host thousands of students, and recruiters hope a student with ideal qualifications happens across their booth,” Bachewicz said. “Through InternX, recruiters can find candidates and invite them to visit the company at the career fair, making the process more efficient for all parties.”


Purdue students build robotic frozen yogurt kiosk with unique self-serve software, non-dairy options

August 10 2017

FroYo XPress, a Purdue student startup, is developing an automated, self-serve frozen yogurt kiosk that will offer an all-natural, non-dairy frozen yogurt with minimal inventory and labor requirements.

Aarti Panda, a student in Purdue University’sDepartment of Computer Science, and Marek Davis and Henry Berkemeier, both in the School of Industrial Engineering, co-founded FroYo XPress to improve customers’ frozen yogurt experiences with a self-serve design.

The company will customize pre-existing customer service software to allow consumers to buy as much frozen yogurt as they want by pulling a lever. The kiosk will monitor the frozen yogurt volume dispensed and determine the corresponding price.


Augmented reality platform could help students discover STEM concepts

August 03 2017

Explore! Interactive, a Purdue-related startup, is developing a platform that uses augmented reality to help K-12 students more effectively learn science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM subjects, and increase standardized test scores through an engaging, interactive application.

Explore! Interactive was founded by Wesley Virt, a recent graduate from Wabash College. Additional team members include Chris Palermo, a senior in Purdue’s Krannert School of Management, and Zhe Zeng, a graduate student, Sam Rosser, a junior, and Jack Allen, a senior, all in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

Explore! Interactive enhances the classroom learning process by allowing students to discover STEM concepts through experimentation and gamification. The platform’s augmented reality technology places 3-D models on a student’s desk, using any iPad, tablet or smartphone. Additionally, each lesson is presented as a game that students must complete before advancing.

Rosser said the goal of the platform is to make learning seem like play.


Improved air quality research software to help reduce emissions, pollution

August 02 2017

Purdue University researchers are developing an on-site computer and software system that could provide a more flexible, high-quality and user-friendly way to conduct agriculture-based air quality research to better understand and limit emission and pollution impact.

Jiqin Ni, an associate professor, and Albert Heber, a professor, both in Purdue’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, invented the technology.

“Experimental study of agricultural air quality is critical to obtaining firsthand data for baseline emission determination, pollution impact assessment, modeling, and mitigation technology development,” Ni said. “These studies employ measurement devices, online instruments and sensors to obtain long-term data directly from laboratory or field setups. Essentially these studies could help to ensure air quality standards meet the criteria of the Clean Air Act.”

The Clean Air Act of 1970 is a comprehensive federal law that regulates air pollutant emissions from stationary and mobile sources. The law authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to establish national ambient air quality standards to protect public health and public welfare to regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants.

Heber said there are limitations with current environmental monitoring systems.


Purdue names director of WestGate commercialization, startup creation partnership

August 02 2017

A technology commercialization and business development expert will direct the Purdue@WestGate initiative to increase tech transfer and startup creation in partnership with the WestGate Authority, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division (NSWC Crane), Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation.

Jason Salstrom will direct all programs and activities of the Purdue Foundry and the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization at the WestGate Technology Park and WestGate Authority. WestGate Authority covers the WestGate@Crane Technology Park, a certified tri-county technology park located in Greene, Daviess, and Martin counties; which includes the Battery Innovation Center. WestGate Authority already works closely with NSWC Crane Division, I-69 Innovation Corridor, Indiana Office of Defense Development, WorkOne and other local and state economic development entities. WestGate is the only multi-county tech park in Indiana.

Salstrom will also establish programming provided by the Purdue Foundry such as the Spirited Entrepreneur, a monthly casual networking opportunity for entrepreneurs, investors and area leaders, and Foundry Grounds, a weekly entrepreneurial event where startup founders present their companies before peers and potential partners. He also will lead the establishment of Firestarter, a cohort-based process where innovators and entrepreneurs work through ideation and market discovery to prove out their ideas and determine a path forward to commercialize their idea.


Startup commercializes soy microbead to provide safe, ecofriendly alternative to plastic microbeads

July 31 2017

Recent graduates from Purdue University have started a company to further develop and bring to market their SoyFoliate innovation, a soy microbead technology that could offer an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic microbeads that have been banned in the United States.

Samuel Lewis, Steve Ferris and Alison Switzer, recent Doctor of Pharmacy graduates from Purdue’s College of Pharmacy, and Ryan Pendergast, a graduate from the School of Mechanical Engineering, founded the company, SoyFoliate.

SoyFoliate’s product aims to fill a need in the personal care market for alternative microbead technology. Microbeads are manufactured solid plastic particles commonly used in personal care products for exfoliating. In 2015, President Barack Obama signed a bill restricting conventional plastic microbeads because of their harmful effects on the environment.

“Soy has several biodegradable and hydrophilic properties that make it a great substitute to plastic microbeads. Plastic beads do not absorb water, and soy can over time,” Lewis said. “To mitigate the problem we mixed our beads with small amounts of oil to prevent water from saturating the beads and decreasing their rigid properties.”

Lewis said the team started a company in order to efficiently bring the product to market.

“We’ve spent the last year conducting market research, working with industry professionals and experts in the field and getting feedback, which has all been positive,” he said. “We plan to be the first ones to market an alternative product used in a huge variety of personal care products.”


Mobile sharing app seeks to increase engagement, interest in poetry

July 27 2017

Trubadour, a startup founded by a former Purdue University student, is developing a mobile poetry-sharing platform that aims to increase engagement and interest in contemporary poems by providing personalized recommendations to users.

Using an algorithm dubbed the Poetry Genome Project, the application identifies and analyzes the characteristic properties of a poem in order to provide personalized reading recommendations to users. In April, Trubadour also placed second at the Boiler Business Competition, an annual seed accelerator competition hosted by the Anvil, a co-working space on Purdue’s campus.

Earlier this year Trubadour was named a finalist in the four-month MassChallenge Boston competition and accelerator program. As a participant, Trubadour will receive access to MassChallenge’s global network, world-class mentoring from industry experts, tailored programming, free co-working space, and unrivaled access to corporate partners. One of 128 finalist startups, Trubadour represents the top 7 percent of over 1,500 companies that applied.

Rebecca Roach, a former graduate student from Purdue’s Master of Fine Arts program and Trubadour’s founder, believes other poetry-sharing platforms can add benefit, but her application enhances the readers’ experience.

“Just like music, there’s a lot of variety in contemporary poetry. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or miss the poem you might love to read. By focusing on a poem’s individual identity, its DNA, we can use this information to suggest a poem based on a reader’s preferences,” she said. “Like Pandora’s Music Genome Project, we are trying to break poems down in order to figure out how they operate, and then leverage this data to attract and engage readers.”


Surgical assessment tool could rapidly analyze cancerous tissue samples, improve patient outcomes

July 26 2017

A Purdue University precision innovation developed for brain tumor surgery is being expanded to provide medical professionals with a rapid, robust supplemental assessment tool to more efficiently preserve, analyze and remove identified cancerous tissue and increase patient survival rates.

The technology was developed out of the Aston Lab in Purdue’s College of Science, headed by Graham Cooks, the Henry B. Hass distinguished professor of analytical chemistry. Valentina Pirro, a research scientist in Purdue’s Department of Chemistry, was also instrumental in the technology’s development.

The team’s morphologically friendly mass spectrometry imaging technique could determine if microscopic cancerous tissue is still present in a sample and thus provide more information to influence a surgeon’s decisions regarding further tissue removal.

Pirro said other mass spectrometry techniques have limitations.

“Mass spectrometry can identify and measure molecules within a tissue by measuring a signal that relates to the mass and structure of the molecule. It can be used in cancer diagnostics because it’s able to monitor the differential distribution of lipids or malformed metabolites that distinguish normal and cancerous tissue,” she said. “With some form of mass spectrometry imaging, the chemicals or solvents used in the process can often destroy the tissue sample. Essentially, you have one shot at getting the data and then the sample is gone.”

Cooks and his research team have developed a morphologically friendly method for tissue imaging that can be used to perform Desorption Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry (DESI-MS).


Defense technologies can pivot, change purpose, used in private sector

July 25 2017

An agreement among WestGate Authority, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division (NSWC Crane), Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation to pivot patented technologies developed for the U.S. Department of Defense has shown strong adaptability to serve other societal purposes in the public sector.

More than 200 people on Monday (July 24) attended the Purdue@WestGate celebration of a partnership that will focus on repurposing technologies developed for defense.

“Purdue and Crane are already doing this through our previous agreement, but this new, expanded collaboration takes our commercialization, startup creation activities and educational opportunities to Southern Indiana,” said Dan Hasler, chief entrepreneurial officer of the Purdue Research Foundation. “With this new partnership, Purdue now has a physical presence in the WestGate Technology Park facility where we can offer unparalleled services for entrepreneurs, innovators and collaborators.”

The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization signed an agreement in 2014 with NSWC Crane to co-market available technologies, including a technology transfer collaboration in 2015, 2016 award for its technology transfer partnership and a 2017 technology showcase.

“Our ongoing relationship with Purdue has been beneficial for everyone involved,” said Capt. Mark Oesterreich [O-strike], commanding officer of NSWC Crane. “Purdue’s physical presence in the park should foster collaboration that will lead to support of both the region’s and our innovation pipelines.”