Purdue-based agriculture software startup receives $225,000 grant from NSF

January 11 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A startup that licenses Purdue University-developed software that could help grape growers and winemakers optimize quality and yields in their vineyards has received a federal grant.

VinSense LLC has received a one-year, highly competitive STTR Phase I grant worth $224,949 from the National Science Foundation. CEO Larry Ebert said the grant will fund expansion of the company’s technology and commercialization efforts.

“The VinSense system comprises two complementary software components. The first set provides information about available moisture in vineyard soil by collecting ultrahigh-resolution information,” he said. “The second assembles the information collected to create visual analytic tools, user-friendly enough for time-strapped growers to use in the field.”


Purdue startup commercializing assistive wheelchair technology receives $200,000 from NSF

December 15 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue startup has received federal funding to further develop an assistive wheelchair technology that allows power wheelchair users an efficient and easy-to-use method to more easily position and remove an iPad and other mobile devices.

Prehensile Technologies has received a STTR Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation worth just over $200,000. The company was co-founded by Brad Duerstock, Purdue University associate professor in the College of Engineering, and Li Hwa Chong, CPA, Purdue alumnus and chief financial officer.

Prehensile Technologies is commercializing RoboDesk, a motorized wheelchair tray that utilizes an arm to deploy or retract a mobile electronic device such as a tablet, without hindering the wheelchair’s normal seat functions.

Duerstock said the NSF grant will allow the company to complete an extensive market analysis.


Not-for-profit startup aims to evaluate Purdue drug compounds before clinical trials

December 16 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Entrepreneurs have launched a nonprofit startup that will option Purdue University-discovered drug compounds and could shepherd them through proof-of-principle clinical trials.

Timothy L. Ratliff, co-founder of Boilermaker Health Innovations, said researchers at Purdue receive money to discover compounds that could address a variety of health conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes and more.

“Once a compound is discovered, there are different steps to evaluate its efficacy, to examine how it is distributed through the body and to determine its toxicity,” said Ratliff, the Distinguished Professor of Comparative Pathobiology in Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the Robert Wallace Miller Director of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research. “Researchers cannot receive funding from external agencies to do that, however. Many compounds never reach the public because of this lack of funding.”


Communication tech to assist children affected by autism wins Schurz Innovation Challenge at Purdue

December 11 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - HEARD, or Handheld Educational Augmentative RFID Device, was named the top team and won $5,000 on Thursday (Dec. 10) at the sixth Schurz Innovation Challenge at Purdue.

The HEARD team is made up of James Gerber and Aakash Gupta, students in Purdue University’s College of Engineering. The team created a highly portable and easily customizable augmentative communication device for individuals affected by autism.

“Children affected by autism are having issues when it comes to communication, and current products aren’t satisfying those needs. We want to provide an effective method of communication, to give children independence compared to other products on the market,” said Gupta. “We would like to iterate what we have, to create a beta prototype before we can user test it and determine its commercial viability.”

Placing second and receiving $3,500 was A.C.C.E.S.S., which developed an online educational coding environment to help newcomers and early programmers write and test their code.


Purdue $2 million fund created to launch plant sciences startups

December 10 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University College of Agriculture and Purdue Research Foundation officials announced Thursday (Dec. 10) a $2 million fund to help launch startups based on Purdue plant sciences innovations focused on advancing crop traits and generating higher yields.

The plant sciences innovation fund, supported through the Purdue Moves initiative, is called the “Ag-celerator.” The fund is designed to provide critical startup support for Purdue innovators who wish to commercialize patented intellectual property or Purdue “know-how” technologies in plant sciences, including areas of research in crop optimization, hybrid and seed development, and precision agriculture. The fund is a joint project of the Purdue College of Agriculture, the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization and the Purdue Foundry, a startup hub in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

“Purdue’s commercialization of innovations in plant-based agriculture is imperative to sustainably feed the projected 9 billion people on our planet by 2050,” said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture. “The Ag-celerator fund will be a driving force to provide faculty, staff and student innovators with the resources they need to move their innovations to the farm and to the broader public, making technology available to address our food security challenge.”


Nominations now accepted for 2016 Purdue Entrepreneurship Academy

December 09 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - High school educators, administrators and community leaders in Indiana can nominate current high school sophomores and juniors through Feb. 26 to attend a weeklong entrepreneurship event jointly offered by Purdue Extension and Purdue Foundry.

Nomination forms for the 10th annual Purdue Entrepreneurship Academy can be downloaded by contacting Ryan Wynkoop, special projects coordinator for Indiana 4-H Youth Development, There is no fee to nominate a student, nor is there a limit to the number of students who can be nominated from a school. Questions about nominations can be addressed to Wynkoop or Juliana Casavan, entrepreneurial programs manager at Purdue Foundry,

The nationally recognized summer academy will be June 19-24 at Purdue University’s West Lafayette campus. Students will compete in teams for the opportunity to win up to $1,000 in college tuition vouchers to attend Purdue.


Startup licenses Purdue syringe design that could improve administration of concentrated dosages of insulin

November 30 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., and INDIANAPOLIS - The founder of a medical device startup based on a Purdue University innovation says his company could help people in the advanced stages of diabetes, which affects more than 9 percent of the population in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kyle Hultgren, founder of Imagine Medical Device Inc., said diabetic patients who use more than 200 units of insulin each day often require concentrated dosages. He said patients who need such dosages face several challenges.

“Traditional syringes are not specifically designed to safely accommodate the dosing and administration of this drug. No syringe accurately shows the dose that has been drawn in, which requires users to compute the size of a dose in their head,” he said. “Also, early complications of advanced diabetes can include blurry vision or vision loss and losing sensation in the fingers. These complications make it difficult for patients to use small insulin syringes that are currently available.”


Purdue visiting scientist refines all-natural ingredients to preserve cosmetics

November 19 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., and MEDELLIN, Colombia - All-natural ingredients refined by a visiting scientist in Purdue University’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering (LORRE) show promise for next-generation products manufactured by the cosmetics industry.

German Schäfer said a current trend in the cosmetics and personal care industry is the use of all-natural ingredients instead of synthesized materials like parabens, which are commonly used preservatives. He is developing ingredients called Solanum Complex and Sopex that could replace synthetic antioxidants and parabens.

“These ingredients are derived from the extracts of superfruits of the Solanum plant species, which grow in particular ecosystems in the foothills of the Colombian Andes,” he said. “Solanum Complex is a natural antioxidant that stimulates internal revitalization and regeneration of the skin. Sopex protects and stabilizes cosmetic and dermatologic formulations. Because of the high purity and bioactivity of these ingredients, only very low concentrations are needed to achieve their multifunctional benefits in cosmetics.”


SpeechVive receives R and D 100 Award for device to help people with Parkinson's disease communicate better

November 19 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A company commercializing a Purdue University innovation that helps individuals affected by Parkinson’s disease to speak more loudly and communicate more effectively has been awarded a 2015 R&D 100 Award from the editors of R&D magazine.

SpeechVive Inc., which licenses its technology through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization, was recognized for its SpeechVive device. President and CEO Steve Mogensen said the R&D 100 Award is an honor.

“The R&D 100 Awards celebrate the top technology products launched by academia, government-sponsored research and industry. Other awardees in the IT/Electrical category included Adelphi Technology, IBM, the NASA Glenn Research Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Qualcomm Technologies,” he said. “To be recognized alongside those highly innovative businesses and organizations makes my colleagues and me proud. Our resolve to improve the lives of people affected by Parkinson’s has been strengthened.”


Purdue alumnus launches startup for genetically improved hardwoods sales, consulting

October 26 2015


Landowners who are interested in planting trees that could produce veneer wood could benefit from a startup launched by an alumnus of Purdue’s College of Agriculture.

Aaron Forgey, who earned his degree in forestry and natural resources in 2014, is the owner of Legacy Hardwoods LLC. The company is selling trees, including black walnut and black cherry, that have been scientifically proven to have a better chance to become veneer wood than saw logs.

“Veneer trees can be difficult to find in the wild, with perhaps one tree every 10 acres, which makes them so valuable,” he said. “The trees that Legacy Hardwoods is producing and selling are good for aesthetics. On average they grow straighter than trees in the wild. They have fewer branches, which means fewer knots, and the branches that do grow should grow straight out to allow for a cleaner pruning cut.”

Along with producing and selling trees, Forgey consults landowners to ensure they take the proper steps to maximize their investment.



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