The Bee Corp. begins R&D on its commercial beehive sensors

Remember The Bee Corp., the startup launched by then-IU students that won the BEST Competition?

The company is growing!

headshot of Wyatt Wells, CMO of The Bee Corp.
Wyatt Wells, CMO, The Bee Corp.

Wyatt Wells, the company CMO, explained that the company has begun research and development on its agriculture technology: sensors that detect what the environment of a commercial beehive is like.

You can read more about the company and this newest stage of development here.

Well done, Bee Corp! Keep up the terrific work!

JCITR sets April 17 deadline to apply for Translational Research Pilot Grants

Indiana University Bloomington researchers have until April 17 to apply for grants from the Johnson Center for Innovation and Translational Research.

Contact Johanna E. Salazar, Assistant Director, at (812) 855-3133 or for more information, and read the Crimson Catalyst blog closer to the deadline.

Since the competition’s inception in 2015, JCITR has awarded more than $311,000 to 13 teams of researchers through the Translational Research Pilot Grant program. Representatives of all teams will speak at the third annual Bloomington Innovation Conference on April 6.

IURTC Outreach: David Wilhite to judge student science projects

Personnel at Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. continue their mission to share their expertise with local, state and national audiences!

David Wilhite, Director of Technology Commercialization, Indianapolis

David Wilhite, Director of Technology Commercialization in Indianapolis, will judge science projects at Lantern Road Elementary School on Friday, February 3.

The science fair includes projects by students between first and fourth grade. Projects are divided into categories like biology, chemistry, earth and space science, and physics/engineering/math. The top three projects from fourth grade students will be invited to the 2017 Central Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

Wilhite said science fairs offer students the opportunity to do scientific experiments and introduce them to things they perhaps haven’t heard of before.

“There is a difference between learning science in a textbook and actually doing science. Most elementary students enjoy doing science. I hope they will become more interested in learning science as they continue in school,” he said.

Encouraging students to explore the world in a variety of scientific disciplines and celebrating their work: Well done, Dave!

Startup licensing IU technology nears trials for Fragile X Syndrome treatment

We wish the best to Confluence Pharmaceuticals LLC, which licenses technology through Indiana University Research and Technology Corp.

According to Inside Indiana Business, the company is within a few months of beginning clinical trials for its drug that could treat Fragile X Syndrome. FXS affects about 180,00 people in the United States. People affected by FXS may have language, learning or social impairments.

Learn more about the company, its $1.3 million in funding and its drug Acamprosate in the IIB article here.

NY Times: Indianapolis emerging as a technology hub; IU among state universities supplying tech talent

A recent New York Times article offered the nation, in fact the world, an overview of something that Hoosiers have known for several years now — that Indianapolis is more than a manufacturing center and is taking its place as a technology center.

Just a few examples cited in the story included:

  • The expansion of cloud computing company Salesforce and its move into Indy’s tallest building, the 48-story Chase Tower;
  • Entrepreneurs such as IU alum and venture capitalist Scott Dorsey, who founded ExactTarget before its acquisition by Salesforce in 2013;
  • The growing production of tech-savvy workers by universities such as IU, Butler, DePauw, Purdue and the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology;
  • The efforts of cooperative efforts such as the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) and Bio Crossroads, the latter of which seeks to mesh Indiana’s agricultural sector with its life sciences and technology industries.

Some challenges remain, the article noted, such as the recent passage of the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Despite the “chilling effect” it initially had among prospective tech workers, “the corporate community stepped in and said it had to be changed. That gives you a sense of how this place works,” CICP President David L. Johnson told the Times.

Read the entire article here.

Positioning for Success: IU Bloomington team develops technology with JCITR grant

In May 2016, the Johnson Center for Innovation and Translational Research (JCITR) awarded more than $160,000 in grants to seven projects at Indiana University Bloomington through the Translational Research Pilot Grant program. One of those projects is “Indoor Positioning System,” led by Kylie Peppler and Joshua Danish, School of Education; and Armin Moczek, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences.

Question: What problem are you addressing with this project?

Kylie Peppler

Kylie Peppler: With the exponential increase of mobile devices and embedded systems, a user’s or an object’s indoor location becomes more valuable and tangible through the advent of our indoor positioning system. Any location-aware system can make use of this new innovation to provide a much better use experience while increasing safety measures as well, e.g., rescuing people from a fire through pinpointing their exact location in a building.

Question: When did you realize you had a solution to the problem?

Joshua Danish

Joshua Danish: There are currently many solutions for indoor positioning with different levels of accuracy, infrastructure, and cost. However, competitors on the market are outrageously expensive, offer inaccurate internal positionings, or have other serious limitations. We had a strong feeling that we had an innovative solution after a lengthier literature review. When we first tested the viability for its use in our BioSim work, we knew we had something quite strong and able to solve a lot of these prior issues.

Question: How does your solution work?

Kylie Peppler: A laptop computer with the custom software pre-loaded is needed as well as a set of three wireless anchors, which we have pre-attached to tripods for easy assembly. The anchors need to be distributed broadly in an indoor area. At that point, any tag within this area can be positioned/tracked by using a trilateration technique, i.e., the hardware can capture the time of travel of the signals and thus calculate the distance from each of the anchor points to estimate x, y, and z location of the actor in real-time. This is then visualized and recorded for later playback and future analyses in our custom software. We are currently able to support up to 25 actors but hope to expand the system up to 1000 actors.

Question: What applications does your solution have for government, industry, and commerce?

Joshua Danish: Potential applications of our system include experiences in shopping malls to track a particular store or item within a store, airports to track a particular gate or find a restaurant with a menu to accommodate dietary needs, or other locations like an enhanced game room or factory/warehouse settings where users need to track the locations of items and inventory over time. The chip we use also could be embedded into cell phones as a new standard feature, and then any Wi-Fi spot or additional hardware could then act as an anchor, which would render the applications in government, industry, and commerce nearly limitless.

Question: How has the Johnson Center for Innovation and Translational Research grant moved the project forward?

Armin Moczek

Armin Moczek: The grant has enabled us to begin work on a new patent application that is now pending on the indoor positioning system. We have additionally been able to work on creating a new extensible system based on the early BioSim work as well as the creation of devices that can be used in other settings to explore various applications in a broad array of settings, including new collaborations with folks on campus and in other settings.

Question: How does the Johnson Center for Innovation and Translational Research benefit Indiana University researchers?

Kylie Peppler: JCITR is a vital resource on the IU campus to help catalyze and share a variety of new innovations beyond campus. As a faculty member with expertise in our own disciplinary areas of research, it’s difficult if not impossible to understand what to do with much of the innovation coming out of our respective labs though often we recognize that there would be greater interest in this work but are not sure about next steps. This is where JCITR steps in with a variety of supports in the process, including consulting, coordination with lawyers and pre-vetting for patents, sharing resources and outlining options for taking innovations to market and the various roles that IU could play in the process.

The Johnson Center for Innovation and Translational Research works with faculty throughout the IU Bloomington campus to identify current and new research programs that hold commercial potential and to protect intellectual property. Based at Simon Hall, it also assists with grant applications, identifying industry partners, negotiating industry contracts, project-management support and developing strategies to increase the use of core IU facilities by industry partners.

What’s the buzz about The Bee Corp? CEO Ellie Symes speaks with Gerry Dick of Inside Indiana Business.

Symes and Dick sit at a counter with Inside Indiana Business's name and logo
CEO Ellie Symes speaks with host Gerry Dick of Inside Indiana Business about The Bee Corp.

Ellie Symes of The Bee Corp. spoke with host Gerry Dick of Inside Indiana Business about the startup, its technology, its partners and its future.

Congratulations to Ellie on the growth of this startup company!

The complete four-minute broadcast interview can be watched here.

IU scientists’ math learning software gets boost from campus commercialization group

Erik Weitnauer and David Landy sit in chairs while manipulating an electronic keyboard that shows several math equations.
The educational software company David Landy and Erik Weitnauer created received a small business grant from IU’s Johnson Center for Innovation and Translational Research. | PHOTO BY ERIC RUDD, IU COMMUNICATIONS

By Kevin Fryling, IU Newsroom

If it’s true that overnight success is a decade in the making, then it’s fitting that the first step of David Landy’s journey into the world of software startups began 10 years ago — and in the middle of the night.

An assistant professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Landy wrote his first lines of code to better envision and manipulate mathematical concepts while rocking a sleepless newborn around two in the morning.

That early program was the foundation for Graspable Math, an educational software platform whose development recently got a shot in the arm through a grant from IU’s Johnson Center for Innovation and Translational Research, which supports translational research and business partnerships on the IU Bloomington campus.

Portrait of David Landy
David Landy, co-founder of Graspable Math Inc. and assistant professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. | PHOTO BY ERIC RUDD, IU COMMUNICATIONS

“I was literally rocking my newborn daughter, who is 10 years old now, when I started to put together some simple code to instantiate some of my psychological theories about how people think about mathematics,” Landy said. “It was a rough program where you could pick up math symbols and manipulate them visually.”

Since re-coded and expanded in function, Graspable Math provides people the power to reproduce traditional pen-and-paper mathematical notations in an interactive, screen-based format.

The goal is freeing up the mental energy required to avoid minor mistakes — like dropping pluses and minuses — or to rewrite equations that remain largely unchanged throughout each step in the solving process. An interactive program that automatically performs these steps lets students focus on grasping the concepts behind the notation, Landy said.


Innovate Indiana Fund invests in life sciences startup based on IU research

headshot of Matthias Clauss
Matthias Clauss

Congratulations to Allinaire, whose novel therapeutics for pulmonary diseases are based on research by Dr. Matthias Clauss of the Indiana University School of Medicine!

Allinaire recently received new investments from BioCrossroads’ Indiana Seed Fund II; BioMotiv, a biomedical accelerator affiliated with the Harrington Project for Discovery & Development; and the Innovate Indiana Fund to advance the development of therapeutics for the treatment of AAT deficiency, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, and other respiratory disorders, including acute lung injury.  In addition, the company has received grant support from the National Institutes of Health, Small Business Innovation & Research program.

Ken Green, M.D., managing director, Innovate Indiana Fund

“Allinaire Therapeutics’ technology demonstrates great potential to become a disease-modifying approach to COPD and emphysema. As Class A investors, Innovate Indiana looks forward to working closely with the Allinaire Therapeutics team to ensure the continued success of the technology and the company,” said Ken Green, M.D., managing director of the Innovate Indiana Fund.

A news release is available here.

Congratulations Allinaire, another example of Indiana University research and innovation that is impacting people’s lives!