UMaine’s MIRTA Acceleration Program selects four teams for 2022 cohort

Four faculty-led innovation teams have been selected to participate in the fifth cohort of the Maine Innovation Research and Technology Accelerator (MIRTA) program at the University of Maine. 2022 projects will develop research innovations in the areas of accessibility education, aquaculture, computer-assisted detection of breast cancer, and marine science.

MIRTA, managed by UMaine’s Foster Center for Innovation, helps teams at Maine research institutes advance laboratory discoveries toward public and commercial use. The teams work 20 hours per week for 16 weeks to carry out market research, intellectual property analysis and the development of business models in order to commercialize their inventions. Foster Center business incubation staff guide them through the process.

Additionally, each team has an advisory board of industry and technology experts who provide feedback and guidance. Teams are eligible for up to $25,000 each to help develop go-to-market implementation plans.

To kick off the program, this year’s cohort recently completed an immersive boot camp designed to introduce them to all aspects of the marketing process.

Commercialization plans vary depending on the type of invention a team brings to MIRTA, and the end result may be starting a new business or licensing an existing one.

Among the 17 teams in the first four MIRTA cohorts, seven new startups were formed, seven patents were filed or granted, and the teams collectively raised more than $2.3 million in external funding and prototype sales to support the marketing in progress. Companies that were formed after participating in MIRTA include Neuright, winner of the $25,000 David Shaw Prize at the statewide Top Gun Accelerator Program in 2019, and UNAR Labs selected to join the first cohort of the Roux Institute Startup Residency Program in 2021.

MIRTA is made possible through support from the System Research Reinvestment Fund (RRF) of the University of Maine and Maine Technology Institute. RRF is a competitive internal grant pool allocated to advance research projects along the path from discovery to commercial products of public benefit. All projects relate to Maine businesses or industries critical to the state’s future.

The MIRTA 5.0 teams are:

Future fish labels

Future Fish Tags continues to market biocompatible implants made from printed titanium foam metals to improve tissue integration and animal welfare, and to maximize the retention of conventional and electronic tags used on fish tags. aquatic animals.

Team: Walt Golet, Assistant Professor of Marine Science, University of Maine and Gulf of Maine Research Institute; Sammi Nadeau, technician from the Pelagic Fisheries Laboratory; with External Partner Brian McLaughlin, Founder and CEO, Amplify Additive

Oyster pod

Oyster Pod is pursuing the commercialization of a 3D printed aquaculture tank insert made from forest products raw materials and bioplastics and designed to capitalize on the space saving and energy saving principles of the industry. vertical aquaculture to maximize the growth of Oriental oysters and improve the efficiency of small Maine oysters. shellfish farmers.

Team: Doug Gardner, professor of sustainable materials and technologies; Matthew Nixon, Ph.D. candidate, aquaculture and aquatic resources, and owner of Muddy River Farm Aquaponics

WAVED: wavelet-based evaluation and visualization for early detection

WAVED is pursuing the commercialization of a patented computer-aided detection (CAD) technology that uses a patient’s mammographic history and clinical data to identify physical markers believed to be linked to the onset and growth of malignant tumors, leading to early detection of breast cancer.

Team: Andre Khalil, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, University of Maine; Kendra Batchelder, Interdisciplinary Ph.D. candidate in computational biomedicine

Wheelchair Odyssey

Wheelchair Odyssey pursues the development and commercialization of immersive software to simulate wheelchair navigation in inaccessible, real-world environments. The software will be designed for college students so they can learn about everyday barriers wheelchair users face, learn about access requirements related to the Americans with Disabilities Act, and hear stories in the first person of people with disabilities.

Team: Karen Barrett, Professor and Rehabilitation Services Program Coordinator, University of Maine at Farmington; J. Chad Duncan, Program Chair/Director, Orthotics and Prosthetics, Salus University; Avery Olmstead, Accessibility Specialist

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