By Lynne FriedmannWhat do an adjustable surfboard, a genome sequencer, software that can think, and a device to keep a patient’s airway open during a medical procedure all have in common?
They are recipients of the 2011 Most Innovative New Product Awards presented by CONNECT, the regional program that links San Diego technology and life sciences inventors and entrepreneurs with the resources they need for success.
Now in its 24th year, the CONNECT MIP Awards were held Dec. 9, at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. The eight product winners, in categories ranging from clean technology to the latest software applications, were selected from more than 140 nominations, a record number in the history of the program.
“This is a 35 percent jump in entries in a tough economic climate,” said Duane Roth, CONNECT CEO.
To be eligible for award consideration, a product must have been developed in the San Diego area, been introduced to market within the past 18 months, and must have generated revenue from sales.
La Jolla-based companies among the finalists were MicroPower Technologies, Inc.; Swarmology, Inc.; SwoopThat, LLC; and Targeson, Inc. Sorrento Valley-based Geodetics Incorporated, started life in La Jolla in 1999, on the third floor of Pearl Street in offices now occupied by the La Jolla Light.
This year’s award recipients:
Action and Sport Technologies:Hydroflex™ for Hydroflex Supercharger. By bombarding a surfboard blank with nearly a million hair-follicle-sized shards of glass and epoxy resin (think of the root system of plants) Hydroflex is able to create a 30 percent lighter board that is resistant to delamination and pressure dings. The only adjustable surfboard, optimum ride performance is achieved by regulating of internal board air pressure through a small air valve. And, at the end of the board’s lifetime, it is fully recyclable (
Aerospace and Security Technologies:Langford & Carmichael, Inc. for ScenGen, an artificial intelligence-based scenario generator that can automate system test at 20 to 100 times human speed as well as “think” of all possible application scenarios to assure that a technology functions correctly (
Clean Technology:Genomatica for Process for High-Volume Chemicals from Renewable Feedstocks, a transformative manufacturing process that enables the production of intermediate and basic chemicals from renewable feedstocks resulting in products with the same structure as those produced by conventional petroleum-based processes (
Communications and IT:Ethertronics for EtherTM 1.2.1, a band switching solution using active antenna system technology that enables notebook computers to support the wireless frequencies required for global LTE (Long Term Evolution) 4G networks while maintaining high performance (
Hardware and General Technology:Memjet for Memjet Technologies, which incorporates new printhead technology, controller chips, and software into systems that offer twice the speed (a page per second) at half the owner cost of traditional printers (
Life Science — Diagnostics and Research Tools:Life Technologies for Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM), a bench-top system utilizing a massive parallel array of proprietary semiconductor sensors to perform direct, real-time measurement of the hydrogen ions produced during DNA replication enabling rapid and scalable sequencing experiments
— Medical Products: Hypnoz Therapeutic Devices, Inc. for JEDTM (Jaw Elevation Device), an externally applied, non-invasive adjustable device to assist medical providers with a hands-free solution to keeping a patient’s airway open during a diagnostic or therapeutic procedure that requires analgesics or sedatives (
Software:MOGL for MOGL, the first web-based customer loyalty program that leverages psychology, technology, and game mechanics that earns consumers cash rewards while dramatically increasing sales for participating restaurants transforming the way merchants attain long-term success (
In addition to celebrating the most innovative new products of the year, CONNECT also presented two Distinguished Contribution Awards to individuals who, through business activities and community involvement, have made major contributions in supporting the advancement of San Diego entrepreneurs.
This year’s honorees are Rodney Lanthorne, vice chairman of Kyocera International; and Jim Schaeffer, executive director of Licensing and External Research for Merck Research Laboratories.
Previously announced the coveted William W. Otterson Award went to Gen-Probe’s PROCLEIX® Blood Screening Assay, that has significantly increased the safety of the world’s supply of donated blood by directly detecting the genetic material of viruses.
“Gen-Probe is one of San Diego’s top success stories,” said Roth. “The achievements and benefits of PROCLEIX products have created hundreds of jobs locally, but the effect on blood screening banks is felt worldwide.”
The CONNECT MIP Awards provided the 850 San Diego technology executives, entrepreneurs, researchers, and capital providers in attendance with a boisterous and high-power networking event featuring all 24 product finalists.
Also rubbing shoulders with San Diego’s technology elite, were 50 middle and high school students who participate in CONNECT’s Entrepreneurs for Young Innovators program that was created to inspire young people to pursue careers in life sciences and technology by introducing them to entrepreneurs creating the technology products of tomorrow.
— Lynne Friedmann is a science writer based in Solana Beach.