• Daugherty Endowment Funds Two Technology Research Projects on Centennial

    A North Carolina State University endowment fund established to bridge pure research and product commercialization for entrepreneurs has awarded grants to two new promising technologies in wireless RFID communications and biomedical engineering. 

    The Richard L. and Marlene V. Daugherty Centennial Campus Entrepreneurialism Endowment has awarded grants to WISERsystems, Inc. and a partnership between a NC State assistant professor in biomedical engineering and a Raleigh cardiologist. 

    WISERsystems, Inc. is developing a novel, highly mobile smart network technology approach to wireless RFID asset tracking across the supply chain. The system allows for cost-effective, autonomous, real-time locating of pallets and their contents during normal handling without the labor-intensive bar-code scanners expensive batter-powered active tags or doorway portal infrastructure. Existing RFID-tracking systems track at the container and pallet level and require expensive active tags or costly installations. 

    According to the company, glitches in a single supply chain, whether it’s a food-born illness product recall, a natural disaster or some other disruption, can have a damaging economic impact on a company. Supply chain integrity is also a critical national security priority with various federal government agencies (including the FDA and Homeland Security) to guard against terrorism, cargo bombs, bioterrorism, counterfeiting and piracy. The WISER system is designed to secure, certify and track valuable trade assets across the supply chain, according to the company. 

    The company will use the $20,000 grant to complete the research and development of the WISER system prototype. WISERsystems, Inc. is located in the Technology Incubator on Centennial Campus, NC State University’s owned and operated research park and technology campus. The company’s principals, CEO Elaine C. Rideout and CTO Seth E. Hollar, are faculty of the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program (EEP) at NC State.

    The other Daugherty Endowment grant recipients, Drs. Glenn Walker and Ravish Sachar, are planning to use their $10,000 award to develop a prototype for a “smart” catheter. Currently, catheters used by cardiologists do not offer enough flexibility and strength at the same time. Thus, physicians must use a combination of techniques to expertly place a catheter in the human body in order to successfully treat a clogged artery. To overcome this problem, Walker (an assistant professor in NC State University’s department of biomedical engineering) and Sachar, a cardiologist with Wake Heart and Vascular Associates, teamed up to develop and commercialize a “smart” catheter that can be both flexible and strong. The catheter uses micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology to electronically modulate catheter stiffness. Thus, it will be flexible enough to be maneuvered through winding blood vessels and positioned near the affected area, but it can also be stiffened to allow the delivery of a stent to the lesion site. This reduces the chances of injury to the patient during the procedure by reducing the number of catheters and guide wires that must be used. 

    “We are very excited about these projects getting the funding they need to continue moving forward,” said Dennis Kekas, associate vice chancellor. “They are both excellent examples of research on Centennial Campus that is moving from the lab to real-world applications.”  

    The endowment is named after the retired IBM executive, who ran the company’s RTP operations for 23 years, and his wife. Daugherty is a trustee of the Kenan Institute at NC State, as well as a board member for NC State’s Entrepreneurship Initiative. Daugherty was also Director of the Research Corporation for NC State’s Centennial Campus and board member of Progress Energy. He received the North Carolina Public Service Award in 1991 and the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s A.E. Finley Award in 1994. 


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