GapFund360 Awardees Announced!

Dec 18, 2018 | CRI

The Center for Research Innovation is excited to announce the inaugural recipients of the GapFund360 $50,000 Phase I Awards. 

These awards are designed to catalyze Northeastern’s state-of-the-art technologies by advancing innovation through prototyping, validation, and industry input. To move technology from lab to license, to idea to impact, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The GapFund360 selection committee is composed of representatives from Northeastern’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Venture Mentoring Network, Global Resilience Institute, Office of the General CounselOffice of the Provost, and CRI. This esteemed group faced the daunting task of evaluating 25 highly competitive proposals in search of the 5 best reflecting leadership expertise, technical merit, commercial value, and project feasibility.

Commenting on the process, Joel Bresler, Technology Portfolio Director for the CRI and leader of the GapFund360 initiative, remarks:

The applications showcased the amazing range of research underway at Northeastern, and the selection committee was truly impressed by the number of worthy projects. Selecting these inaugural recipients was challenging, but we trust their commercial success will demonstrate the value of gap funding at Northeastern. 

Without further ado, the 2018 Phase I Awardees. 

Phase I Awardees

Contactless Wireless Energy Transfer: Anywhere, Anytime Charging Surfaces
Kaushik Chowdhury, Yousof Naderi, Ufuk Muncuk, Kai Li

This project involves the design of a software-hardware platform that transforms any surface into an Internet-connected and contactless wireless charger for multiple devices, including laptops and phones. The project will accelerate the next version of MR-based charging surface development complete with an industrial design casing that delivers power safely over-distance and over-large-area to multiple-devices with high-rate.

EchoPose: Smart AI Trainer by Deep Learned Visual Intelligence
Raymond Fu, Songyao Jiang, Fuming Guo

We are creating a novel deep learning technology that can provide high accuracy human pose tracking for mobile devices in real time. Incorporating a deep learning framework that extracts deep features and heatmaps of the human body coupled with neural network optimization techniques, our pioneering framework reduces computational cost while providing superior accuracy in real time. 

Uniquely Engineered Nontoxic Mn-ferrite Superparamagnetic Nanoparticles for Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Vincent Harris, Parisa Andalib

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an important medical tool for early diagnosis of disease. However, the efficacy for detection has recently been significantly compromised because the use of Gadolinium-based contrast agents has been significantly restricted. These contrast agents have exhibited extreme toxicity for many patients. The NU Team has proposed a direct replacement solution, in the form of uniquely engineered nontoxic superparamagnetic nanoparticles as contrast agents.

First in Animal Demonstration of Tendon/Ligament Repair and Replacement
Jeffrey Ruberti, Adam Hacking

The three most injured soft tissues are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the rotator cuff (supraspinatus tendon) and the Achilles tendon. Each year in the US there are in excess of 500,000 reparative surgical procedures performed on these tissues. We aim to demonstrate that a new collagenous regenerative patch, capable of delivering collagen to a damaged tissue and confining it to the damaged area will enhance ligament and tendon repair in animal models.

Global Resilience Institute Awardee

Battery-less Infrared Sensor Tags for Reliable Occupancy Sensing (BISTROS)
Matteo Rinaldi, Zhenyun Qian, Sungho Kang

Sensor systems for human presence sensing and people counting will drastically improve the efficiency of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) in commercial buildings based on the demand. However, a user-transparent sensor system with the required accuracy, reliability, and cost to deliver such substantial energy savings is currently not available. We propose to develop an occupancy sensor technology that enables low cost and reliable indoor people counting for quick return on investment through dramatical savings on energy cost. The sensors will utilize the energy of the infrared radiation emitted from a human body to operate and determine the presence of people within a detection range without consuming any electrical power. Therefore, the battery-less sensor tags can be installed virtually anywhere in a building without the need of periodic maintenance.

Looking Ahead

The GapFund360 program is designed to stimulate strategic planning, inject capital into promising research, measure success, and provide support. Excited by the acceleration that GapFund360 empowers, Bresler says: “Over the coming year, we look forward to connecting these researchers with internal and external resources and tracking their impressive results!”

GapFund360 is supported by the Office of the Provost and the Office of the General Counsel and overseen by the Center for Research Innovation.