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Spotlight on Innovation: ReGo

Posted on October 24, 2011 at 11:37 AM
Categories: Economy, Jobs, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit tomorrow. 

The Electric vehicle revolution is being pioneered right here in Minnesota. ReGo is a Minnesota-based company that is dedicated to making advances in plug-in conversion technology for existing hybrid vehicles. The company has a triple bottom-line business model that balances people, planet and profits.

To address the plug-in skeptics, ReGo has focused much of its initial efforts on increasing battery efficiency during Minnesota’s extra cold winters, as reported by WCCO. Garrett Ferderber of ReGo explains in this piece that his company has found a way to convert some of the energy gained while a car is plugged in to keep the battery cells warm even in the coldest temperatures. A converted Prius can be taken from 45 MPG to 75 MPG with ReGo’s state of the art lithium-ion battery.


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Spotlight on Innovation: Rushford Hypersonic

Posted on October 24, 2011 at 11:07 AM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit tomorrow.

Rushford Hypersonic is transforming academic research into commercial applications for the world of tomorrow. Founded in 2007, Rushford Hypersonic is a cutting edge nanotechnology company that produces a commercial coating used in high tooling, friction and corrosion areas. Without this technology, new frontiers of mining and manufacturing would not be possible.

The Rushford-based company uses hypersonic plasma particle deposition (HPPD) coatings “to protect objects by improving hardness, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance. The coating is the hardest on the market.”  The company also hopes to use their coatings in medical devices such as prosthetic implants, according to the University of Minnesota. “They hope it will result in implants that will last a lifetime, eliminating the pain of replacement surgeries.


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Spotlight on Innovation: Mcgyan Biodiesel

Posted on October 24, 2011 at 9:57 AM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit tomorrow.

Mcgyan Biodiesel created a new way to produce biodiesel that is changing how the industry produces this renewable fuel. The key to this new technology is a “highly efficient, heterogeneous metal oxide-based catalyst reactor that efficiently and economically converts feedstock plant oils and animal fats to biodiesel.”

There are several benefits to this revolutionary biodiesel process, including the reaction time and effectiveness.  The Mcgyan process takes only seconds while other biodiesel processes take hours. More importantly, current waste products such as grease / used cooking oil, animal tallow, and a variety of plant oils can all be used whereas other processes are limited in their materials.


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Spotlight on Innovation: GeaCom

Posted on October 24, 2011 at 9:09 AM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit tomorrow.

Duluth-based GeaCom has developed a device it hopes will give caregivers throughout the world the power to treat anyone, anywhere and reduce suffering and save lives. It is known as the Phrazer medical communication system, an award winning and revolutionary handheld device that collects patient information, medical history, and patient symptoms and complaints.  The device monitors vital signs and stores electronic medical records, helping cut down on doctor-patient communication time and makes doctor visits more efficient and allows accurate digital recordings of patient medical history. 

The Phrazer currently has 300 units working in the field and GeaCom expects that number to skyrocket to over 10,000 by the end of the year.  The company also projects 40,000 units to be sold in the year 2012.  GeaCom said most of its customers are military hospitals, but some insurance companies are now purchasing the device and donating it to hospitals to reduce costs and greatly improve efficiency.


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Spotlight on Innovation: Blue Sky Designs

Posted on October 21, 2011 at 2:56 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week.

Dianne Goodwin founded Blue Sky Designs in Minneapolis in 1997, with the goal of designing innovative products to help people with disabilities. For the average Minnesotan, it is easy to take for granted some of the simplest joys of life, such as going camping, taking a fishing trip, or even using a computer. For those with disabilities, these activities pose many challenges. The products designed by Dianne and the team at Blue Sky Designs address these challenges and enable individuals with disabilities to lead rich lives. 

With a background in rehabilitative engineering and product design prior to founding Blue Sky Designs, Dianne possessed a strong sense of ergonomics and universal design, or more simply put, “how to develop products that help people do what they want to do.” Blue Sky Designs first focused on developing custom designs for disabled individuals. These products were specially designed to serve one person’s very specific needs. In 2002, Blue Sky Designs transitioned into broader product development, shifting their focus to building commercially-available products with commonly sought benefits.


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Spotlight on Innovation: Twin Star Medical

Posted on October 21, 2011 at 2:11 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week.

Twin Star Medical is a Minnesota medical technology company pioneering the use of microporous catheters to aspirate and to infuse fluids as a local therapeutic intervention for a number of unmet medical needs.  The first product to be introduced by Twin Star Medical has obtained FDA clearance and is being launched in the U.S. to treat complications from fractures.

The Department of Defense is funding clinical studies for additional FDA indications along with other product modifications for use in theater.  A second product resulting from Twin Star’s research is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) catheter, for which pivotal animal studies have been completed. It is poised for human studies next year.  Localized drug delivery is the next focus for the Twin Star Medical technology, with the initial clinical indications for direct delivery of cancer drugs to the tumor and surrounding tissue, across a range of tumor locations.


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Governor Dayton talks economic development in Duluth at Chamber dinner

Posted on October 21, 2011 at 1:55 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

Last night, Governor Dayton was the keynote speaker at the 141st annual Duluth Chamber of Commerce dinner. The Governor spoke about the importance of investing in education and infrastructure, and praised Duluth’s public and private sectors for working successfully together.  

"We face economic challenges throughout our state, but as Duluth shows people pulling together and the public sector private sector working together, it generates the jobs that keep people here and keep the city vibrant,” Governor Dayton said after taking the stage to a standing ovation, according to WDIO-ABC.


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Spotlight on Innovation: AUM Cardiovascular

Posted on October 21, 2011 at 10:54 AM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week.

AUM Cardiovascular is a Minnesota company that helps doctors better diagnose and treat blockages in the heart with a device called the CADence System.  The founder of the company, Dr. Marie Johnson, developed algorithms and signal processing techniques used to detect and analyze heart disease after losing her husband to a heart attack in 2002.  AUM Cardiovascular and its talented team turned what was a tragedy into 2011’s top innovation, the CADence system.

The CADence system is a non-invasive, hand-held device capable of detecting coronary artery disease in roughly 20 seconds.  Compared to other tests, the CADence system is much faster, does not require a dedicated space or specialized staff, has very little cost for each patient, and also does not require pharmaceutical dye.  These revolutionary features make the CADence test more practical and readily available.


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Spotlight on Innovation: Naiku

Posted on October 20, 2011 at 2:02 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week.
 
Naiku, which translates to “teacher” in Lao, is a mobile learning company that delivers innovative assessment solutions to schools and is leading the next revolution in K-12 education. 

Naiku’s SaaS platform provides teachers with outstanding real-time insight into the strengths and needs of their students, facilitating personalized instruction. Through online assessments and proprietary data mining algorithms, Niaku can identify each student’s learning profile. This empowers teachers to adapt and personalize instruction for each student.

The Naiku team first came together when Adisack Nhouyvanisvong Ph.D. and Corey Thompson met in the MBA program at the University Of Minnesota Carlson School Of Management. After graduation, the two founded Naiku in November of 2010.

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Spotlight on Innovation: Xollai

Posted on October 20, 2011 at 1:12 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week.

Xollai is a Minnesota systems engineering firm founded by four classmates at the University of St. Thomas in 2008.  Robert Malecki, Ryan Thompson, Lue Her, and Anthony Giang were dubbed “The Dream Team” by their professors and peers for their ability to create solutions to problems that had previously been thought to be impossible. The students first gained notoriety for their work on an advanced automated guidance technology for unmanned aerial vehicles. After being told that such a technology could not be done, they decided to take their work one step further. In Robert Malecki’s living room, they formed a company to take their first product, xOARS, to market.

Since then, Xollai has pioneered advances in feedback control systems for unmanned aerial vehicles, advanced image processing for computerized recognition, and visualized audio analysis for musicians. The company is now headquartered on University Avenue in St. Paul and has grown to 10 employees. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of private and public grants have been used to fund Xollai’s growth and research. One million dollars are currently being sought by Xollai to bring its products to market.

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