UNM Rainforest Innovations

A group of entrepreneurially-minded faculty and students recently completed training through the University of New Mexico’s I-Corps site program. On November 25, 16 commercialization teams gave final presentations to program mentors, experienced entrepreneurs and investors, who gave the participants valuable feedback to help them take their inventions to the next level of development for funding, startup and licensing opportunities.

The University of New Mexico became an I-Corps (Innovation Corps) site in fall 2017 and has now completed its fifth cohort. The NSF-funded I-Corps program at the Lobo Rainforest Building is a partnership between STC.UNM and the Innovation Academy. The program is offered during the fall and spring semesters and is open to faculty and students at UNM and its branch campuses who want to learn how to commercialize their STEM-related technologies. Each team consists of a UNM faculty member, student, and business mentor.

The cohort of 16 teams met in September and completed the program’s 10-week entrepreneurial training course. Each team received $3,000 to develop their technologies, complete customer discovery, and develop a business model using the business model canvas. Two teams from AFRL-NM also participated in the National Labs Lobo Rainforest I-Corps program, funded by AFRL-NM and Sandia for teams from the national labs who want to participate in the UNM program. The fall 2019 teams worked on the following technologies:

  • UNM Teams
    • A blockchain-based alternative to your favorite social media
    • An eco-friendly baby bottle that eliminates the hassle and stress of feeding on the go while preserving our planet
    • A phone app to change the way business cards are utilized
    • A protective, water-repellent coating that solves problems from excess moisture on surfaces
    • A patch method to diagnose traumatic brain injury
    • An assistive add-on device for white canes, that uses sensors and hap-tic feedback to provide a broader detection
    • A hard-shelled cart that deploys for temporary shelter/ sleep.
    • A proprietary photo booth software
    • Palm-free soap and home goods that reduce the environmental impact of palm products
    • A profiler device that is used to characterize the surface texture of different materials in various applications
    • A passive, alert sensor patch for leaks
    • A semi-autonomy system (robot) and infrastructure design
    • An automated, e-commerce add-in to allow customers to create real-time design of products in an easy-to-use platform
    • A self-cleaning filtration system for environmental monitoring
  • Air Force Research Lab – New Mexico teams
    • IoT-based Solution to Water Management in Rural Areas
    • Toolbox of the Future for aircraft maintenance

To apply to participate in the Lobo Rainforest I-Corps program in spring 2020, complete the online application at http://loborainforest.com/icorps/.

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