UNM Rainforest Innovations

The UNM Lobo Rainforest I-Corps program trained five teams this fall consisting of entrepreneurial-minded faculty and students. This 10-week training program is designed for UNM faculty and students who want to learn how to transition their STEM-related technologies to the marketplace.

The NSF-funded I-Corps program at the Lobo Rainforest Building is a partnership between UNM Rainforest Innovations (formerly STC.UNM) and the Innovation Academy. Its purpose is to foster innovation among faculty and students, promote regional coordination and linkages in the innovation ecosystem, as well as develop a National Innovation Network.

The program offers seed funding to each team in the amount of $3,000 to fund customer discovery efforts and proof-of-concept prototyping. Teams learn how to determine value proposition, customers, size of market, and market trends for their respective technologies.

Five teams participated in the fall 2020 cohort, including NanoMetrology, Critical Care Intelligence Insights, CorMask, ecoMOD, and ShearIT. Each team consisted of an academic lead (typically a UNM faculty or staff member), an entrepreneurial lead (a UNM student or post-doc), and an external industry mentor provided by the I-Corps program.

The NanoMetrology team, in addition to participating in the I-Corps site program, also participated concurrently in the national program where they were awarded the coveted Cohort Award. They were selected by the i-corps teaching team for this award for demonstrating the highest level of achievement in the cohort. Group members include Juan Fario-Briceno, Scot Moye, and Steven Brueck.

To read about the technologies each group worked on in the fall 2020 cohort, see below:

  • NanoMetrology – This in-line optical angular scatterometer demonstrates real-time metrology without interfering with the fabrication process (nano-imprint lithography, R2R, and wafer-scale). The technology will revolutionize the metrology marketplace to allow real-time, high-speed, and contactless characterization processes without intervening with manufacturing.
  • Critical Care Intelligence Insights – this data acquisition system uses AI analysis to simplify and standardize data gathering and analysis of intensive care monitors. Users would have access to a user-friendly interface, clear graphic insights, event markers and real-time automated customization.
  • CorMask – This device produces and dispenses face masks to comply with COVID-19 regulations. With just a roll of paper towel, elastic rope and sewing yarn spool, the device can produce 320 face masks for just 1.2 center per mask.
  • ecoMOD Project – The goal of this project is to create sustainable and affordable modular homes. Houses are developed off-site and then delivered to the home location which reduces costs and streamlines the building process. This project caters to low-income families, individuals looking for small, affordable rental units such as accessory dwelling units, and small remote vacation homes.
  • ShearIT – this product is the first non-pharmacologic solution for cerebrovascular disease. Lamiflo is a flow-promoting compound used to increase blood flow and rate of oxygenation in cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke.

To learn more and apply to participate in the Lobo Rainforest I-Corps program in Spring 2021, complete the online application at http://loborainforest.com/icorps/.

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