UNM Rainforest Innovations

Six teams of university students recently completed the 12-week long spring I-Corps program hosted by UNM Rainforest Innovations and UNM’s Innovation Academy. This program trains entrepreneurial-minded faculty and students on how to transition their STEM-related technologies to the marketplace.

The University of New Mexico became an I-Corps (Innovation Corps) site in fall 2017 and has now completed its tenth cohort. The program is offered during the fall and spring semesters and is open to faculty and students at UNM and its branch campuses. The NSF-funded I-corps program is a partnership between UNM Rainforest Innovation and UNM’s Innovation Academy.

Teams consist of an academic lead (typically a UNM faculty or staff member), and entrepreneurial lead (a UNM student or post-doc), and an external industry mentor provided by the I-Corps program. Throughout the program teams learn how to determine value propositions, customers, size of market, and market trends for their respective technologies. They are also equipped with $3,000 in seed funding to fund their customer discovery efforts and proof-of-concept prototyping.

Read about the teams from the spring 2022 cohort below:

  • BioAM – a hybrid manufacturing platform that was designed to merge the positive aspects of multiple technologies to allow for multiscale, 3D composite structures with customized structural and mechanical characteristics. To date, there are no platforms that merge additive and subtractive manufacturing techniques to fabricate biological structures with multiple material types at varying scales, but BioAM provides a more advanced product at an affordable price.
  • E.G.A.R.D. – the Lower Extremity Guided and Assisted Rehab Device (LEGARD) is a biometric hip rehabilitation device with guided and controlled resistance for use in medical facilities, institutional settings, or in-home. The device allows patients to increase strength and range of motion by using guided and assisted hip abduction, adduction, flexion, and extension exercises.
  • MSB Research Group – developing a compact laser device that uses a novel semiconductor disk laser architecture Hybrid-Membrane External-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser (H-MECSEL) and combines it with off-axis parabolic mirror (OAP) with a hole in the middle.
  • Profound Climate – exploring the optimal placement of renewables in order to understand long-term power generation and manage the effects of climate change. With optimal placement of renewables and considering climate change, they aim to reduce the power system operation issues.
  • Prosthetic Implant for Carpometacarpal Arthritis (PICA) – this technology is a small, metal, prosthetic device that is surgically implanted in the hand. The device effectively resolves pain and mobility issues resulting from CMC joint arthritis while avoiding the challenges commonly associated with current surgical techniques and devices such as residual pain and reduced strength and mobility
  • SHP Pump – developing a new, low-cost rugged high-pressure pump system that is capable of creating continuous steady-state flow at a pressure of maximum 3000 psi. In addition, this system will be able to inject a variety of liquid such as colloidal substance containing tacky dispersed particles, without blocking the pump over time due to micelle formation from the solution.
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