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ETTC co-directors Jim Olson and Bruce White

ETTC co-directors Jim Olson (left) and Bruce White

UC Davis Tech Incubator Admits Three New Firms

Posted on: January 31, 2013

The Engineering Translational Technology Center (ETTC), the technology incubator at the College of Engineering at UC Davis, admitted three new start-up companies seeking to commercialize research by university faculty. The decision to admit the three enterprises occurred during an ETTC Advisory Board meeting in December 2012.

The three firms newly admitted to ETTC represent a broad range of engineering disciplines.

Picosense LLC
Founded by Prof. David Horsley and post-doctoral fellow Andre Guedes from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Picosense LLC is developing highly sensitive chip-scale magnetic sensors capable of measuring picotesla magnetic signals. Picosense LLC earned a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I Grant for $150,000.

Woodall Tech, Inc.
Founded by Jerry Woodall, a distinguished professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Woodall Tech, Inc. discovered a proprietary bulk aluminum alloy that splits water to generate hydrogen gas, with byproducts of aluminum hydroxide and heat. The process eliminates the need for hydrogen storage and transport, mitigating the major barriers to a sustainable hydrogen economy. Initial market is the low power fuel cell industry. Woodall Tech creates and stores ultra-pure hydrogen, independently tested at 99.9993% pure, at low temperatures and pressure using a green and economical process. Aluminum, the third most abundant element on the earth’s surface, is the main component to the process that uses recyclable raw materials. Other hydrogen fuel manufacturing methods burn fossil fuels to extract the hydrogen from water and methane, emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

ViVita Technologies Inc.
Founded by Prof. Leigh Griffiths from the School of Veterinary Medicine and graduate students Maelene Wong, Regina MacBarb and Jennifer Lee from the Department of Biomedical Engineering, ViVita Technologies Inc. utilizes their patent-pending technology to generate animal tissue-derived scaffolds which are compatible with the human body and repopulation by patient cells. Given the critical need for superior heart valve replacement devices, a $2.5 billion global market, ViVita initially intends to apply their technology to produce a new generation of heart valve replacements. However, with success they plan to transition into all tissues and organs of the human body. Heart, muscle, small vessel, bone, liver, and cartilage applications are all under development.


Bruce White, the co-director of ETTC and an emeriti professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, finds pride in the center’s progression. “The rapid development of ETTC is indicative of the innovative research being done at UC Davis. These new firms, together with the six incumbent start-ups, demonstrate the breadth of research excellence at our university. The possibilities to benefit society are almost unlimited.”

The Engineering Translational Technology Center, established in 2010, helps technology startups, based on intellectual property developed at the UC Davis College of Engineering, attract support from external financial investors. ETTC assesses the commercial potential and developmental readiness of faculty research in determining admission into the incubator. ETTC provides member companies with campus workstations close to the college’s laboratories. Furthermore the center offers support, mentorship and introduction to investors and strategic partners. Members are selected for admission into the business incubator through a review process that includes an assessment of the commercial potential of the faculty research and its readiness for commercial development.

ETTC has already successfully launched two startups: Dysonics, developer of the Rondo Player, an iTunes application that reproduces and creates three-dimensional, immersive sound for headphones; and Ennetix, Inc., a clean-tech/networking company whose software EnergyPlus reduces energy consumed by IT networks and connected systems. To date, ETTC has admitted ten startups, eight of which are still receiving guidance.

More information:
Engineering Translational Technology Center: http://engineering.ucdavis.edu/research/ettc.html
Bruce White: brwhite@ucdavis.edu
Jim Olson: jimolson@ucdavis.edu