IPS Quarterly Update: Fall 2017

FY17 Innovation News from SPS Annual Report

Other UO innovation tallies from FY17 included the following:

  • $8.86 million in licensing revenue
  • $7.73 million, or 87 percent, of licensing income was reinvested into academic units, innovators and the state of Oregon
  • 11.65 percent return on research through licensing (licensing income divided by research expenditures)
  • $200,000 invested in IP (patents)

“Innovations that grew out of UO research activity in FY17 continued to support local economic development and helped maintain the state’s role as a leader in emerging industries,” said Chuck Williams, associate vice president for innovation. “We saw strong returns on the research investments we’ve made over the past year, and discoveries made on our campus inspired innovative new tools and technologies that we’ll be hearing more about in the years to come.”

New Startup Rhithwir Debut

Rhithwir is one of Eugene's latest tech companies and recently debuted at RAIN Eugene's Annual Accelerator Showcase in October. Rhithwir will produce full-immersion virtual reality systems and was co-founded by University of Oregon Technical Sciences Administration Director John Boosinger and Electronics Shop Supervisor Clifford Dax. The virtual reality technology, including an omnidirectional treadmill, was developed by Boosinger and Dax through their work in the University's Scientific Instrument Shop, which provides prototyping expertise, technical consultation, and precision fabrication services to the University and community.

“Virtual reality is going to be an intuitive and exciting way for humans to interact with all forms of media and data. It has the potential to advance every aspect of human life”, Boosinger said as part of his inspiration for the technology. “I saw the piece that was missing [in virtual reality technology] was whole body, natural interaction with the virtual environment. Our omnidirectional treadmill is the solution to this locomotion problem in virtual reality. I had been waiting for several years for someone else to solve it and I didn’t see it happening.  I realized we have the facilities and researchers on campus who can both assist with and benefit from this technology.” Researchers in the UO’s Department of Human Physiology and Computer Science have already expressed interest in helping to develop and in utilizing this technology as part of their own ongoing research as the technology develops and grants or other funding become available.

Boosinger and Dax brought their idea to UO’s Innovation Partnership Services, which sponsored John’s participation in RAIN and is working closely with the team in developing the intellectual property associated with their innovative solution. With a proof-of-concept prototype, Boosinger and Dax formed Rhithwir and joined RAIN Eugene's 2017 Summer Cohort of local start-up companies to help launch the company. RAIN Eugene provides business startups with the knowledge, mentorship, and community to help develop and grow their companies. Over the summer, Rhithwir and the rest of the cohort went through a 16-week program which "focuses on developing the three most important components of a successful company: the people, the product and the plan." Rhithwir has plans to bring on a person to its core group to focus on developing Rhithwir’s business strategy and another person interested in developing a second prototype focusing on the software in the next few months.

Innovation Partnership Services
Innovation Partnership Services works with UO innovators, the public, and industry to accelerate the adoption of innovations derived from UO research and education.

Phone: (541) 346-3176          E-mail: techtran@uoregon.edu