The Western Michigan University Research Foundation (WMURF) is a separate, nonprofit organization with its own board of directors, operated for the benefit of Western Michigan University (WMU)
, supporting the educational, research, commercialization and public service objectives of the University. WMURF is able to license intellectual property (IP), engage with private industry, and perform other services for WMU.
Technology Development (TD) Fund
grants have been awarded for 2016. Four proposals were chosen from proposal submissions from eight WMU Faculty members in six different Departments. The awards were as follows:
Dr. Ann Chapleau - Occupational Therapy
Disclosure #2016-014, Goal Attainment Scaling: A Mobile App; $10,000;
Dr. Robert Eversole - Biological Sciences
Disclosure #2016-010, The WiggleTron for rapid measurement of bloodborne microfilaria populations in standard blood collection microcapillary tubes; $10,000;
Dr. Peter Gustafson - Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Disclosure #2014-014, The NeoVent: Development of low cost, alternative respiratory care devices; $20,000;
Dr. John Patten Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Disclosure #2016-003, Laser Augmented Diamond Drilling (LADD); $20,000;
Dr. Patten received a TD Fund grant in 2012.
A Recent Success Story:
In 2012, the Technology Development (TD) Fund of WMURF provided funding to Dr. John Patten, a WMU faculty member in Manufacturing Engineering. This grant allowed Dr. Patten’s laboratory to continue the development of a new technology, micro-laser assisted machining (Micro-LAM), for making exact cuts in semiconductors, ceramics, glass and other brittle materials by softening of the hard materials and to reduce their brittleness during machining. A functional prototype of the Micro-LAM device was created with the TD fund grant, demonstrating the functionality and efficiency of the new technology. The Micro-LAM device is smaller, faster, more precise, more energy efficient, and it eliminates post processing steps associated with laser-assisted machining (LAM), the technology commonly used to cut brittle semiconductor materials and ceramics (see additional information
Micro-LAM Technologies (µ-LAMTM) is Excelling
A start-up company was established in 2011 by Dr. Patten and Dr. Deepak Ravindra, Dr. Patten’s ex-student, to commercialize the technology. Micro-LAM Technologies (µ-LAMTM)
has created an easily adaptable micro-laser device that retrofits any machine tool to deliver precision machining capabilities. Micro-LAM's precise technology improves productivity and quality, while minimizing waste and reducing tooling costs for such industries as optics, semiconductors, glass and metals, enabling companies to be more profitable.
Initially utilizing WMU facilities, the company has now expanded into a high-tech incubator facility near WMU in Battle Creek, Michigan, where it has established a manufacturing plant, and machining and testing services. US patent, US8933366B2, has recently been awarded for the Micro-LAM technology, and the company has received over $1 million in support from federal agencies, like the National Science Foundation (NSF - see Micro-LAM article
), and other sources for commercialization efforts. Micro-LAM has recently shipped its first product and has an order for a second device from the same customer.
The Micro-LAM Team