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UM System FastTrack Awards

Three of this year’s eight University of Missouri System FastTrack awardees are University of Missouri-Kansas City innovations.

FastTrack funding was developed to assist emerging UM System technologies to advance to the stage of potentially attracting a license agreement. There is a $500,000 pool to fund up to 10 awards per year.

Each spring, the four campuses hold internal competitions to select the top four technologies from their respective campuses. The 16 technologies are presented each May in Columbia, Missouri to contract research organizations; local and regional venture capital executives and other angel fund investors. The technologies are presented in a “Shark Tank”-like competition and after votes are tallied, the top six to 10 technologies are selected for awards of up to $50,000 each.

The three UMKC awardees are:

Faisal Khan

  • Associate professor of computer science and electrical engineering at School of Computing and Engineering. “Intelligent IGBT/MOSFET Gate Driver Module with Live State of Health Estimator Unit.” Kahn’s technology surrounds the widespread use of Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT) in virtually all high-voltage power switching applications (electric cars, electric planes, smart grids, etc.). Though indispensable in these applications, IGBTs are failure-prone and when they do, the results can be catastrophic; for example, an electric plane crash. Khan has developed a new generation of IGBT that allows for remote monitoring so users can predict by “state of health assessment” when the IGBT may fail, and replace it in time. The device is revolutionary and the market is in the billions of dollars range. Successful deployment of health-monitored IGBTs can revolutionize electronic power applications.

Masud Chowdhury

  • Associate professor of computer science and electrical engineering at the School of Computing and Engineering. “On-Chip Integration of High-Speed Voltage Regulator for a Reconfigurable Scheme to Manage Power, Temperature and Reliability in Next Generation Integrated Circuits.” Chowdhury’s technology is to develop an “on-chip” high-speed, high- performance voltage regulator for all complex integrated circuit applications that require a nano- or pico-second time scale. These devices deliver regulated and stable voltage supply to integrated circuits. The current state-of-art off-chip regulators, though convenient and cost effective, are slow and inefficient. The award will be used to manufacture a prototype on-chip voltage regulator for integrated circuits needed for high-performance applications.

Josh Peng and Kathleen Kilway

  • Chemistry professors in the College of Arts and Sciences. “High-performing Perovskite Solar Cells.” Peng and Kilway’s technology is the development of new solar cell material that is cheap, efficient and flexible. The current state-of-art cell is composed of crystalline silicon, which is expensive to manufacture, and involves an environmentally unfriendly process that results in a rigid, inflexible material with poor light absorbing qualities. Re-engineering the solar cell to be efficient, inexpensive and flexible would revolutionize the solar energy industry — Peng and Kilway have developed such a material that will deliver the desired properties at a fraction of the cost of traditional cells. In addition, the material has excellent optics and is flexible for the development of curved surface collectors.

 

 


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