Tajvidi, Stoll lead MIRTA teams to showcase discoveries Feb. 5

Four discoveries will be showcased by University of Maine faculty-led teams from the Maine Innovation, Research and Technology Accelerator (MIRTA) beginning at 5 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Foster Center for Student Innovation on campus.

The four MIRTA projects are:

  • A nanocellulose composite orthopedic implant that promotes the growth of strong natural bone while safely dissolving over time, eliminating the need for costly and permanent metallic devices, developed by a team led by Michael Mason, professor of chemical and biomedical engineering.
  • A biodegradable wood-based technology that produces a foam-like matrix to protect fragile items and insulate them from extreme temperatures, developed by a team led by Mehdi Tajvidi, assistant professor of renewable nanomaterials.
  • A half-shell oyster sorter to support small-scale aquaculture in the state and worldwide, developed by a team led by Joshua Stoll, assistant research professor of marine policy.
  • A multimodal software solution for providing blind and visually impaired people with access to digital graphical information, developed by a team led by Nicholas Giudice, professor of spatial informatics.

This is the second cohort of inventors to be part of MIRTA, which was made possible by the University of Maine System 2018 Research Reinvestment Fund. The fund is a pool of competitive internal grants allocated to advance research projects along the path from discovery to becoming commercial products with public benefit. All projects are tied to Maine businesses or industries critical to the future of the state.

The teams, some including undergraduate and graduate students, and industry collaborators, spent 20 hours a week for 16 weeks learning about the market and intellectual property analyses and business model development needed to bring their invention to market. Guiding them were business incubation staff from UMaine’s Office of Innovation and Economic Development.

In addition, each team has an advisory committee of industry and technology experts who provide feedback and advice. The teams are eligible for up to $25,000 each to help develop commercialization implementation plans.

Commercialization plans for new products or services, process improvements, creative works, or curricula or programs could include starting new companies or licensing to existing ones.