3-SPARK LLC A spinout from Professor Dinos Mavroidis’ Biomedical Mechatronics Laboratory, 3-SPARK uses a novel embedded-sensor technology in a 3D printing process. The parts produced by the 3-SPARK system are able to measure contact and respond to user interactions. For example, a custom orthotic device with built-in sensors could let the wearer know when it is time to “print” a new orthotic and how to adapt it to the user’s changing physical requirements. Public awareness and use of 3D printing in the home, office, and classroom has jumped, leading to an exponential growth in the global purchase of desktop systems under $5,000. The technology’s inventor, mechanical engineering graduate Richard Ranky, PhD’12, hopes to bring 3-SPARK into the 3D printing marketplace targeting the education and consumer markets. 3-SPARK could be used by students to apply physics and engineering principles to build smart components, or demonstrate prototype products from product design firms. Partnerships with Northeastern University’s Center for Research Innovation, the College of Engineering, Health Science Entrepreneurs, and IDEA business programs provide the product development and commercialization mentorship for this new venture.
ZEPHYR ENERGY CORPORATION Northeastern University spinout Zephyr Energy Corporation is an alternative energy company that aims to revolutionize windenergy harvesting with its non-rotating wind-energy generator technology. An engineering capstone project by Tom Olsen, ME’11, supervised by Professor Mo Taslim, the generator’s groundbreaking design makes it more versatile as an option for the military, commercial, humanitarian, and scientific sectors. Its low operational wind-speed requirement, compact design, and safe operation will make Zephyr’s generator competitive with traditional wind-turbine technology. Zephyr Energy Corporation has partnered with Northeastern University’s Center for Research Innovation and the Gordon Engineering Leadership Program to continue its research and development and commercialization efforts, and is working with the student-run venture accelerator, IDEA, to refine its business plan.