By Published: Oct. 21, 2019

Commercial drones flying in sensitive and crowded airspaces have been an increasing issue in recent years. Tam Vu, associate professor of computer science, has a solution.

His company, DenyTheSky, has a patented technology that utilizes passive radio frequency sensing to identify the fingerprint movements of the drone to locate and identify the type of drone in a given area. He hopes that his next-generation drone detection and mitigation solution will help commercial, corporate and government customers protect from unwanted intrusions and surveillence.

Rafael Piestun, professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering, is developing an ultrathin endoscope that is able to reach regions of the body that are inaccessible with current technology. His new instrument would enable scientific studies and medical diagnostics and treatments also not currently available with existing technology. He hopes to apply this as a neurological endoscope for imaging and phototherapy, allowing neurosurgeons to treat diseases such as Parkinson's, schizophrenia and epilepsy.

Physics Professor Ivan Smalyukh and fellow research staff from his Soft Matter Physics Smalyukh Research Group founded iFeather, a company developing super-insulating, yet transparent aerogels. Originally developed for window insulating glass units, iFeather is focusing on additional market applications in greenhouses and solar thermal collectors. Not only are these aerogels energy efficient, they can also be made out of food waste, further adding to the cleantech impact of the technology.

Vu's, Piestun's and Smalyukh's innovations are just three of 11 CU Boulder technologies being pitched at Lab Venture Challenge (LVC), a funding competition held by Venture Partners at CU Boulder (formerly the Technology Transfer Office) that help commercially-promising technologies accelerate into impactful business ventures. External judges will award six grants – up to $125,000 each—for the top physical science, engineering and bioscience innovations demonstrating high commercial potential, a clear path to a compelling market and strong scientific support.

This year, the Lab Venture Challenge is hosted over two days and broken up into Biosciences on Wednesday, Nov. 13 and Physical Sciences & Engineering on Thursday, Nov. 14. This showcase is the can't-miss event of the year to see CU Boulder's next wave of breakthrough innovations. The full list of researchers and technologies include:

Lab Venture Challenge 2019 Details

When: Wednesday, Nov. 13 & Thursday, Nov. 14 from 6 - 8 p.m. (Attend one or both days!)
Where: Galvanize Boulder (1023 Walnut St. Suite 100)
Who: Free and open to CU Boulder students, faculty, staff, alumni, business/industry partners and investors

Register Now

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Day 1: Biosciences (Nov. 13)

  • Jerome Fox - Think Bioscience: Evolution-Guided Drug Discovery
  • Sara Sawyer - Sick Stick: A Saliva-Based Test for Infection
  • Roy Parker - Exocure Therapeutics: PARN as a Target for Treatment of Specific Human Cancers
  • Wei Tan/Michael Floren - Vascular Precision: Precision Prohealing Coating for Vascular Implants
  • Xuedong Liu - Programmable Gectosomes for Delivery of Therapeutic Nucleic Acids and Proteins
  • Rafael Piestun - Ultrathin Endoscopes

Day 2: Physical Sciences & Engineering (Nov. 14)

  • Tam Vu/Scott Fox - DenyTheSky: Passive Drone Detection and Tracking
  • Chris Vargo - An AI-Powered Social Media Content Strategy Tool
  • Alireza Vahid - Next Generation Wireless Systems Antenna
  • Zach Newman - Octave Photonics: A Tantala Photonics Platform
  • Ivan Smalyukh - iFeather: Transparent Aerogels for Solar Heating and Greenhouse Applications