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NSWC Crane Technology Assists Startup Companies

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Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) partners with universities and colleges by providing entrepreneurship, technology commercialization, marketing, and business development classes with a ready supply of inventions and patents. In return, students identify potential commercial applications for the military technology. One example of the value of this technology transfer is NSWC Crane’s assistance to a startup company that received first-place honors at North Carolina State University’s annual business startup competition in spring 2015.

NSWC Crane Technology Transfer Manager Brooke Pyne said student entrepreneurs are an excellent resource. Partnership with university entrepreneurship and business classes gives NSWC Crane access to students interested in starting companies while providing them with a “jump start” to their efforts.

“We’re excited about technology transfer because we want to commercialize our technology and feed back into the economy,” said Pyne. “Taxpayer money feeds into our research and development, and we don’t just want to shelve technologies, we want to get them out there in the public.”

NSWC Crane currently works with five university partners and eight student startup companies built on the warfare center’s technologies. “We’re really friendly towards startups and friendly towards entrepreneurs and small businesses,” Pyne said. “We want people to know we are easy to work with and willing to work with them. Students looking at our technology from a non-military standpoint leads to so many potential applications for our patents and it’s great exposure for our inventors.”

North Carolina State University students Jordan Moering and Rafael Estevez utilized NSWC Crane-developed technologies to win first place in the 2015 Lulu eGames “New Venture Challenge” category for work with their new company, WarpSpec Diagnostics. WarpSpec licensed three patents related to a broadband hyperspectral imaging device designed by NSWC Crane scientist Aaron Cole to detect explosive devices. Moering and Estevez, however, will use the technology to save the food processing industry time and money in detecting foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella. Current systems to detect harmful bacteria and pathogens can take up to 24 hours to produce valid results, but Moering said WarpSpec’s product will only take minutes.

“Aaron Cole has been invaluable to our team and in guiding our understanding of the Crane technology. Not only has Aaron's enthusiasm convinced us of the direction in which we were headed, but he has also helped in drafting and editing technical information about the technology as we raise the seed funding needed to sustain operations,” Moering explained. “As we begin prototyping, his experience will allow us to accelerate the fabrication and testing processes greatly.”

Located on the third largest naval installation in the world, NSWC Crane’s $1.5B business base supports the Navy by leveraging its technical capabilities to support the warfighter in a rapidly changing combat environment. Employees provide comprehensive support for complex military systems spanning design, development, deployment and sustainment.

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