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Innovative Product Development


A leading local manufacturer of optics and accessories for IR-UV-VIS (infrared-ultraviolet-visible light) spectroscopy was partnered with a Cornell physics professor to develop a prototype shear/compression attachment that allows users of optical microscopes to examine biological tissues in response to applied forces. Successfully brought to market, this new product is sold to organizations studying the effects of diseases, such as osteoarthritis, and could lead to the development of sensitive diagnostic tools.

During U.S. Navy helicopter rescue missions, as rescuers are lowered from the helicopter on a steel cable, the dry air that swirls around the helicopter and passes over the cable causes a build-up of static electricity. This causes rescuers to get a major jolt of static electricity when they hit the water or the ground holding the cable, unless they get the cable end to hit the ground first—not always easy to arrange in a crisis situation. CCMR is providing a solution. It partnered a small business, based in Lansing, NY, and a Cornell mechanical engineering professor to develop a safer alternative to the steel cables currently being used in rescue helicopters. Having secured long-term funding from the NAVY, the team is developing a non-conductive cable made of polymer fibers that will also be stronger, lighter and less likely to cause hand injuries that divers receive from broken wires.

An Ithaca-based company, which specializes in intelligent sensor systems that detect icing conditions on aircraft and ground vehicles, is diversifying its product line. Working with a Cornell fiber scientist in the College of Human Ecology, the company created a fiber-reinforced tape that simplifies aviation repairs. The tacky tape, which incorporates a woven webbing made of high-strength fibers, eliminates the tedious job of hand-sewing cable bundles after repairs are made, providing an effective and inexpensive solution. This partnership led to another project: a state grant is allowing the company and the fiber scientist to develop a coating, which uses the principles of biomimicry, to protect power lines during ice storms. The idea for the coating draws its inspiration from the miniscule ridges of lotus leaves, which prevent water from bonding and icing.

A startup designing novel nanostructures coatings worked with a Cornell chemical engineer to develop products for the wound care market. Its technology enables the deposition of conformal nanoparticle coatings on both flat and curved surfaces using a unique layer-by-layer assembly process. The company focused on fabricating highly efficient antimicrobial nanocoatings on a natural cellulose substrate. A Cornell expert in Vascular System and Mass Transfer enabled the company to better understand the wound healing process and accelerate the delivery and activity of antibacterial compounds incorporated in the coating.

A climbing harness that changes color when it is no longer safe to use is under development by a long-time producer of equipment for linemen and arborists. A medium-size company has been partnered with two Cornell faculty members with expertise in fiber science and chemical engineering to use light- and stress-sensing dyes that will alter the appearance of its harnesses when the nylon it is made out of has been compromised by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays or stress. The project is moving beyond the proof-of-concept phase. Patches containing these UV-sensitive and stress sensing dyes for the company’s nylon safety harnesses will provide an immediate warning to the user. Incorporating smart indicators into products is a giant leap forward in the safety of synthetic materials and will open up many new applications.

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