Originally Posted: January 9, 2018
For decades, Alex Lippert dreamed of creating a hologram akin to the one in the first Star Wars film, where R2-D2 shows a light image of Princess Leia. At 35, Lippert had a “eureka” moment to use molecules that switch from colorless to fluorescent when ultraviolet light hits them.
Lippert, an assistant chemistry professor at Southern Methodist University, in July announced that he had done the hologram one better by building projection technology that creates a three-dimensional display viewable from any direction.
“It doesn’t require moving parts. It uses low-power light sources, which are safer than other displays that employ intense lasers. And, we were able to fabricate the first-generation prototype for under $5,000,” he said.
Armed with a patent for his light-pad system, Lippert is seeking the right investment and management team to bring his idea to market.
Aside from commercializing discoveries through for-profit businesses, universities like the University of North Texas are helping government agencies better protect military personnel.
“The fundamental understanding we achieve will have broader impacts in the long run where other industrial segments will also benefit from the research findings.”
UNT researchers led by Rajiv Mishra in March announced a project with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to understand why some advanced materials fail when used as armor for soldiers and vehicles.
Using about $6 million of a $20 million Army grant and working with three other universities, Mishra’s team at UNT’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Processes Institute will develop metallic alloys and ceramic composites that weigh less and better prevent harm from projectiles such as bullets.
“The fundamental understanding we achieve will have broader impacts in the long run where other industrial segments will also benefit from the research findings,” said Mishra, University Distinguished Research Professor at UNT.
Meanwhile, a Fort Worth nonprofit unveiled partnerships that provide research opportunities in botany to students at Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Arlington. Tarleton State University inked a similar deal last year. The agreements with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, or BRIT, give students access to its 1.45-million specimen herbarium, the eighth-largest collection of plant museum samplings in the country.
“BRIT is also nearing completion of fundraising for a plant DNA and structural lab complex, which will complement the facilities at the universities for student research,” said Peter Fritsch, the organization’s vice president of research. READ MORE