At the Chamber’s 16th annual Tech Briefing, eleven local innovators showcased their breakthrough ideas in science, technology, and medicine. Although each presentation lasted just five minutes, the crowd at Forsyth Tech’s Oak Grove Center was wowed by the creative and diverse array of topics and came away having learned something new from each speaker. Representing local schools, large companies, or independent startups, each presenter is addressing a common problem with a brand-new way of thinking to create innovative solutions.

The 2017 Tech Briefing Presenters:

Andrew Hebard, Nature’s Crops International: The company is producing a new plant seed oil called Ahiflower. It is a complete omega 3/6/9 product that is the closest thing to a fish oil that can be found naturally in a plant. They identified the plant species, selected the best wild types available from around the world and learned how to cultivate them in a fully traceable and sustainable manner.

Adriana Granados, PixGift: PixGift unlocks the power of images for fundraising, community building, and cause-related marketing. Through easy-to-use Giving Boards, PixGift creates visual collective experiences that turn images, logos and selfies into powerful campaigns so that non-profits, businesses, and individuals can build community around a cause or project in a way that set them apart from the crowd.

Curt Meinhold, Yanay: Yanay is a new way for users to capture and share experiences, delivering more honest feedback in real time. Their goal is passive surveying during active engagement. Organizations spend billions of dollars each year incentivizing customers to provide actionable feedback and what they usually receive is unclear (star and thumb ratings), biased and expensive in time and money. Yanay uses artificial intelligence to gather data that is blind to stereotypes and human bias.

Allie Charles, Atkins High School: She cloned alpha-amylase gene from B. subtilis into an E coli cell using standard enzyme/DNA technology. Her teacher wanted to change his model for teaching gene cloning and got a grant from Burroughs Wellcome to purchase the materials for the project. Allie got a chance to try to work out the bugs and develop the protocol that future students will use in class.

Dr. Nicole Levi-Polyachenko, Wake Forest School of Medicine: Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine have developed novel soluble particles that are capable of generating heat to destroy cells. Upon stimulation with a laser, the particles produce heat, which has been shown to reduce total cancer cell viability to 90-95%.

Dr. Bill Satterwhite, Sneez: Sneez is a free app that utilizes crowdsourcing to give users real-time health and illness tracking tied directly to their child’s school and extracurricular activities.

Matthew Shealy, Atkins High School: The Alternative Fuels club works to design and assemble a highly efficient electric vehicle to enter in the Shell Eco Marathon. Members of the team have worked closely with local engineers to plan, program, design and assemble a 3-phase motor controller. They have also created fiberglass components for the vehicle’s body and created mock-ups of its chassis.

Alan Shelton, Winston-Salem MIXXER: MIXXER is creating a makerspace scheduled to open January 2018. MIXXER will make technology available to anyone in the community that would like to join. The facility will offer metal working, woodworking, and a digital studio with advanced technologies like 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC tools, design software, electronics and much more.

Britny Rominger, Forsyth Technical Community College: Britny will review an Artificial Intelligence project that her group presented at the 2017 Women in Cybersecurity Conference where they were awarded an Honorable Mention while competing against other community colleges, undergraduate and graduate students from across the nation.

Bobbie Shrivastav, Docsmore: Docsmore is a cloud-based document management and facilitation system at its core and more. It offers tools for users to make their documents interactive such as collecting text, dates, signatures, e-images and more. Users can send a document via a URL that can be emailed, texted, posted on a website or added to social media.

Vihar Surti, Cook Medical: A medical device developed by Cook Medical’s endoscopy business unit in Winston-Salem is now being used to help newborns avoid surgery to repair a rare birth defect of the esophagus. Cook recently received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market the device, called Flourish, for the treatment of pediatric esophageal atresia.

Thank you to the sponsors of the Tech Briefing: Cook Medical, BB&T, Forsyth Tech, Kilpatrick Townsend, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Panera Bread, The Small Business and Technology Development Center, and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

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