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Providence Business News - April 10, 2000

Technology firms benefit from Slater Center

The Slater Center for Ocean Technology has awarded $315,778 in grants to five local ocean technology firms. SCOT - based at the University of Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay Campus -- is one of six technology transfer centers funded by the General Assembly and administered by the Rhode Island Economic Policy Council. The center serves as a catalyst for the commercialization of technologies developed in Rhode Island's marine sciences and ocean engineering communities.

"There is no shortage of great ideas in Rhode Island," said Kip Bergstrom, executive director of the Economic Policy Council. "What has been missing, in the past, is a robust tech transfer infrastructure that will encourage and support commercialization of viable technologies"

The projects awarded, include:

Polaris Imaging, Inc., of Narragansett ($84,932): Polaris is preparing to enhance its current complement of ocean search and survey imaging systems with the addition of a system which will acquire process and display multiple data sets in a single display, making it easier for surveyors to view and interpret the results.

Composite Tension Systems Corporation, of Newport ($84,450): Composite Tension has developed lightweight, high-strength structural components for use by the yachting industry in constructing higher performance sailing yachts. These components reduce the weight of the yacht above its waterline.

 SubChem Systems, Inc., of Jamestown ($82,750): SubChem is developing miniaturized, intelligent ocean sensors, which will serve as the basis for a new family of coastal and ocean sensing systems. The company will utilize micro-electromechanical systems technology. And it is also in the final stages of development of a submersible nutrient analyzer - a project sponsored in part by previous grants from SCOT.

 ENTECH, Inc. and Block Island Shellfish Farm, both of Block Island ($63,646): The companies are teaming up to develop a solar-powered device which will enhance the food supply of post-larval shellfish - such as clams, mussels and oysters. It is designed to increase their growth rate. The solar-powered device will be integrated with a floating shellfish incubation system.

"All of these projects are extremely promising in terms of their potential for commercialization," said Hugh Murphy, SCOT's executive director. "They also offer a sense of the full range of marine technology research and development under way in Rhode Island."

The projects supported by the grants, said Murphy, are expected to yield commercial products within the next two years.

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