Technology From Wash. Lab Could Target Bed Bugs
Monday, November 28, 2011
RICHLAND, WA (Associated Press) - Scanning technology
developed at a Richland lab to screen airplane passengers could
soon be used to target bedbugs.
The technology developed at the Pacific Northwest National
Laboratory has been licensed to a startup company in Corvallis,
Ore., as part of a White House initiative to help young companies
grow, the Tri-City Herald reports.
The lab, part of the Department of Energy, has signed option
agreements with startup companies for three technologies.
Innovations include millimeter wave technology to be used to see
inside walls to detect insects hiding there, and advances to
improve rechargeable batteries and fuel cells.
VisiRay in Corvallis, Ore., signed an option agreement with PNNL
for millimeter wave technology and plans to manufacture devices to
detect pests in buildings. The initial target will be bedbugs,
sometimes called wall louse, because they may live inside walls as
well as in beds and couches, the Tri-City Herald reports.
VisiRay was started by University of Oregon Lundquist Center for
Entrepreneurship students participating in PNNL's University
Technology Entrepreneurship Program. The company's products would
allow inspectors to see through drywall particle board and view
clear images of pests inside walls. The initial target will be
bedbugs, sometimes called wall louse, because they may live inside
walls as well as in beds and couches.
PNNL initially developed the millimeter wave technology with
Federal Aviation Administration grants to scan passengers using
harmless radio waves. It can detect objects hidden beneath their
clothing, whether they are metal, liquid, plastic or ceramic. The
technology now is in use at about 78 airports nationwide.
In June, that same technology was licensed to be used to help
shoppers by creating a three-dimensional holographic image of their
bodies to help them find clothing most likely to fit them.
"We have a long history of working closely with entrepreneurs
and early stage companies to develop and adapt our innovations into
new or improved products and services," said Cheryl Cejka, PNNL's
director of technology commercialization, in a statement.
The White House's Startup America initiative reduces the cost of
options to license patents to U.S. startup companies to $1,000, a
fraction of the usual cost.
PNNL also signed agreements could lead to products designed to
increase the storage capacity of rechargeable batteries used to
power portable devices, such as laptop computers, and electric
vehicles. Recharging could take minutes instead of hours, according
to the Richland lab. Another PNNL technology is being used to
reduce the use of platinum in certain fuel cells that are used
primarily for backup power.