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Ten New Mexico small businesses participating in projects using the technical expertise and assistance of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories were recognized at the 12th annual Innovation Celebration Thursday at Technology Venture Corporation’s Deal Stream Summit at the Tamaya Resort in Bernalillo.
The New Mexico Small Business Assistance (NMSBA) program was created in 2000 by the New Mexico State Legislature to bring national laboratory technology and expertise to small businesses in New Mexico and promote economic development with an emphasis on rural areas. The program, which started at Sandia, was joined by Los Alamos in 2007. In 2012, Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories through NMSBA assisted 347 small businesses in 27 counties across the state.
The businesses and individuals being recognized include:
• Members of the Coalition of Renewable Energy Landowner Associations (CRELA) in eastern New Mexico, which asked NMSBA for help exploring the renewable energy potential of their land. Loren Toole of LANL and Craig White of UNM offered a five-course class through NMSBA covering wind-data evaluation, wind-turbine siting, power sales markets and pricing, and other factors affecting wind-energy development.
• As a registered respiratory therapist and president of Inspyrd Products Corp., Stephen Lueckenhoff invented the Tube-B-Gone, a device that retrieves up to 50 feet of oxygen tubing and eliminates tripping hazards. Electromechanical design engineers Ernie García and Ken Pohl of Sandia addressed tangling problems, implemented a low-voltage DC motor and radio-frequency controller, and improved the unit’s design.
• MuleShoe Engineering designed a device that can separate natural gas from the water pumped out of natural gas wells. Marion Vance of Los Alamos analyzed MuleShoe’s device through various simulations that provided insight into the physics of how the device works.
• Kids Hardware Kompany owner Tina Bagon discovered that the fastener for her shoehorn for children could be removed, causing a choking hazard. She was matched with Sandia design engineer Trish Selcher, who led a small team in investigating design options and prototypes and used 3D printing to provide a visual representation of the final design.
• Chantal Lau of PediBioMetrix, LLC, is developing devices/interventions to help solve feeding difficulties of premature infants. She worked with LANL engineers Jim Watts and Larry Bronisz on low-cost, high-reliability sensors to document these infants’ sucking, swallowing, and breathing events.
• Foreign material in clay was preventing printing and interrupting the workshops taught by Carrie Quade, Squlptures’ president and artist, who had developed a unique method of using pigmented clay to produce monoprints. Sandia’s Materials Characterization and Performance Department scientist, Amy Allen identified the problematic material as a surfactant and recommended procedures to allow for uninterrupted printing that will allow Quade’s business to resume.
• Phil Kithil of Atmocean and Phil Fullam of Reytek developed a wave-driven pump system that converts wave power into electricity. Sandia’s Rick Givler, a specialist in modeling physical systems, helped the companies assess the feasibility of their offshore arrays of wave-driven pistons. This NMSBA project received the Honorable Speaker Ben Lujan Business Excellence Award for having the greatest business development growth resulting from the technical assistance.