OCAST awards $1.9M for research

Projects aimed at producing smarter stop lights, improved body armor and better drug delivery systems were among the 11 research tasks awarded nearly $1.9 million on Tuesday by the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST).

Tuesday’s awards, approved by the OCAST board, are the first in the Oklahoma Applied Research program for fiscal year 2012. All research projects will be completed within three years.

The applied research award winners include the following:

Ardmore-based Amethyst Research Inc., which received $300,000. Amethyst has devised a method that improves the fabrication of high-performance infrared sensors and focal plane arrays.

XploSafe LLC, which received $299,998. The researchers propose to test improvements in the development of materials that eliminate dangers in the training of explosives-detecting dogs and their handlers. XploSafe also was awarded $90,000 to develop explosive sensors designed to better detect peroxide-based explosives.

Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, which received $294,063. The researchers are developing control boards that can process algorithms for modern cooling systems.

Charlesson LLC of Oklahoma City, which received $229,823. The business is seeking therapies for treating diabetic retinopathy.

Pelco Products Inc. of Edmond, which received $197,000. Pelco is developing new LED traffic signals that incorporate symbols and color in the directional display. The new signals can warn motorists of approaching emergency vehicles.

Immuno-Mycologics Inc. of Norman, which received $90,000. The researchers propose to develop a system that could be used even in remote areas that will help in the diagnosis of histoplasmosis, a worldwide disease that is particularly harmful to HIV/AIDS patients.

University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, which received $90,000. Researching a nanotechnology delivery system that could act as a vehicle for therapeutic genes to treat and prevent retinal diseases.

The Charles Machine Works Inc. of Perry, which received $90,000. The firm’s project is designed to evaluate the commercial potential of its GeoFold heat exchanger, which is expected to ease installation and improve efficiency of heat pump systems.

Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, which received $90,000 to extend research into cultures that will be used in food applications to reduce pathogens.

MetCel LLC of Tulsa, which received $44,000. The researchers are investigating improvements that could produce better body armor.

Applied research funds are used for accelerated and proof-of-concept technology. Successful proposals are considered to have significant potential for producing a commercially successful product, process or service likely to benefit the state’s economy.

Independent external peer reviewers evaluate the applied research applications, which are ranked before being presented to the OCAST governing board. Since the program’s inception in 1987, OCAST applied research projects have attracted $16.50 of outside investment for each dollar made available from the state of Oklahoma.

Source: Copyright © 2011, The Oklahoma Publishing Company

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