Engineering Professor’s Company One of Three Startups Recognized at Mizzou Event


Mizzou Engineering faculty were recognized last month for taking their research ideas to market. Professor Yi Shang’s company, TigerAware, was among just three from across campus recognized for becoming startups and making first sales of products using MU technologies.

The Office of Research and Economic Development hosted “Taking Your ideas to Market” on April 29. The celebration aimed to honor Mizzou innovators who saw success during the July 2019 to December 2020 time period.

Shang is the director of graduate studies for the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. He founded TigerAware, along with Timothy Trull, Curators’ Professor in psychological sciences, in 2018. The company made its first sale in early 2020.

TigerAware is a cross-platform software system that makes it easier for researchers to collect behavioral data in real time using a smart phone app.

Unlike other commercial survey tools, TigerAware provides intensive surveys that can be used in the field to collect in-depth information. Survey participants answer questions about day-to-day routines and activities. The system provides notifications to remind users to complete their surveys, and responses can trigger follow-up questions. For instance, if a person were participating in an alcohol study and recorded having a drink, they could then be asked the type of drink and how much they consumed.

“These ecological momentary assessments provide a particular way of finding out what people are doing in their natural environments through very intensive surveys,” Shang said. “There’s a great need in the area of psychological studies. Existing tools cannot fulfill what researchers want. We have a product that people need.”

Shang and the TigerAware team, which includes former students, are now working with more than 10 academic clients across the country, including Brown University, UC Irving, Arizona State University, Harvard Medical School, Florida State University, etc. They just hired the company’s first account manager, and Shang is hopeful they can expand into new industries such as health care.

Other Engineers Honored

During the campus-wide event, Mizzou recognized 29 U.S. patents issued, 70 license and option agreements with industry partners they made, and 126 invention disclosures they had between July 2019 and December 2020.

Other Mizzou Engineering affiliated faculty and students honored include:

MU INVENTORS WITH U.S. PATENTS

Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization tool (Patent 10,434,032)
This ergonomic, therapeutic physical therapy tool is designed to treat different tissue types and areas of the body while allowing clinicians the flexibility to hold it comfortably.
MU inventors: Jaya Ghosh (Biomedical, Biological & Chemical Engineering), Teresa Graff

Instrument to close fascia during laparoscopic surgery (Patent 10,548,580)
This lightweight instrument simplifies suturing of the deep facia and peritoneum in the anterior abdominal wall following arthroscopic surgery.
MU inventors: Jaya Ghosh

User identity authentication using visual storytelling (Patent 10,467,400)
A software methodology for authenticating a user based on the user’s knowledge and gaze tracking, adding security for highly sensitive information.
MU inventors: Chi-Ren Shyu and Jeffrey K. Uhlmann (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science)

Continuous-wave ultrasound measurement system (Patent 10,697,875) The first device for noninvasive measurement of viscoelastic properties opens up a number of new applications, such as process control in the food and beverage industry and other manufacturing areas.
MU inventors: Nilesh Salvi and Jinglu Tan (Biomedical, Biological & Chemical Engineering)

Controlled laser light delivery method for dermatological procedures (Patent 10,456,198)
This method eliminates the air gap between the handpiece and skin that delivers laser light to the target tissue, reducing the likelihood of injury to patients undergoing tattoo removal or other dermatological procedures.
MU inventors: Randy D. Curry (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science), Nicholas J. Golda,  

Ambient vibration energy-harvesting device (Patent 10,447,135)
A compact cantilever beam converts low-frequency ambient oscillations into high frequency vibrations that are efficiently converted into electrical power.
MU inventors: Mahmoud Almasri (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science) 

Energetic nanocomposite materials for defense applications (Patent 10,336,661)
Nanothermite and functionalized graphene self-assembled mixtures increase mechanical strength, impulse and reactivity while decreas­ing sensitivity to electrostatic discharge.
MU inventors: Keshab Gangopadhyay, Shubhra Gangopadhyay (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science)

Energy production from spent nuclear reactor fuel (Patent No. 10,373,723)
Neutron energy released by spent fuel nuclear control rods is converted into light energy and then to electricity by photovol­taic cells.
MU inventors: Robert V. Tompson Jr (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering). and Mark A. Prelas (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science)

Fabrication method for atomic batteries (Patent 10,706,983)
This method is a safe microfabrication process to mass produce batteries that are activated by exposure to radiation.
MU inventors: John Michel Gahl, Jae Wan Kwon (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science) and Bradley Ryan Nullmeyer  

Manufacturing method for multilayer nanograting (Patent 10,490,679)
Nanostructures fabricated using soft lithography enhance the fluorescence detection of biological and chemical species a hundredfold in fluorescence and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy.
MU inventors: Keshab Gangopadhyay, Shubhra Gangopadhyay, Sheila A. Grant (Biomedical, Biological & Chemical Engineering), Cherian Joseph Mathai

Optically controlled semiconductor switch (Patent 10,790,405)
A power device activated using this electro-optic switch will turn on more quickly, use less power and operate at higher frequencies and temperatures.
MU inventor: Randy Curry (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science),

Radiolytic electro­chemical generator (Patent 10,566,638)
Similar to how a battery converts chemical energy to electrical energy, this new device converts radiation energy to electrical energy.
MU inventors: Jae Wan Kwon

INVENTORS WITH TECHNOLOGIES LICENSED TO A COMPANY

Hadi Ali Akbarpour, Filiz Bunyak, Kannappan Palaniappan (advanced drone surveillance technologies) (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science)

Peter Cornish, Keshab Gangopadhyay, Shubhra Gangopadhyay, Sheila A. Grant, and Cherian Joseph Mathai  (noninvasive, ultra-sensitive, low-cost molecular detection system to diagnose tuberculosis and other infectious diseases)

Aaron Gray and Marjorie Skubic (knee joint angle measurement during landing and jumping for diagnosing susceptibility to injury) (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science)

Giovanna Guidoboni (a mathematical model for interpreting data generated in a ballistocardiogram) (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science)

Judith H. Miles and Gang (Gary) Yao (a device to measure pupillary light reflex in infants and toddlers) (Biomedical, Biological & Chemical Engineering)

Shramik Sengupta (detection of early-onset sepsis) (Biomedical, Biological & Chemical Engineering)

INVENTOR WITH TECHNOLOGIES OPTIONED TO A COMPANY

Roger Fales (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering)

INVENTORS WHO SUBMITTED INVENTION DISCLOSURES

Biomedical, Biological & Chemical Engineering

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Information Technology

Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Nuclear Engineering Students

  • Brad D. Jeffries
  • Valentina O’Donnell

*Previous researchers no longer affiliated with Mizzou have been omitted.

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