Many people experience those “lightbulb” moments when they dream up an idea for a great new product or technology. Getting from lightbulb to reality, though, is often overly complicated and prohibitively expensive. Dr. Clay Davis, an Evansville dermatologist, is determined to bring his brainstorms to life, and knows where to turn for the required expertise: Rose-Hulman Ventures.
“I knew of Rose-Hulman as a top-notch engineering school and knew there were lots of bright minds there,” he says. As he pondered where to turn for help with his new-product ideas, “some local professionals, physicians and engineers highly recommended going to Rose-Hulman Ventures for prototyping.”
Dr. Davis says he has three different projects in the works at Rose-Hulman Ventures. The first is a consumer food dispensing product, which he says is approaching prototype finalization, and the others are medical-related products.
One of the medical products has to do with acne treatment, he says. The other is an improvement on adhesive bandages to make them more tailored to different kinds of injuries, whether bee sting or burn or abrasion. “They are helping me along with a team of one lead engineer and a group of four undergraduate students working on my projects,” Davis says.
Product development of that type can require a variety of different scientific expertise, he notes, which makes the multidisciplinary Rose-Hulman Ventures a good fit. “We’ve worked on everything from thermoelectric cooling, so definitely electrical engineering, and a lot of CAD and 3D printing, and also experimenting with gaseous cooling agents, so we’re getting into a little chemical engineering. We’ve got a little bit of everything.”
Dr. Davis is pleased with the Rose-Hulman Ventures experience for a number of reasons. For one thing, it is far more cost-effective than some other consulting options he has looked into. “I chose Rose-Hulman Ventures because I’d done some research with turnkey companies that will take your idea all the way through the FDA, and the cost was just astronomical.”
Just as important, he’s grateful for the partnership attitude. He mentions the mentoring he has gotten from Rob Davignon, his project manager, who has gone above and beyond by sending additional information and helping Dr. Davis think through next steps once products are successfully prototyped.
And Dr. Davis is impressed by the opportunity to tap into both seasoned engineering expertise and the inquisitive minds of students. “I think a unique experience with Rose-Hulman Ventures has been the ability to bring in all these really bright, young, innovative minds from these undergraduate students who really rethink how things are done,” he says. “They bring a lot of creativity to the projects. It’s also good to have the lead engineer say, ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ these are good ideas or not, while still getting the creativity.”