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Explorations in Science and Technology

Pitt Tech Launches Start-Up Companies


The number of Pitt innovations that moved from the lab to commercialization increased by 31 percent during the University's 2011 fiscal year, compared with the previous year.

The increase in commercialization activity resulted in 105 licenses or options to industry, plus two start-up companies for Pitt technology.

More than 400 Pitt researchers submitted invention disclosures last year. Among them was Marlin Mickle, the Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor in the Swanson School of Engineering, whose research led to the company Ortho-Tag, Inc. The company designs radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology for tracking and monitoring prosthetic joints. The tiny tags, attached to implanted prostheses, allow orthopaedic doctors to obtain specific information about a joint by waving a wand over the prosthesis to capture recorded data.

Another business, LINC Design, LLC, was started by Linda van Roosmalen, a former visiting professor in Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and Michael Turkovich, a Pitt bioengineering doctoral student. They developed a new barrier system to contain wheelchairs and restrain wheelchair-seated passengers when they are traveling in large accessible transit vehicles. Their technology formed the basis of LINC Design.

The launching of Ortho-Tag and LINC Design raised the total number of start-up companies created from Pitt technologies to 80 since the University’s Office of Technology Management was established in 1996.