It's testament to Pat Sullivan for not only lasting 25 years in Hawaii but to actually grow Oceanit and thrive in this arguably isolated market. I remember visiting him some 20 years ago in a small one-man office in downtown Honolulu. Now they command an entire 6th floor space in the Oceanit Center on Fort St. Mall and are expanding on the ground floor to accommodate their lab. The projects they take on seem to have no boundaries. On one side of the floor is Hoana Medical where they develop and market the Lifegurney. Think of Star Trek's Sick Bay beds that read your vital signs as you lie there. On another floor in the Oceanit Lab, work is going on to develop nanoparticles consisting of nanatubes that are filled with toxins. The design of these nanoparticles make them seek out specific cancer cells upon which they bind and inject their toxic payload, killing the cancer cells. In the photo above, programmers have devised a way to read your heart rate by placing your finger on the camera lens of your iPhone. The approach is novel enough to be patentable. In the growing market for personal activity and health monitors this would be a must have. During the short program, Pat Sullivan talked about being disruptive and finding new ways to use technology to make a difference. But it's not only about being smart with technology but it is also about being smart with the connections that will get you there. Obviously Hawaii is a big Department of Defense location and the right Federal connections are important in making the equation work out. Each of the Hawaii delegation to Washington DC were on hand to talk about tech in Hawaii and Oceanit in particular. US Rep. Mazie Hirono, Sen. Daniel Akaka and Sen. Daniel Inouye each spoke. Sen Inouye brought attention to earmarks which he has been publicly criticized for. If you listen to his talk, about 30 minutes into the video, he is no where near giving up on this tool for Federal funding of special projects. All in all a delightful, thought provoking evening about what it takes to survive and thrive in Hawaii's technology industry.
Invent. Disrupt. Inspire. How can you not be intrigued by a company with such a bold motto? This past Friday (9/25), the Bytemarks crew converged on Cellular Bioengineering Inc. for the monthly geek lunch gathering. CBI graciously allowed us the take over their conference room. We usually catch up on the tech happenings around town but on this occasion, Dr. Mark Mugaishi launched into a presentation about some of the interesting projects the company is undertaking. Their flagship products are Eyegenix and Decongel both of which are far enough along the product development cycle to be available in the commercial market. The above photo is one of CBI's newer projects called Trutag (aka PixieTag). They have figured out a way to encode spectral codes onto a pure form of silica, as shown in the monitor on the right. This silica is broken down to very small particles, smaller than a grain of sugar that can be embedded into a drug coating. This can be read by a spectrometer and the corresponding code read to verify authenticity of the shipment, as shown on the monitor to the left. Another interesting project, still in its early stage is eCanary (aka CMC Chip). The idea behind this application, much like the name implies, is to build a device that you can place into a potentially hazardous environment, for example, poisonous gas, radioactive or particulate matter and determine if it is deadly. Instead of using a canary, CBI has developed a bio-sensor which combines live cardiac cells on an electronic detection chip. The integrated bio-electronics can detect responses to the live cells and conclude whether or not there is a hazardous condition. The photo shows a microscopic view of the live cardiac cells. In the image the cells were beating. If they were to stop beating, i.e. die, the electronics would detect this. Mahalos go out to Hank Wuh, Georgette Ulloa, Mark Mugaishi and Mike Oneill for their gracious hospitality and informative tour. Great work being done right here in Hawaii.