Age No Barrier to Creating Jobs


Age is no barrier to invention. At the 11/12 NJEN poster session at Princeton University’s Friend Center, I had a lively discussion with a student from Ghana, Ekua Bentil (shown above), who took sensor equipment (mid-infrared open-path gas sensors) to Ghana to measure wood smoke inhaled by women who dry fish over burning wood.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Nat Cooperman (shown talking to Valery Herrington) has one of those ideas that are so smart you don’t know why someone didn’t think of it: inexpensive freezing and overheat indicators. Cooperman brings out his little pellet disks, and you think he’s offering you a mint, but no, they show how crystals have changed with the temperature – an inexpensive way to prove whether a vaccine shipment got too hot or too cold. Look for him and his poster at Biotech 2009’s expo in Philadelphia on Tuesday, November 17.

Other favorites: Sanford Roth’s point of care ultrasound device for bone fractures (www.medsonics.com), Carl Mattocks’ CheckMi, using algorithms to link personal health records (PHRs) to billing, and Gregory Emsellem, a Parisian who is here at the university to test Elwing Company’s propulsion technology for the satellite industry. Each is relevant to companies that are already here: Medsonics for Abbott Point of Care (i-Stat), CheckMi to ZweenaHealth, and Elwing to Propulsion Science and Technology, among others.

Also here, Rick Weiss of Viocare, whom I have written about frequently for U.S. 1 Newspaper. He is known for his success in leveraging grants and his generosity in sharing that knowledge. He has teamed with Ajay Divakaran of Sarnoff for a tool for epidemiologists and clinicians, a cell phone app that automatically estimates food volume. Weiss has several products on the market for clinical nutritionists, and locally he is famous for Princeton Living Well, the multifaceted healthy lifestyle project that taps the power of the Internet and social media to promote diabetes prevention, weight control, and general wellness.

Most of these enterprises lack the needed ingredient, funding. On Wednesday, I went into evangelist mode, plumping for Princeton Job Creation Forum, a very young grassroots volunteer effort to stimulate the economy of the state through commercial innovation. PJCF will have a website in a couple of weeks, and in late January, perhaps January 26, PJCF will have a “speed dating session” with lenders and potential investors on one side of the table and entrepreneurs on the other. To be informed of that, email David Sandhal at info@pjcf.org. Whether through NJEN, NJEDA, SBDC, or PJCF, in this economy, we need all ages, all hands on deck.

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