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Showing posts from October 2011. Show all posts

Spotlight on Innovation: Blue Sky Designs

Posted on October 21, 2011 at 2:56 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week.

Dianne Goodwin founded Blue Sky Designs in Minneapolis in 1997, with the goal of designing innovative products to help people with disabilities. For the average Minnesotan, it is easy to take for granted some of the simplest joys of life, such as going camping, taking a fishing trip, or even using a computer. For those with disabilities, these activities pose many challenges. The products designed by Dianne and the team at Blue Sky Designs address these challenges and enable individuals with disabilities to lead rich lives. 

With a background in rehabilitative engineering and product design prior to founding Blue Sky Designs, Dianne possessed a strong sense of ergonomics and universal design, or more simply put, “how to develop products that help people do what they want to do.” Blue Sky Designs first focused on developing custom designs for disabled individuals. These products were specially designed to serve one person’s very specific needs. In 2002, Blue Sky Designs transitioned into broader product development, shifting their focus to building commercially-available products with commonly sought benefits.


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Spotlight on Innovation: Twin Star Medical

Posted on October 21, 2011 at 2:11 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week.

Twin Star Medical is a Minnesota medical technology company pioneering the use of microporous catheters to aspirate and to infuse fluids as a local therapeutic intervention for a number of unmet medical needs.  The first product to be introduced by Twin Star Medical has obtained FDA clearance and is being launched in the U.S. to treat complications from fractures.

The Department of Defense is funding clinical studies for additional FDA indications along with other product modifications for use in theater.  A second product resulting from Twin Star’s research is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) catheter, for which pivotal animal studies have been completed. It is poised for human studies next year.  Localized drug delivery is the next focus for the Twin Star Medical technology, with the initial clinical indications for direct delivery of cancer drugs to the tumor and surrounding tissue, across a range of tumor locations.


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Governor Dayton talks economic development in Duluth at Chamber dinner

Posted on October 21, 2011 at 1:55 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

Last night, Governor Dayton was the keynote speaker at the 141st annual Duluth Chamber of Commerce dinner. The Governor spoke about the importance of investing in education and infrastructure, and praised Duluth’s public and private sectors for working successfully together.  

"We face economic challenges throughout our state, but as Duluth shows people pulling together and the public sector private sector working together, it generates the jobs that keep people here and keep the city vibrant,” Governor Dayton said after taking the stage to a standing ovation, according to WDIO-ABC.


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Spotlight on Innovation: AUM Cardiovascular

Posted on October 21, 2011 at 10:54 AM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week.

AUM Cardiovascular is a Minnesota company that helps doctors better diagnose and treat blockages in the heart with a device called the CADence System.  The founder of the company, Dr. Marie Johnson, developed algorithms and signal processing techniques used to detect and analyze heart disease after losing her husband to a heart attack in 2002.  AUM Cardiovascular and its talented team turned what was a tragedy into 2011’s top innovation, the CADence system.

The CADence system is a non-invasive, hand-held device capable of detecting coronary artery disease in roughly 20 seconds.  Compared to other tests, the CADence system is much faster, does not require a dedicated space or specialized staff, has very little cost for each patient, and also does not require pharmaceutical dye.  These revolutionary features make the CADence test more practical and readily available.


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Governor Dayton Outlines New Way of Doing Business in Minnesota

Posted on October 20, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Today Governor Dayton held a press conference to announce progress on major reforms to reduce cost and improve government service, and announced his administration's approach to government reform. He was joined by Chief of Staff Tina Smith and Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson.

Smith detailed the Dayton Administration’s approach to building a better government for a better Minnesota, saying that the effort is changing the way that state government does business. 

Smith also unveiled a new website that will provide a place for Minnesotans to track the progress of reforms taking place in state government. Information on both current and future reform efforts can be found at http://mn.gov/governor/initiatives/better-government.

Over the last ten months, every state agency has taken steps to improve their operations and today Commissioner Lucinda Jesson highlighted the results achieved through the Department of Human Services’ effort to reform how the state buys health care in order to get quality care at a better price.

better-govt-photo.jpg


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Spotlight on Innovation: Naiku

Posted on October 20, 2011 at 2:02 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week.
 
Naiku, which translates to “teacher” in Lao, is a mobile learning company that delivers innovative assessment solutions to schools and is leading the next revolution in K-12 education. 

Naiku’s SaaS platform provides teachers with outstanding real-time insight into the strengths and needs of their students, facilitating personalized instruction. Through online assessments and proprietary data mining algorithms, Niaku can identify each student’s learning profile. This empowers teachers to adapt and personalize instruction for each student.

The Naiku team first came together when Adisack Nhouyvanisvong Ph.D. and Corey Thompson met in the MBA program at the University Of Minnesota Carlson School Of Management. After graduation, the two founded Naiku in November of 2010.

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Spotlight on Innovation: Xollai

Posted on October 20, 2011 at 1:12 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week.

Xollai is a Minnesota systems engineering firm founded by four classmates at the University of St. Thomas in 2008.  Robert Malecki, Ryan Thompson, Lue Her, and Anthony Giang were dubbed “The Dream Team” by their professors and peers for their ability to create solutions to problems that had previously been thought to be impossible. The students first gained notoriety for their work on an advanced automated guidance technology for unmanned aerial vehicles. After being told that such a technology could not be done, they decided to take their work one step further. In Robert Malecki’s living room, they formed a company to take their first product, xOARS, to market.

Since then, Xollai has pioneered advances in feedback control systems for unmanned aerial vehicles, advanced image processing for computerized recognition, and visualized audio analysis for musicians. The company is now headquartered on University Avenue in St. Paul and has grown to 10 employees. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of private and public grants have been used to fund Xollai’s growth and research. One million dollars are currently being sought by Xollai to bring its products to market.

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Spotlight on Innovation: ReconRobotics

Posted on October 20, 2011 at 9:11 AM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week.

When a tactical police unit is faced with a dangerous situation, reconnaissance can be the difference between life and death. In these cases, it is vital to have a clear sense of the surroundings, the position of the gunmen, and the condition of any other people on the scene. Units looking to get the best recon without putting their men needlessly at risk have turned to an exciting new partner: robots. From an otherwise normal looking office building, adjacent to a golf course in Edina, robots are the business of ReconRobotics.

The robots that the company builds provide essential assistance to police units and military squads, giving them the recon needed to act safely and decisively. The company’s foremost robot is the Recon Scout Throwbot. With two wheels connected by a cylindrical chassis, the robot resembles a dumbbell. Piloting the robot from a distance, the user receives real-time video from wherever the robot goes.

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Spotlight on Innovation: EarthClean

Posted on October 19, 2011 at 12:18 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week. 

EarthClean is a Minnesota-based innovator in the field of delivering more effective, environmentally friendly, fire suppressant products.  EarthClean prides itself on building an international company with a goal “to change the way the world fights fires.” 

There has been growing concern over the toxicity of existing firefighting foams and how they can be harmful to fish, mammals, plants and the watershed.  EarthClean’s first product, TetraKO, is a direct response to this concern. 

Unlike all other products in its category, TetraKO employs a patented formula that provides an incredibly effective fire suppressant when mixed with water.  This technology transforms water into a gel that can be pumped through standard firefighting equipment and adheres to structures and vegetation creating a fire suppression coating. Once the gel is heated by fire, TetraKO converts to a steam that quickly suffocates the fire.  EarthClean hopes that TetraKO will have a significant impact in reducing fire damage, loss of lives, water damages and loss of wildlife, while providing better protection to fire fighters and to the environment.


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Minnesota Department of Commerce rolls out financial literacy action plan

Posted on October 19, 2011 at 11:36 AM
Categories: Commerce

The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced this week the launch of a multifaceted consumer outreach action plan focused on financial literacy. The plan consists of 12 specific initiatives aimed at helping educate consumers from Kindergarten to retirement.

“Considering the many hardships facing Minnesotans in this economy, it has never been more important to empower consumers of all ages with the knowledge and resources necessary to make responsible, informed financial decisions,” said Commissioner Rothman. “The Minnesota Department of Commerce, as one of the state’s consumer advocates, has a mission-driven responsibility to contribute what resources, expertise, and services we can to this important effort.”

The 12 initiatives are the result of a collaborative Financial Literacy Roundtable conversation hosted last April by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

The steps include direct outreach to consumers, improving online tools for financial literacy, collaborating with the federal government and other state agencies, and more.

Click here to read more details about all 12 steps.


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