Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Boston's iSHOE wins Lunar Ventures Eighth Continent Business Plan Competition

On March 30, Lunar Venture's 8th Continent Blog featured a posting critical of the Denver Post for lumping NewSpace organizations with political player powerhouses in being "busy behind the scenes" lobbying presidential candidates to support NASA after the November elections in the United States.

This morning, the Post's dBusinessNews features a press release announcing the Colorado Springs-based Lunar Ventures had awarded Boston's iSHOE had won their Second Annual $50,000 prize for younger NewSpace teams. It's the local Power Daily newspaper, anyway, so what can anyone say but, "down one day, up the next."

Even so, iSHOE faces immediate problems with Apple and Nike, two OldInnerSpace giants for branding rights to the name "iSHOE." Both multi-nationals joined recently to create a designer sneaker than might actually be worth the name brand price, which include - an iPod, apparently. That sure is a stinky computer, you've got -- can you put them back on?

GOLDEN Boston start-up iShoe wins $50,000 in cash and support services in the 8th Continent Project’s second annual Lunar Ventures business plan competition and secures a spot in the Global Moot Corp Competition for the potential to win $100,000 in prizes.

iShoe builds on NASA-developed technology originally created to help detect balance problems in astronauts returning from space. Theresa Tribble from Harvard University, and Erez Lieberman from the Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Science and Technology, created the iShoe insole to detect balance disorders for everyday people, potentially preventing serious falls. Besides tracking balance inequities, iShoe’s technology serves an even greater purpose for the elderly or disabled – the ability to automatically signal a caregiver in case of an accident such as a fall or slip.

"iShoe represents an important component to the Space 2.0 equation – taking existing space derived technology developed by NASA and making it viable for emerging, Earth-based applications," said Burke Fort, director of the 8th Continent Project at the Colorado School of Mines. "Each Lunar Ventures team provides a glimpse of what the coming era of space business is going to look like, and the very real possibilities for the next wave of development and practical applications of existing and emerging technologies."

Pyramid Technologies, the runner-up in the 2008 Lunar Ventures competition, is the MIT-based developer of a revolutionary, cost-effective space propulsion system for Earth-orbiting satellites. Its Electrospray technology also is immediately useful for high-precision semiconductor production. Pyramid currently is a semifinalist in the esteemed MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition.

This year’s competition featured finalists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Utah State University, Purdue University, Johns Hopkins University and Boston University. Business plans employed space technology that varied from satellite-derived positional data applications, biomass-to-electricity technology, low-water-content concrete for lunar and arid location Earth construction, and an unparalleled digital library of satellite data and telemetry.

“iShoe and Pyramid Technologies join the 2007 Lunar Ventures winner Lumedyne Technologies as well as the many 8th Continent Project Founding Sponsors in defining Space 2.0 and leading the vision of our future,” Fort added.

Competing university teams from around the world developed their concepts during the 2007 fall semester, and submitted their business plans to a panel of judges with both technical and business expertise. The judges selected 6 finalist teams to compete for the cash prize and additional services, including legal advice from the IP law firm Townsend and Townsend and Crew, to help launch their ventures, and an automatic entry in the $100,000 Global Moot Corp Competition.

About the 8th Continent Project

"Based out of Golden, Colorado, the Colorado School of Mines’ 8th Continent Project is the world’s most comprehensive effort to integrate space technology and resources into the global economy. The 8th Continent provides the infrastructure and resources to solve a wide range of challenges from renewable energy development to biomedical advances to global security. Located in Colorado, home of one of the most concentrated entrepreneurial, investor and aerospace talent communities in the world, the 8th Continent Project brings space down to Earth with the industry’s first trade association, business incubator, funding network and research center, all working together to develop the next generation of space-related business ventures. More information can be found at www.8cproject.com."

For more information on Lunar Ventures, please visit www.8clunarventures.com.

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