The Minnesota High Tech Association honored 15 Minnesota organizations Wednesday evening for their innovation and technological breakthroughs at the 2013 Tekne Awards in Minneapolis.
Sponsored by the association, the annual awards celebrate Minnesota businesses and organizations that are improving lives, businesses and education. The association presented its 2013 Tekne Awards to the following recipients:
Advanced manufacturing: 3M Co.
The 3M LED advanced light is an innovative replacement light bulb that delivers the form and function of an incandescent bulb, but uses light guide technology to transform the light from a directional point source to a beautiful uniform source of light in a home or business. This innovative product required new manufacturing techniques, processes and significant collaboration across multiple disciplines within 3M. R&D, scale up and commercialization all happened simultaneously, with close cooperation between engineering, manufacturing and business development. The result is a revolutionary new design, built in New Ulm, Minnesota, which exemplifies 3M’s corporate vision.
Agricultural technology: The Toro Co.
Humans are biased toward over-watering, whether at the home-lawn or professional level. Toro provides science-based information and tools to increase the efficiency of water use in agriculture and landscape maintenance. This product uses a rapid, sensor-based mapping system, Toro Precision Sense, to analyze variability in key sites across a landscape. Combined with in-situ soil moisture sensors (Toro Turf Guard) and sophisticated Toro irrigation-control systems, Precision Sense can achieve significant water savings through precision irrigation of large turf areas including golf courses and sports fields. Precision Sense defines site-specific irrigation-management zones, assigns individual sprinkler heads to those zones and pinpoints representative locations in each zone with in-situ soil moisture sensors that provide continuous feedback on soil moisture and salinity conditions.
Computer hardware and electronic devices: Honeywell
Honeywell built its legacy around the home thermostat, which was introduced in the late 1800s. The thermostat remains a core product that directly supports Honeywell’s mission of making the world more energy efficient. In 2013, Honeywell introduced its most advanced thermostat ever, the Prestige IAQ. Smaller by 60 percent than the previous model, the Prestige IAQ is among the smallest, sleekest thermostats on the market. Its touch screen can be customized to any color to complement home decor, or change to purple and yellow during Vikings season. This thermostat uses internal intelligence and smart sensors to control a home’s humidity and ventilation in addition to its temperature. Honeywell’s Total Connect Comfort Services thermostat app allows the thermostat to be controlled remotely with a smart phone, tablet or any Web-connected device.
Education tech: myON, a business unit of Capstone
Within a period of just six months, students at Hillsborough Country Public Schools read over 21 years’ worth of content. The district is not unusually literate: its students are participating in the myON literacy program. MyON is a personalized literacy program that matches the interests and reading levels of students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade to an extensive collection of enhanced digital books. The program includes unlimited access to more than 5,000 digital books, along with flexible reading supports such as text highlighting, an embedded dictionary and recorded audio that help students model fluency. Using students’ reading preferences and abilities as a guide, myON provides recommended reading lists designed to motivate and engage readers of all abilities. Students and educators can measure and track their reading progress through embedded assessments and end-of-the-book quizzes. To date, more than 300 districts are using myON in their schools.
Health care delivery (established company): HealthPartners
Combining proven, evidence-based clinical practices with the convenience of 24/7 access to care and prescriptions, Virtuwell is an online clinic that diagnoses to treat more than 40 common conditions such as sinus infections, flu, allergies and even minor skin conditions. At virtuwell.com, consumers complete an interview and are then connected with nurse practitioners who provide personalized diagnoses and treatment plans. If the condition cannot be treated through Virtuwell, consumers are referred to a medical office. Consumers do not need to be HealthPartners health plan members to use Virtuwell. The service keeps health and payment information secure, and files for insurance. The affordable, convenient, quality care provided by Virtuwell is one of the ways HealthPartners meets its mission to improve the health of members, patients and community.
Health care delivery: (small and growing company): Corventis Inc.
Early detection and effective management of cardiac arrhythmias can help improve the quality of a patient’s life, reduce the risk of complications and lower healthcare costs. Traditional cardiac monitors can be bulky, conspicuous and difficult to use for patients. Corventis’ NUVANT Mobile Cardiac Telemetry (MCT) System helps physicians around the world better diagnose and treat cardiac arrhythmias. Patients are continually monitored via PiiX, an unobtrusive, water-resistant, wearable device designed for patient compliance and comfort. When an arrhythmia is detected, the PiiX device automatically transmits the patient’s ECG via zLink, a wireless data transmitter device, to a cloud-based data-review application. Certified cardiographic technicians at the Corventis Monitoring Center review and analyze the collected ECGs, and provide complete Clinical Summary Reports to prescribing physicians.
Impact on industry (established company): Ecolab
Hydris from Ecolab is an innovative system that combines water, electricity and natural minerals with patented electrolytic cell technology to produce affordable and sustainable cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting solutions for large public and commercial facilities. Combining cutting-edge electrically activated water technology with Ecolab’s expertise in dispensing system control and industry-leading understanding of the interactions between cleaning chemistries and soiled substrates, Hydris delivers three output solutions that meet daily cleaning performance targets and eliminate the need to ship in traditionally-packaged products. This significantly simplifies inventory management, reduces the environmental impact of product shipment, and minimizes packaging waste. Hydris exemplifies Ecolab’s mission of leadership in the field of electrically activated water systems and provides customers with a cost-effective means of delivering cleaner, safer, healthier environments in a sustainable manner.
Impact on industry: (small and growing company): BankCard Services Worldwide