Mellmo Expands, Larry Smarr Talks Health, & More San Diego BizTech News

11/28/11Follow @bvbigelow

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application for more than $320 million in federal loan guarantees, according to news accounts from Monroe, LA, where the company planned to establish its manufacturing plant. Company executives said Energy Department officials informed them their loan application would not be approved. In a press release, Next Autoworks said, “Recent defaults of other DOE-funded startups have caused the government to re-evaluate its appetite for loans to early-stage companies.”

—The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is providing funding for San Diego-based Critical Assets Labs for a cybersecurity R&D project called “Pin Pad Defender.” The amount of the grant was not disclosed, but the company said it is getting one of the first DARPA grants awarded under its new “Cyber Fast Track Program.” In a statement, Critical Assets CEO Matt Harrigan said, “the program establishes the ability for firms like us to do meaningful research under a federal program, which would otherwise not be possible.”

—NASA said the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, including the new Curiosity rover, is on its way to the Red Planet following a successful liftoff Saturday morning from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Success of the $2.5 billion mission depends on a pair of digital cameras designed and built in San Diego by Malin Space Science Systems. The two cameras are intended to transmit images from the Martian surface from Curiosity, the car-sized rover.

—Kyobo, South Korea’s largest bookstore chain, and San Diego-based Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) said they are introducing a new e-reader that features Qualcomm’s Mirasol display screen technology. The Android-based touchscreen reader will sell in South Korea for the equivalent of $310. Technology Review magazine recently previewed the technology, and reported that the new Mirasol factory Qualcomm has been building in Taiwan for $975 million is expected to begin production in mid-2012.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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