Tour of Texas: Dell, Dignitana, AT&T’s Foundry, U of H, Merge VR

Let’s catch up with innovation news from around the Lone Star state.

Austin:

Dell Computer is putting up for sale its IT services businesses—formerly known as Perot Systems—to raise cash to help pay for its acquisition of EMC. Japan’s NTT Data is expected to pay $3 billion for the business. Dell announced last October that it was buying EMC, which is based in Hopkinton, MA.

Dallas:

—A cooling cap that can help reduce hair loss in cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy has received approval from the FDA and is now available at 10 cancer centers in the US, according to maker Dignitana. The Swedish company, which has its US headquarters in Dallas, says the cap uses a proprietary liquid that is cooled using sensors that monitors the patient’s scalp.

—The Dallas Innovation Alliance—a consortium of businesses such as AT&T, the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, and local civic groups—has named its first executive director. Jennifer Sanders, who was most recently with a Dallas communications consultancy, will lead the group in its mission to promote sustainable economic growth. The initiative is part of a nationwide effort led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

—AT&T has plans to open one of its Foundry skunkworks in Houston. To get an idea of the sorts of innovative projects the Foundry works on, I went to the Dallas area to meet AT&T executives in charge of leading these efforts. They will be working with Houston staff to support health IT projects at the Texas Medical Center.

Houston:

—A longtime veteran of Southern California Edison has become the first director of the University of Houston’s Advanced Superconductor Manufacturing Institute. Syed Ahmed, who has worked on projects such as the U.S. Department of Energy’s High Temperature Superconductivity Initiative, will led the new institute which aims to promote superconductor use across industries.

San Antonio:

—Virtual reality is riding a wave of popularity, one that experts say will extend beyond the gaming world. Xconomy’s David Holley spoke with Andrew Trickett, co-founder of Merge VR, a virtual reality headset maker based in San Antonio, TX.

Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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