UWM Research Foundation Licenses Fluid Dynamics Tech to Ohio Firm

A foundation that assists with technology transfer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has licensed software designed to educate people about fluid dynamics and air flow to an Ohio-based company, the school said.

Tom Hansen, a graduate student at UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences, developed digital tools designed to let users make ripples in, and perform other interactions with, a two-dimensional “pool” of water. According to an item published by UWM Report, a news service at the school, this pool is actually an image projected onto a screen. People can use their hands to manipulate the fluid thanks to a webcam that’s also part of Hansen’s system.

The UWM Research Foundation has reportedly licensed the software to Reynoldsburg, OH-based Science Kinetics, which creates educational exhibits for use in public places, including museums.

The university did not disclose financial terms of the licensing deal.

Being able to simulate—and teach people about—fluid interactions has potential applications in a number of fields, Hansen told UWM Report.

“Computer models of flows are already commonly used in multiple fields like oceanography, engineering, biology, and medicine,” he said. “But these are very complex systems and users usually have to undergo extensive training and have intimate knowledge of the mathematics and physics to understand it.”

The first time Hansen demonstrated the system publicly was at the Milwaukee Maker Faire, an annual gathering for engineers, artists, and craftspeople.

One way the UWM Research Foundation supports the commercialization of scientific and engineering discoveries is through its Catalyst Grant Program. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. recently awarded $33,000 to the foundation to help fund healthcare-related ventures through a pilot program called “I-Corps for Health.”

Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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