Monday, September 24, 2012

11th Tech Briefing Highlights 10 Breakthroughs

Scientists at Camel City Solar have developed a new version of a solar cell using the wonders of nanotechnology to multiply the efficiency of generating energy from the sun.

Researchers at Wake Forest University have found that beet juice can lower blood pressure, increase blood flow in the brain and improve exercise performance, and they’ve now developed a beet juice that actually tastes good. (Samples were available and many attendees agreed that it now tasted good.)

Technology Crops International scientists  have developed a plant they are calling ahiflower that produces enough omega 3 fatty acids that may alleviate critical shortages of those fatty acids in Western human diets.

And a Forsyth Medical Center pediatrician, Dr. Gretchen Hoyle, is leading a company called MD Online Solutions that aims to improve primary care practices by catching diseases early and reducing the need for referral to specialists and expensive admission of patients to the hospital.

These were just four of the ten presenters at the 11th Annual Tech Briefing, part of the Triad Business and Technology Expo at Benton Convention Center.

Bob Summers, CEO of Camel City Solar, said that flat-panel solar cells are just not efficient enough to meet energy needs. The new form of solar cell using nanotechnology will produce 2-3 times more power over the course of a day. The cylindrical surface of the cell, coated with an ink-like nanotechnology surface, can take advantage of multiple peaks in exposure to the sun.

And to those who argue for energy conservation, Summers told several hundred people at the briefing,  “We cannot save our way out to the need” for increased energy production.

On the beet juice, Dr. Daniel B. Kin-Shapiro, director of WFU’s translational science center said the wonders of beet juice were already recognized by elite athletes. “Thousands of gallons of beet juice were consumed in the Olympic Village.”  

Beet juice works because it is a potent source of nitrate.

Andrew Hebard, president and CEO of Technology Crops International, said the omega 3 fatty acids produced from the ahiflower were the same as the omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil. The ahiflower already is being grown and has the potential to produce substantial quantities in three years that is price-competitive with fish oil and can meet the urgent need for more dietary fatty acids.

Dr. Hoyle said MD Online Solutions might help reduce health care costs by focusing on prevention and other primary care efforts. The online solutions deliver results of tests and other measures quickly to the primary care doctors, enabling them to act quickly on results. 

She noted that Affordable Care Act will strengthen primary care and prevention and perhaps reduce the 17 percent of gross domestic product that is now spent on health care. 

Furthermore, it will help primary care doctors cope with what she called the “silver Tsunami” – the aging  baby boomers, most of whom have at least one chronic condition.  Read more


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