From the Laboratory
President’s Report
Learning-living environments have proven
highly effective in developing the leadership
and teamwork skills that give our graduates
an edge. At their best, they promote the
highest values — camaraderie, responsibility
and a sense of service to the community.
Photo from the Watertown Daily Times
Transforming our Spaces
The Shipley Center for Innovation plays
a central role at the University,
the ideas and breakthrough technologies developed at
Clarkson out of the labs and into the marketplace. Shipley
Center personnel work with faculty, staff and students
to turn their discoveries into marketable products and
services through commercialization and by linking these
innovators and visionaries to potential investors.
“One of the challenges to successful technology
transfer is to help scientists and engineers understand
the process. That’s where we come in,” says Matthew
Draper, deputy director of the Shipley Center. “But we
are also a resource for the wider
community, working with North
Country start-ups, and developing
partnerships between Clarkson and
other institutions.”
At the end of 2012, the
Shipley Center had 111 projects
in the pipeline, including 43
with Clarkson’s Reh Center for
Entrepreneurship. Fifty-six are student-initiated, 14
come from faculty and seven were submitted by alumni.
Healthy Breathing is one of these projects.
A University-Hospital-Industry Partnership
A few years back, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Professor James Carroll and Canton-
Potsdam Chair of Internal Medicine Dr.
Andrei Stoian decided to combine their
expertise in medical science and engineering
to develop a biomedical monitoring device
that would help measure the efficiency and
quality of breathing.
As a cardiologist, Dr. Stoian understood
the importance of healthy breathing as an
essential physiological activity of the body.
“Regulating exchanges of oxygen is the
most important system in nature. If oxygen
saturation is low, it can be a sign of a serious
condition, including cardiovascular or
pulmonary disease.”
What if they could create a wireless device that
would continuously monitor breathing and oxygen in
the blood and alert a patient and his/her doctor to any
irregularities or abnormal fluctuations? Something like
this would provide vital data on a patient’s overall health
as well as identify potentially serious problems.
The two sketched out a rough concept of what they
wanted: a small chest-mounted device that could be
comfortably worn. It would monitor vital signs including
pulse, oxygen saturation and breathing and wirelessly
transmit the data to a receiver, such as a smart phone.
Working with the Shipley Center, they transformed
their university-hospital collaboration into an official
partnership and created Healthy Breathing LLC.
Carroll first worked with Honors students Douglas
Dawson ’10 and Owen Manley ’11 to study the
underlying technologies. “It was pretty clear that the
signal processing component was complex and we could
use some additional expertise in this area,” he says.
Enter Dan Rissacher ’00, ’11. Rissacher received his
B.S. in computer engineering at Clarkson in 2000. He
later became the University’s first off-campus electrical &
computer engineering Ph.D. student, serving as an F-16
pilot in the Vermont Air National Guard and in defense-
related engineering work while completing his doctorate.
Last August, Rissacher relocated to Potsdam (with
his pediatrician wife Patty Waterhouse Rissacher ’99) to
join the company as the COO and principal investigator.
“I decided there was enough promise here to leave a six-
figure job to develop the prototype without pay. Now we
are looking for the right investor to allow us to transition
from prototype to production.”
With Dr. Stoian’s involvement and support from the
hospital, the company has access to its facilities, medical
experts and patients.
“The device really is revolutionary and the
possibilities for the usage of the data are endless,”
Rissacher says. “The initial product will be an inexpensive
consumer device for healthy individuals who want to
improve their well-being, but medical versions will soon
follow. The medical devices will allow physicians to
prescribe home use providing 24/7 monitoring during
normal daily activity and monitor vitals real-time
remotely. Further applications include sports medicine,
infant monitoring, asthma care and Apnea detection.”
Learn more at:
projects in
Daniel Rissacher ’00, ’11; Prof. James Carroll and Dr. Andrei Stoian.
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