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University of Iowa News Release


University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 8, 2006

Engineering Announces 2006 Storer Entrepreneurial Award Winner

The University of Iowa College of Engineering has announced that a student-run business -- OMR Sensors Inc. -- is the winner of the 2006 Hubert E. Storer Engineering Student Entrepreneurial Start-up Award.

The annual award, established in 2002 and funded by an endowed gift from College of Engineering alumnus Hubert E. Storer, will provide $5,000 of initial financial support for the College of Engineering student technological business plan.

OMR Sensors Inc. is a start-up company that plans to develop prototype interactive display (touch screen) applications. OMR initially will focus on developing touch screen point-of-sale applications, such as those used at retail store checkout counters, and license the ability to manufacture various applications to other companies.

OMR was formed by four inventors in 2005, in cooperation with the UI Research Foundation (UIRF), to capitalize on discoveries made by the UI's Organic Semiconductor Device Research Group. In particular, the group discovered that the electrical resistance of semiconducting polymer devices is unusually sensitive to magnetic fields. Commercial applications of such devices, used in relatively inexpensive organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), include plastic computer display screens, computer storage units and related items.

The CEO and president is Markus Wohlgenannt, assistant professor in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of Physics and Astronomy. The other active members are his doctoral student Govindarajan Veeraraghavan and former student Dr. Omer Mermer who is currently a postdoctoral student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Between them, they have produced 11 journal and four conference publications and have applied for a U.S patent and an international patent through the UIRF in the field of organic magnetoresistance devices (OMAR). Wohlgenannt has also written two book chapters on OMAR.

The Storer Awards are named for Hubert E. Storer, president, owner and founder of Storer Equipment Company of Shreveport, La., who earned his bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering from the UI College of Engineering in 1959.

The awards complement the UI Technological Entrepreneurship Certificate, earned in conjunction with an engineering degree and established in 1996 by the College of Engineering and the Henry B. Tippie College of Business. The first of its kind at any U.S. engineering college, the nationally recognized program enables students to study the entrepreneurial process as it relates to technology.

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