Judge Larry Huang (right) presents AlpZhi members Greg Sheridan (left) and Amit S. Jariwala with the Innovators Award. The team also won First Place for its plan to market micro-lens technology.
Published on:03-15-2010AlpZhi, whose company evolved in the TI:GER® (Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results) Program, won first place in the Georgia Tech Business Plan Competition on March 12.
Judges honored AlpZhi with the $10,000 prize for its innovative manufacturing process for micro-lenses. This process facilitates an improvement in the design flexibility of micro-lenses and the devices that incorporate them, including digital cameras, cell phones, LCD computer screens, and fiber-optic equipment.
In addition to the first prize, AlpZhi also won the $10,000 Innovators Award, which recognizes a potentially disruptive technology. AlpZhi's technology will enable creation of such advanced products as 3D TVs, flexible displays, compact bio-sensors, and high-efficiency solar panels.
The team includes Amit S. Jariwala, a PhD student in mechanical engineering; Brian Baum, an Emory law student; Greg Sheridan, an MBA student, and Fei Ding, a post-doctoral fellow in mechanical engineering. Jariwala, Baum, and Sheridan participate in TI:GER, a collaboration between Georgia Tech and Emory Law School that brings together science and engineering PhD, MBA, and law students to work on commercializing technologies.
Jariwala, who is working on the AlpZhi micro-fabrication technology for his PhD, explained it "allows for manufacturing eight times faster and one-sixth the current cost of competing technologies, eventually leading to faster market entry of next generation imaging devices."
AlpZhi employs a computer-controlled system involving the addition of photosensitive resins to create lenses of precise dimensions. However, instead of adding material like AlpZhi, current competing technologies employ more expensive subtractive processes involving etching and the use of hard tools to achieve the desired lens structure. "This additive fabrication approach leads to a better quality lens." says Jariwala, who hopes to the have the company's first generation micro-lens products on the market by 2011.