New Companies to Market UNC-CH Technologies 

CHAPEL HILL (June 21, 2000) -- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has signed license agreements with three new companies that will commercialize computer graphics technology developed by UNC-CH computer scientists. 

"The department of computer science has a worldwide reputation for the development of new technology," said Tim Quigg, associate chairman of the department. "It's always exciting when the technology can proliferate through commercial channels to a worldwide user community." 

The agreements cover three different technologies: 

DeltaSphere -- a 3-D laser scanner and scene digitizer that enables the capture and creation of an accurate 3-D model of room-sized objects and spaces for use in construction, maintenance, set design for film and video, Web and game design, accident reconstruction and security. 

HiBall Tracker -- a wide-area, high-performance optical tracking system that provides very accurate position and orientation information for use in virtual and augmented reality, training, simulation and entertainment. 

NanoManipulator -- a unique user interface, with force-feedback and 3-D visualization, for an atomic force microscope that provides scientists new tools for research in biotechnology, materials development and other disciplines. The NanoManipulator allows users to clearly see and manipulate atoms, viruses and other microscopic objects. 

The companies are the first created by 3rdTech Inc., a business incubator that develops new technologies into businesses and products. "Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have a history of creating exciting new technology," said Nick England, president and chief executive officer of 3rdTech Inc. "It is 3rdTech's mission to be the channel for this technology by creating companies which can turn research into products to be used by a wide audience." 

3rdTech worked with the inventors of the licensed technologies to form the new technology holding companies -- DeltaSphere Inc., HiBall Tracker Inc. and NanoManipulator Inc. Staff at 3rdTech will develop and market products based on these technologies. The goal is to spin off the individual companies through venture capital investment or buy-out by another company. The inventors are the principal owners of the three individual companies, with both 3rdTech Inc. and UNC-CH owning small percentages of each. 

The agreements provide for ongoing technology transfer between university researchers and the three start-up companies. The university researchers will continue to improve the technologies, while the start-ups will commercialize them through hardware and software engineering, feature enhancement and manufacturing. Each organization will benefit, Quigg said. The university gains a wide user base for its technology and access to manufactured, supported products to use in its research efforts. In addition, he said, 3rdTech gains access to leading technology as a foundation for product development. Besides equity in the new companies, the university also will receive royalties on all sales of products incorporating any aspect of the licensed technologies. 

"The UNC Office of Technology Development is very pleased with the three technology licensing agreements and with the development of a high-tech incubator focusing on UNC-CH," said Dr. Fran Meyer, director of the university's Office of Technology Development. "These agreements exemplify (the office's) mission of enabling transfer of technology from the university to the marketplace in a manner that is beneficial to all parties."

Note: Doug Schiff, media contact for 3rdTech, can be reached at (919) 929-1903, dbs@3rdtech.com. More information can also be found at 3rdTech's Web site, www.3rdTEch.com. Quigg can be reached at (919) 962-1777, quigg@cs.unc.edu. Meyer can be reached at (919) 966-3929, fran_meyer@unc.edu.

News Services contact: Mike McFarland