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21 November 2017

We are living in a wondrous world

November issue editorial from Thierry Heles, editor, Global University Venturing

Author: Thierry Heles, editor

One of the great joys of working in the tech transfer sector is the opportunity to see ground-breaking technologies make their way to market before anyone else comes across them, and in this month’s magazine we have not one but two comments from people in the industry who take a look at why they love their job and why others should join them.

While it may take slightly longer for an invention to make it onto Global University Venturing’s radar than a TTO staff member’s desk, the same joy still applies – particularly in those thrilling moments that really underline that we live in a technological future a lot of us have dreamed of growing up.

We may not have jet-packs (yet), but we do have self-driving cars. What we may also have soon are food replicators – those machines from Star Trek where crew tell a machine what sustenance they desire and it appears in front of them as if out of thin air.

Yissum, the commercialisation arm of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, introduced a technology last month that enables the 3D printing of personalised food based on nano-cellulose, a natural, edible, calorie-free fibre.

Based on research by Oded Shoseyov, a professor at the Robert H Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, and Ido Braslavsky, director of the Inter-Faculty Biotechnology Program and head of the BSc Program at the Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science, and Nutrition, the platform is able to produce items catered to dietary requirements of coeliac people, diabetes sufferers or vegans – among countless other options.

It might not be quite like living on the USS Enterprise, but what a wondrous age we live in.

A wondrous age that, it turns out, may even teach us things about light we never knew. In the US, researchers at the Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have created nanostructured materials that are able to generate completely new states of light, exhibiting strange behaviour such as bending in a spiral, corkscrewing and dividing like a fork.

The intellectual property has been protected by the university’s tech transfer office, Harvard Office of Technology Development, which is exploring ways to exploit the research. While the researchers have thought of a few applications for their discovery – such as creating optical tweezers to manipulate molecules – their discovery has the potential to revolutionise our understanding of physics and that knowledge would lead to completely unforeseen new applications.

It is the prospect of learning about cutting-edge technologies such as these and a love for science that keeps us all coming back to our desks each morning to absorb more knowledge. There is no better world to live in.

Global University Venturing will, however, take a short break from all of this next month to celebrate the holidays with our friends and family. But fear not – we will keep writing daily news online in the run-up to Christmas and, of course, the magazine will be back in January with our annual data analysis.

Copyright Mawsonia Limited 2010. Please don´t cut articles from www.globaluniversityventuring.com or the PDF and redistribute by email or post to the web without written permission.

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