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Texas State students participate at the Innovation Lab

Staff file photo

By Alison Quisenberry

Texas State University will host the Innovation Lab and Reception March 12 to showcase game-changing technologies created by student inventors at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival.

The lab teams are comprised of student scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, graphic designers and a faculty mentor. They will showcase developing technology with an opportunity to collaborate with business professionals.

Each team will give business pitches and technology presentations over its projects at the festival.

Each member will play a vital role on the team. Scientists and engineers will showcase developing technology. Entrepreneurs will create the presentation and business plan to attract sponsors and investors in supporting their technology. A graphic designer will create the visual presentation and the logo of the company.

Dr. Gary W. Beall, chemistry and biochemistry professor, will serve as the faculty mentor for the “Nabaco: A Novel Coating Technique” team. He defines this opportunity as a “great cooperation” between students, as well as a “truly interdisciplinary” experience.

Team members on Beall’s team will showcase a cost-saving solution to extend package and fruit shelf-life as long as three weeks. This product has barrier properties preventing permeation, rotting, moisture absorption, or drying. The teams’ coating is event-patented and FDA-approved and can be applied to fresh fruit, still leaving it safe for consumption.

Dr. Beall also mentored the “TX20” Lab- a project that works to remove and purify water from extracted petroleum. The TX20 team entered their project in the Rice Business Plan Competition, along with 700 other teams, and was chosen as one out of the 42 finalists. In April, TX20 will be competing against different universities from all over the country.

Texas State Innovation Labs have places at the RBPC in previous years and placed in the top 5, ahead of elite and Ivy League universities.

“The message I would give to students is, you should never feel inferior to other schools because we can compete head to head with them,” Dr. Beall said.

Dillon Lohr, computer science senior and team member of “Biometric Authentication and Eye Fatigue Detection Using Eye Movements,” said he identified the need for greater cyber-security and that is why he is working on the technology he is developing.

“Eye movements differ in that they are more difficult to spoof. Fingerprints may leave a smudge somewhere to be used later,” Lohr said.

Eye movement has been found to be one of the least replicable physical characteristics that can be used for security purposes because it happens on a subconscious level, Lohr said. Even with iris readers, contacts have been developed can replicate a human iris and create a security breach.

Lohr said that once he successfully makes the technology more user-friendly, he wants it to be used everywhere and that it would be helpful in corresponding technology, such as head-mounted devices or the Google product, “Google Glass.” Google is one of Lohr’s sponsors.

The Texas State Innovation Lab and Reception will be held March 12 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the W Austin Hotel in Austin.