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Florida Innovation Competition Aids Gainesville Entrepreneurs


Gainesville-based entrepreneurs are making a strong showing for the fifth annual Cade Museum prize.

Out of the 80 submissions, judges narrowed it down to a “Sweet 16,” and announced them on March 11. Seven of which are from Gainesville.

The Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention annually awards Florida individuals or companies prize money to take their invention to market, and this year, $50,000 is up for grabs.

The award, funded by the Community Foundation of North Central Florida, is an opportunity for inventors around the state to potentially fund their best products and ideas.

One such idea is the SureCap, a cap to cover the tips of electrodes planted in the brain during deep brain stimulation treatment. The invention is the brainchild of Dr. Kelly Foote, a University of Florida neurosurgeon and Dr. Michael Okun, a University of Florida surgical neurologist.

The pair collaborated with Mark Davidson, president of The Tech Toybox, after meeting at the University of Florida Office of Technology Licensing.

In typical capping devices, after the procedure some patients’ skulls have a bump that stands five to seven millimeters above the surface of the skull after healing from the procedure, Davidson said.

“If a patient has this in for a long time, it can erode the scalp,” he said. “Now you have a wound above the cap that’s not fully protecting the brain.”

The SureCap is designed to hold the electrode tips in place by using an adhesive substance. The product is also well hidden under the skin, Okun said.

“The new solution addresses migration, erosion, as well as making a more aesthetic result,” wrote Okun in an email.

However, the product is still in the research phase, and the team has been working with the UF Office of Technology Licensing to develop a full prototype to help the company get going, Davidson said.

Through the Cade Museum Prize, the team hopes to get the help they need to start working on long-term goals.

Another Gainesville-based finalist is Amir Rubin.

Rubin is the CEO of Paracosm, a software company that helps businesses build 3-D maps and models of their facilities using data received from 3-D depth sensor cameras.

After scanning rooms to capture images, the data is stitched together using Paracosm’s software to create a model.

Rubin said he got the idea after thinking of ways to virtually visit places.

“We are doing some scanning of fun local places like the Harn Museum and Thomas Center, and we did the Magnolia Bed and Breakfast,” Rubin said.

Aside from the money, he said he likes that the prize connects participants to the Cade Museum’s network of media, investors and people who want to help out.

“It’s not just the money and it’s not just an award,” he said. “They really are trying to plug your company into their network.”

Judges will select four finalists on April 8 and they will present products and ideas on May 8, according to the press release. The winner will be announced the same day during a gala event in the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall.


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