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April 21, 2005
For Immediate Release

Media Contact

Kristi Marren
JHU Applied Physics Laboratory
Phone: 240-228-6268 or 443-778-6268

Helen Worth
JHU Applied Physics Laboratory
Phone: 240-228-5113 or 443-778-5113

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Names Inventions of the Year

A system that helps the body absorb drugs more effectively, technology that immerses viewers in 3-D displays, and laser beams that enhance the security of optical communications were announced tonight at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory's Inventions of the Year. The annual awards event showcased technologies submitted in 2004 that were developed by APL staff members.

Top inventions in the Physical Sciences and Information Science categories were selected by an independent panel of 20 representatives from industry and patent law, based on their benefit to society, improvement over existing technology, and commercial potential. APL also presented a new award that recognized Innovative Contributions to the Military, which was chosen from inventions submitted in the past five years.

APL Director of Technology Transfer Wayne Swann and former Secretary of the Navy (acting) Robert Pirie presented plaques and cash awards to teams in the categories of Physical Sciences, Information Science and Innovative Contributions to the Military.

Microwave/Radio Frequency Energy-Assisted Drug Delivery Device

Henry A. Kues and Eric J. Van Gieson have developed a way to increase the effectiveness of medications while reducing negative side effects using a handheld microwave transmitter to enhance drug absorption.

The transmitter emits microwaves (or radio frequency) energy that can temporarily make blood vessels more permeable, possibly by opening gaps in the capillary walls, resulting in quicker drug absorption. Enhanced absorption could allow doctors to use less medication, especially when treating areas of the body that are resistant to drug therapy, and to better target drug delivery.

This research is especially important when dealing with brain-related disorders because the brain is protected by a blood barrier that allows few molecules to cross it. Only small, fat-soluble molecules can breach the barrier but some of the most promising medications for neurological disorders and brain cancer are large-molecule drugs. By relaxing the brain's protective barrier, drug therapy could possibly be used in place of more invasive procedures.

Sometimes standard methods of drug delivery, such as pills taken orally, do not work. For example, peptide, protein, and DNA therapies require a delivery system that puts medication in the blood stream rather than the stomach where it would probably be digested before it could produce the desired result. Microwave assisted drug therapies open options for a wider range of medications in this and similar situations.

3-D Display with Walkthrough and "Virtual Visitation" Features for Command and Control Centers, Teleconferencing and Personal Communication

Jerry A. Krill has created a concept for making the viewer an interactive part of 3-D technology using liquid crystal display (LCD) goggles that could have military, medical and gaming applications. The technology marries cutting edge wireless and bandwidth capabilities with next-generation optics and displays, pulling the viewer "inside" the scene of whatever environment or program the system is running.

The LCD goggles include a fiber optic camera to pick up directed images, a wireless antenna for transmitting and receiving high data rates, partially mirrored lenses and driver for a distant focused display imager, and an earplug millimeter wavelength transceiver and command computer with eye-pointing menu and audio capability.

Originally designed for use on military battlefields, the technology could improve awareness of the surrounding environment and provide better communications between dispersed units. The technology could also be used to enhance current two-dimensional video-conferencing, making the experience more realistic.

Apparatus and Method for Providing Secure Multi-Channel Optical Laser Communications

Inventors Matthew G. Bevan, Bradley G. Boone, Ann G. Darrin, Donald D. Duncan and Raymond M. Sova have created a more effective and robust way to secure optical data links using narrow multiple laser beams to send and receive data, and Microelectro-Mechanical systems (MEMS) technology for accurately verifying the source of the transmission.

The very high bandwidths used by existing optical communications networks make it hard to guarantee security. But this new system transmits and receives data in a very precise method that is less vulnerable to jamming or interception. Narrow, multichannel bandwidths also allow for independent control of each optical channel while significantly reducing the chance that neighboring laser communications channels or unintended sources (jammers) could cause interference.

Innovations in the system enable the use of narrow beams thanks to components that are cheaper and weigh less than the bulkier ones used in current systems. The APL system is also easily scaled to large numbers of independent communications channels.

This new optical architecture makes secure multisatellite, multisite terminals possible, provides more accurate pointing of data streams from moving satellite platforms and reduces the mass, power and volume required to support multichannel optical communications.

APL's Office of Technology Transfer

APL opened its first Office of Technology Transfer in late 1999 to facilitate the transfer of technology developed at the Lab to the private sector. Although it's a short time since the inception of the technology transfer program, the Association of University Technology Managers reports that the Lab now ranks in the top 19 percent of major U.S. research universities in its number of inventions, licenses, patent applications, patents issued, start-up companies and associated research and development income. Other accomplishments include:

  • 669 Inventions Disclosed
  • 130 Licensing Agreements Signed with External Companies
  • 897 U.S. Patent Applications
  • 89 U.S. Patents Issued
  • 14 Start-up Companies
  • $9.4M in License Income
  • $9.6M in Associated R&D

For more OTT information visit: www.jhuapl.edu/ott







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The Applied Physics Laboratory, a division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For information, visit www.jhuapl.edu.