The Spensa Technologies company has earned an $80,000 investment from the Emerging Innovations Fund, which was established in 2008 to help move research discoveries from Purdue University to the market. The fund was established as a partnership between the Purdue Research Foundation and Purdue University.
“Spensa Technologies is commercializing the Z-Trap, which detects target insects captured by the trap and sends the data wirelessly to the grower's mobile phone or computer. Knowing the types of pests can help inform pesticide use to be more selective and specific, favorably affecting costs spent on chemical usage,” the announcement explained.
Emerging Innovations Fund are not limited to help a specific area of research but the ag technology company received $80,000 of the $100,000 of fund money most recently allocated. The remaining $20,000 was awarded to a life-science startup. Both companies are based in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, Ind.
Johnny Park, president and CEO of Spensa Technologies, said, "The Z-Traps automate the monitoring of insect populations in agricultural fields and provides unprecedented real-time, accurate insect population data. Using more current data will help growers and pest-control advisers make timely and effective pest management decisions, which can help reduce insecticide use on food crops, save money for the growers and emit fewer chemicals into the environment."
Park said the money will mainly fund manufacture of 75 pre-production models of the Z-Trap so the company can do large-scale field experiments and evaluations during the 2012 growing season.
Spensa's mission as outlined by Park is “to design, develop and deliver novel technologies for the agricultural industry that will reduce reliance on manual labor, foster eco-friendly farming and enhance crop production efficiency. Our technologies leverage our world-leading expertise in wireless sensor networks, robotics and computer vision.”
There is an extensive “due diligence process to select recipients” of the funds, which is directed through the Krannert School of Management having both students and faculty involved, the Purdue news announcement explained.
“The Emerging Innovations Fund is a self-sustaining initiative that brings together ideas, management and money to accelerate the commercialization of early stage technologies in the Purdue community,” the university further explained.
"The Emerging Innovations Fund strengthens early-stage companies that have licensed technologies through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization or are based in the Purdue Research Park network," said Joseph Hornett, senior vice president, treasurer and COO of the Purdue Research Foundation." As Purdue-discovered innovations reach the market, they benefit the public, strengthen the state's economy and grow Purdue's reputation as a leader in commercializing technology."