Event highlights MSU innovation


MSU innovations might be infiltrating the consumer market more quickly once a new Spartan Innovations LLC initiative announced Wednesday is up and running.

The creation of a technology transfer enterprise called Spartan Innovations was unveiled at Wednesday’s second annual MSU Innovation Celebration at the Union, which also displayed numerous technologies and innovations made by MSU student and faculty inventors.

Spartan Innovations, a subsidiary of the MSU Foundation, will work in collaboration with MSU Technologies and MSU Business-CONNECT to form an innovation center on Grand River Avenue.

The new enterprise will work to help bring MSU innovations to the consumer market by creating businesses focused on these technologies, said Richard Chylla, executive director of MSU Technologies.

“This new unit will provide our faculty and students with access to business talent and operational financial support necessary to turn MSU’s research innovations into successful businesses,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said in a speech at the event.

Simon also said Spartan Innovations will help create an entrepreneurial culture in Greater Lansing because of the startup companies.

Among the technology displayed at the event was a multiplayer online Chinese language learning game called Zon. Project manager and graduate student Roman Stotland said the game places players in an interactive environment they can in play with friends and learn Chinese as they go.

About 10 school districts across the U.S. currently are using Zon, Stotland said, adding the team constantly is improving and updating the game to adjust to the needs of schools.

“There’s been research done that actually says that (in) classrooms that are using Zon, the students are inclined to continue their education on the language, and also their scores on quizzes and tests are higher,” Stotland said.

Doctoral student Jianguo Zhao also showed off the third generation of the bio-inspired miniature jumping robot he designed. The robot can leap several feet into the air and mimics the biology of frogs and grasshoppers, Zhao said. He said he would like to see the technology transformed into a commercial product.

“It can be used for … environmental monitoring,” he said. “If I put sensors on this robot … it can measure the environmental changes (and) record data.”

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