Teaching Tech Commercialization at UD

Alex Duchak demonstrating ArchiTech and showcasing Air Force technologies to University of Dayton students on 1/25

Teaching technology commercialization in the classroom is always a fun exercise.

When we think about bringing federal research technologies to the market, we have to flip the traditional model of ‘finding a solution to a problem’ to ‘finding potential applications and their problems that the federal lab technology could solve’. It is counter-intuitive to what we’re taught in entrepreneurship courses (and in real life!) and requires a unique methodology.

Discussing how to uncover value of federal lab techs with University of Dayton students

First, we must work with the researcher to understand, objectively, how the technology works. Then, we work with a smart crowd to explore potential applications. Finally, we get down to business by working with students to assess the value of the technologies for the variety of applications uncovered.

This spring at the University of Dayton, we’re guiding students through the assessment process with AFRL technologies by drilling down into each technology and its applications. Students work to identify potential users of the technology, understand the competitive landscape, and determine if the technology solution from the Air Force can positively impact its potential markets.

Last Thursday (1/21), we worked with the students to identify applications for the Dynamic Laser Pointer technology at the AFRL. Today (1/26), the students learned about the ArchiTech platform and methodology, and began to investigate the potential for the laser technology for use in a 3D Scanning System. The activity was fun to be a part of and the students did a great job adding their insights — we were impressed by their technical aptitude and ability to think outside-the-box!

A sampling of the competitive solutions for an AFRL technology via University of Dayton students

We look forward to the next class, where we will expose students to more of the great Air Force Research Laboratory technologies.

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