After University of Utah engineers Joey Wilson and Neal Patwari perfected new technology that "sees" through walls, they started a company to market it for security and in rescues. Now they envision health care uses for "tomographic motion detection," which their Salt Lake City firm Xandem Technology LLC is exploring in hopes of creating unobtrusive ways to monitor a patient’s breathing or an elderly person’s movements.
"We have a prototype and are doing work on the algorithm to improve the results," said Patwari, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. Recent tests "relate to elder care where you want to monitor someone in their home, not just when they’re in bed connected in a sensor."
Xandem is among the 19 firms the U. claims were started in 2011 based on technologies developed and patented on campus in the course of scientific research. That number is a great showing for any research university and on par with the U.’s past years, but it was not enough for the U. to retain its No. 1 position in the annual survey released this week by the Association of University Technology Managers, or AUTM.
After two years at the top, the U. slipped to a distant second in AUTM’s 2011 rankings for startups, behind MIT, which reported 25 startups.