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Science and Technology

Ohio Third Frontier money boosts four Kent businesses
Grants will upgrade the Liquid Crystal Institute and boost research 

Director Yokoyama shows off a new window product (similar to the visor by Alpha Micron) to provide privacy when needed.
Courtesy of Robert Sustersic
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The Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State University is getting $3 million from the state to upgrade its building and boost four companies that use it.

The companies benefitting from the Third Frontier money include Alpha Micron, which is creating is a visor for soldiers’ helmets.

Hiroshi Yokoyamais the director of the institute. He says the visors will protect soldiers’ eyes on the battlefield.

Visors for Soldiers

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“Explosives make a huge light and extremely bright environment that damages your eye completely, so the eyewear must be fast responding in an extremely high-dynamic range.”

Another company getting the money is Kent Displays, which is developing a tablet that uses no energy and is similar to writing on a piece of paper. Yokoyama says researchers are trying to refine what’s known as the Boogie Board.

Boogie Board
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“If we are able to make the writing resolution as good as paper writing, then it will make a huge commercial impact on the product.”

The third of the companies is Crystal Diagnostics, which is developing a system to find pathogens in food and water. That could cut detection of food-born illnesses from a day to as little as 30 minutes.

Akron Polymer Systems, the fourth company, is developing new plastics for the other three.

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