MIT's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies Adds New Industrial Partners - News Item

The Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN), a $50 million joint research collaboration between the United States Army and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create nanotechnology innovations that dramatically improve the survivability of individual soldiers, today announced the addition of six new industrial partners with the ISN. The six new companies join DuPont, Raytheon, and Partners Healthcare, three Founding Industrial Partners, to work closely with the ISN and the Army science and technology community to produce field-ready nanotechnologies that will revolutionize soldier protection and survivability.

In addition to Dow Corning, which joined the ISN as a Major Industrial Member (MIM), the ISN announced Triton Systems, Dendritic Nanotechnologies, Inc., Nomadics, Inc. and Carbon Nanotechnologies, Inc., as Small Business Industrial Members (SBIM), and W.L. Gore and Associates as an Interested Industrial Participant (IIP), bringing to nine the number of industrial partners involved in the ISN’s research and development efforts. The ISN received several proposals from companies interested in developing MIT technologies for military as well as civilian markets. The purpose of the industrial partners is to transition promising results of ISN basic research into practical products that can be produced affordably in large quantities for soldiers.

The announcements were made during a formal ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony commencing the official opening of the ISN’s new 28,000-square-feet laboratory complex at 500 Technology Square. Attendees included over 300 people from MIT, the U.S. Army, and industry, including Dr. Charles M. Vest, President of MIT; Major General John C. Doesburg, Commanding General, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (Provisional); and Dr. A. Michael Andrews II, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology/Chief Scientist, U.S. Army.

Current ISN research focuses on several key soldier capabilities, including protection from bullets, blasts, and chem/bio threats; automated medical monitoring and treatment; improved performance; and reduced load weight. Industrial partners will bring special technology expertise to the ISN, and will help to commercialize new laboratory innovations.

Delaware-based DuPont is a high-technology company involved in a wide variety of materials, including advanced fibers, electronics, bio-based materials, protective materials, nonwovens, and polymers. The company provides the ISN with expertise in product conceptualization, process development, and manufacturing.

With headquarters in Lexington, MA, Raytheon is a major U.S. defense contractor with extensive knowledge of soldier technology needs. The company provides the ISN with expertise on detectors and sensors and on the integration of diverse technologies into practical working systems to protect the soldier.

Partners Healthcare, based in Boston, includes the Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Center for the Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT). Affiliated physicians provide the ISN with clinical expertise to facilitate discovery, development, and testing of new technologies to provide medical treatment to soldiers, including direct intervention in the battle space.

Dow Corning, which specializes in silicone and silicon-based products and technologies, will contribute their capabilities in the design of interfaces, electronics, and materials with special mechanical and photonic properties. They will collaborate with the ISN on new variants on their silicon products as well as new nanotechnologies.

Triton Systems, a materials company located just outside Boston, has particular interest in transparent ballistic protection materials that achieve their strength from the dispersion of nanoparticles into polymers. They will be helping the ISN pursue new breakthroughs in this area for possible use as protective face shields and other soldier equipment.

Dendritic Nanotechnologies, Inc., a dendrimer company based in Michigan, will focus its partnership with the ISN on polymers with highly branched structures that can be used to isolate specific biological or synthetic nanostructures. Such polymers may have applications as sensors for chemical and biological threats, for example.

Nomadics, Inc., is an Oklahoma company with labs in Cambridge, MA, that specializes in chemical sensors. They will help the ISN develop new generations of sensors that can accompany the dismounted soldier to monitor his health as well as alert him to threats in the environment such as chemical or biological weapons.

Carbon Nanotechnologies, Inc., a leading manufacturer of single-wall carbon nanotubes based in Houston, will work with the ISN on commercializing new ballistic and electronic materials that make use of carbon nanotubes. These nanotubes are theorized to provide revolutionary strength to materials. The ISN seeks to generate new generations of ballistic materials that realize this potential.

W. L. Gore and Associates, Delaware-based makers of GORE-TEX® fabric, will not participate directly in ISN research but will be a part of the ISN industrial community. Gore's products are currently used to protect soldiers from a wide range of environmental conditions.

Posted 22nd May 2003

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