Science of Doing Business
Fortune Magazine "breakout list" notes two PNNL solutions
Two companies using technologies developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory were singled out by Fortune Magazine, making the year's top 25 Breakout Companies list. The magazine featured the top 25 companies as "upstarts who are changing the game." The list is intended to highlight businesses that are quickly rising in visibility and revenue.
A firm from Horsham, Penn., took the number one spot on the list. Intellifit licensed PNNL's holographic imaging technology for use in retail clothing stores. The technology was originally designed to detect weapons in airports. In the apparel application, Intellifit measures a person's body shape and size, making it ideal for the fit-conscious fashion industry. Celebrities have been sighted testing the concept; in fact earlier this year, the new Mrs. Donald Trump reportedly tried Intellifit at a New York store.
Dubbed the Intellifit Mall Kiosk, the scanners have been placed in retail clothing locations across the United States. Intellifit uses harmless, low-power radio waves to generate more than 200,000 data points on a person's body. The data points measure a customer's size and indicate what clothing lines would fit best. As an added bonus, the measurements are taken without the customer having to remove clothing. A computer then generates a printout of the results.
Several retailers have already started using Intellifit. One retailer, David's Bridal, has used the information from the scanners to revamp its plus-sized dress line. (The scanners compile information from 1,000 profiles a week.) As a result, total sales of that line have increased by seven percent, proving the fiscal attractiveness of the technology to business owners.
Coming in at number 23 on the Top 25 Breakout Companies list was Bacterin, a biotech firm using PNNL's patented technology to coat medical devices with anti-bacterial material. The material is intended to improve the acceptance of implants in the body. The biocompatible coatings use a biologically active substance that kills or inhibits bacteria and prevents the spread of infection. The coatings also cause the body to recognize medical devices and implants as bone rather than as foreign objects.
Several manufacturers including Baxter International, C.R. Bard, and Cook have agreed to use Bacterin's coatings on their products. These manufacturers of medical devices are expecting that by using the coatings on their products, medical professionals will recognize the benefits of healthier patients. They also expect to see reduced costs as a result of fewer infections.
The Pentagon has granted the Belgrade, Mont.-based company a $1.4 million contract. The contract will be used to coat the metal rods and pins used by medics to treat arm and leg wounds on the battlefield.