Research Foundation News

February 23, 2016  

Startup licenses Purdue technology to help make robotics, electric cars more efficient, cost effective

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A mechatronics technology startup has licensed a Purdue University innovation that could optimize electric motors and design better alternatives in automation in the energy sector, making solutions more efficient, cost effective and environmentally friendly.

Houston Mechatronics, Inc. (HMI), based in Houston, Texas, has licensed the Purdue technology. The company's leadership team has over 20 years of experience working in NASA's software, robotics and simulation division. The company is a business-to-business enterprise that provides mechatronics solutions in the robotics and electric car sectors that at those industries' core overlap in areas such as electric actuation, power, perception, embedded processing and control.

HMI works with several companies in co-developing specific technologies and systems, and also conducts its own independent research and development investments to find solutions that meet robotics and electric car market needs.

Matt Ondler, HMI co-founder and president, said the company's technology solutions will be more relevant in the future because of increased interest in robotics and electric cars.

"There is almost a modern space race developing in the robotics and electric vehicle sectors to see who can win technologically and economically with the best product," said Ondler, who previously worked for NASA. "Every day startups pop up all over the world to capture these opportunities. Large companies like Goggle and Amazon have started acquiring several robotics companies. Other companies also are venturing into robotic concepts like autonomous mobility, so we think these two sectors are on a collision course that will eventually make them truly indistinguishable. Our technology will take us to the forefront of making mechatronics solutions as efficient and cost effective as possible."

The Purdue software technology licensed by HMI allows optimal cost, mass and efficiency of electric motors.

"In the world of electric vehicles, mass, efficiency, and cost are paramount. Purdue's evolutionary computing algorithms are able to optimize electric machines that consider very complex constraints and problem statements," said Nicolaus Radford, co-founder and senior vice president of engineering and research at HMI who also worked for NASA. "These optimizations have led to unparalleled electric motor designs that are optimal for their given operating conditions or concerns. What we design, and what the software has allowed us to accomplish, is motors tailor made for an application, to which there is no other better alternative. It's simply optimal."

Radford said that their technology in collaboration with the Purdue innovation is also at the center of the transformation in the oil and gas segment becoming greener and moving toward clean electric power.

"The oil and gas industry suffers from being heavily based on hydraulic actuation, which can have a costly infrastructure and be very environmentally unfriendly. The industry is currently undergoing a massive restructuring from environmentally unfriendly hydraulic power delivery to more clean electric power," he said. "Around 65 percent of all failures in control systems subsea are related to hydraulic issues, but our technology will allow us to design better alternatives to current standards in actuation and power, increasing system-wide efficiencies, reliability, and at the same time, reducing maintenance concerns thereby helping to ease the shift to cleaner power."

Houston Mechatronics has recently closed on a Series A investment from a leading oil and gas firm. The company said the funding has enabled them to make strategic capital investments to continue to grow and capture more market share in each segment.

Since its beginning the company has grown to over 25 employees, including several Purdue alumni.

Technology used by Houston Mechatronics has been licensed through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. HMI is a member of the Purdue Startup Class of 2016.

For information on other Purdue intellectual property ready for licensing and commercialization, visit http://www.otc-prf.org. For more information about available leadership positions, investing in a Purdue startup or licensing a Purdue innovation, visit http://www.purduefoundry.com.

About Houston Mechatronics  
Houston Mechatronics, Inc (HMI) specializes in mechatronics, automation engineering, intelligent systems, and robotics. HMI takes technologies from the laboratory, couples them with resourceful and innovative engineering design, and creates integrated hardware and software solutions for our customer's toughest problems.  

About Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year from the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at innovation@prf.org.


Purdue Research Foundation contact: Hillary Henry, 765-588-3586, hkhenry@prf.org

Source: Nicolaus Radford, 281-942-9069, nradford@houstonmechatronics.com 

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