Berkeley Lab wins 3 R&D 100 Awards, honoring innovative international technologies

Berkeley Lab/Courtesy

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory received three awards Tuesday from the “Oscars” of invention, or the R&D 100 Awards, honoring the most innovative international technologies.

R&D World Magazine and WTWH Media, LLC recognized 100 technologies from the past year in six categories judged by a panel of 42 international experts, according to Paul Heney, the R&D World vice president and editorial director. This year, projects designed to detect radiation, increase building energy efficiency and promote neuroscience research were honored.

“We’re looking for innovative new products and services that have meaningful applications in today’s world and are superior to any competitive technologies,” Heney said in an email. “These leading products, technologies and services will make a difference in a wide range of industries and really shine a light on the types of innovations that we’ll be seeing in the years to come.”

One of the Berkeley Lab award winners is a Portable Radiation Imaging, Spectroscopy and Mapping, or PRISM, device, which searches, locates and identifies radioactive material. Applications include its ability to reduce human exposure to radioactivity and counter-nuclear threats with 3D mapping.

Kai Vetter, the head of the Applied Nuclear Physics Program, said in an email that the PRISM technology has the potential to “revolutionize” the detection, mapping and visualization of nuclear radiation with real-time imaging.

The Commercial Building Energy Saver, another R&D 100 Awards winner, is a software toolkit that enables equitable access to energy efficiency strategies for small and medium buildings, which according to lead architect and developer Tianzhen Hong, consume 47% of the United States’ energy. Hong said his team will continue to enhance the tool at Berkeley Lab to cover a wider range of building types.

“We’re supporting California’s statewide goal — we want to get to net-zero energy for new residential buildings by 2020,” Hong said. “We like to get some public recognition but more importantly to get more people to know the tool because (it’s) basically free, so that would help our nation’s energy goals.”

Neurodata Without Borders: Neurophysiology, the third award-winning technology developed at Berkeley Lab, provides a free “software ecosystem” that standardizes neurophysiology research to more efficiently share, archive, use and build tools to analyze data, according to the Berkeley Lab press release.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, or LLNL, spokesperson Steve Wampler said one of the technologies developed at LLNL — the IMPEDE Embolization Plug — which can be used to prevent blood from reaching diseased areas, as well as promote healing, has been successfully used on 100 people worldwide.

“We’re really pleased about the technologies that were recognized,” Wampler said. “Our scientists love to bring technologies that help people and are very happy to work with industry to get those products out to be a benefit to the American industry and to the country.”

Contact Emily Hom at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @hom_emily.