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MailTribune.com
  • HP engineers in Corvallis developed ink jet printer

    That entrepreneurial spirit is still kicking in dialysis machines
  • CORVALLIS — One of the most successful products in the modern world — the inkjet printer — was developed in Corvallis by Hewlett-Packard engineers who found ways to move precisely measured volumes of ink through tiny nozzles.
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  • CORVALLIS — One of the most successful products in the modern world — the inkjet printer — was developed in Corvallis by Hewlett-Packard engineers who found ways to move precisely measured volumes of ink through tiny nozzles.
    Now a whole new generation of products using similar principles of microfluidics is taking shape on HP's Corvallis campus at the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute, a joint research initiative of Oregon State University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
    That's no accident, said Home Dialysis Plus chief executive Michael Baker, whose Portland-based company is working with MBI to develop a portable kidney dialysis machine intended for home use. "This infrastructure here is world-class," Baker said Friday during a tour of the HD Plus lab at MBI, which is housed in rent-free space donated by Hewlett-Packard on a 20-year lease. HP and other high-tech companies in Oregon have stocked the facility with electron microscopes, industrial lasers, thin-film deposition tools and other sophisticated equipment for fabricating devices that operate in the microscopic realm.
    "Our technology is based on microfluidics, and (Corvallis) is the hub," Baker added. "Whether you're talking about HP or OSU, this is where it all began." HD Plus is licensing technology from both HP and OSU in its bid to be the first manufacturer to hit the $70 billion North American dialysis market with a machine patients can use at home.
    Baker's company was one of several startup ventures showing off their new research and development facilities Friday at MBI, which drew more than 500 visitors to an open house to dedicate a $14 million laboratory expansion project.
    MBI is a shared user facility of the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute, a research collaborative that involves OSU, the University of Oregon and Portland State University. Each university brings a particular brand of expertise to the table in Oregon's effort to establish itself as a leader in the field of ultrasmall-scale manufacturing.
    ONAMI director Skip Rung, a longtime R&D manager at Hewlett-Packard, said the connection between HP's inkjet technology and MBI's microfluidics expertise is "real strong" and is a big draw for entrepreneurs in the field.
    "There are several companies coming up" under the ONAMI umbrella that are working with MBI for that reason, Rung said.
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