E/ME 103: Management of Technology
This course was for students interested in learning how rapidly evolving technologies are harnessed to produce useful products, successful businesses and great research. The concept is to analytically predict what will happen in the next ~ 5 years.

Students are confronted with real technical businesses with real challenges in the form of cases. Some of these cases are from Harvard Business School; some are written by myself and my TA collaborating with the protagonist. Through lectures they study how innovation takes place in businesses. These learnings are applied to a term project. The students can choose a technology they are interested in and learn how to make a defensible technical prediction. (Note I didn’t say a correct technical projection!). They learn how to determine if a market actually exists for the technology. Alternatively, they research a local company and try to discover the processes of technical innovation that occur within the company and how to critique same. Some of the results of these term papers have been startling in that the students have seen critical issues that have escaped the management of the companies they researched. I should say that in this as in all my classes, research (in addition to working the internet), is primarily done either face to face or through the phone by interviews with protagonists.

A case has been written with Kent Kresa, and the TAs for the Class Dimitriy Kernasovskiy, on the aerospace Industry in the 90s - particularly Northrup in the early 90s when it was faced with the decision to grow or die.

David Baltimore talks about biotech and how to improve the success rate of new companies. Rob Manning from JPL talks about managing technical people for the Mars Landing, Iqbal Quadir, and the President of the MIT Legatum Center lectures on Grameen Telecom and the power of technology to change people’s lives. Henry Kressel talks about future Global Competitiveness in innovation. Bill Gross discusses management of technology in early stage companies.

This class is also highly collaborative. The widely varied subjects reflect the diversity of personal interests of the student teams.

The final papers are available upon request.
In 2017 six papers were written on:
  • Occular Phototherapeutics

    Colin Cook, Anupama Lakshmanan, Aubrey Shapero

    Introduction: Phototherapy devices packaged into contact and intraocular lenses can make Phototherapy useful for diabetic patients.

  • Battery Grid Energy Storage

    Kevin Shen, Zainab Al Saihati, Pooja Verma, Bismark Wong

    Introduction: Importance of frequency regulation, grid reliability and backup power availability to financially justify large roll-outs.

  • Extracellular Vesicles for Drug Delivery

    Beatriz Atsavapranee, Ashwin Ram, Sherrie Yang

    Introduction: Recently, extracellular vesicles (EVs) have emerged as a promising drug carrier to deliver therapeutic RNA, as they may have improved biocompatibility and delivery efficiency when compared to previous synthetic systems.

  • An Evaluation of Virtual Reality Technology

    Gavy Aggarwal, Jessica Choi, Abirami Kurinchi-Vendhan, Malavika Venkatesan

    Introduction: A large reason for VR’s past failures has been poor user experience resulting from technological limitations. An analysis was made of the current state of the technology - specifically focusing on head mounted displays in commercial markets. The state of control systems, machine learning, and sensor processing were also examined.

  • Spatial Sensing Technologies for Autonomous Vehicles

    Junno Tseng, Will Whitney, and Arky Yang

    Introduction: Spatial sensing technologies are one of the key roadblocks to the success of autonomous vehicles. Investigated were (a). the state of the art of visual, radar, lidar and ultrasonic automotive sensors, (b). their criticality to the future of autonomous vehicles, and (c). their evolution in the next several years.

  • Application of Machine Learning to the Personal Loan Industry in China

    Jiajun Shi, Dong Liang, Yan (Echo) Wu, Hongnian Yu

    Introduction: Three hypothesis were examined:

    • Hypothesis #1
      Machine learning can help human’s with the decision-making process. However, the final decision still needs to be made by a human. We found that in some cases the whole process could be made by a machine.
    • Hypothesis #2
      By utilizing machine learning, bad loan ratios can be lowered for large amount loans. We are convinced that machine learning can reduce the bad loan ratio.
    • Hypothesis #3
      Use of this technology by banking startups can be a threat for traditional banks in China. We feel this is true.

In 2018 eight papers were written on:
  • Assessment of Display Technologies

    Hapreet Arora and Nikhil Gupta

    Introduction: Display technology has greatly changed in the past few decades and continues to rapidly evolve. Since the early years when Cathode Ray Tube technology dominated the television market, TV display technology has evolved from plasma, projector based, liquid crystal display, light-emitting diodes, and now to organic light emitting diode. We investigate the trade-off every consumer debates: price versus features. OLED dominates now broken up into Passive Matrix OLED and Active Matrix OLED, Quantum Dot displays and in the future Micro-LEDs. Despite this, LCD displays will still maintain a significant presence in the lower end displays.

  • The Impact of Continuous, Integrated Manufacturing on the Pharmaceutical Industry and Drug Supply-Chains of the Future

    Bradley Silverman and Benjamin Laccetti

    Introduction: Currently the vast majority of pharmaceutical processes are done using batch manufacturing - unlike the use of continuous processes in the chemical industries which are more efficient, exhibit faster cycle times, and require smaller capital costs and plant footprints. We report on how this opportunity for pharmaceuticals can be exploited in the next ten years.

  • Innovative Capabilities - Edisun Microgrid

    Jonah Krop, Henry Steiner, Kana Moriyama, Sakthi Vetrivel

    Introduction: Edisun Microgrids was founded in 2013 by Bill Gross, with the mission to “drive down the cost of solar energy to make clean power more affordable than fossil fuels.” The company switched from using CSP (concentrated solar power) for energy storage to using it for solar fuels, with the objective to use concentrated solar energy to make hydrogen from water.

  • An Analysis of the History and Future of Augmented Reality

    Zafir Abou-Zamzam Dessie DiMino Roberto Mercado, Julia Reisler

    Introduction: The growing use of headsets was the focus. It is believed that the technology required for these devices is currently ready for AR products to enter the enterprise market in the near future followed by the consumer market later on. Many companies have products in development. As prices drop, AR headsets will eventually succeed smartphones. We expect AR to be popular in the enterprise setting within the next 5 to 10 years, followed by a growth in the consumer market 5 to 10 years after that.

  • A Technology Assessment in the Food Automation Industry

    Eshan Govil, Anuj Chadha, Eleanor Walker, Hana Keller

    Introduction: Miso, a company start-up in the food automation space, was created to to improve conditions for workers increasing worker retention and to improve consistency of the food produced. The company has had early successes in automating food preparation tasks.

  • Engineered Biocatalysts for Industrial Applications: A Market Analysis and Future Outlook

    Anders Knight, Tina Boville, Rob Hurt, Yu-Li Ni, Daniel Martin

    Introduction: From biofuels, to pharmaceuticals, to specialty products, chemicals are predominantly made using synthetic, metal-based catalysts. Alternatively, Biocatalytic technologies can address some of the major disadvantages of this approach in the areas of specificity, selectivity and environmental impact. We studied industrial scale use, potential markets and the IP to project the trajectory of the technology over the next five years.

  • Kuna in the Smart Home Security Market

    Anna Resnick, Mohar Chatterjee, Matthew Wu, Patricia Beekman

    Introduction: A discussion of Smart home-security solutions. Founded in 2012, Kuna Received 120k seed-funding through Y-combinator and 230k from a successful Indiegogo campaign, CEO, CTO, and COO are all Caltech Alumni.

  • Hydrogen: Fuel of the Future?

    Faisal Alshafei, Gustav Fjorder, and Sveinung Sund

    Introduction: Climate change and energy challenges drive a search for Technical solutions as the world slowly starts to shift away from fossil fuels and closer to cleaner energy sources (batteries and hydrogen) and renewables. Hydrogen, is expected by scientists, strategists, scientists and political leaders to play an increasingly important role in energy production over the next few decades.