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3rdTech Works With UNC To Create New Gadgets For Consumers

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CHAPEL HILL — Research universities likeN.C. State,DukeandUNC-Chapel Hillare the engines that power new technology. One company is turning research at UNC into new products for consumers.

Researchers at3rdTechwork in sparse surroundings over Franklin Street. Under special agreements, they bring their inventions from the UNC Computer Science Department across the street.

"We bring it over here," says UNC researcher Lars Nyland. "We build it. We make it smaller, faster, better, more reliable."

3rdTech has formed three new companies. Nyland works on DeltaSphere, a 3-D laser scanner and scene digitizer. Special software allows computer users to view everything in a room from any angle.

"The computer hardware and software can calculate the correct perspective view and allow you to look at the object or the room from anywhere," says Nick England, CEO of 3rdTech.

HiBall Tracker, another 3rdTech company, will market a computerized optical tracking system that will be used in training, simulation and entertainment. NanoManipulator may be used to study the mechanical structure of DNA.

"We have a force feedback arm that a user can grab hold of and can actually feel viruses, molecules or a small number of atoms," England says.

The high-tech incubator offers management experience and development expertise.

3rdTech hopes to spin off the three companies through venture capital investment or buy out by other companies. The inventors and the principal owners of the new companies, 3rdTech and UNC, own small percentages of each.


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