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Three Critical Events of the Technology Transfer Process


The three points of intersection between the wave and the axis in the diagram, represent three critical events in the technology transfer process: idea, prototype and product.

Idea Event - The Idea event is the point at which a specific idea is conceived an idea that identifies a new discovery or existing technology and matches it to a new or novel application area. For example, the idea of taking lightweight, composite materials used in military aircraft and applying them to consumer products such as sporting goods or assistive devices. As a point of idea conception there is not yet any tangible development; it is only the genesis of the idea itself. At this event, a person or group has invested sufficient thought and discussion for a clear concept to emerge. An example concept is: composite materials could improve consumer goods by reducing weight and cost while increasing strength flexibility.

Prototype Event - The Prototype event occurs when the idea for a technology application is developed into a functional prototype. The prototype is based on a technology which may be embodied in hardware, software, a process or a system. The prototype may be in a shoebox or on a laboratory bench. The defining moment is when the prototype demonstrates that the technology concept functions as expected in reality; where the technology concept is first reduced to practice. In our example, a prototype event is: the first bicycle and wheelchair frames formed from composite materials in a workshop or laboratory. These prototypes may be too crude or fragile for use, but they demonstrate the feasibility of the technology in the application.

Product Event - the product event is when the prototype has been developed to the point where it is ready for production and distribution for the marketplace. At this point, the product s components, design and operation appear reliable and are reproducible in mass numbers. This event is typically under the control and direction of a private sector company. In our example: the recent proliferation of bicycle and wheelchair frames from composite materials along with limb braces, tennis rackets and golf club shafts all demonstrate the market viability of applying composite materials to consumer products.

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