Experiment with Innovation and Emerging Technologies with the Emerging Tech Hub at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery


“We were able to surface new opportunities and concept a 2.0 version of product in an incredibly short time frame with a nimble, diverse team of multi-disciplinary students.” Michael Grall, CEO, AfibAlert

Companies looking to explore and identify innovative uses for emerging technologies have a new opportunity with the Emerging Tech Hub at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID).

“We are excited to collaborate with HyperX, a new multi-disciplinary student organization that provides opportunities for rapid learning about real world applications for emerging technologies such as AI, AR / VR, Blockchain, and IoT,” says Kevin Ponto, Director of the Emerging Tech Hub. “Companies who nominate ideas or technologies will benefit from rapid problem-solving with curated teams of students, identifying new use cases for emerging technologies and developing a competitive talent engagement strategy.”

HyperX is a student-run organization at the University of Wisconsin with the goal of creating a space for students to explore innovation and emerging technologies. Students from across campus representing engineering, computer science, business, design, ethnography and other fields are welcome to participate. The org collaborates with faculty and staff across disciplines in the Emerging Tech Hub and companies who bring challenges and problems to solve.

Holos, an AR/VR startup in the Madison area, is an example of one of those companies. “We’ve had interns with us in the past, but more likely than not, they do not have any experience with the hardware, libraries, and paradigms that we work with before joining us,” says Tyler Waite, Co-Founder and COO of Holos. “Being able to give students exposure to these technologies before an internship with us is an incredibly valuable for us because it allows us to vet talent and it enables potential candidates to dive right in and have an immediate impact when they join Holos as an intern, and, ideally, a future employee.”

Digital Health, AgTech, Sports Innovation, and Transportation and Mobility are some of the use cases that will be represented this spring. Companies interested in taking part in hackathons, providing a challenge or technology to explore, new product to test, or project for students to work on in the Hub can contact info@hyperinnovation.com.

HyperX is sponsored by Hyper Innovation and the Emerging Tech Hub at WID.

Hyper Innovation
Hyper Innovation is an Innovation-as-a-Service agency that creates new competitive advantage for global brands through strategically focusing and prioritizing new opportunities, rapid test and learn experiments to identify applications for emerging tech, and informing build/buy/partner decisions.. hyperinnovation.com

Emerging Tech Hub at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
The Emerging Technologies Hub is a newly developing hub at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID), which aims to create a nexus for research and resources related to novel technologies. The hub provides a space for experimentation and exploration of new technologies engaging interdisciplinary teams of researchers and students. The Hub is uniquely positioned to offer a “free zone” for students to explore their own ideas and partner with companies to bring deep technical capabilities and engagement with multi-disciplinary faculty and students.. wid.wisc.edu.


Spring 2020 Calendar


Join us for our HyperX Co-Innovation Lab offering students, entrepreneurs, and technology enthusiasts the opportunity to work on real-world problems.

Throughout the semester, make sure to check in and see what other events we may add including learning events, hackathons, mini competitions (team or individual), challenges, and industry projects. Send an email to hyperxmadison@gmail.com to be added to our list for  announcements.

Spring 2020 Student Event Schedule


January 24, 2020


Final date for companies to nominate projects

January 27, 2020 6:00-7:30pm

Student Info Session and Pizza Social
Learn more about Hyper Innovation and opportunities for hands-on learning solving real-world problems and entrepreneurial opportunities you could be a part of. While focused on technology, we invite students from all majors including engineering, computer science, business, communications, art and design, physics, anthropology and more. 

February 3, 2020 6:00-7:30pm

Student Kick Off Event
Coming to this session does NOT commit you to anything. You are welcome to just check it all out. We also can’t guarantee participation on specific projects but you will certainly be considered!

Come to this session with your ideas to discuss,  meet potential team members, and learn about industry projects or entrepreneurial opportunities in the Lab.  We will also talk about frameworks for the Lab, expectations, and the presentations that you will be giving at the end of the semester.

After the kickoff, selected teams are expected to meet weekly to hear what others are working on, network, and work on projects.

February 10, 2020 6:00-7:30pm

Open Work Session
Lab Directors and mentors will hold office hours for consultation during open work sessions. These sessions are for teams to hear what others are working on, network, and work on projects. 

February 17, 2020 6:00-7:30pm

Open Work Session

February 24, 2020 6:00-7:30pm

Open Work Session

March 2, 2020 6:00-7:30pm

Mid-Point Check in and Troubleshooting
This session will be an opportunity for peer feedback and working through issues or areas of concern.

March 9, 2020 6:00-7:30pm

Open Work Session

March 16, 2020 Spring Break

No meeting.

March 23, 2020 6:00-7:30pm

Virtual Work Session

Optional opportunity to connect remotely with the HyperX team for mentorship on projects and planning for the virtual showcase.

Please contact us at our email to set up a meeting: hyperxmadison@gmail.com

March 30, 2020 6:00-7:30pm

Virtual Work Session and Dry Run Prep Week
This session will be an opportunity to prepare for the Dry Run on April 6 including developing posters, running tests, or preparing demos.

April 6, 2020 6:00-7:30pm

Dry Run and Troubleshooting Week
This session will offer the opportunity for practicing brief presentations and getting feedback from peers.

April 27, 2020 6-7:30pm

Industry Internal Presentations and Setup for Showcase Week
One-to-one presentations to industry partners and project sponsors. Also, if your team has been selected to present at the Hyper Innovation Summit, we will be setting up for the Mini-Expo and presentations.

April 28, 2020 4:30-8:00pm

Industry Event and Showcase LIVE and VIRTUAL
Teams have the option to participate in a Demo Night to showcase their work to a virtual audience.
>Learn more and RSVP for the Showcase Evening Event

Embracing Artificial Intelligence in Personal Health Care


In the multifaceted field that is healthcare, there is a constant demand for contemporary technology, or the creation of a system that assists medical professionals, their patients, and life science communities in an innovative fashion.  Developing that very system, Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers the sophisticated ability to transform patient care, while working collaboratively with doctors and medical professionals.

There is a common misconception surrounding the word “Artificial Intelligence,” one that illustrates the idea of robots replacing humans, and overtaking the field as their own.  AI is a technology that can be integrated into healthcare teams and make primary care more manageable for physicians. When it comes to personal health care, rather than the imagined robots, analytics and predictive models utilize vast data sets that contain crucial patient information are being developed through AI technology. These models provide life-saving information such as possible treatment options and outcomes, survival rates, and health conditions.  AI helps clinicians craft a comprehensive approach for disease management.

The rise of remote patient monitoring (RPM) has given way to technology such as continuous glucose monitors and continuous blood pressure monitors that have allowed patients to visualize their data and generate insights into the impact of various daily activities. Additionally, RPM allows physicians and care teams to interact with patient data using AI platforms to generate insights on best practices for individualized care. AI can reduce the cost of healthcare, and the number of procedures and treatments that patients have to undergo, or that doctors have to prescribe by creating models for preventative care, and keeping people healthier and out of the hospital longer. Cost is an extremely relevant burden on many people seeking treatment around the world.

In Africa, the number one cause of death is cancer.  The government of Rwanda is working with the World Economic Forum to develop a better system of screening.  AI can be utilized to accurately access scans, create treatment plans, and avoid unnecessary surgical procedures. With a particular policy and infrastructure in place, AI would be a perfect solution to Rwanda’s health care problem.


With such a vast array of complex data, AI and machine learning assist in creating data-driven insights that involve diagnosis and treatment recommendations, as well as administrative assistance. Using statistical techniques, the computers possess the ability to learn various patterns from the data being entered, without the input of human support. The ingeniousness behind this technology allows for doctors to make enhanced decisions through the optimization of multivariable problems, while maintaining minimal risk.  Pattern recognition software can identify patients at risk of developing an additional condition, just by looking at lifestyle, environment, genomic, or other factors. AI has proven to perform as well, if not better, than humans when it comes to tasks relating to health care. For example, algorithms are being developed via AI that outperform radiologists as the program helps spot malignant tumors. AI is furthering the benefits of screenings, and providing feedback on medical images such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs that the human eye can so easily miss.  AI prevents risks as the technology draws on predictive modeling, which projects the length of stay for the patient.  

Not only does AI have direct hand in diagnosing and healing patients, this technology also performs in administrative applications in healthcare.  While nurses spend a vast majority of their time on administrative activities, AI can be used for record management and clinical documentation. AI unlocks data that has been collecting dust.  A select few healthcare organizations have been experimenting with AI in the realm of patient interaction, mental health, and tele-health. Some technology companies are working on automatic speech recognition within AI-driven digital scribes.  These scribes can listen in on patient-doctor conversations and write notes. 

The tremendous benefits of AI is leading to a new age of healthcare personalization.  Doctors, and patients alike are discovering a clearer understanding of their bodies, and how healthcare can be revolutionized as AI works towards the uniqueness of each individual.  This is the future of healthcare, a technology that has the potential to cure disease that has been abandoned as hopeless for years. The machinery is encouraging healthier lifestyles.  Artificial Intelligence in personal healthcare is leading to the betterment of humanity. 

Protecting Student Intellectual Property

At the February 24th Open Work Session, students in HyperX had the opportunity to hear from Jeff Glazer, a Supervising Attorney in the Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic (L&E Clinic), at the UW Madison. The L&E Clinic provides free legal services to students and faculty at UW Madison, as well as to startups worldwide.

In his talk, Jeff led students on an informational journey through the hardships, pitfalls, and must-knows of protecting intellectual property (IP) as a student, especially concerning information technology, or software. When it comes to working on teams, Jeff had this word of advice to students in HyperX:

“Talk early and often around expectations around anything related to the venture.”

Jeff Glazer, Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic

There should be a constant, recorded, discussion surrounding who owns IP in student entrepreneurial or exploratory projects. It is important to document these conversations, so that if something were to happen in the future, there would be proof that all those involved came to an agreement on X, Y, and Z about the product or software.

Jeff Glazer speaking to HyperX students on IP Protection.

To protect against IP infringement outside of the classroom or the metaphorical sandbox, there are three key areas to be aware of: copyright, patents, and trade secrets.


“Nobody understands it, and in terms of business law it is the single hardest body of law that exists.”

Jeff Glazer, Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic

Copyright law protects everything from art to architecture to music to books to software, even from creative expression that does not yet exist. Copyright is defined as protecting “original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” Which is a fancy way of saying anything that could be put down or printed on a piece of paper is eligible for copyright, including lines of code — no matter how ineffective or inefficient that would be.

Original: You came up with it, which automatically rules out to what has been copy and pasted.

Works of Authorship: The work has to be something a human is capable of conceiving. There is a caveat there, instruction sets are not protectable under copyright. Why is that? Instructions, like facts (such as the law of gravity) are not copyrightable — they are just simply facts, anyone can know them.

It is also because of something called the Idea-Expression Dichotomy. Take for example software development. Plenty of creativity goes into the job of software development but it is at its core an instruction set, the expression cannot be separated from the idea. But, if for example instead of writing a very efficient code to create the software, there is a lot of creativity or “color” included in the code — that “color” is protectable.

Copyright laws are good at protecting against literal infringement, ie. someone copying and pasting, or in some other way stealing your original work. However, work that is taken and reproduced in someone’s own work (non literal)  is difficult to protect against.

What happens to works that are created by an artificial intelligence?

To answer this question, Jeff Glazer pointed to an example called the “monkey selfie.” In this lawsuit, a photographer went into the wild to take photographs of monkeys (original work), and at some time in this trip he left his camera unattended. And, in the time the camera was left unmanned a monkey came and used the camera to take a “selfie” of its own face. This photo later went on to be on the cover of National Geographic, and was quickly spread on the internet and used without the photographers permission. When the case went to court, it was decided that since the photographer did not take the photo, despite it being his camera, and since monkeys (like artificial intelligence) are not recognized under copyright, no one owns the photo, and there is no copyright infringement.


The word “patent” usually refers to the right to protect granted to anyone who invents something new, useful and non-obvious. Software cannot be patented because it very infrequently embodies a process that has never existed before. Additionally, laws of nature or mathematical functions cannot be patent protected. A unique implementation of a mathematical algorithm can be, but not the algorithm itself.

If your invention is new, useful and non-obvious then you, as the patent holder, get 20 years from date of application to defend the use of your patented invention, process, etc.

New: No one has done this exact thing before.

Useful: What you are trying to patent is “not a doorstop.”

Non-obvious: Nothing like this thing has ever existed before, ie. would a person normally skilled in the art know to add C, if A+B are known? Or, was C something that was previously thought inconceivable and you, as the patent holder, created it?

Trade Secrets

Trade secrets are the best way to ensure the protection of your intellectual property, especially software or lines of code.

“If you do not tell anyone, they cannot copy it. It is as simple as that.”

Jeff Glazer, Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic

What happens when you have to engage other people in the coding project?

First and foremost, everyone involved must sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA). However, a NDA is not enough to protect IP when the project is scaled to a group of 50 individuals. In that instance, there are two ways to ensure IP is protected when it must be shared: contractual and procedural confidentiality agreements.

Contractual confidentiality: An agreement between two or more parties in which one party agrees not to disclose protected information. This kind of contract is only good adhoc, when the damage has already been done after an information leak, or espionage.

Procedural confidentiality: Access granted to specifically chosen individuals, and barred from those that do not need to know. This kind of confidentiality protects against the potential for one individual to walk off with all of the IP, or have access to too much information.

Bio: Jeff Glazer

Jeff Glazer began his career as a web application and software developer; he developed some of the first corporate intranets and internet-enabled business processes. Since then he has also worked in private practice and started multiple companies. He is also one of the foremost experts on blockchain technology in the Madison area.

Click here for more information on our speaker, Jeff Glazer.

You can contact him via his email: jmglazer@wisc.edu

Innovation and Emerging Technology Leadership Summit at the Emerging Tech Hub

The Innovation and Emerging Technology Leadership Summit on November 14, 2019 brought together business leaders, startup CEO’s, and University of Wisconsin-Madison thought leaders.

The purpose of the event was to focus on real-world applications for new technologies and ways to innovate through strategic briefings, hands-on demos, and small group discussion.

As part of the event, attendees were invited to an exclusive Mini Demo Expo at the Emerging Tech Hub. Demonstrations ranged from AR-map based navigation, social robotics, VR applications in research, and agricultural tech innovations, and more.

Participating graduate students from the University of Wisconsin Madison had the opportunity to meet decision makers from the business community, learn about industry problems, and showcase their research and interests.

Among the demonstrators were graduate students Bryce Sprecher, Simon Smith, Benny Wysong-Grass, and David Porfirio. These students were given the opportunity to demonstrate their efforts on university projects, and speak to their expertise on emerging technologies to the corporate and university audience in attendance.

Bryce Sprecher is a research assistant of the Virtual Environments Group in the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, and they demonstrated their work on the immersive analytics demo. Their demo showcased a visualization of molecular data in a 3D, immersive image.

Bryce Sprecher, top left, demonstrating the VR experience with immersive analytics.

Simon Smith, a graduate student, represented the UW Virtual Brain Project, an educational VR application for learning neuro-anatomy of the human visual system and how and where the brain processes visual information.

The UW Virtual Brain Project

Benny Wysong-Grass is an undergraduate student in the Computer Science program. He demonstrated how multiple Kinect Azures can be interconnected to capture a 3D volume of space in front of their combined views. Traditionally, 3D models are often made with 3D design programs, and require a large amount of manual labor and specialized skill sets.  3D scanning of models has existed for some time, but results of models are improving thanks to improved commodity hardware, such as the recently released Kinect Azure. 

David Porfirio is a fourth year PhD student in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab, and his demonstration was on the capabilities of the social robot, Nao. The research associated with Nao’s capabilities presents a low-effort technical setup for investigating the interactions that people have with robots in public. The setup includes a Nao robot programmed to interact with people at the discovery building, recognize and respond to user speech, and collect feedback on the quality of end-user’s interactions. After collecting multiple batches of feedback, the robot will re-write its own software to maximize user experience. 

David Porfirio with Nao.

Events such as the Innovation and Emerging Technology Leadership Summit are just one example of how students are able to engage with corporate audiences. Student members of HyperX have opportunities to work on cross-disciplinary teams to work on industry applications for emerging technologies, or develop solutions around corporate sponsored problems to be solved.

Find out how to get involved with HyperX and the Emerging Tech Hub to learn more, and to take advantage of these unique opportunities.

What is the Emerging Tech Hub at the WID?

Last week Thursday, September 5th, Hyper Innovation, in partnership with the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) and the Virtual Environments Lab, had the privilege of hosting a networking and demo night at the future home for the Emerging Technologies Hub located in the Discovery Building.

The event was sponsored by Husch Blackwell, Hyper Innovation, and the WID and focused on applications for emerging technologies. In attendance were corporate decision makers from local companies, startups, small companies from the area, and university representatives.

The event was hosted to highlight the capabilities of intriguing use cases for emerging technologies such as: artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, internet of things, drones, gesture based controls, and connected healthcare/wearable health tech. The demos showcased applications in a variety of industries ranging from classroom settings, agriculture and sports, to healthcare and business advertising.

Included were demos completed by Omron, Holos, Virtual Environments, Axicor, Aspect Multimedia, and Search Discovery.

The Emerging Tech Hub is poised to be a central player in the university ecosystem that connects corporations, startups, university entities and the general Madison public in the exploration of the applications for emerging technologies. The hub plans to provide mentorship opportunities for startups and students, hands on demos, educational events, and hack-a-thons and sand-boxing events.

The vision of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery was the be the heart of innovation on campus, and the Emerging Technologies Hub is one way in which the WID can pursue the promise of the building and its mission.

RSVP for Student Info Session and Pizza Social on January 27, 2020 6:00-7:30

Info Session

Learn more about Hyper Innovation and opportunities for hands-on experience, projects, and support for early stage entrepreneurial ideas you could potentially be a part of. We invite students from all majors including engineering, computer science, business, communications, art and design, physics, anthropology and more. And, yes, there will be pizza.

While this is a student event, faculty, staff, and interested company reps are welcome to attend.

RSVP for this free event so we know how much food to have on hand!

Email questions:

1/27/20 6:00-7:30
Student Info Session and Pizza Social
Union South

Max Schauff Presents LineLeap Successes at Hyper Innovation Executive Summit

shauffMax Schauff, a junior studying biological and machinery systems engineering, presented the successes of his company at the Hyper Innovation Executive Summit.

LineLeap allows users (lineleap.com) to bypass big crowds waiting to enter popular nightclubs—akin to the “fastpass” made popular at Disney parks. The applications of mobile to solve customer problems became a part of the small group breakout discussions for the audience.


Blockchain: Alive or Dying?

TechCrunch explores the two arcs of opinions surrounding blockchain—the hackers and engineers who are ready to devote their life’s work to the technology, and the investors and financiers who are starting to lose faith. Looking at the history of other modern technological advances, blockchain’s explosive impact and growth is far from over.


Although investors are skeptical due to crytocurrency’s questioning sustainability in the market and its wavering value, corporations such as UNICEF and Starbucks are encouraged by the emerging technology and have begun to seek out ways to apply it to their existing business models.

“Global philanthropic organization UNICEF is actively seeking individuals to develop their own blockchain network. Interest from such a recognizable and respectable organization is sure to further legitimize the rapidly growing technology and this may prove to be a fantastic opportunity to individuals looking to break into this field.” (Lucas DeRuyter)


“Coffee giant Starbucks is looking into utilizing Blockchain software in their purchasing app. This endeavor could make the service far more secure and allow for more meticulous transaction records.” (Lucas DeRuyter)



Is the Midwest the Next Silicon Valley?


As Silicon Valley saturates, this New York Times article outlines the allure of the Midwest to venture capitalists and influencers in the tech sector.

In addition, this article offers an examination of, and a possible explanation of why the Midwest is seeing such considerable growth in venture capital activity.


What do you think his means for the Midwest, for innovative hubs like Madison, WI?

March 5 Kickoff Event

We have kicked off the Spring 2018 Lab but there may still be opportunities to participate in short-term projects and certainly will be for our Fall 2018 Lab. Fill out this Request an Invitation to Participate Form to start the discussion.

Kick Off Meeting at 100State – 316 W. Washington, Suite 675 (location info)
ome to this session with your ideas to explore,  meet potential team members, and learn about industry projects in the Lab or opportunities for entrepreneurs.

We will also talk about frameworks for the Lab, expectations, and the presentations that you will be giving at the end of the semester. Some participants will be invited to present at a showcase at our Executive Disruption Summit on May 2.

After the kickoff, teams selected to participate are expected to meet weekly to hear what others are working on, network, and work on projects.

If you missed the info session on February 26, review this PDF of the student overview.

Let us know if you have questions: hyperxmadison@gmail.com