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Michael C. Larson

 Michael C. Larson, Ph.D.

Professor and El Pomar Chair of Engineering and Innovation at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

CEO of Innovention Toys, LLC

1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy
Colorado Springs CO 80918
United States

tel: 719 255 3044
fax: 719 255 3042
E-mail: mlarson@uccs.edu
Web: www.michaelclarson.com

Area of Expertise

product design and development, laser/materials interaction, fracture and fatigue


Michael Larson earned his PhD from MIT in 1992. He now holds the El Pomar Endowed Chair of Engineering and Innovation and is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He also serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation on the UCCS campus. With funding totaling more than $6M from a variety of agencies, including the NSF, the U.S. Air Force, the Missile Defense Agency, and private corporations, Michael has tackled a number of projects related to the fracture and failure of materials and to optical methods, including bolstering the reliability of microelectronic components. His current research focus is on laser/materials interactions, especially related to medical applications.

Michael has a passion for creativity and innovation. He has co-founded two companies, one based on a medical device he invented and another based on a consumer product, a laser board game called Khet. In 2005, New Orleans' City Business magazine named him "Entrepreneur of the Year" for founding and directing a studio for creative design. Dr. Larson has conducted numerous workshops on the topics of innovation and creative problem solving. He has garnered six awards for outstanding teaching and conducted a program, with funding from the Lilly Foundation, to increase high school student interest in engineering fields. Dr. Larson has provided engineering consulting and design services for a number of clients, including designing and fabricating a rocket-port measurement device for Lockheed-Martin, and serving as a product design and failure analysis expert in legal cases. He has piloted a jet aircraft, steered a nuclear submarine, and can wiggle his ears. One at a time.

Lecture Title(s)

A Laser-Based Device for Tissue Fusion
A prototype device has been created, and successfully used, to fuse tissue membranes as an alternative to sutures or staples. The joining, or coaptation, is accomplished through the controlled application of laser heating and pressure to induce protein denaturation and subsequent tissue fusion, through renaturation and intertwining, across the interface. Lasers have been used by a number of researchers to close wounds in controlled laboratory tests over the last 15 years. Many encouraging results have been obtained; however, no commercial delivery systems are currently available. This is due primarily to two factors: requiring an inordinate amount of experience on the part of the operator to detect changes in tissue appearance, and attempting to achieve general applicability for multiple tissue systems, i.e., a one-size-fits-all approach. Different combinations of system performance parameters may be required for different types of tissues. The present device overcomes these barriers as it is tailored for the particular application of septal laser fusion, namely for the coaptation of mucoperichondrial membranes. The optimal laser performance characteristics are pre-set for nasal tissue and packaged in an easy to use device.

Starting and Running Your Own Company: an entrepreneurial case study of KHET The Laser Game
Michael co-founded Innovention Toys, LCC, with two former graduate students. The company manufactures, markets and sells their patented board game called "The Laser Game: KHET2.0." This cool, multiple award-winning game is the first and only to include real lasers. Two players alternate moving mirrored Egyptian-themed pieces and firing their lasers in hopes of illuminating their opponents’ pharaoh while shielding their own from harm. The company did over a million dollars in sales in their second year of existence. Michael will discuss the joys of: product design, cash flow, working with foreign vendors, the import/export process, suing, being sued, marketing, etc., to help you decided if you would like to become a captain of industry.

Medical Device Design and Development
Michael will discuss the particular features, both technical and business, of developing products for medical applications. Many of these stem from requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Michael will draw upon examples from his own work designing medical devices.

Invention at MIND Studios: university-based product design and development
MIND Studios at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs provides an environment for nurturing students who possess a passion for innovation and a desire to experience product design and development. The Studio space is conducive to collaborative brainstorming and creative problem solving. It is a hands-on facility, containing a rapid prototyping machine, a 3D scanning camera, a high-speed camera and other tools needed to create ideas, design solutions and fabricate prototypes. Michael will discuss how MIND Studios is structured and operated to serve students, the University and inventors from the community. He will discuss case studies of projects, e.g.a wireless system for aiding caregivers at a retirement community, a retractable dog leash, among others.
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