Showcase features KU, Lawrence connections


Topeka,Kansas (06-21-2001)

From Lawrence Journal World
By Mark Fagan



A Kansas City, Mo.-based company is relying on technology developed at Kansas University to find a cure for an increasingly common ailment: the inability to decipher 20,000 Web sites offering health information.

Today Communications Inc. next month will launch www.VitalSeek .com, a search engine designed to accept personal information from each user and use it to sort through online resources involving medicine and health.

Some 97 million adults in the United States are reported to have sought medical information online, and Today Communications wants to grab much of the growing market.

The site's key technology is being developed in conjunction with the Information and Telecommunications Technology Center at Kansas University. Susan Gauch, an associate professor, is leading a team of graduate students working to make the VitalSeek Web site work.

"It's crucial," said Amy McWilliams, a Today Communications spokeswoman, working a booth for the VitalSeek site at the Kansas Technology Showcase on Wednesday in Topeka. "We can't exist without the search. We can pull together the database of sites, but unless we have a way to search that database we're nothing."

VitalSeek was among 100 high-tech start-ups, vendors, consultants and manufacturers taking part in the third annual showcase at the Kansas Expocentre.

Among them was Microtech Computers Inc., a Lawrence-based manufacturer that last year sold $10 million worth of computers to the state of Kansas. Robert Szabo, account executive for the company's government sales division, spent Wednesday showing off his company's new wireless computer ports.

The wireless equipment isn't advanced enough yet to handle broadband communication, but Szabo wouldn't be surprised to see the capabilities speed up by next year.

"That's all technology is," he said. "Every time you buy something it's always getting out of date. You just have to pay attention."

For more information, contact ITTC.


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The Information and Telecommunication Technology Center at the University of Kansas has developed several assistance policies that enhance interactions between the Center and local, Kansas, or national companies. 

ITTC assistance includes initial free consulting (normally one to five hours). If additional support is needed, ITTC will offer one of the following approaches: 

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Individuals and organizations can enter into agreements with KUCR/ITTC and provide funds for sponsored research to be performed at ITTC with the assistance of faculty, staff and students.

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An ITTC goal is the development of investment-grade technologies for transfer to, and marketing by, local, Kansas, and national businesses. To enhance this process, the Center has developed flexible policies that allow for licensing, royalty, and equity arrangements to meet both the needs of ITTC and the company.

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