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Innovation Institute \'conversation changer\'

June 5, 2011

Henry Ford Health System officials have plans for a center that brings together medical researchers, designers and engineers to create for-profit companies making a wide range of medical products. The new institute will involve collaborations with such academic institutions as Wayne State University, the College for Creative Studies, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, the University of Chicago and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain. The Innovation Institute at Henry Ford will be housed in a three-story Albert Kahn building known as the Old Ed Building. Officials envision spinning out companies making such things as robotic surgery tools and diagnostic devices, ergonomic chairs for doctors during long surgeries and better communications systems for waiting rooms. The first corporate partner is Lockheed Martin Corp., which hopes to help the institute win large government grants and forge business relationships among the institute's spinoff companies and such private-sector companies as Texas Instruments and GE Healthcare, a business unit of General Electric Co. The project, if funded, would be in partnership with Greg Auner, director of the Smart Sensors and Integrated Microsystems Program in WSU's Engineering School. The award is expected to be announced this summer.