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High-Tech Startups Get Their Eureka Moment

Robotic arm at Eureka Park at 2012 International CES . / Credit: Robiotic arm image courtesy of NSF Science Nation and Barrett Technology

Innovative technology startups and entrepreneurs got their eureka moment today when the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced that it would expand the size of the Eureka Park TechZone at the 2013 International CES in Las Vegas, and renew its partnerships with two Eureka Park Sponsors, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Startup America Partnership. The Eureka Park TechZone, which launched at the 2012 CES with more than 100 exhibitors, showcases innovative startups and entrepreneurs.

The TechZone was a strong attraction for venture capitalists, media, buyers and other attendees at the CES who were drawn to the new-to-CES innovations and emerging technologies. The CES is the world's largest technology event.

This year's show featured exhibitors and technologies that are only now emerging from research and development support by NSF and various startup companies.Next year's show will be expanded by 40 percent, allowing an additional 40 startups to participate.

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The products displayed included a contact-lens-size display, agile robotic arm and a fluid-electronic e-reading system.

"We are immensely proud of what Eureka Park has already become, a specialized exhibit area customized for startups to launch new products, services and even ideas," said Karen Chupka, senior CEA senior vice president of events and conferences. "The NSF has been instrumental in making Eureka Park the premier destination for budding entrepreneurs, fledgling startups and homegrown innovation."

Through NSF's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and related initiatives, such emerging entrepreneurs benefit from both funding support and guidance. One form of guidance includes follow-up assistance through an SF-supported partnership with the Innovation Accelerator Initiative, which works to enhance commercialization and helped coordinate the SBIT participation at the 2012 CES.

"For decades, NSF has supported the creation of useful technologies, products and processes from science and engineering discoveries," said Murali Nair, NSF program officer for small business grants. "We push our small business grantees to take advantage of opportunities like those provided by Innovation Accelerator and CES to market their high-technology products, grow their business and become viable, profitable companies."

CEA also announced it would hold the Eureka Park Challenge to offer startups an opportunity to present at the CEA Line Shows in New York this June. Winners of the Eureka Park Challenge will receive free booth space at the 2013 International CES. 

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.