The Tech Topia Summit is an annual tour of the hi-tech highlights the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce wants to showcase within its realm. And, there are many to see.
This year on July 11, some 80 business people and community leaders toured the innovative and job-producing labs on the UC Santa Barbara campus.
They were told some 68 companies were involved last year in the clean rooms and workshops in the engineering facilities on campus. The innovations produced there generated some 300 to 400 jobs using about $40 million in equipment.
Companies rent space at UCSB to develop their projects, but retain their intellectual property rights to their innovations.
During the past decade, some 280 companies, including Google, have used the UCSB facilities where several Nobel Prizes in science were awarded. UCSB specializes in nano science and cutting-edge technology. Nano technology involves extremely small devices developed for a variety of commercial purposes.
Those on the tour were able to see the UCSB AlloSphere showcase some of this technology. The AlloSphere takes scientific data and creates a three-dimensional surrounding visual and audio experience in a three-story sphere, resembling a small planetarium.
The tour included a visit to the Innovation Workshop where machine tools are used alongside such hi-tech advances as three-dimensional and laser printers that are used to create prototypes of devices that may soon be available to market.