Urenio Watch Watch: Innovative Companies

The Wall Street Journal’s Innovation Awards

The DTrace trouble-shooting software from Sun was chosen as the Gold winner in The Wall Street Journal’s 2006 Technology Innovation Awards contest, the second time in three years that a Sun entry has won the top award.

The panel of judges, representing industry as well as research and academic institutions, selected Gold, Silver and Bronze award winners and cited one technology for an Honorable Mention.

For the awards, judges considered novel technologies from around the world in several categories: medicine and medical devices, wireless, security, consumer electronics, semiconductors and others.

A Wall Street Journal editor initially screened more than 600 applications. The judges then considered 121 of the entries, selecting 12 category winners and 37 runners-up. Among the category winners are the top three award winners.

In selecting winners, judges considered whether the technology truly represents a breakthrough from conventional methods, rather than just an incremental improvement.

The Silver award went to HelioVolt Corp., which has come up with a way to make lightweight solar-energy panels that are powered by an alternative to the more common silicon solar material and that can be applied to glass or other building materials.

Pfizer Inc. and Nektar Therapeutics, won the Bronze award for their development of a powdered, inhalable insulin designed to replace shots for the treatment of diabetes.

The winners in the 12 industry categories are:

  • Biotech-Medical – Pfizer’s and Nektar’s Exubera powdered insulin.
  • Consumer Electronics – The Sonos digital-music networking system.
  • Energy and Power – HelioVolt for its process of making ultrathin solar-power materials.
  • Environment – ET Water Systems LLC, for a landscape-irrigation system that promises to reduce water use by gauging the precise watering needs of a home or business based on the location’s plants, soil types and rainfall.
  • Materials – Eikos Inc., for a transparent, electrically conductive coating that can be used, among other things, to make solar cells, flexible displays, and touch-screen monitors that are less prone to dead spots.
  • Medical Devices – Incisive Surgical Inc., for a new mechanical skin stapler, which uses absorbable skin staples to close wounds after surgery.
  • IT Security and Privacy – AuthenTec Inc., for its fingerprint-reading technology, used to authenticate users of personal computers, cellphones and other devices.
  • Security (Facilities) – AxonX LLC, for a security-camera system that uses artificial-intelligence software to detect and identify smoke and fire in large commercial buildings.
  • Semiconductors – Semprius Inc., for a process for making large-scale, high-performance electronic circuits that can be applied to any surface.
  • Software – Sun Microsystems, for its DTrace trouble-shooting software.
  • Technology Design – Seagate Technology LLC, for a hard-disk recording technology that dramatically increases the amount of information that can be stored on a single disk.
  • Wireless – Zensys Inc., for controlling home lighting, entertainment and security systems.


The Wall Street Journal’s 2006 Technology Innovation Awards