Innovative Colorado

Innovative Colorado
Image courtesy of JC Buck

Did you know that Coloradoans have an average SAT score that is 200+ points higher than the national average?  Turns out, we are pretty dang smart and we live for innovation.  We love making lives better – ours or anyone else’s.  It’s no surprise, really.  Colorado has been the inspiration behind songs, poems, books, and food (Rocky Mountain Oysters, to name one).  I’ve always thought it’s because our state has an extra dose of Vitamin D…a little extra kick to keep us happy and motivated.

Coloradoans were especially innovative in 2014.  Below are a few breakthroughs that have made quite a difference; we definitely have room to brag.

With every natural disaster, one of the largest threats is often what we think of as our shelter: our infrastructure.  The public needs these safe in order to keep ourselves safe, so after Hurricane Sandy, Professor Paul Chinowsky from the University of Colorado Boulder School of Engineering and his team came up with a prediction model for how existing infrastructure would hold up in a natural disaster.  They named it the IPPS – Infrastructure Planning Support System.  It takes into account building materials, energy use, and the age of the building to provide reports on how well a building will do, as well as what should be done in order to prevent risk.  This team’s research has been used across the world in Asia and Africa, as well as throughout the United States.

Colorado is home to a ridiculous amount of breweries; Coloradoans love their beer.  So what did Denver manufacturing firm Eldon James do?  Found a way to make it taste better.  They found that beer tap systems are often made from PVC pipes, which absorb flavor as well as allow bacteria to build up.  Gross.  What they decided to do was use medical tubing instead of PVC piping, calling it the “Beverage Ultra-Barrier”.  It’s antimicrobial and doesn’t absorb any of the flavor.  They brought it to a trade show in Munich, which yielded positive responses. From there it became popular with New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins.  Last we heard, Coors was considering using these new pipes in its plant in Golden.  The newest person to use these non-PVC pipes?  Hickenlooper, outfitting the governor’s mansion.

Coming from upstairs in our own building in Downtown Denver is Ibotta, an app that earns you money for shopping.  Bryan Leach, CEO (whose résumé includes Harvard, Oxford and Yale, NBD), came up with a new type of advertisement, rather than the “interruption model”.  This app lets you unlock rebates from various products after either watching a short video or answering a question.  Then you shop and take a picture of your receipt, and if you bought any of the products from the ad, they give you a rebate.  This is cool because the consumer is basically getting paid for watching ads!  App users have grown to over four million with over 125,000 retail locations participating.  Way to go, neighbors!

Also coming from Boulder is Nanoly, a company working on making vaccines more readily available.  Most vaccines need to be kept under 45 degrees, which can severely limit their accessibility.  Nanoly has created a nano material that wraps around the proteins in the vaccine and keeps the molecules from moving around when heated, thus preventing the vaccines to break down from the heat.  Recent studies suggest that it will take vaccines from $1 a dose to $0.05 a dose.  By this summer, Nanoly hopes to get it picked up from the large vaccine companies.  Imagine the possibilities.

Colorado certainly seems to be an inspirational place to live.  It’s no wonder that our housing market is projected to be the highest in the country!

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