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UIC News Tips
University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456, www.uic.edu/depts/paff

October 16, 2001 Contact: Mark Rosati (312) 996-5546; rosati@uic.edu
Caroline Charles, Northlich PR for P&G (513) 762-5571
More background information


Users of cellular phones, pagers, cameras and other next-generation portable electronic devices may see vast improvements in the products they use as a result of a donation made by Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Today, P&G announced that it has donated the patents and accompanying intellectual property of its proprietary Smart Power Management (SPM) Technology to UIC.

As the sole new owner of the technology, UIC will benefit from all future revenues after the technology is further developed, tested and commercialized.

SPM Technology consists of micro-integrated circuits that deliver power so efficiently that it presents a multitude of product opportunities to improve consumers' lives. SPM Technology can enable the development of smaller, lighter phones and other electronic devices while allowing for expanded versatility, longer battery life and less heat generation. Existing power management systems consume valuable power and do not work well when battery voltage is low, so consumers generally discard batteries with nearly half the energy remaining. For example, when portable electronic devices like cellular phones or laptop computers operate from battery power, they typically can't extract all the energy stored in the battery - under some conditions up to 40 percent of energy could remain in the battery. SPM Technology delivers power so efficiently that most of the usable energy in the battery could be extracted, increasing the usable life of batteries as much as two- to threefold, depending on operating conditions.

SPM Technology also offers advancements such as disposable, longer-lasting power sources, highly efficient electrical energy distribution and harvesting naturally available low-voltage energy sources such as light or muscle energy. For example, a hearing aid with SPM Technology could be powered by a solar cell built into an eyeglass frame.

"We are very pleased that Procter & Gamble has recognized UIC's College of Engineering as uniquely qualified to realize the full development of this technology," said UIC Chancellor Sylvia Manning. "We look forward to further developing SPM Technology, and through a UIC faculty-led startup business, ultimately getting it to the marketplace where it can potentially benefit millions of consumers."

With further development work and successful commercialization, SPM Technology could result in annual sales greater than $1 billion to the electronics industry and potentially millions of dollars in income to the university.

Because P&G is not able to devote resources to commercialize all of its more than 27,000 patents, the company donates technologies that are not essential to current product development activities and can be best developed elsewhere. Each year, P&G invests nearly $2 billion in research and development and is awarded on average more than one new patent a day.

"We are thrilled that UIC will be able to continue the development of this significant technology," said Jeff Hamner, manager of corporate research and development at Procter & Gamble. "It presents a 'real-life laboratory' for UIC students to further develop and commercialize a promising technology, and if they are successful, can lead to a new source of funding for the university."

Smart Power Management Technology

A power management system maintains an electronic device's required voltage even as its battery voltage drops. Existing power management systems consume too much battery power and do not work when voltage is low. P&G's SPM Technology is unique due to its revolutionary micro-integrated circuits, which consume very little energy and enable a device to operate even at low battery voltage. In addition to longer battery life, SPM Technology yields less heat and permits greater system integration.

Examples where SPM Technology may be used include personal electronic devices such as cell phones and pagers, particularly as functions like e-mail and Internet access become standard options requiring a more efficient power source. SPM Technology could also double standard battery life in a camera. SPM Technology could supply several voltages from a single battery, is extremely compact, and can be easily integrated into the device's microchips.

"SPM Technology presents many opportunities to improve consumers' lives," said Krishna Shenai, professor of electrical and computer engineering in UIC's College of Engineering. "And we are well-equipped to take P&G's research to the next level."

In a letter to UIC announcing the SPM Technology donation, P&G commended Shenai's record of achievement, outstanding expertise in the area of power management, and enthusiasm for the project -all of which made UIC the best donation candidate.

About UIC

The largest university in the Chicago area, UIC has 25,000 students; 15 colleges, including the nation's largest medical school; the state's major public medical center; and annual research volume of almost $200 million. Through its Great Cities Commitment, UIC administers hundreds of programs that engage with community, corporate, civic and government partners to enhance the quality of life in Chicago and other urban areas.

About Procter & Gamble (P&G)

P&G markets 250 brands to five billion consumers in 130 countries. P&G invests nearly $2 billion a year to develop and improve its products - leading the way in R&D globally among consumer products companies. P&G's Global Licensing and External Ventures Organization is charged with ensuring the company maximizes the value of its "treasure trove" of technologies by selling, licensing and, in some cases, donating these technologies. The unit is also responsible for licensing select P&G brand trademarks.

- UIC -

Copyright © 2001 University of Illinois at Chicago
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