More Innovative Realms to Watch - Voice of San Diego

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More Innovative Realms to Watch

Local researchers are taking cues from butterflies and harnessing the ocean to push scuba-diving forward.

We looked Monday at a number of realms where San Diego discoverers, researchers and companies are making a mark nationally and internationally.

It’s a starting place, and I’ve since heard about a couple others areas I want to highlight as an addendum. These are growing sectors that are already starting to stake a claim for San Diego.

Innovation isn’t simply coming up with an idea, many people have told me since I began this series. Innovation is taking that idea, finding an application for it and even finding a market for it.

Biomimicry involves taking systems or features from nature, studying how they work and applying them to complex human problems. The San Diego Zoo launched a Centre for Bioinspiration that aims to incubate ideas like these and find those applications.

Here’s an example, from a KPBS story when the center launched last year:

One example of biomimicry comes from the morpho butterfly, whose brilliant blue wings are due to a structural pattern that reflects blue light. Stambaugh said Qualcomm has used that pattern to create more vivid colors on its cell phone screens.

• A field dubbed sports innovation already boasts hundreds of companies in San Diego, according to Connect, an organization founded in the 1980s to foster innovation in San Diego. Connect leaders recruited Bill Walton to lead the board of its San Diego Sports Innovators branch.

These sports innovators include companies like Callaway Golf and TaylorMade-Adidas that push golf technology forward.

The American branch of the oldest diving gear manufacturer, Aqua Lung, is headquartered in Vista and uses nearby oceans to test new diving technology.

The Active Network, a San Diego-based company operating sports race registrations, launched its company on the stock market a couple of years ago. (That company has gone through some major crises in recent months.)

We’re interested in finding more examples of innovation outside of typical sectors. Where else in San Diego are people connecting the dots in ways that are having an impact?

This is part of our Quest to find out more about the innovation economy in San Diego. Here’s a good overview of what we wanted to find out, and check out these highlights from the series.

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