Dr. Robert Mehalso

President, Microtec Associates

United States

The Pathway for Emerging Product Commercialization


Academic and research institutions worldwide continue to receive significant government funding to support micro/nano and biotechnology emerging product development. This funding has resulted in these institutions being able to build a micro/nano and biotechnology knowledge and intellectual property base. In many instances, micro and nano-based product concepts have been developed. However, not many products, particularly medical products, have been commercialized. It is generally recognized that the conventional infrastructure of the educational system and of manufacturing are not supportive of micro/nano/biosystems-based product commercialization. This infrastructure begins with the integration of micro and nanotechnology manufacturing principles into the science and engineering curricula of universities. Developing this skill set, particularly for engineers, is important for them to be proficient at designing products at the micro and nano scale. Companies must be able to prototype design concepts and develop manufacturing processes to provide a pathway to commercialization. A micromanufacturing infrastructure is critical. The cost in time and financial resources to build the facilities and equipment and to train personnel is beyond the reach of both small and large companies. This paper will discuss the challenges within academia, industry and government, and the need for coordinated roles in developing a commercialization pathway for micro/nano/bio-based products.


Dr. Robert Mehalso is internationally recognized for his pioneering and innovative approaches to the commercialization of micro/nano/biosystems – integrating the development of manufacturing approaches, the building of infrastructures, and the delivery of products to the marketplace. His focus on commercialization of micro/ nano/biosystems in the automotive, medical, and communications industries has enabled new products that include fuel-injection systems, ink-jet printheads, optical and wireless telecommunication devices, the CD ROM, various medical diagnostic devices, and sensing systems. Dr. Mehalso founded and built the world’s first corporation dedicated to the commercialization of micro/nano/biosystems and has subsequently been involved in founding over a dozen micro/nano/biosystems companies. He was a co-founder of Ardesta, the first micro/nano/biosystems venture fund, and Small Times Media. Dr. Mehalso has held senior management positions at RCA Corp, Xerox Corp, DT Industries, and several entrepreneurial companies. He provides advisory support to industries, universities, and governments internationally on the development of micro/nano/biosystems commercialization strategy. He has been a strategic advisor to over one hundred companies on the commercialization and business development of micro/nano/biosystems. Dr. Mehalso holds a B.S. in Ceramic Science from The Pennsylvania State University and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a University Fellow of The Pennsylvania State University and Rensselaer. Dr. Mehalso continues to lecture widely and serves on advisory boards of several academic and financial institutions, on the boards of several companies, and on the Executive Board of MANCEF.