Photo from above of the floor at CES

CES 2023: Case Western Reserve to share ‘innovation ecosystem’ at Las Vegas show for 10th consecutive year

Human Fusions Institute, 3D violin maker, other exhibitors backed by university, Case School of Engineering, think[box] and LaunchNet

When a Case Western Reserve-led team of entrepreneurs hits the exhibition floor Jan. 5-8, for CES 2023 in Las Vegas, it will mark the 10th straight year the university has presented at one of the largest and most influential tech gatherings in the world. (Note: If you’re on site at CES, you’ll find the CWRU team at Tech West Level 1 Hall G Booth 61701).

This year, attendees will include CES in-person newcomers like faculty member and bioengineering pioneer Dustin Tyler and returnees like Matt Canel and Ben Kaufman, a pair of graduates who make colorful, inexpensive, 3D-printed violins.

Violins shown at CES 2022 by 3D Music.

Tyler’s Human Fusions Institute and the 3D-printing startup launched by Canel and Kaufman are part of a diverse slate of exhibitors. Combined, they illustrate the university’s critical role in Northeast Ohio’s wider ecosystem of innovation and development.

“This is more than just Case Western Reserve sending some of its brightest and most forward-thinking entrepreneurs to a world-class innovation show,” said CWRU LaunchNet Director Bob Sopko, who organizes the group’s annual tech trek to CES and mentors many of the exhibitors. “This is demonstration of how we influence—and benefit from—an entire innovation ecosystem.”

Emerging entrepreneurs at a ‘problem-solving institution’

photo of Michael Oakes
Michael Oakes

The CWRU team includes faculty, staff and graduates showing everything from novel data storage systems to “internet of things” solutions to advanced nanoengineered magnetic materials to an educational investing platform.

Michael Oakes, the university’s senior vice president for research and technology management, said the range of exhibitors reflects the university’s wider commitment to entrepreneurship and development.

“These exciting CES presentations and engagements reflect the hard work of many, especially our emerging entrepreneurs,” Oakes said. “They are vital to our mission of getting our research into the world and elevating CWRU’s reputation as a problem-solving institution.”

Nine student fellows selected by the Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship also will be at the CWRU booths. The fellows will assist team members and have opportunities to explore more than 2 million square feet of exhibition floor with more than 3,000 exhibitors from 166 countries.

“Meeting innovators from around the world provides students real-world insight into people, their culture—and their products and services being developed,” Sopko said.

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation supports the Case Western Reserve exhibits at CES and many entrepreneurship activities on campus and across Northeast Ohio.

The 2023 lineup

Folio Photonics 

This startup, led by Kenneth Singer, the Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, and two recent CWRU graduates, has developed a high-density DVD that offers greater data storage capacity at lower cost than existing methods like magnetic tape, hard drives and solid-state drives, Singer said. It does that by adding multiple layers of material on the disc, each of which can be used to store another level of data, he said. A single Folio disc would have the same storage capacity as more than 100 DVDs, company officials said.

Human Fusions Institute

Tyler, the Kent H. Smith II Professor of Bioengineering, has long worked toward extending physical touch—the “essence of the human experience”—across space and time. Tyler and three students will allow some participants to try two of his projects. In one, while wearing a specialized glove and virtual reality headset, they can attempt various tasks that require touch sensitivity in the virtual world. In the other, they can remotely control and feel a robotic arm—some 250 miles away in Los Angeles at UCLA.

Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems (ISSACS)

A team led by Chris Nurre, director of the ISSACS Professional Services Group, will exhibit and demonstrate some of its early successes in so-called “smart cities” and environmental monitoring of air quality in the Great Lakes region.

“We’ll also be there to see what others are doing in the fields of connected health, advanced manufacturing and smart cities, including the blue (water) economy,” Nurre said.

I Ride USA

This startup aims to provide users, especially those planning trips, with an easily accessible, comprehensive database of free outdoor cameras. Founded in 2019 by graduate Brian Shell and his brother, Dan, the company’s easy-to-use map allows people to see active traffic cameras to plan their routes.

Magnet Energy LLC (PMT Group)

The company, founded by 2022 Masters of Physics graduate Benjamin Pratt and two others, is actually a group of material science companies involved in everything from advanced magnetics, molten salt thermal energy storage and hypersonic weapon materials. Pratt said he worked to develop the idea at the university’s Sears Think[box] with help from CWRU’s Great Lakes Energy Institute.

3D Music

The company will demonstrate its 3D-printed violins at CES. 3D Music founder and engineer Matthew Canel, who conceived and developed the musical instruments while studying at CWRU, earned his master’s degree in 2021 from the Case School of Engineering. He and 2013 graduate Ben Kaufman have in past years allowed visitors to play their durable quarter-size 3D-printed violins, designed to fit young players.

Developed by two Case Western Reserve alumni—Matt Crowley and Bill Wichert—TonDone offers all-in-one management software to help building service contractors transform their business operations, retain customers, and increase sales.

Your Sweat ID and Pulse Athletic Apparel

Your Sweat ID, along with partner Pulse Athletic Apparel, is developing flexible, durable, accurate sensors that also “remove the guesswork from proper hydration and electrolyte balance.” SweatID is led by Cleveland State University faculty member Chelsea Monty-Bromerhas, who developed the sensors. CWRU alum Karishma Bali is the founder and CEO of Pulse Athletic Apparel.

For more information, contact Mike Scott at

This article was originally published Dec. 22, 2022.