Performing experiments in freshman chemistry can be messy and awkward, with lots of young students working their way through problems. The sheer number of students and the laboratory environment often means computers are not available for each student in the lab. Ten years ago, three University of Cincinnati chemistry associates began to change that with an innovative application of electronic data collection technology to the student lab environment.
Chemistry professor Estel Sprague and research associate Robert Voorhees formed MeasureNet Technology in 1998 to market the technology they and co-worker Paul McKenzie developed. The spin-off was the result of a research project the three conducted to come up with a PC networking concept to allow students in a lab to electronically collect and store data. Now, instead of each student workstation having its own PC, which is expensive, space-consuming and ungainly, MeasureNet allows workstations in a multiple-student lab to be hooked to a single computer. Students save and retrieve results of their work through a Web-based data storage system.
The award-winning, space- and energy-saving technology is used by around 10,000 students weekly at universities, community colleges and high schools, ranging from Walnut Hills High School and Colerain schools to Xavier, the University of Georgia, Virginia Tech and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Miami University is currently seeking funding to purchase MeasureNet.