Electrical Geodesics, poster child for UO biotech spinoffs, to close

This should be sobering news for those well-paid administrators who hope the rest of us will uncritically swallow their hype about the Knight Campus as an engine for economic development and good jobs. There’s no doubt it will pay off for some:

But the long-run external net benefits are far from certain.

EGI was founded by UO Psychology professor Don Tucker in 1992 – from what I can tell without any UO subsidy. It’s had a very good run. Quoting from Around the O a few years ago:

A neuropsychologist focused on the influence of anxiety, depression and other forms of emotional arousal, Tucker pioneered methods of analyzing the electrical activity of the brain. He invented the electroencephalographic geodesic sensor net, which analyzes human brain activity with scalp sensors. The medical device became the basis of Electrical Geodesics Inc., which was acquired by the European healthcare company Philips in 2017 for $36.7 million.

And now the RG reports that Philips is closing it, and laying off 60 employees:

60 to lose jobs as Philips plans closing Eugene medical technology company

… Philips said in a federal layoff notice it will close the Eugene facility, located at 500 E. Fourth Ave., the former EWEB headquarters, on or around Dec. 31. Philips said in the layoff notice it will wind down operations there over the year, terminating jobs starting March 27.

But hey, the Knight Campus will have much more impact. In fact, according to this “UO Advocates” website, it’s already created 550 new research positions – with cross-laminated timber!

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25 Responses to Electrical Geodesics, poster child for UO biotech spinoffs, to close

  1. zach says:

    7-23-1999 The Business Journal of Portland, reporter name Mike Consol print edition “I Think Therefore I Compute”………….”Meanwhile, the CIA and National Institute of Drug Abuse have also come knocking on Electro Geodesics door”

  2. zach says:

    Actually I got the article title wrong I realized this morning. The article came out in about 1998 and was titled” I think therefore I compute.” Be more specific about which assertion I have made you would like backed up and I can narrow down and come up with the exact evidence you are asking me for. EG is not something that really matters at this point. Having the public or students or reporters understand why the Knight center is being constructed is the billion dollar question. Many years before this boondoggle was publicly announced I warned Eugene to expect a “Shadow Campus” project to emerge. I was not surprised. I am disgusted about how little scrutiny is aimed at it. There used to be profs against the arms race in sports spending here. There should now be many profs questioning a vast quantity of bonding poured into a secretive science complex that the average student will not even be allowed to enter. The governor and UO Foundation should be questioned extensively. Instead we get RG reporters writing stuff like no one really seems to know what the project is about meanwhile back to the game.

    • ScienceDuck says:

      What gave you the idea students would be “not allowed to enter”?

      • Dog says:

        Careful now, he did say “average student” – well none of our students are average, they are all excellent so naturally will be welcome in this excellent new center, secretive or not. My experience, to date, is only that deadwood like me is not allowed to energy, unwashed masses and all that ….

  3. zach says:

    It may have been Portland Business Journal it is buried somewhere in my archives…does it really matter though ? UO donors and pointy headed profs pretty much have their minds made up Nike is just a snazzy little shoe co with lots o duck bucks to hand out to cure cancer (not a nefarious cult hoping to design and patent the designer baby)….come to think of it it was PBJ and the article was titled I Think Therefore I Am and I don’t think it is still posted without subscription.

  4. zach says:

    Slightly unrelated but also interesting – E.G. did some research for the CIA to find better methods of lie detection.

  5. zach says:

    The Knight campus secrecy should be helpful in case it is a complete boondoggle. Just have people working there sign non disclosure agreements ? Isn’t it just a facility for doing Nike research and development at public expense ?

    • ScienceDuck says:

      How would that work exactly?

      • zach says:

        Complicated but there are two books related to that subject….Leasing the Ivory Tower…and another titled University Inc. – first one is by Laurence Soley and other is by Jennifer Washburn…..moreover there was a Oregonian article about UO Nike and Intel and Darpa and others collaborating to create smart (smart as in AI integrated) textiles and apparel and defense related applications (or monitoring athletes or patients). If you wish I can look up the date and the title of that article and post it. Remember Onami anyone ? I helped the Emerald with a article titled Expanding Onami long ago…that article disclosed how Onami includes Nike. I became interested in this weird topic after seeing a RG article titled UO Practices Become Nikes Test Lab…after reading that I look more deeply into it and found out that research on humans on a sports field does not require any of the regulations that would apply to research using humans as test subjects in labs. Meanwhile there is not much of a campus paper now so most have no idea what the Knight center is about and likely will not ever find out.

        • ScienceDuck says:

          The first hires have been in bone fractures, the neurobiology of song birds, and large scale synthetic biology/genomics. Let me know how you think any of those would turn into secret Nike research.

          • zach says:

            You obviously have not glanced at the sources I mention…you are too old for me to spoon feed it to you…if you want the date title and author of the Oregonian article will provide it otherwise you have the right to remain underinformed…I really do not care. Many at UO could care less about things they are unaware of or cannot comprehend. It does not affect you. That is why they call it compartmentalization. Just stay in your cubicle. I regret learning too much about this twisted and corrupted institution.

            • uomatters says:

              Can’t expect a response unless you give the link and a quote.

            • Anas clypeata says:

              We “could care less”, but we don’t. That’s why we are here. Please back up your assertions/speculations with evidence.

        • All one happy website says:

          Thanks zach. You have helped achieve peak UO Matters, I believe.

    • Dog says:

      No it is an initial facility for doing biomedical engineering – not that the UO has any track record in this area

  6. Oryx says:

    The “550 new research positions” claim is ridiculous. Are you sure anyone claims that? I can’t find anything on the “UO Advocates” link. Thx.

    • uomatters says:

      Maybe they got it from the same people who said UO’s administrative expenses are 38% of our peers?

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s right there on the bottom of the poster. So yes, they claim it.

      • Oryx says:

        Thanks, I didn’t notice the poster. Wow, what a nonsensical claim! The Knight Campus has about five faculty so far who, last time I checked, don’t have hundred person research groups. The Building isn’t even complete. Maybe there will eventually be 550 research positions created, though that’s optimistic, but there’s no way it’s even a tenth of that now, which is what’s implied by the word “created!”

  7. uomatters says:

    To be clear, I was not criticizing EGI or Tucker. Quite the opposite. I wrote: “EGI was founded by UO Psychology professor Don Tucker in 1992 – from what I can tell without any UO subsidy. It’s had a very good run.”

    • Dog says:

      and I wonder who is paying for those 550 research positions – ah right, through FTE reductions of all us deadwood – makes sense,
      cross-lamination and all …

  8. ScienceDuck says:

    Lay-offs and shutting down may strike a professor privileged with tenure protection as “sobering”, but that is unfair to a spin-out that did create many jobs over many years.

    • charlie says:

      Nothing’s unfair about the OP. It is sobering to realize nothing is exempt from market mechanisms, including the life of the mind. Some might have trouble realizing that….

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