Companies making smart surfboards, a virtual makeover website and wireless home monitoring kits were among the San Diego County outfits recognized today at the annual Most Innovative New Product Awards presented by Connect, the region’s primary high-tech trade organization.

Here is a rundown of the awards:

  • The Flexfire Direct Drive 2.0 surfboard made by Firewire won in the action and sport technologies category. The surfboard is made of special carbon-based environmentally friendly materials that also increase performance on the waves, the makers claim.
  • General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and Avaak shared the prize for aerospace and security technologies. General Atomics built a multi-mission unmanned aircraft for the U.S. Army, and Avaak created a wireless video system that allows people to keep monitor their homes and businesses from almost anywhere.
  • Reaction Design won in the clean tech category for a simulation system that predicts the level of pollutants that various engines will emit, allowing companies to make decisions without having to build prototypes.
  • Silicon Kinetics was the winner in the life science (diagnostics and research tools) category for developing the first 3D platform for analyzing how proteins interact with other molecules in a cell. The product helps with disease research, drug discovery and drug and vaccine development.
  • AblationFrontiers won in the life science (medical products) category for a system that provides a faster and more customized approach to the treatment of abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Semtek Corp. won in the hardware and general technology category for a security device that helps retailers prevents credit card fraud at cash registers.
  • Photometria won in the software and IT category for a virtual makeover website in which users upload their own photos and explore new looks by sampling a database of hairstyles, makeup products, teeth whiteners and colored contact lenses.
  • Mushroom Networks won in the wireless communications category for a device that provides the fastest available mobile internet connection for downloading and uploading data.

Connect also awarded “distinguished contribution” awards to BIOCOM President and CEO Joe Panetta for his work in life science, and to Barbara Bry and Neil Senturia of Blackbird Ventures for their work in technology. And the William W. Otterson Award winner was Pyxis Corp. for MedStation, an automated medication dispensing system for hospitals and other healthcare facilities.


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