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Elmsford Company Hopes To Change World, Add Local Jobs

ELMSFORD, N.Y. — Maybe not many people know that right here in the village there’s a company creating technology that can revolutionize the medical and computing industries.

“We are developing new products that can change the world,” said Oleg Mukhanov, senior vice president and general manager of Hypres, a manufacturer of digital superconductors on Clearbrook Road.

Among those products is a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) unit that is not only more sensitive than the conventional product but also more compact, which makes it suitable for real time treatment of wounded soldiers.

“It’s so sensitive that it can detect brain waves,” Mukhanov said.

Not by coincidence, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been visiting high-tech companies around the state and touting her legislation to bolster advanced manufacturing, chose Hypres as her Westchester stage .

Friday morning, Hypres CEO Richard Hitt showed Gillibrand and Rep. Nita Lowey some of the company’s prototypes.

“This one maps the whole heart,” he said, pointing to a screen where colorful images reproduced the heartbeats of a rabbit, recorded during an experiment at Vanderbilt University.

“It’s amazing,” Gillibrand kept repeating.

Hypres was created in 1983 by a group of former IBM engineers who worked on the Big Blue supercomputing project. Originally conceived as a manufacturer of instruments like oscilloscopes, the company later migrated to digital superconductor technology.

Mukhanov, who joined Hypres in 1991, was part of a group of high-specialized engineers allowed to leave Russia after the Perestroika, Hitt said.

“As soon as he arrived here he started designing those chips,” Hitt said, referring to Hypres’s niobium superconductor chips, which work faster and at a lower power than the purely silicon ones used in today’s computers.

“That’s the key to everything,” Mukhanov said, holding a transparent cube with a nail-size, gilded chip inside.

Hitt said only Japan can make chips as complex as Hypres’s. Affected by April’s Fukushima earthquake, the Japanese foundry asked Hypres to make chips for them, Hitt said.

He also mentioned that the company, which already received federal funds, is applying to $5 million more in government grants to commercialize the portable MRI unit.

“It’s not only for us,” Hitt said. “There’s something for the Harvard researchers that are part of it.”

Today, the company has 35 employees, but will need much more if it gets the resources to develop its products, Mukhanov said.

“That will create a lot of manufacturing jobs,” he said.

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