published Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Business Briefs: NODE developer top startup firm

  • photo
    Chattanooga-based Variable Inc. makes the NODE, shown here, for iPhones. The device incorporates various sensors — including movement, heat, light and radioactivity — into a palm-sized cylinder that connects to a smart phone via Bluetooth.
    Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NODE developer top startup firm

Variable Inc., the Chattanooga-based creator of the NODE wireless sensor for iPhones, was named "Most Innovative Startup" at the first annual Southland conference in Nashville last week, winning a $10,000 award from presenting sponsor Nissan. A Launch Tennessee event, the Southland conference attracted more than 650 entrepreneurs and investors.

George Yu, CEO of Variable Inc. and inventor of the NODE, said he got the idea for the device while creating a chemical gas sensor for NASA. Today the iPhone-based sensor has apps that allow it to measure temperature, color, pressure, humidity and other variables. Eight apps are on the market today, and Yu expects more to be developed by outside developers.

Kia applicants sue for records

Lawyers for four unsuccessful applicants for jobs at an auto plant in Georgia argue that documents about a state agency's involvement in hiring workers for the plant should be available to the public. Four people who applied for jobs at the Kia Motors Manufacturing plant in West Point, Ga., say they were discriminated against because they had belonged to a union. They filed a Georgia Open Records Act request seeking documents about the hiring process from the state's Quick Start economic development program. The state and Kia argue the records constitute "trade secrets." The Georgia Supreme Court heard arguments Monday and is expected to rule on the case later this year.

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