It's taken 17 years and $40 million, but Sage Electrochromics in Faribault, Minn., is finally launching SageGlass, "smart glass" powered by a low-voltage wire that adjusts to reduce glare, ultraviolet rays, and heat. It can be integrated into a lighting system to respond automatically to conditions, or it can be activated by the flip of a switch. The cost, says CEO John Van Dine, is roughly double that of standard glass.

The BioRyx 200, from Chicago-based Arryx, enables scientists to grab, manipulate, and fit together tiny objects. The technology has been used previously to handle microscopic things like cells, but this year's version goes smaller yet and is able to snap together nanotubes and nanowires, Lego-style. The company's CEO is Bob Geras, a longtime venture capitalist.

Finally, EMSystem of Milwaukee is rolling out a product called EMTracker, which adds bar codes to the triage tags that first responders attach to people at the site of an accident or disaster. Patients (and patient data) won't be lost as it was, for example, after Katrina. CEO Andy Nunemaker says that the system ranges in price from $10,000 to $70,000. Missouri and Florida have already signed on.