Smart vents to save energy – CES 2015

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NSF-funded small business Keen Home has developed a smart vent that opens and closes to reduce uncomfortable hot and cold spots, save energy in unused rooms, and tailor a home’s heating and cooling to fit specific lifestyles. The new wireless system will respond automatically based on users’ habits and presence. Keen Home co-founder Nayeem Hussain explains how the smart vents integrate into daily life. Keen Home is funded through NSF’s Small Business Innovation Research program....

Engineering the spark that starts wildfires

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Hot metal fragments can be created from power lines, overheated brakes, railway tracks, or any other manner of metal-on-metal action in our industrialized society. The particles can reach more than 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, around the boiling point of most metals. Although these bits cool as they fall to the ground, they can ignite a flame that quickly spreads if they land on a prime fuel source like pine needles or dry grass. At least 28,000 fires occur each year in the U.S. due to...

Heat and motion-powered wearable electronics for improved health - CES 2015

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At NSF-funded Engineering Research Centers across the United States, interdisciplinary university teams turn knowledge into new systems technologies. Working closely with industry and regional stakeholders, the centers ultimately aim to commercialize technological innovations. At International CES 2015, members of the NSF Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) demonstrated nanotech-enabled, wearable health...

Expansion microscopy brings the brain in 3-D into focus

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While most efforts to understand the brain focus on new technologies to magnify small anatomical features, engineers at the MIT-based Center for Brains, Minds and Machines have found a way to make brains physically bigger. The technique, which the researchers call expansion microscopy, uses an expandable polymer and water to swell brain tissue to about four and a half times its usual size, so that nanoscale structures once blurry appear sharp with an ordinary confocal microscope. Expansion...

New, smaller PMIC chip - CES 2015

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A significant amount of real estate inside your cell phone is taken up by a chip called a power management integrated circuit (PMIC). The chip delivers power from the battery to different areas within the phone, an efficient but bulky system. Now, NSF-funded small business Lion Semiconductor has designed a chip that is two to three times smaller than existing ones. A smaller chip means more room for a bigger battery – and longer battery life – or a thinner, smaller device. Wonyoung...

Empire Robotics demos soft gripper on ping pong balls - CES 2015

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At the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, Empire Robotics displayed their innovative soft gripper technology by outcompeting human challengers with their precision ping pong tossing.

Empire Robotics plans to use this technology for industrial applications.