Local 3D printing hubs bring manufacturing back to U.S.

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Imaginestics is a start-up out of West Lafayette, Indiana, founded by Nainesh Rathod. At the Smart America Expo, Rathod was part of a team that demonstrated the potential impact of "Smart Shape Technology" on 3D printing and local manufacturing hubs. The system lets you can take a picture of a part of a larger device with a mobile phone, and then identify a local retailer where this part can be found or instantly print it at a local neighborhood 3D printing service provider. The...

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch explained

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In light of the sheer physical enormity of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the complexity of its causes, what can we possibility do about it? Perhaps help protect some vulnerable populations of wildlife from marine garbage in coastal regions, according to the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) — a citizen science group that monitors marine resources and ecosystem health at more than 350 beaches from northern California to Alaska. Although COASST, which receives...

Drones provide wi-fi for disaster relief

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At the Smart America Expo, Yan Wan from the University of North Texas exhibited unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) she developed that are capable of providing wireless communications to storm-ravaged areas where telephone access might be out. Typical wireless communications have a range limit of only a hundred meters. However using technology developed by Wan and her colleagues, they were able to extend the Wi-Fi reach of drones to five kilometers. In a grant from NSF, Wan is applying...

Tele-robotics puts robot power at your fingertips

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In the aftermath of an earthquake, every second counts. The team behind the Smart Emergency Response System (SERS) is developing technology to locate people quickly and help first responders save more lives. At the Smart America Expo, Howard Chizeck, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington, showed a system he's helped develop where one can log on to a Wi-Fi network in order to tele-operate a robot working in a dangerous environment. Surgeons can use the...

Computer-equipped dogs lead way in search-and-rescue

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Researchers from North Carolina State University (NCSU) showed off pioneering work demonstrating the potential of technologies that allow dogs to gather information, and stay safe, during search and rescue operations. Among the applications they're testing are computer-assisted training, remote communication with dogs in the field and tools to help people with guide dogs better understand what their dogs are doing. They accomplish these tasks by equipping dogs with video, audio and gas...

Materials Genome Initiative: Three Years of Progress

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Advanced materials are essential to human well-being and are the cornerstone for emerging industries. Yet today, it can take ten to twenty years or more from initial research on a new material to first use. That's why in June 2011 President Obama launched the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) "to help businesses discover, develop, and deploy new materials twice as fast" and at a fraction of the cost. The MGI brings together academic institutions, small businesses, large industrial...

Paraplegic will walk again wearing exoskeleton at the World Cup

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Built with funding for basic research from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Miguel Nicolelis and the Walk Again Project have built an exoskeleton that will allow paraplegics to walk again. The exoskeleton uses computer algorithms to interpret the user's brain activity, which powers the exoskeleton forward.

Solving blood clots with integrative STEM lessons

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The Mobile Area Education Foundation is designing lessons to teach kids that engineering and math can solve real-world problems…like designing ways to catch blood clots in a model human circulatory system.

Hydrokinetic energy to power our future

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Researchers at the University of Minnesota taught kids the science behind hydrokinetic energy at the USA Science and Engineering Festival.

Spend a Day in a Spider's Shoes

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Jonathan Pruitt of the University of Pittsburgh shows kids just how hard it is to be a spider due to their poor vision. Explore the behavior, ecology and sensory systems of spiders, ubiquitous and one of the most diverse groups of organisms in the world.