Autonomous robot does laundry

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People typically consider doing the laundry to be a boring chore. But laundry is far from boring for artificial intelligence (AI) researchers like Siddharth Srivastava, a scientist at the United Technologies Research Center, Berkeley. To AI experts, programming a robot to do the laundry represents a challenging planning problem because current sensing and manipulation technology is not good enough to identify precisely the number of clothing pieces that are in a pile and the number that...

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...

Shoe-based tech helps amputees get extra mileage out of physical therapy - CES 2015

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It looks like Fitbit for feet, but it’s actually Google for gait, according to Stacy Bamberg, CEO and founder of Veristride. Veristride, a small business funded by NSF’s SBIR/STTR program, is developing tools to help amputees rehab faster with gait analytics. Wearable insoles pair with walking data analytics to provide people with information about how they walk to improve their performance. At the 2015 International CES, Bamberg explained how the tech may help people track their...

Light-based virus detection - CES 2015

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NSF-funded small business Nexgen Arrays is developing tests for the detection of viruses, including Ebola, Lassa, and Marburg, directly from blood, near the site of patient care. These tests are based on technology designed to rapidly detect a broad array of pathogens in a simple, easy-to-use test format. The tech grew out of the Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center, which develops new applications for health, productivity and energy savings. David Freeman, CEO of NexGen Arrays,...

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...

Self-powered device measures lung function - CES 2015

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A portable device powered by a simple breath can measure lung function and transmit results to your phone. The 3-D printed device is designed to enable people with lung conditions, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), to gauge their lung function without having to visit a clinic. The technology, developed by a student at the NSF Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST), is one of...

Glass coatings enable futuristic digital displays - CES 2015

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At 2015 International CES, NSF-funded small business Sun Innovations demonstrated a special coating that transforms transparent surfaces – such as glass – into futuristic digital displays. The prototype, based on a set of nanophosphors with highly fluorescent quantum efficiency, could potentially enable vehicle windshields or building windows to display electronic information while remaining otherwise transparent. Learn more at http://www.sun-innovations.com .

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...

Headset uses ear muscle signals for hands-free control – CES 2015

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Can you wiggle your ears? If so, you're a prime candidate to try out a new headset from Reach Bionics. The small business has created technology that harnesses EMG signals from ear muscles. The creators demonstrated the device at the 2015 International CES Eureka Park. Even if you're not an obvious ear-wiggler, the hands-free controller can respond to muscle signals to control a computer cursor, motorized wheelchair or video game. Learn more: http://www.reachbionics.com/