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  • richardmitnick 10:15 am on February 3, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Robot: "I’m sorry'. Human: "I don’t care anymore!", , Robotics,   

    From The University of Michigan: “Robot: “I’m sorry’. Human: “I don’t care anymore!” 

    U Michigan bloc

    From The University of Michigan

    2.2.23
    Jared Wadley

    1
    Humans are less forgiving of robots after multiple mistakes—and the trust is difficult to get back, according to a new University of Michigan study.

    Similar to human co-workers, robots can make mistakes that violate a human’s trust in them. When mistakes happen, humans often see robots as less trustworthy, which ultimately decreases their trust in them.

    The study examines four strategies that might repair and mitigate the negative impacts of these trust violations. These trust strategies were apologies, denials, explanations and promises on trustworthiness.

    An experiment was conducted where 240 participants worked with a robot co-worker to accomplish a task, which sometimes involved the robot making mistakes. The robot violated the participant’s trust and then provided a particular repair strategy.

    Results indicated that after three mistakes, none of the repair strategies ever fully repaired trustworthiness.

    “By the third violation, strategies used by the robot to fully repair the mistrust never materialized,” said Connor Esterwood, a researcher at the U-M School of Information and the study’s lead author.

    Esterwood and co-author Lionel Robert, professor of information, also noted that this research also introduces theories of forgiving, forgetting, informing and misinforming.

    The study results have two implications. Esterwood said researchers must develop more effective repair strategies to help robots better repair trust after these mistakes. Also, robots need to be sure that they have mastered a novel task before attempting to repair a human’s trust in them.

    “If not, they risk losing a human’s trust in them in a way that can not be recovered,” Esterwood said.

    What do the findings mean for human-human trust repair? Trust is never fully repaired by apologies, denials, explanations or promises, the researchers said.

    “Our study’s results indicate that after three violations and repairs, trust cannot be fully restored, thus supporting the adage ‘three strikes and you’re out,’” Robert said. “In doing so, it presents a possible limit that may exist regarding when trust can be fully restored.”

    Even when a robot can do better after making a mistake and adapting after that mistake, it may not be given the opportunity to do better, Esterwood said. Thus, the benefits of robots are lost.

    Lionel noted that people may attempt to work around or bypass the robot, reducing their performance. This could lead to performance problems which in turn could lead to them being fired for lack of either performance and/or compliance, he said.

    The findings appear in Computers in Human Behavior.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563223000092
    See the science paper for instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please support STEM education in your local school system

    Stem Education Coalition

    U MIchigan Campus

    The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Originally, founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet (781 acres or 3.16 km²), and has two satellite campuses located in Flint and Dearborn. The University was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.

    Considered one of the foremost research universities in the United States, the university has very high research activity and its comprehensive graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as professional degrees in business, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, social work and dentistry. Michigan’s body of living alumni (as of 2012) comprises more than 500,000. Besides academic life, Michigan’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Wolverines. They are members of the Big Ten Conference.

    At over $12.4 billion in 2019, Michigan’s endowment is among the largest of any university. As of October 2019, 53 MacArthur “genius award” winners (29 alumni winners and 24 faculty winners), 26 Nobel Prize winners, six Turing Award winners, one Fields Medalist and one Mitchell Scholar have been affiliated with the university. Its alumni include eight heads of state or government, including President of the United States Gerald Ford; 38 cabinet-level officials; and 26 living billionaires. It also has many alumni who are Fulbright Scholars and MacArthur Fellows.

    Research

    Michigan is one of the founding members (in the year 1900) of the Association of American Universities. With over 6,200 faculty members, 73 of whom are members of the National Academy and 471 of whom hold an endowed chair in their discipline, the university manages one of the largest annual collegiate research budgets of any university in the United States. According to the National Science Foundation, Michigan spent $1.6 billion on research and development in 2018, ranking it 2nd in the nation. This figure totaled over $1 billion in 2009. The Medical School spent the most at over $445 million, while the College of Engineering was second at more than $160 million. U-M also has a technology transfer office, which is the university conduit between laboratory research and corporate commercialization interests.

    In 2009, the university signed an agreement to purchase a facility formerly owned by Pfizer. The acquisition includes over 170 acres (0.69 km^2) of property, and 30 major buildings comprising roughly 1,600,000 square feet (150,000 m^2) of wet laboratory space, and 400,000 square feet (37,000 m^2) of administrative space. At the time of the agreement, the university’s intentions for the space were not set, but the expectation was that the new space would allow the university to ramp up its research and ultimately employ in excess of 2,000 people.

    The university is also a major contributor to the medical field with the EKG and the gastroscope. The university’s 13,000-acre (53 km^2) biological station in the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan is one of only 47 Biosphere Reserves in the United States.

    In the mid-1960s U-M researchers worked with IBM to develop a new virtual memory architectural model that became part of IBM’s Model 360/67 mainframe computer (the 360/67 was initially dubbed the 360/65M where the “M” stood for Michigan). The Michigan Terminal System (MTS), an early time-sharing computer operating system developed at U-M, was the first system outside of IBM to use the 360/67’s virtual memory features.

    U-M is home to the National Election Studies and the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. The Correlates of War project, also located at U-M, is an accumulation of scientific knowledge about war. The university is also home to major research centers in optics, reconfigurable manufacturing systems, wireless integrated microsystems, and social sciences. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and the Life Sciences Institute are located at the university. The Institute for Social Research (ISR), the nation’s longest-standing laboratory for interdisciplinary research in the social sciences, is home to the Survey Research Center, Research Center for Group Dynamics, Center for Political Studies, Population Studies Center, and Inter-Consortium for Political and Social Research. Undergraduate students are able to participate in various research projects through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) as well as the UROP/Creative-Programs.

    The U-M library system comprises nineteen individual libraries with twenty-four separate collections—roughly 13.3 million volumes. U-M was the original home of the JSTOR database, which contains about 750,000 digitized pages from the entire pre-1990 backfile of ten journals of history and economics, and has initiated a book digitization program in collaboration with Google. The University of Michigan Press is also a part of the U-M library system.

    In the late 1960s U-M, together with Michigan State University and Wayne State University, founded the Merit Network, one of the first university computer networks. The Merit Network was then and remains today administratively hosted by U-M. Another major contribution took place in 1987 when a proposal submitted by the Merit Network together with its partners IBM, MCI, and the State of Michigan won a national competition to upgrade and expand the National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) backbone from 56,000 to 1.5 million, and later to 45 million bits per second. In 2006, U-M joined with Michigan State University and Wayne State University to create the the University Research Corridor. This effort was undertaken to highlight the capabilities of the state’s three leading research institutions and drive the transformation of Michigan’s economy. The three universities are electronically interconnected via the Michigan LambdaRail (MiLR, pronounced ‘MY-lar’), a high-speed data network providing 10 Gbit/s connections between the three university campuses and other national and international network connection points in Chicago.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:42 am on January 9, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A robotic microsurgeon reveals how embryos grow", "Explanting", , , Biology for advancing engineering – and vice-versa, Embryology, It is time to bring the unique capabilities of surgical robotics to the biomedical research community., , , Microtechnology, Robotic micromanipulation tools will become instrumental in every life science laboratory., Robotics, The researchers drew inspiration from related microsurgery systems from ophthalmology and neurology which are quite compact and precise., The scientists are motivated to create biological machines that are designed to perform specific engineering tasks., The scientists tested the platform’s capabilities by using it to study body axis elongation of the zebrafish embryo., The scientists would like to engineer mini-hearts that serve as organic pumps with much simpler architecture compared to the real heart and can avoid the necessity of a transplant., , This research enables scientists to reverse engineer the developmental programs for tissue engineering.   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH): “A robotic microsurgeon reveals how embryos grow” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH)

    1.9.23
    Nik Papageorgiou

    Combining biology and robotics, scientists at EPFL have built a robotic microsurgery platform that can perform high-precision, micrometer-resolution dissections to advance our understanding of how the vertebrate body forms during embryonic development.

    3
    Robotic platform enables precise microsurgery of the zebrafish tail. a Robotic tissue micromanipulation platform along with the stereo microscope and operation chamber. b Schematic illustration of the adapters designed to hold actuated and non-actuated instruments (not to scale). c Schematic showing the zebrafish embryo from different anatomical axes (V/D: ventral/dorsal, A/P: anterior/posterior, L/R: left/right). d A representative bright field (BF) image of a zebrafish embryo. Tissues that are studied in this work are indicated on the embryo. e Line of interest indicated with blue is generated to measure the AP tail length from BF image shown in (d). f Composite images of the embryo showing BF and Her1-YFP channels at different time points. g A BF image of the embryo right after robot-assisted microsurgery. h Light-sheet fluorescence image of a tail explant from a utr-mCherry transgenic line which marks filamentous actin structures. White dashed lines indicate the plane at which ventral and dorsal-view images were taken. White arrows indicate the somites, blue dashed-lines indicate notochord (Noto: notochord). i Composite images of a tail explant over time showing the elongation of the tail along with Her1-YFP signal. Scale bars, 100 μm. Credit: Nature Communications (2022).

    Understanding the biology behind an embryo’s development is crucial not only from a basic science perspective, but also from a medical one. However, we are in dire need for tools that can help us systematically and explore embryonic development.

    “The original experimental approach in embryology is microsurgery,” says Andy Oates at EPFL’s School of Life Sciences. “But it used to be done with a very simple microscope and very simple tools like cactus spines or sharpened pieces of wire. Another problem is that we naturally have a tremor in our hands, which makes microsurgery difficult for some people. It takes years of training, and only some people can do it, so the throughput is very low.”

    Combining Robotics and Biology

    In an effort to address the current limitations of microsurgery techniques, Oates joined forces with Professor Selman Sakar at the School of Engineering, an expert in microtechnology and small-scale robotics. “In my laboratory, we have been building robotic tools for tissue micro-manipulation,” says Sakar. “Together with Andy [Oates], we asked whether we could use some of these tools to facilitate research in embryology in general, to make it more reliable and give it a higher throughput, and in this case to specifically understand the biomechanics of how tissue morphogenesis [the shaping and structuring of a developing tissue] in zebrafish works.”

    The two professors received funding for an iPhD, a specialized doctoral fellowship at EPFL that combines life science research with another discipline. The iPhD candidate, Ece Özelçi, trained on both robotics and developmental biology.

    “I think it’s a great program, because, honestly, I would otherwise never have done such interdisciplinary research,” she says. “It was quite intense; it’s not like you only focus on a single discipline. I learned quite a lot from both fields, and I think it’s a really great opportunity if you want to acquire a unique skill set.”

    A new robot-assisted platform

    Publishing in Nature Communications [below], the researchers describe the new platform’s role as “robot-assisted tissue micromanipulation”. It is compact (200 x 100 x 70 mm3), high-resolution (4 nm position and 25 μ° rotation), and dexterous, with several degrees of freedom. The tool can position itself automatically without any manual intervention and do so with high, reproducible stability.

    The researchers drew inspiration from related microsurgery systems from ophthalmology and neurology which are also quite compact and precise, and also rely on microscopes, even though their target objects are often larger than an embryo.

    The scientists tested the platform’s capabilities by using it to study body axis elongation of the zebrafish embryo. “Our lab focuses on how the backbone forms, and part of that is how the body elongates, grows out, and segments itself,” says Oates. “We use the zebrafish embryo as a model, and the idea is to look at the contribution of different parts of the embryo to the process of development. In this case, we look at how embryos elongate themselves and how they segment themselves, and how those two processes interact. Our approach is to physically separate elongation and segmentation by microsurgery, and see how each operates when the other process isn’t there.”


    A timelapse of an elongating zebrafish embryo.

    Using the platform, Özelçi and her colleagues were able to target precise regions of the zebrafish embryo. The robot-assisted microsurgery allowed them to remove the embryo’s elongating tail and grow it separately – a process called “explanting”, which is often used in embryological research.

    The study revealed a surprising behavior of the embryo’s notochord, which acts as an early “backbone” for the larva when it begins to swim. “The notochord pushes so hard inside the tail that it can buckle itself,” says Oates. “Normally the embryo would elongate uniaxially, but once we physically stopped the process, the notochord kept elongating, generating compressive stresses that led to buckling.”

    Biology for advancing engineering – and vice-versa

    “In addition to embryology, our research enables us to reverse engineer the developmental programs for tissue engineering,” says Sakar. “If we understand how forces lead to tissue morphogenesis, we could replicate these conditions with engineered tissues in vitro. Like biochemical factors, providing the right mechanical environment and signals is critical for the tissues to develop and function properly.

    “We are also motivated to create biological machines that are designed to perform specific engineering tasks. For example, we would like to engineer mini-hearts that serve as organic pumps with much simpler architecture compared to the real heart. To this end, robot-assisted microsurgery provides not only the construction principles, but also provides the means to manufacture machines from the living matter through mechanically-guided self-assembly.”

    But will such platforms gain broader use? “I envision that such robotic micromanipulation tools will become instrumental in every life science laboratory,” says Sakar. “Regardless of the chosen biological model system, ranging from single cells to organisms, robotics and automation can empower the scientists.”

    “Medical robots are quite advanced,” he adds. “It is time to bring the unique capabilities of surgical robotics to the biomedical research community. Handling biological samples in an automated fashion will increase the throughput, precision, and repeatability of data acquisition while democratizing procedures that require fine skills and years of experience. Combined with intelligent imaging and microscopy, the possibilities are endless.”

    Science paper:
    Nature Communications
    See the science paper for instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    EPFL bloc

    EPFL campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH) is a research institute and university in Lausanne, Switzerland, that specializes in natural sciences and engineering. It is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, and it has three main missions: education, research and technology transfer.

    The QS World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) 14th in the world across all fields in their 2020/2021 ranking, whereas Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) as the world’s 19th best school for Engineering and Technology in 2020.

    EPFL(CH) is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland; the sister institution in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH). Associated with several specialized research institutes, the two universities form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles Polytechniques Fédérales] (CH) which is directly dependent on the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. In connection with research and teaching activities, EPFL(CH) operates a nuclear reactor CROCUS; a Tokamak Fusion reactor; a Blue Gene/Q Supercomputer; and P3 bio-hazard facilities.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    The roots of modern-day EPFL(CH) can be traced back to the foundation of a private school under the name École Spéciale de Lausanne in 1853 at the initiative of Lois Rivier, a graduate of the École Centrale Paris (FR) and John Gay the then professor and rector of the Académie de Lausanne. At its inception it had only 11 students and the offices were located at Rue du Valentin in Lausanne. In 1869, it became the technical department of the public Académie de Lausanne. When the Académie was reorganized and acquired the status of a university in 1890, the technical faculty changed its name to École d’Ingénieurs de l’Université de Lausanne. In 1946, it was renamed the École polytechnique de l’Université de Lausanne (EPUL). In 1969, the EPUL was separated from the rest of the University of Lausanne and became a federal institute under its current name. EPFL(CH), like ETH Zürich (CH), is thus directly controlled by the Swiss federal government. In contrast, all other universities in Switzerland are controlled by their respective cantonal governments. Following the nomination of Patrick Aebischer as president in 2000, EPFL(CH) has started to develop into the field of life sciences. It absorbed the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) in 2008.

    In 1946, there were 360 students. In 1969, EPFL(CH) had 1,400 students and 55 professors. In the past two decades the university has grown rapidly and as of 2012 roughly 14,000 people study or work on campus, about 9,300 of these being Bachelor, Master or PhD students. The environment at modern day EPFL(CH) is highly international with the school attracting students and researchers from all over the world. More than 125 countries are represented on the campus and the university has two official languages, French and English.

    Organization

    EPFL is organized into eight schools, themselves formed of institutes that group research units (laboratories or chairs) around common themes:

    School of Basic Sciences
    Institute of Mathematics
    Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering
    Institute of Physics
    European Centre of Atomic and Molecular Computations
    Bernoulli Center
    Biomedical Imaging Research Center
    Interdisciplinary Center for Electron Microscopy
    MPG-EPFL Centre for Molecular Nanosciences and Technology
    Swiss Plasma Center
    Laboratory of Astrophysics

    School of Engineering

    Institute of Electrical Engineering
    Institute of Mechanical Engineering
    Institute of Materials
    Institute of Microengineering
    Institute of Bioengineering

    School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Institute of Architecture
    Civil Engineering Institute
    Institute of Urban and Regional Sciences
    Environmental Engineering Institute

    School of Computer and Communication Sciences

    Algorithms & Theoretical Computer Science
    Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
    Computational Biology
    Computer Architecture & Integrated Systems
    Data Management & Information Retrieval
    Graphics & Vision
    Human-Computer Interaction
    Information & Communication Theory
    Networking
    Programming Languages & Formal Methods
    Security & Cryptography
    Signal & Image Processing
    Systems

    School of Life Sciences

    Bachelor-Master Teaching Section in Life Sciences and Technologies
    Brain Mind Institute
    Institute of Bioengineering
    Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research
    Global Health Institute
    Ten Technology Platforms & Core Facilities (PTECH)
    Center for Phenogenomics
    NCCR Synaptic Bases of Mental Diseases

    College of Management of Technology

    Swiss Finance Institute at EPFL
    Section of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship
    Institute of Technology and Public Policy
    Institute of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship
    Section of Financial Engineering

    College of Humanities

    Human and social sciences teaching program

    EPFL Middle East

    Section of Energy Management and Sustainability

    In addition to the eight schools there are seven closely related institutions

    Swiss Cancer Centre
    Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM)
    Centre for Advanced Modelling Science (CADMOS)
    École Cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL)
    Campus Biotech
    Wyss Center for Bio- and Neuro-engineering
    Swiss National Supercomputing Centre

     
  • richardmitnick 9:15 am on December 19, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "ornithopter": flapping-wing robot, "Researchers develop winged robot that can land like a bird", , Equipping the ornithopter with a fully on-board computer and navigation system which was complemented by an external motion-capture system to help it determine its position., , Robotics,   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH): “Researchers develop winged robot that can land like a bird” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH)

    12.19.22

    EPFL researchers have developed a method that allows a flapping-wing robot to land autonomously on a horizontal perch using a claw-like mechanism. The innovation could significantly expand the scope of robot-assisted tasks.

    1
    © Raphael Zufferey

    2
    © Raphael Zufferey

    3
    © Raphael Zufferey

    4
    © Raphael Zufferey

    A bird landing on a branch makes the maneuver look like the easiest thing in the world, but in fact, the act of perching involves an extremely delicate balance of timing, high-impact forces, speed, and precision. It’s a move so complex that no flapping-wing robot (ornithopter) has been able to master it, until now.

    Raphael Zufferey, a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) and Biorobotics ab (BioRob) in the School of Engineering, is the first author on a recent Nature Communications [below] paper describing the unique landing gear that makes such perching possible. He built and tested it in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Seville, Spain, where the 700-gram ornithopter itself was developed as part of the European project GRIFFIN.

    “This is the first phase of a larger project. Once an ornithopter can master landing autonomously on a tree branch, then it has the potential to carry out specific tasks, such as unobtrusively collecting biological samples or measurements from a tree. Eventually, it could even land on artificial structures, which could open up further areas of application,” Zufferey says.

    He adds that the ability to land on a perch could provide a more efficient way for ornithopters – which, like many unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have limited battery life – to recharge using solar energy, potentially making them ideal for long-range missions.

    “This is a big step toward using flapping-wing robots, which as of now can really only do free flights, for manipulation tasks and other real-world applications,” he says.

    Maximizing strength and precision; minimizing weight and speed

    The engineering problems involved in landing an ornithopter on a perch without any external commands required managing many factors that nature has already so perfectly balanced. The ornithopter had to be able to slow down significantly as it perched, while still maintaining flight. The claw needed to be strong enough to grasp the perch and support the weight of the robot, without being so heavy that it could not be held aloft. “That’s one reason we went with a single claw rather than two,” Zufferey notes. Finally, the robot needed to be able to perceive its environment and the perch in front of it in relation to its own position, speed, and trajectory.

    The researchers achieved all this by equipping the ornithopter with a fully on-board computer and navigation system, which was complemented by an external motion-capture system to help it determine its position. The ornithopter’s leg-claw appendage was finely calibrated to compensate for the up-and-down oscillations of flight as it attempted to hone in on and grasp the perch. The claw itself was designed to absorb the robot’s forward momentum upon impact, and to close quickly and firmly to support its weight. Once perched, the robot remains on the perch without energy expenditure.

    Even with all these factors to consider, Zufferey and his colleagues succeeded, ultimately building not just one but two claw-footed ornithopters to replicate their perching results.

    Looking ahead, Zufferey is already thinking about how their device could be expanded and improved, especially in an outdoor setting.

    “At the moment, the flight experiments are carried out indoors, because we need to have a controlled flight zone with precise localization from the motion capture system. In the future, we would like to increase the robot’s autonomy to perform perching and manipulation tasks outdoors in a more unpredictable environment.”

    Science paper:
    Nature Communications
    See the science paper for instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    EPFL bloc

    EPFL campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH) is a research institute and university in Lausanne, Switzerland, that specializes in natural sciences and engineering. It is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, and it has three main missions: education, research and technology transfer.

    The QS World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) 14th in the world across all fields in their 2020/2021 ranking, whereas Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) as the world’s 19th best school for Engineering and Technology in 2020.

    EPFL(CH) is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland; the sister institution in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH). Associated with several specialized research institutes, the two universities form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles Polytechniques Fédérales] (CH) which is directly dependent on the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. In connection with research and teaching activities, EPFL(CH) operates a nuclear reactor CROCUS; a Tokamak Fusion reactor; a Blue Gene/Q Supercomputer; and P3 bio-hazard facilities.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    The roots of modern-day EPFL(CH) can be traced back to the foundation of a private school under the name École Spéciale de Lausanne in 1853 at the initiative of Lois Rivier, a graduate of the École Centrale Paris (FR) and John Gay the then professor and rector of the Académie de Lausanne. At its inception it had only 11 students and the offices were located at Rue du Valentin in Lausanne. In 1869, it became the technical department of the public Académie de Lausanne. When the Académie was reorganized and acquired the status of a university in 1890, the technical faculty changed its name to École d’Ingénieurs de l’Université de Lausanne. In 1946, it was renamed the École polytechnique de l’Université de Lausanne (EPUL). In 1969, the EPUL was separated from the rest of the University of Lausanne and became a federal institute under its current name. EPFL(CH), like ETH Zürich (CH), is thus directly controlled by the Swiss federal government. In contrast, all other universities in Switzerland are controlled by their respective cantonal governments. Following the nomination of Patrick Aebischer as president in 2000, EPFL(CH) has started to develop into the field of life sciences. It absorbed the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) in 2008.

    In 1946, there were 360 students. In 1969, EPFL(CH) had 1,400 students and 55 professors. In the past two decades the university has grown rapidly and as of 2012 roughly 14,000 people study or work on campus, about 9,300 of these being Bachelor, Master or PhD students. The environment at modern day EPFL(CH) is highly international with the school attracting students and researchers from all over the world. More than 125 countries are represented on the campus and the university has two official languages, French and English.

    Organization

    EPFL is organized into eight schools, themselves formed of institutes that group research units (laboratories or chairs) around common themes:

    School of Basic Sciences
    Institute of Mathematics
    Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering
    Institute of Physics
    European Centre of Atomic and Molecular Computations
    Bernoulli Center
    Biomedical Imaging Research Center
    Interdisciplinary Center for Electron Microscopy
    MPG-EPFL Centre for Molecular Nanosciences and Technology
    Swiss Plasma Center
    Laboratory of Astrophysics

    School of Engineering

    Institute of Electrical Engineering
    Institute of Mechanical Engineering
    Institute of Materials
    Institute of Microengineering
    Institute of Bioengineering

    School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Institute of Architecture
    Civil Engineering Institute
    Institute of Urban and Regional Sciences
    Environmental Engineering Institute

    School of Computer and Communication Sciences

    Algorithms & Theoretical Computer Science
    Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
    Computational Biology
    Computer Architecture & Integrated Systems
    Data Management & Information Retrieval
    Graphics & Vision
    Human-Computer Interaction
    Information & Communication Theory
    Networking
    Programming Languages & Formal Methods
    Security & Cryptography
    Signal & Image Processing
    Systems

    School of Life Sciences

    Bachelor-Master Teaching Section in Life Sciences and Technologies
    Brain Mind Institute
    Institute of Bioengineering
    Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research
    Global Health Institute
    Ten Technology Platforms & Core Facilities (PTECH)
    Center for Phenogenomics
    NCCR Synaptic Bases of Mental Diseases

    College of Management of Technology

    Swiss Finance Institute at EPFL
    Section of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship
    Institute of Technology and Public Policy
    Institute of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship
    Section of Financial Engineering

    College of Humanities

    Human and social sciences teaching program

    EPFL Middle East

    Section of Energy Management and Sustainability

    In addition to the eight schools there are seven closely related institutions

    Swiss Cancer Centre
    Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM)
    Centre for Advanced Modelling Science (CADMOS)
    École Cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL)
    Campus Biotech
    Wyss Center for Bio- and Neuro-engineering
    Swiss National Supercomputing Centre

     
  • richardmitnick 5:27 pm on December 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Multicollege department to bridge design and technology", , , , Architecture and Design, , , College of Human Ecology (CHE), Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, Cornell Engineering, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, , , Department of Design Technology, , Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech in New York City, Macnine Learning, , Physical Sciences and Engineering, Robotics, The College of Architecture, The Radical Collaboration initiative will facilitate hiring by the partner colleges of core faculty members.   

    From “The Chronicle” At Cornell University: “Multicollege department to bridge design and technology” 

    From “The Chronicle”

    At

    Cornell University

    12.14.22
    James Dean | Cornell Chronicle
    jad534@cornell.edu

    Media Contact
    Rebecca Valli
    rv234@cornell.edu
    607-255-6035

    1
    During the Cornell Tech Open Studio Fall 2022 event on Dec. 6, master’s students Thanut Sakdanaraseth, Kseniya Yerakhavets and Thomas Wallace discuss their interdisciplinary project, Automata Mangrove, with Jenny Sabin, associate professor in architecture and chair of the new multicollege Department of Design Tech. Credit: Jesse Winter/Provided.

    Recognizing design’s integral role in the development of technologies reshaping the built environment and how we live and work, Cornell has established the multicollege and transdisciplinary Department of Design Tech.

    The new department seeks to bridge and enhance design and technology disciplines and departments across the university, complementing and building upon strengths in the design arts, design science, design engineering and design professions.

    The College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP) will administer the Department of Design Tech in partnership with the College of Human Ecology (CHE), Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, Cornell Engineering and Cornell Tech in New York City.

    The department is the product of more than two years of discussions by the deans of those colleges and a faculty task force that also includes representatives from the College of Arts and Sciences and Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. They were charged by Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff’s Radical Collaboration initiative – which identified Design + Technology as one of 10 strategic areas – to assess how best to strengthen and expand design education and research in emerging technologies at Cornell.

    “The relationship between design and technology has never been more important to society,” Kotlikoff said. “The Department of Design Tech will foster collaborations across disciplines and campuses that promise to advance design education and research at Cornell and beyond.”

    J. Meejin Yoon, B.Arch. ’95, the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of AAP and lead dean for Design Tech, said the collaborating colleges recognized that each could benefit from, and contribute to, an integrated vision for design and technology that moved beyond disciplinary barriers.

    Partnering with Yoon are Rachel Dunifon, the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of CHE; Kavita Bala, inaugural dean of Cornell Bowers CIS; Lynden Archer, the Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering; and Greg Morrisett, the Jack and Rilla Neafsey Dean and Vice Provost of Cornell Tech.

    “Synergy advancements in design and technology is not only imperative to design education at Cornell, but critical for preparing the next generation of designers, engineers, scientists, technologists and creatives to take on some of the most complex challenges of our time,” Yoon said. “Design Tech will pose, develop and answer questions with applied design and technology that can define new models for transdisciplinary design and thought.”

    Design Tech’s inaugural chair is Jenny Sabin, the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Professor in Architecture. Sabin co-chaired the 12-member Design + Technology faculty task force with Wendy Ju, associate professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech.

    From additive manufacturing to artificial intelligence, Sabin said, we are seeing a contemporary paradigm shift and fusion across scales of the digital, physical and biological. In that context, she said, design and technology increasingly rely on each other to innovate.

    Examples of Cornell research at the intersection of design and technology, Sabin said, include designing for human behavior in the context of autonomous vehicles; origami-inspired robots; additive manufacturing in space; 3D printing of programmable and sometimes living architectural materials; and the development of wearable interfaces responsive to changes in biodata.

    “Design Tech will not only bridge our fields and faculty, but fill gaps in emerging, high-demand areas such as product design, interaction design, materials design and digital media design,” Sabin said. “At Cornell, we are uniquely positioned to be pioneers in this burgeoning space given our expertise in design, robotics, nanotech and materials science, computer science and beyond.”

    The department’s first degree offering, pending approval from New York state, will be an interdisciplinary master’s in design technology anticipated for the 2024-25 academic year. Straddling the Ithaca campus and Cornell Tech, the two-year program will build upon AAP’s existing master’s in Matter Design Computation and incorporate lessons learned from “Design and Making Across Disciplines,” a four-year collaboration with Cornell Tech piloting transdisciplinary, studio-based teaching models that intersect with design tech research. Additional degrees and undergraduate courses may be proposed.

    During a planning year ahead, a faculty steering committee drawn from the Design + Technology task force will work to launch the department and formalize the new master’s program.

    The Radical Collaboration initiative will facilitate hiring by the partner colleges of core faculty members in design, science and engineering who will co-teach courses and engage in collaborative research.

    In addition to Sabin and Ju, Design Tech’s inaugural faculty will include Heeju Park, associate professor in the Department of Human Centered Design (CHE); Timur Dogan, associate professor of architecture (AAP); François Guimbretière, professor of information science (Cornell Bowers CIS); and Uli Wiesner, the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Engineering in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (Cornell Engineering).

    “It’s extremely exciting to realize this new model that is truly transdisciplinary and collaborative with support from the university’s leadership and five colleges that are all aligned,” Sabin said. “We’re grateful to be a part of it.”

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Once called “the first American university” by educational historian Frederick Rudolph, Cornell University represents a distinctive mix of eminent scholarship and democratic ideals. Adding practical subjects to the classics and admitting qualified students regardless of nationality, race, social circumstance, gender, or religion was quite a departure when Cornell was founded in 1865.

    Today’s Cornell reflects this heritage of egalitarian excellence. It is home to the nation’s first colleges devoted to hotel administration, industrial and labor relations, and veterinary medicine. Both a private university and the land-grant institution of New York State, Cornell University is the most educationally diverse member of the Ivy League.

    On the Ithaca campus alone nearly 20,000 students representing every state and 120 countries choose from among 4,000 courses in 11 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. Many undergraduates participate in a wide range of interdisciplinary programs, play meaningful roles in original research, and study in Cornell programs in Washington, New York City, and the world over.

    Cornell University is a private, statutory, Ivy League and land-grant research university in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell’s founding principle, a popular 1868 quotation from founder Ezra Cornell: “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”

    The university is broadly organized into seven undergraduate colleges and seven graduate divisions at its main Ithaca campus, with each college and division defining its specific admission standards and academic programs in near autonomy. The university also administers two satellite medical campuses, one in New York City and one in Education City, Qatar, and Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute in New York City, a graduate program that incorporates technology, business, and creative thinking. The program moved from Google’s Chelsea Building in New York City to its permanent campus on Roosevelt Island in September 2017.

    Cornell is one of the few private land grant universities in the United States. Of its seven undergraduate colleges, three are state-supported statutory or contract colleges through the SUNY – The State University of New York system, including its Agricultural and Human Ecology colleges as well as its Industrial Labor Relations school. Of Cornell’s graduate schools, only the veterinary college is state-supported. As a land grant college, Cornell operates a cooperative extension outreach program in every county of New York and receives annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions. The Cornell University Ithaca Campus comprises 745 acres, but is much larger when the Cornell Botanic Gardens (more than 4,300 acres) and the numerous university-owned lands in New York City are considered.

    Alumni and affiliates of Cornell have reached many notable and influential positions in politics, media, and science. As of January 2021, 61 Nobel laureates, four Turing Award winners and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with Cornell. Cornell counts more than 250,000 living alumni, and its former and present faculty and alumni include 34 Marshall Scholars, 33 Rhodes Scholars, 29 Truman Scholars, 7 Gates Scholars, 55 Olympic Medalists, 10 current Fortune 500 CEOs, and 35 billionaire alumni. Since its founding, Cornell has been a co-educational, non-sectarian institution where admission has not been restricted by religion or race. The student body consists of more than 15,000 undergraduate and 9,000 graduate students from all 50 American states and 119 countries.

    History

    Cornell University was founded on April 27, 1865; the New York State (NYS) Senate authorized the university as the state’s land grant institution. Senator Ezra Cornell offered his farm in Ithaca, New York, as a site and $500,000 of his personal fortune as an initial endowment. Fellow senator and educator Andrew Dickson White agreed to be the first president. During the next three years, White oversaw the construction of the first two buildings and traveled to attract students and faculty. The university was inaugurated on October 7, 1868, and 412 men were enrolled the next day.

    Cornell developed as a technologically innovative institution, applying its research to its own campus and to outreach efforts. For example, in 1883 it was one of the first university campuses to use electricity from a water-powered dynamo to light the grounds. Since 1894, Cornell has included colleges that are state funded and fulfill statutory requirements; it has also administered research and extension activities that have been jointly funded by state and federal matching programs.

    Cornell has had active alumni since its earliest classes. It was one of the first universities to include alumni-elected representatives on its Board of Trustees. Cornell was also among the Ivies that had heightened student activism during the 1960s related to cultural issues; civil rights; and opposition to the Vietnam War, with protests and occupations resulting in the resignation of Cornell’s president and the restructuring of university governance. Today the university has more than 4,000 courses. Cornell is also known for the Residential Club Fire of 1967, a fire in the Residential Club building that killed eight students and one professor.

    Since 2000, Cornell has been expanding its international programs. In 2004, the university opened the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. It has partnerships with institutions in India, Singapore, and the People’s Republic of China. Former president Jeffrey S. Lehman described the university, with its high international profile, a “transnational university”. On March 9, 2004, Cornell and Stanford University laid the cornerstone for a new ‘Bridging the Rift Center’ to be built and jointly operated for education on the Israel–Jordan border.

    Research

    Cornell, a research university, is ranked fourth in the world in producing the largest number of graduates who go on to pursue PhDs in engineering or the natural sciences at American institutions, and fifth in the world in producing graduates who pursue PhDs at American institutions in any field. Research is a central element of the university’s mission; in 2009 Cornell spent $671 million on science and engineering research and development, the 16th highest in the United States. Cornell is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    For the 2016–17 fiscal year, the university spent $984.5 million on research. Federal sources constitute the largest source of research funding, with total federal investment of $438.2 million. The agencies contributing the largest share of that investment are The Department of Health and Human Services and the National Science Foundation, accounting for 49.6% and 24.4% of all federal investment, respectively. Cornell was on the top-ten list of U.S. universities receiving the most patents in 2003, and was one of the nation’s top five institutions in forming start-up companies. In 2004–05, Cornell received 200 invention disclosures; filed 203 U.S. patent applications; completed 77 commercial license agreements; and distributed royalties of more than $4.1 million to Cornell units and inventors.

    Since 1962, Cornell has been involved in unmanned missions to Mars. In the 21st century, Cornell had a hand in the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. Cornell’s Steve Squyres, Principal Investigator for the Athena Science Payload, led the selection of the landing zones and requested data collection features for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. NASA-JPL/Caltech engineers took those requests and designed the rovers to meet them. The rovers, both of which have operated long past their original life expectancies, are responsible for the discoveries that were awarded 2004 Breakthrough of the Year honors by Science. Control of the Mars rovers has shifted between National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s JPL-Caltech and Cornell’s Space Sciences Building.

    Further, Cornell researchers discovered the rings around the planet Uranus, and Cornell built and operated the telescope at Arecibo Observatory located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico until 2011, when they transferred the operations to SRI International, the Universities Space Research Association and the Metropolitan University of Puerto Rico [Universidad Metropolitana de Puerto Rico].

    The Automotive Crash Injury Research Project was begun in 1952. It pioneered the use of crash testing, originally using corpses rather than dummies. The project discovered that improved door locks; energy-absorbing steering wheels; padded dashboards; and seat belts could prevent an extraordinary percentage of injuries.

    In the early 1980s, Cornell deployed the first IBM 3090-400VF and coupled two IBM 3090-600E systems to investigate coarse-grained parallel computing. In 1984, the National Science Foundation began work on establishing five new supercomputer centers, including the Cornell Center for Advanced Computing, to provide high-speed computing resources for research within the United States. As a National Science Foundation center, Cornell deployed the first IBM Scalable Parallel supercomputer.

    In the 1990s, Cornell developed scheduling software and deployed the first supercomputer built by Dell. Most recently, Cornell deployed Red Cloud, one of the first cloud computing services designed specifically for research. Today, the center is a partner on the National Science Foundation XSEDE-Extreme Science Engineering Discovery Environment supercomputing program, providing coordination for XSEDE architecture and design, systems reliability testing, and online training using the Cornell Virtual Workshop learning platform.

    Cornell scientists have researched the fundamental particles of nature for more than 70 years. Cornell physicists, such as Hans Bethe, contributed not only to the foundations of nuclear physics but also participated in the Manhattan Project. In the 1930s, Cornell built the second cyclotron in the United States. In the 1950s, Cornell physicists became the first to study synchrotron radiation.

    During the 1990s, the Cornell Electron Storage Ring, located beneath Alumni Field, was the world’s highest-luminosity electron-positron collider. After building the synchrotron at Cornell, Robert R. Wilson took a leave of absence to become the founding director of DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, which involved designing and building the largest accelerator in the United States.

    Cornell’s accelerator and high-energy physics groups are involved in the design of the proposed ILC-International Linear Collider(JP) and plan to participate in its construction and operation. The International Linear Collider(JP), to be completed in the late 2010s, will complement the CERN Large Hadron Collider(CH) and shed light on questions such as the identity of dark matter and the existence of extra dimensions.

    As part of its research work, Cornell has established several research collaborations with universities around the globe. For example, a partnership with the University of Sussex(UK) (including the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex) allows research and teaching collaboration between the two institutions.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:04 pm on December 9, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Deep reinforcement learning", "The smallest robotic arm you can imagine is controlled by artificial intelligence", , , , , , Researchers used deep reinforcement learning to steer atoms into a lattice shape with a view to building new materials or nanodevices., Robotics   

    From Aalto University [Aalto-yliopisto] (FI): “The smallest robotic arm you can imagine is controlled by artificial intelligence” 

    From Aalto University [Aalto-yliopisto] (FI)

    12.7.22

    Adam Foster
    Professori
    adam.foster@aalto.fi

    Peter Liljeroth
    Akatemiaprofessori
    peter.liljeroth@aalto.fi
    +358503636115

    1
    Researchers used deep reinforcement learning to steer atoms into a lattice shape with a view to building new materials or nanodevices.

    In a very cold vacuum chamber, single atoms of silver form a star-like lattice. The precise formation is not accidental, and it wasn’t constructed directly by human hands either. Researchers used a kind of artificial intelligence called “deep reinforcement learning” to steer the atoms, each a fraction of a nanometer in size, into the lattice shape. The process is similar to moving marbles around a Chinese checkers board, but with very tiny tweezers grabbing and dragging each atom into place.

    The main application for “deep reinforcement learning” is in robotics, says postdoctoral researcher I-Ju Chen. “We’re also building robotic arms with deep learning, but for moving atoms,” she explains. “Reinforcement learning is successful in things like playing chess or video games, but we’ve applied it to solve technical problems at the nanoscale.” 

    So why are scientists interested in precisely moving atoms? Making very small devices based on single atoms is important for nanodevices like transistors or memory. Testing how and whether these devices work at their absolute limits is one application for this kind of atomic manipulation, says Chen. Building new materials atom-by-atom, rather than through traditional chemical techniques, may also reveal interesting properties related to superconductivity or quantum states.

    The silver star lattice made by Chen and colleagues at the Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence [FCAI] and Aalto University is a demonstration of what ‘deep reinforcement learning” can achieve. “The precise movement of atoms is hard even for human experts,” says Chen. “We adapted existing “deep reinforcement learning’ for this purpose. It took the algorithm on the order of one day to learn and then about one hour to build the lattice.” The reinforcement part of this type of deep learning refers to how the AI is guided—through rewards for correct actions or outputs. “Give it a goal and it will do it. It can solve problems that humans don’t know how to solve.”

    Applying this approach to the world of nanoscience materials is new. Nanotechniques can become more powerful with the injection of machine learning, says Chen, because it can accelerate the parameter selection and trial-and-error usually done by a person. “We showed that this task can be completed perfectly through reinforcement learning,” concludes Chen. The group’s research, led by professors Adam Foster and Peter Liljeroth, was recently published in Nature Communications [below].

    Science paper:
    Nature Communications
    See the science paper for instructive material with images.

    See the full article here.

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Aalto University [Aalto-yliopisto] (FI) is a university located in Espoo, Finland. It was established in 2010 as a merger of three major Finnish universities: the Helsinki University of Technology (established 1849), the Helsinki School of Economics (established 1904), and the University of Art and Design Helsinki (established 1871). The close collaboration between the scientific, business and arts communities is intended to foster multi-disciplinary education and research. The Finnish government, in 2010, set out to create a university that fosters innovation, merging the three institutions into one.

    The university is composed of six schools with close to 17,500 students and 4,000 staff members, making it Finland’s second largest university. The main campus of Aalto University is located in Otaniemi, Espoo. Aalto University Executive Education operates in the district of Töölö, Helsinki. In addition to the Greater Helsinki area, the university also operates its Bachelor’s Programme in International Business in Mikkeli and the Metsähovi Radio Observatory Metsähovi Radio Observatory [Metsähovin radiotutkimusasema] Aalto University [Aalto-yliopisto](FI) in Kirkkonummi. in Kirkkonummi.

    Aalto University’s operations showcase Finland’s experiment in higher education. The Aalto Design Factory, Aalto Ventures Program and Aalto Entrepreneurship Society (Aaltoes), among others, drive the university’s mission for a radical shift towards multidisciplinary learning and have contributed substantially to the emergence of Helsinki as a hotbed for startups. Aaltoes is Europe’s largest and most active student run entrepreneurship community that has founded major concepts such as the Startup Sauna accelerator program and the Slush startup event.

    The university is named in honour of Alvar Aalto, a prominent Finnish architect, designer and alumnus of the former Helsinki University of Technology, who was also instrumental in designing a large part of the university’s main campus in Otaniemi.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:33 am on December 9, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A transformable robot with an omnidirectional wheel-leg", "OmniWheg": a robotic system that can adapt its configuration while navigating its surrounding environment seamlessly changing from a wheeled to a legged robot., "Whegs": Wheel-legs or wing-legs, , , Quadruped and biped robots have been growing in popularity and the reason for that might be the search for “anthropomorphization” that the general audience commonly engages in., Robotics, , The system used an omnidirectional wheel., Worcester Polytechnic Institute   

    From Worcester Polytechnic Institute Via “TechXplore” at “Science X”: “A transformable robot with an omnidirectional wheel-leg” 

    1

    From Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    Via

    “TechXplore” at “Science X”

    12.7.22

    1
    Credit: Andre Rosendo and Ruixiang Cao.

    Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute recently created “OmniWheg”, a robotic system that can adapt its configuration while navigating its surrounding environment, seamlessly changing from a wheeled to a legged robot. This robot, introduced in an IEEE IROS [below] 2022 paper, is based on an updated version of the so-called “whegs,” a series of mechanisms design to transform a robot’s wheels or wings into legs.

    “Quadruped and biped robots have been growing in popularity, and the reason for that might be the search for ‘anthropomorphization’ that the general audience commonly engages in,” Prof. Andre Rosendo, one of the researchers who developed the robot, told TechXplore. “While ‘being capable of going everywhere we go’ sounds like an exciting appeal, the energetic cost of legs is very high. We humans have legs because that is what evolution gave us, but we wouldn’t dare to create a ‘legged car,’ as we know that this ride wouldn’t be as comfortable or energy efficient as a wheeled car ride.”

    The key idea behind the recent work by Rosendo and his colleagues is that while legs make robots more relatable, giving them a human- or animal-like quality, they are not always the optimal solution to ensure that robots complete tasks quickly and efficiently. Instead of developing a robot with a single locomotion mechanism, the team thus set out to create a system that can switch between different mechanisms.


    OmniWheg: An Omnidirectional Wheel-Leg Transformable Robot.

    “Looking around our homes and workplaces we can see that our environments are 95% flat, with an eventual 5% of uneven terrain that we need to face when ‘transitioning’ between spaces,” Rosendo said. “With this in mind, why not develop a system that performs at a ‘wheel-like’ efficiency in these 95% of cases and specifically transitions to a lower efficiency in the remaining 5%?”

    Rosendo and his colleagues set out to create a wheel that could change its configuration to climb stairs or circumvent other small obstacles. To accomplish this, they explored the concept of “whegs” (i.e., wheel-legs or wing-legs), which has been around for over a decade and has since received considerable attention in the field of robotics.

    Several wheel-leg systems were developed and tested in the past few years. However, most of these systems did not perform particularly well, mainly due to difficulties in coordinating the right and left side of the wheel-leg system, which need to be perfectly aligned when a robot is climbing stairs.

    “To solve the coordination issues commonly associated with wheel-leg mechanisms, we used an omnidirectional wheel,” explained Ruixiang Cao, the leading student behind the creation. “This is the last piece of the puzzle, as it enables the robot to align on-the-fly without rotating its body. Our robot can move forward, backwards, and sideways at a very low energy cost, can remain in a stable position with no energetic cost, and can swiftly climb stairs when needed.”

    To operate correctly, the wheg system created by Rosendo and his colleagues requires the addition of one servo motor per wheel and a simple algorithm. Other than that, its design is basic and straightforward, so it could be easily replicated by other teams worldwide.

    “The advantages of this system are so abundant, and the drawbacks are so few that we can’t help but think that they pose a threat to the ‘legged robot hype’ seen in the robotics field,” Cao said. “Any robot application that has an eventual need to climb stairs could adopt this design, especially if paired with a robot manipulator to manipulate objects when running over the flat ground while shifting its center of gravity when climbing stairs.”

    The researchers evaluated their OmniWheg system in a series of experiments focusing on a multitude of real-world indoor scenarios, such as circumventing obstacles, climbing steps of different heights and turning/moving omnidirectionally. Their results were highly promising, as their wheel-leg robot could successfully overcome all the common obstacles it was tested on, flexibly and efficiently adapting its configuration to effectively tackle individual locomotion challenges.

    In the future, the system created by Rosendo and his colleagues could be integrated in both existing and new robots, to enhance their efficiency in navigating indoor environments. In addition, the team’s work could inspire the development of similar wheg systems based on omnidirectional wheels.

    “Our first design iteration adopted a fairly ‘expensive’ brushless motor, and we now think that a lighter motor, paired with a gear reduction, would have been more effective,” Rosendo added. “We also plan on adding a manipulator to the base of the robot so that we can test the dynamics of ascending and descending stairs with a higher center of gravity.”

    Science paper:
    IEEE IROS

    See the full article here.

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 9:37 am on December 9, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Soft Robots Gain New Strength and Make Virtual Reality Gloves Feel More Real", , , , Robotics, ,   

    From The School of Engineering and Applied Science At The University of Pennsylvania: “Soft Robots Gain New Strength and Make Virtual Reality Gloves Feel More Real” 

    From The School of Engineering and Applied Science

    At

    U Penn bloc

    The University of Pennsylvania

    11.30.22
    Melissa Pappas

    Soft robots, or those made with materials like rubber, gels and cloth, have advantages over their harder, heavier counterparts, especially when it comes to tasks that require direct human interaction. Robots that could safely and gently help people with limited mobility grocery shop, prepare meals, get dressed, or even walk would undoubtedly be life-changing.

    However, soft robots currently lack the strength needed to perform these sorts of tasks. This long-standing challenge — making soft robots stronger without compromising their ability to gently interact with their environment — has limited the development of these devices.

    With the relationship between strength and softness in mind, a team of Penn Engineers has devised a new electrostatically controlled clutch which enables a soft robotic hand to be able to hold 4 pounds – about the weight of a bag of apples – which is 40 times more than the hand could lift without the clutch. In addition, the ability to perform this task requiring both a soft touch and strength was accomplished with only 125 volts of electricity, a third of the voltage required for current clutches.

    1
    In a demonstration, the clutch was able to increase the strength of an elbow joint to be able to support the weight of a mannequin arm at the low energy demand of 125 volts. (Image: Penn Engineering Today)

    Their safe, low-power approach could also enable wearable soft robotic devices that would simulate the sensation of holding a physical object in augmented- and virtual-reality environments.

    James Pikul, Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics (MEAM), Kevin Turner, Professor and Chair of MEAM with a secondary appointment in Materials Science Engineering, and their Ph.D. students, David Levine, Gokulanand Iyer and Daelan Roosa, published a study in Science Robotics [below] describing a new, fracture-mechanics-based model of electroadhesive clutches, a mechanical structure that can control the stiffness of soft robotic materials.

    Using this new model, the team was able to realize a clutch 63 times stronger than current electroadhesive clutches. The model not only increased force capacity of a clutch used in their soft robots, it also decreased the voltage required to power the clutch, making soft robots stronger and safer.

    Current soft robotic hands can hold small objects, such as an apple for example. Being soft, the robotic hand can delicately grasp objects of various shapes, understand the energy required to lift them, and become stiff or tense enough to pick an object up, a task similar to how we grasp and hold things in our own hands. An electroadhesive clutch is a thin device that enhances the change of stiffness in the materials which allows the robot to perform this task. The clutch, similar to a clutch in a car, is the mechanical connection between moving objects in the system. In the case of electroadhesive clutches, two electrodes coated with a dielectric material become attracted to each other when voltage is applied. The attraction between the electrodes creates a friction force at the interface that keeps the two plates from slipping past each other. The electrodes are attached to the flexible material of the robotic hand. By turning the clutch on with an electrical voltage, the electrodes stick to each other, and the robotic hand holds more weight than it could previously. Turning the clutch off allows the plates to slide past each other and the hand to relax, so the object can be released.


    Traditional models of clutches are based on a simple assumption of Coulombic friction between two parallel plates, where friction keeps the two plates of the clutch from sliding past each other. However, this model does not capture how mechanical stress is nonuniformly distributed in the system, and therefore, does not predict clutch force capacity well. It is also not robust enough to be used to develop stronger clutches without using high voltages, expensive materials, or intensive manufacturing processes. A robotic hand with a clutch created using the friction model may be able to pick up an entire bag of apples, but will require high voltages which make it unsafe for human interaction.

    “Our approach tackles the force capacity of clutches at the model level,” says Pikul. “And our model, the fracture-mechanics-based model, is unique. Instead of creating parallel plate clutches, we based our design on lap joints and examined where fractures might occur in these joints. The friction model assumes that the stress on the system is uniform, which is not realistic. In reality, stress is concentrated at various points, and our model helps us understand where those points are. The resulting clutch is both stronger and safer as it requires only a third of the voltage compared to traditional clutches.”

    “The fracture mechanics framework and model in this work have been used for the design of bonded joints and structural components for decades,” says Turner. “What is new here is the application of this model to the design of electroadhesive clutches.”

    The researchers’ improved clutch can now be easily integrated into existing devices.

    “The fracture-mechanics-based model provides fundamental insight into the workings of an electroadhesive clutch, helping us understand them more than the friction model ever could,” says Pikul. “We can already use the model to improve current clutches just by making very slight changes to material geometry and thickness, and we can continue to push the limits and improve the design of future clutches with this new understanding.”

    To demonstrate the strength of their clutch, the team attached it to a pneumatic finger. Without the researchers’ clutch, the finger was able to hold the weight of one apple while inflated into a curled position; with it, the finger could hold an entire bag of them.


    In another demonstration, the clutch was able to increase the strength of an elbow joint to be able to support the weight of a mannequin arm at the low energy demand of 125 volts.


    Future work that the team is excited to delve into includes using this new clutch model to develop wearable augmented and virtual-reality devices.

    “Traditional clutches require about 300 volts, a level that can be unsafe for human interaction,” says Levine. “We want to continue to improve our clutches, making them smaller, lighter and less energetically costly to bring these products to the real world. Eventually, these clutches could be used in wearable gloves that simulate object manipulation in a VR environment.”

    “Current technologies provide feedback through vibrations, but simulating physical contact with a virtual object is limited with today’s devices,” says Pikul. “Imagine having both the visual simulation and feeling of being in another environment. VR and AR could be used in training, remote working, or just simulating touch and movement for those who lack those experiences in the real world. This technology gets us closer to those possibilities.”

    Improving human-robot interactions is one of the main goals of Pikul’s lab and the direct benefits that this research presents is fuel for their own research passions.

    “We haven’t seen many soft robots in our world yet, and that is, in part, due to their lack of strength, but now we have one solution to that challenge,” says Levine. “This new way to design clutches might lead to applications of soft robots that we cannot imagine right now. I want to create robots that help people, make people feel good, and enhance the human experience, and this work is getting us closer to that goal. I’m really excited to see where we go next.”

    Science paper:
    Science Robotics

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The School of Engineering and Applied Science is an undergraduate and graduate school of The University of Pennsylvania. The School offers programs that emphasize hands-on study of engineering fundamentals (with an offering of approximately 300 courses) while encouraging students to leverage the educational offerings of the broader University. Engineering students can also take advantage of research opportunities through interactions with Penn’s School of Medicine, School of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School.

    Penn Engineering offers bachelors, masters and Ph.D. degree programs in contemporary fields of engineering study. The nationally ranked bioengineering department offers the School’s most popular undergraduate degree program. The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology, offered in partnership with the Wharton School, allows students to simultaneously earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering. SEAS also offers several masters programs, which include: Executive Master’s in Technology Management, Master of Biotechnology, Master of Computer and Information Technology, Master of Computer and Information Science and a Master of Science in Engineering in Telecommunications and Networking.

    History

    The study of engineering at The University of Pennsylvania can be traced back to 1850 when the University trustees adopted a resolution providing for a professorship of “Chemistry as Applied to the Arts”. In 1852, the study of engineering was further formalized with the establishment of the School of Mines, Arts and Manufactures. The first Professor of Civil and Mining Engineering was appointed in 1852. The first graduate of the school received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1854. Since that time, the school has grown to six departments. In 1973, the school was renamed as the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

    The early growth of the school benefited from the generosity of two Philadelphians: John Henry Towne and Alfred Fitler Moore. Towne, a mechanical engineer and railroad developer, bequeathed the school a gift of $500,000 upon his death in 1875. The main administration building for the school still bears his name. Moore was a successful entrepreneur who made his fortune manufacturing telegraph cable. A 1923 gift from Moore established the Moore School of Electrical Engineering, which is the birthplace of the first electronic general-purpose Turing-complete digital computer, ENIAC, in 1946.

    During the latter half of the 20th century the school continued to break new ground. In 1958, Barbara G. Mandell became the first woman to enroll as an undergraduate in the School of Engineering. In 1965, the university acquired two sites that were formerly used as U.S. Army Nike Missile Base (PH 82L and PH 82R) and created the Valley Forge Research Center. In 1976, the Management and Technology Program was created. In 1990, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Biomedical Science and Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Science were first offered, followed by a master’s degree in Biotechnology in 1997.

    The school continues to expand with the addition of the Melvin and Claire Levine Hall for computer science in 2003, Skirkanich Hall for Bioengineering in 2006, and the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology in 2013.

    Academics

    Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is organized into six departments:

    Bioengineering
    Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
    Computer and Information Science
    Electrical and Systems Engineering
    Materials Science and Engineering
    Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics

    The school’s Department of Bioengineering, originally named Biomedical Electronic Engineering, consistently garners a top-ten ranking at both the undergraduate and graduate level from U.S. News & World Report. The department also houses the George H. Stephenson Foundation Educational Laboratory & Bio-MakerSpace (aka Biomakerspace) for training undergraduate through PhD students. It is Philadelphia’s and Penn’s only Bio-MakerSpace and it is open to the Penn community, encouraging a free flow of ideas, creativity, and entrepreneurship between Bioengineering students and students throughout the university.

    Founded in 1893, the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is “America’s oldest continuously operating degree-granting program in chemical engineering.”

    The Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering is recognized for its research in electroscience, systems science and network systems and telecommunications.

    Originally established in 1946 as the School of Metallurgical Engineering, the Materials Science and Engineering Department “includes cutting edge programs in nanoscience and nanotechnology, biomaterials, ceramics, polymers, and metals.”

    The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics draws its roots from the Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, which was established in 1876.

    Each department houses one or more degree programs. The Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics departments each house a single degree program.

    Bioengineering houses two programs (both a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree as well as a Bachelor of Applied Science degree). Electrical and Systems Engineering offers four Bachelor of Science in Engineering programs: Electrical Engineering, Systems Engineering, Computer Engineering, and the Networked & Social Systems Engineering, the latter two of which are co-housed with Computer and Information Science (CIS). The CIS department, like Bioengineering, offers Computer and Information Science programs under both bachelor programs. CIS also houses Digital Media Design, a program jointly operated with PennDesign.

    Research

    Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is a research institution. SEAS research strives to advance science and engineering and to achieve a positive impact on society.

    U Penn campus

    Academic life at University of Pennsylvania is unparalleled, with 100 countries and every U.S. state represented in one of the Ivy League’s most diverse student bodies. Consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in the country, Penn enrolls 10,000 undergraduate students and welcomes an additional 10,000 students to our world-renowned graduate and professional schools.

    Penn’s award-winning educators and scholars encourage students to pursue inquiry and discovery, follow their passions, and address the world’s most challenging problems through an interdisciplinary approach.

    The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The university claims a founding date of 1740 and is one of the nine colonial colleges chartered prior to the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, Penn’s founder and first president, advocated an educational program that trained leaders in commerce, government, and public service, similar to a modern liberal arts curriculum.

    Penn has four undergraduate schools as well as twelve graduate and professional schools. Schools enrolling undergraduates include the College of Arts and Sciences; the School of Engineering and Applied Science; the Wharton School; and the School of Nursing. Penn’s “One University Policy” allows students to enroll in classes in any of Penn’s twelve schools. Among its highly ranked graduate and professional schools are a law school whose first professor wrote the first draft of the United States Constitution, the first school of medicine in North America (Perelman School of Medicine, 1765), and the first collegiate business school (Wharton School, 1881).

    Penn is also home to the first “student union” building and organization (Houston Hall, 1896), the first Catholic student club in North America (Newman Center, 1893), the first double-decker college football stadium (Franklin Field, 1924 when second deck was constructed), and Morris Arboretum, the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The first general-purpose electronic computer (ENIAC) was developed at Penn and formally dedicated in 1946. In 2019, the university had an endowment of $14.65 billion, the sixth-largest endowment of all universities in the United States, as well as a research budget of $1.02 billion. The university’s athletics program, the Quakers, fields varsity teams in 33 sports as a member of the NCAA Division I Ivy League conference.

    As of 2018, distinguished alumni and/or Trustees include three U.S. Supreme Court justices; 32 U.S. senators; 46 U.S. governors; 163 members of the U.S. House of Representatives; eight signers of the Declaration of Independence and seven signers of the U.S. Constitution (four of whom signed both representing two-thirds of the six people who signed both); 24 members of the Continental Congress; 14 foreign heads of state and two presidents of the United States, including Donald Trump. As of October 2019, 36 Nobel laureates; 80 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; 64 billionaires; 29 Rhodes Scholars; 15 Marshall Scholars and 16 Pulitzer Prize winners have been affiliated with the university.

    History

    The University of Pennsylvania considers itself the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, though this is contested by Princeton University and Columbia University. The university also considers itself as the first university in the United States with both undergraduate and graduate studies.

    In 1740, a group of Philadelphians joined together to erect a great preaching hall for the traveling evangelist George Whitefield, who toured the American colonies delivering open-air sermons. The building was designed and built by Edmund Woolley and was the largest building in the city at the time, drawing thousands of people the first time it was preached in. It was initially planned to serve as a charity school as well, but a lack of funds forced plans for the chapel and school to be suspended. According to Franklin’s autobiography, it was in 1743 when he first had the idea to establish an academy, “thinking the Rev. Richard Peters a fit person to superintend such an institution”. However, Peters declined a casual inquiry from Franklin and nothing further was done for another six years. In the fall of 1749, now more eager to create a school to educate future generations, Benjamin Franklin circulated a pamphlet titled Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania, his vision for what he called a “Public Academy of Philadelphia”. Unlike the other colonial colleges that existed in 1749—Harvard University, William & Mary, Yale Unversity, and The College of New Jersey—Franklin’s new school would not focus merely on education for the clergy. He advocated an innovative concept of higher education, one which would teach both the ornamental knowledge of the arts and the practical skills necessary for making a living and doing public service. The proposed program of study could have become the nation’s first modern liberal arts curriculum, although it was never implemented because Anglican priest William Smith (1727-1803), who became the first provost, and other trustees strongly preferred the traditional curriculum.

    Franklin assembled a board of trustees from among the leading citizens of Philadelphia, the first such non-sectarian board in America. At the first meeting of the 24 members of the board of trustees on November 13, 1749, the issue of where to locate the school was a prime concern. Although a lot across Sixth Street from the old Pennsylvania State House (later renamed and famously known since 1776 as “Independence Hall”), was offered without cost by James Logan, its owner, the trustees realized that the building erected in 1740, which was still vacant, would be an even better site. The original sponsors of the dormant building still owed considerable construction debts and asked Franklin’s group to assume their debts and, accordingly, their inactive trusts. On February 1, 1750, the new board took over the building and trusts of the old board. On August 13, 1751, the “Academy of Philadelphia”, using the great hall at 4th and Arch Streets, took in its first secondary students. A charity school also was chartered on July 13, 1753 by the intentions of the original “New Building” donors, although it lasted only a few years. On June 16, 1755, the “College of Philadelphia” was chartered, paving the way for the addition of undergraduate instruction. All three schools shared the same board of trustees and were considered to be part of the same institution. The first commencement exercises were held on May 17, 1757.

    The institution of higher learning was known as the College of Philadelphia from 1755 to 1779. In 1779, not trusting then-provost the Reverend William Smith’s “Loyalist” tendencies, the revolutionary State Legislature created a University of the State of Pennsylvania. The result was a schism, with Smith continuing to operate an attenuated version of the College of Philadelphia. In 1791, the legislature issued a new charter, merging the two institutions into a new University of Pennsylvania with twelve men from each institution on the new board of trustees.

    Penn has three claims to being the first university in the United States, according to university archives director Mark Frazier Lloyd: the 1765 founding of the first medical school in America made Penn the first institution to offer both “undergraduate” and professional education; the 1779 charter made it the first American institution of higher learning to take the name of “University”; and existing colleges were established as seminaries (although, as detailed earlier, Penn adopted a traditional seminary curriculum as well).

    After being located in downtown Philadelphia for more than a century, the campus was moved across the Schuylkill River to property purchased from the Blockley Almshouse in West Philadelphia in 1872, where it has since remained in an area now known as University City. Although Penn began operating as an academy or secondary school in 1751 and obtained its collegiate charter in 1755, it initially designated 1750 as its founding date; this is the year that appears on the first iteration of the university seal. Sometime later in its early history, Penn began to consider 1749 as its founding date and this year was referenced for over a century, including at the centennial celebration in 1849. In 1899, the board of trustees voted to adjust the founding date earlier again, this time to 1740, the date of “the creation of the earliest of the many educational trusts the University has taken upon itself”. The board of trustees voted in response to a three-year campaign by Penn’s General Alumni Society to retroactively revise the university’s founding date to appear older than Princeton University, which had been chartered in 1746.

    Research, innovations and discoveries

    Penn is classified as an “R1” doctoral university: “Highest research activity.” Its economic impact on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 2015 amounted to $14.3 billion. Penn’s research expenditures in the 2018 fiscal year were $1.442 billion, the fourth largest in the U.S. In fiscal year 2019 Penn received $582.3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health.

    In line with its well-known interdisciplinary tradition, Penn’s research centers often span two or more disciplines. In the 2010–2011 academic year alone, five interdisciplinary research centers were created or substantially expanded; these include the Center for Health-care Financing; the Center for Global Women’s Health at the Nursing School; the $13 million Morris Arboretum’s Horticulture Center; the $15 million Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at Wharton; and the $13 million Translational Research Center at Penn Medicine. With these additions, Penn now counts 165 research centers hosting a research community of over 4,300 faculty and over 1,100 postdoctoral fellows, 5,500 academic support staff and graduate student trainees. To further assist the advancement of interdisciplinary research President Amy Gutmann established the “Penn Integrates Knowledge” title awarded to selected Penn professors “whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge”. These professors hold endowed professorships and joint appointments between Penn’s schools.

    Penn is also among the most prolific producers of doctoral students. With 487 PhDs awarded in 2009, Penn ranks third in the Ivy League, only behind Columbia University and Cornell University (Harvard University did not report data). It also has one of the highest numbers of post-doctoral appointees (933 in number for 2004–2007), ranking third in the Ivy League (behind Harvard and Yale University) and tenth nationally.

    In most disciplines Penn professors’ productivity is among the highest in the nation and first in the fields of epidemiology, business, communication studies, comparative literature, languages, information science, criminal justice and criminology, social sciences and sociology. According to the National Research Council nearly three-quarters of Penn’s 41 assessed programs were placed in ranges including the top 10 rankings in their fields, with more than half of these in ranges including the top five rankings in these fields.

    Penn’s research tradition has historically been complemented by innovations that shaped higher education. In addition to establishing the first medical school; the first university teaching hospital; the first business school; and the first student union Penn was also the cradle of other significant developments. In 1852, Penn Law was the first law school in the nation to publish a law journal still in existence (then called The American Law Register, now the Penn Law Review, one of the most cited law journals in the world). Under the deanship of William Draper Lewis, the law school was also one of the first schools to emphasize legal teaching by full-time professors instead of practitioners, a system that is still followed today. The Wharton School was home to several pioneering developments in business education. It established the first research center in a business school in 1921 and the first center for entrepreneurship center in 1973 and it regularly introduced novel curricula for which BusinessWeek wrote, “Wharton is on the crest of a wave of reinvention and change in management education”.

    Several major scientific discoveries have also taken place at Penn. The university is probably best known as the place where the first general-purpose electronic computer (ENIAC) was born in 1946 at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering.

    ENIAC UPenn

    It was here also where the world’s first spelling and grammar checkers were created, as well as the popular COBOL programming language. Penn can also boast some of the most important discoveries in the field of medicine. The dialysis machine used as an artificial replacement for lost kidney function was conceived and devised out of a pressure cooker by William Inouye while he was still a student at Penn Med; the Rubella and Hepatitis B vaccines were developed at Penn; the discovery of cancer’s link with genes; cognitive therapy; Retin-A (the cream used to treat acne), Resistin; the Philadelphia gene (linked to chronic myelogenous leukemia) and the technology behind PET Scans were all discovered by Penn Med researchers. More recent gene research has led to the discovery of the genes for fragile X syndrome, the most common form of inherited mental retardation; spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, a disorder marked by progressive muscle wasting; and Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the hands, feet and limbs.

    Conductive polymer was also developed at Penn by Alan J. Heeger, Alan MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa, an invention that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. On faculty since 1965, Ralph L. Brinster developed the scientific basis for in vitro fertilization and the transgenic mouse at Penn and was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2010. The theory of superconductivity was also partly developed at Penn, by then-faculty member John Robert Schrieffer (along with John Bardeen and Leon Cooper). The university has also contributed major advancements in the fields of economics and management. Among the many discoveries are conjoint analysis, widely used as a predictive tool especially in market research; Simon Kuznets’s method of measuring Gross National Product; the Penn effect (the observation that consumer price levels in richer countries are systematically higher than in poorer ones) and the “Wharton Model” developed by Nobel-laureate Lawrence Klein to measure and forecast economic activity. The idea behind Health Maintenance Organizations also belonged to Penn professor Robert Eilers, who put it into practice during then-President Nixon’s health reform in the 1970s.

    International partnerships

    Students can study abroad for a semester or a year at partner institutions such as the London School of Economics(UK), University of Barcelona [Universitat de Barcelona](ES), Paris Institute of Political Studies [Institut d’études politiques de Paris](FR), University of Queensland(AU), University College London(UK), King’s College London(UK), Hebrew University of Jerusalem(IL) and University of Warwick(UK).

     
  • richardmitnick 10:41 pm on December 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "An automated way to assemble thousands of objects", A new algorithm for automatic assembly of products is accurate and efficient and generalizable to a wide range of complex real-world assemblies., , It remains in future work to plan for soft deformable assemblies., , Robotics, , The manufacturing industry (largely) welcomed artificial intelligence with open arms., , The team cooked up a Spartan-level large-scale dataset with thousands of physically valid industrial assemblies and motions to test their method., With current manufacturing in a factory or assembly line everything is typically hard-coded.   

    From The Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) At The Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “An automated way to assemble thousands of objects” 

    1

    From The Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)

    at

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    12.7.22
    Rachel Gordon | MIT CSAIL

    A new algorithm for automatic assembly of products is accurate and efficient and generalizable to a wide range of complex real-world assemblies.


    Assemble Them All: Physics-Based Planning for Generalizable Assembly by Disassembly

    1
    Researchers came up with a way to efficiently plan physically plausible assembly motions and sequences for real-world assemblies. Image courtesy of MIT CSAIL.

    The manufacturing industry (largely) welcomed artificial intelligence with open arms. Less of the dull, dirty, and dangerous? Say no more. Planning for mechanical assemblies still requires more than scratching out some sketches, of course — it’s a complex conundrum that means dealing with arbitrary 3D shapes and highly constrained motion required for real-world assemblies. 

    Human engineers, understandably, need to jump in the ring and manually design assembly plans and instructions before sending the parts to assembly lines, and this manual nature translates to high labor costs and the potential for error. 

    In a quest to ease some of said burdens, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Autodesk Research, and Texas A&M University came up with a method to automatically assemble products that’s accurate, efficient, and generalizable to a wide range of complex real-world assemblies. Their algorithm efficiently determines the order for multipart assembly, and then searches for a physically realistic motion path for each step.

    The team cooked up a Spartan-level large-scale dataset with thousands of physically valid industrial assemblies and motions to test their method. The proposed method is capable of solving almost all of them, especially outperforming previous methods by a large margin on rotational assemblies, like screws and puzzles. Also, it’s a bit of a speed demon in that it solves 80-part assemblies within several minutes. 

    “Instead of one assembly line specifically designed for one specific product, if we can automatically figure out ways to sequence and move, we can use a fully adaptive setup,” says Yunsheng Tian, a PhD student at MIT CSAIL and lead author on the paper. “Maybe one assembly line can be used for tons of different products. We think of this as low-volume, high-mixed assembly, opposed to traditional high-volume, low-mixed assembly, which is very specific to a certain product.” 

    Given the objective of assembling a screw attached to a rod, for example, the algorithm would find the assembly strategy through two stages: disassembly and assembly. The disassembly planning algorithm searches for a collision-free path to disassemble the screw from the rod. Using physics-based simulation, the algorithm applies different forces to the screw and observes the movement. As a result, a torque rotating along the rod’s central axis moves the screw to the end of the rod, then a straight force pointing away from the rod separates the screw and the rod. In the assembly stage, the algorithm reverses the disassembly path to get an assembly solution from individual parts.

    “Think about IKEA furniture — it has step-by-step instructions with the little white book. All of those have to be manually authored by people today, so now we can figure out how to make those assembly instructions,” says Karl D.D. Willis, a senior research manager at Autodesk Research. “You can imagine how, for people designing products, this could be helpful for building up those types of instructions. Either it’s for people, as in laying out these assembly plans, or it could be for some kind of robotic system right down the line.” 

    The disassemble/assemble dance

    With current manufacturing in a factory or assembly line everything is typically hard-coded. If you want to assemble a given product, you have to precisely control or program instructions to assemble or disassemble a product. Which part should be assembled first? Which part should be assembled next? And how are you going to assemble this? 

    Previous attempts have been mostly limited to simple assembly paths, like a very straight translation of parts — nothing too complicated. To move beyond this, the team used a physics-based simulator — a tool commonly used to train robots and self-driving cars — to guide the search for assembly paths, which makes things much easier and more generalizable.  

    “Let’s say you want to disassemble a washer from the shaft, which is very tightly geometrically assembled. The status quo would simply try to sample a bunch of different ways to separate them, and it’s very possible you can’t create a simple path that’s perfectly collision-free. Using physics, you don’t have this limitation. You can try, for example, adding a simple downward force, and the simulator will find the correct motion to disassemble the washer from the shaft,” says Tian. 

    While the system handled rigid objects with ease, it remains in future work to plan for soft deformable assemblies.

    One avenue of work the team is looking to explore is making a physical robotic setup to assemble items. This would require more work in terms of robotic control and planning to be integrated with the team’s system, as a step toward their broader goal: to make an assembly line that can adaptively assemble everything without humans.

    “The long-term vision here is, how do you take any object in the world and be able to either put that together from the parts, using automation and robotics?,” says Willis. “Inversely, how do we take any object in the world that’s made up of many different types of materials and pull it apart so that we can recycle and get them into the correct waste streams? The step we’re taking is looking at how we can use some advanced simulation to be able to begin to pull apart those parts, and eventually get to the point where we can test that in the real world.” 

    “Assembly is a longstanding challenge in the robotics, manufacturing, and graphics communities,” says Yashraj Narang, senior robotics research scientist at NVIDIA. “This work is an important step forward in simulating mechanical assemblies and solving assembly planning problems. It proposes a method that is a clever combination of solving the computationally-simpler disassembly problem, using force-based actions in a custom simulator for contact-rich physics, and using a progressively-deepening search algorithm. Impressively, the method can discover an assembly plan for a 50-part engine in a few minutes. In the future, it will be exciting to see other researchers and engineers build upon this excellent work, perhaps allowing robots to perform the assembly operations in simulation and then transferring those behaviors to real-world industrial settings.”

    MIT professor and CSAIL principal investigator Wojciech Matusik is a senior author on the paper, with PhD students Yunsheng Tian, Jie Xu (now a research scientist at NVIDIA) and Yichen Li also noted as CSAIL authors. Research scientists from Autodesk Research Jieliang Luo, Hui Li, Karl D.D. Willis, and assistant professor of computer science at Texas A&M University Shinjiro Sueda also worked on the paper. The team will present their findings at SIGGRAPH Asia 2022, with the paper also being published in ACM Transactions on Graphics.

    Their research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    4

    The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is a research institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) formed by the 2003 merger of the Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) and the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (AI Lab). Housed within the Ray and Maria Stata Center, CSAIL is the largest on-campus laboratory as measured by research scope and membership. It is part of the Schwarzman College of Computing but is also overseen by the MIT Vice President of Research.

    Research activities

    CSAIL’s research activities are organized around a number of semi-autonomous research groups, each of which is headed by one or more professors or research scientists. These groups are divided up into seven general areas of research:

    Artificial intelligence
    Computational biology
    Graphics and vision
    Language and learning
    Theory of computation
    Robotics
    Systems (includes computer architecture, databases, distributed systems, networks and networked systems, operating systems, programming methodology, and software engineering among others)

    In addition, CSAIL hosts the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory , the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center (US), and the Haystack Observatory, as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard(US) and Whitehead Institute (US).

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia , wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after Massachusetts Institute of Technology was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst ). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, Massachusetts Institute of Technology became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected Massachusetts Institute of Technology profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, Massachusetts Institute of Technology no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. Massachusetts Institute of Technology ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However six Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology , and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation .

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also an Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of Massachusetts Institute of Technology is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:07 pm on December 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Students design robot to collect microplastics from beaches", , A land-based prototype to remove microplastics from the sand on beaches., A submersible robot that will remove microplastics from sea water., , , Designing and building an autonomous robot., , , , Robotics, There are 50 trillion pieces of microplastics embedded in our sand; our marine life; our oceans and even in our drinking water.   

    From “The Chronicle” At Cornell University: “Students design robot to collect microplastics from beaches” 

    From “The Chronicle”

    At

    Cornell University

    12.6.22
    Linda Copman
    cunews@cornell.edu

    When Angela Loh ’23 was 10 years old, she and her family moved to Shanghai from Michigan. She was immediately struck by how much more pollution she saw in Shanghai.

    “When I stepped outside my home, the skies were grey and I could smell the stench of PM2.5 particles hanging in the air. I would walk on certain local streets and see litter everywhere,” she says. She noticed that most residents seemed complacent. “Nobody seemed to care.”

    But Loh did care, deeply, about environmental sustainability.

    As a freshman, Loh and Alan Hsiao ’21 founded Cornell Nexus, a group of students from diverse colleges and majors who are designing and building an autonomous robot that will remove microplastics from the sand on beaches. The team hopes to have a working land-based prototype built by spring 2023, when they will turn their attention to creating a submersible robot that will remove microplastics from sea water.

    “We are a team of individuals who want to step outside the boundaries of university competitions to make a difference on our planet,” Loh says.

    2
    Angela Loh ’23 wires a component of the autonomous robot prototype. Provided.

    Microplastics, tiny bits of plastic the size of a sesame seed or smaller, are proliferating and pose a significant risk to ecosystems and to human and animal health. “There are 50 trillion pieces of microplastics embedded in our sand, our marine life, our oceans and even in our drinking water,” Loh says. A recent survey of the sea floor in the Mediterranean west of Italy found 1.9 million microplastics in one square meter. “This is just one layer of sand in a single square meter of the Mediterranean,” she says. “Imagine how much microplastic has accumulated in all of our bodies, our water and our land.”

    Beach cleaning operations focus on removing the waste we can see, such as plastic water bottles and trash, often using gas-powered tractors that bury microplastics beneath the top layer of sand. In contrast, the Cornell Nexus robot will use renewable solar energy to collect and remove microplastic waste. “We believe that Nexus’ focus on autonomy and microplastics will revolutionize the technology for waste removal from beaches and bodies of water,” Loh says.
    ===
    Planting the seed

    Loh recalls making hand-drawn posters promoting recycling and distributing them to her neighbors when she was in elementary school. Moving to Shanghai – a city she loves – was a wake-up call. “I realized what big issues plastics, and pollution and waste in general, are on our planet,” she says, “and I really wanted to do something about them.”

    In the summer after graduating from high school, Loh read a biography of Elon Musk and the founding of Tesla. “Reading this allowed me to realize the boundless possibilities there are in the field of engineering,” she says. Loh spent the next few months binge-reading biographies about inventors, entrepreneurs and engineers, from Steve Jobs to Leonardo da Vinci and Nike founder Phil Knight. She realized that engineering would be her springboard for creating change.

    After perusing the College of Engineering website, Loh switched her major from environmental science to electrical and computer engineering and computer science. “Reading about the engineering project teams before I arrived at Cornell planted a seed in my brain that maybe one day it wouldn’t be impossible to start my own,” Loh says.

    Alan Hsiao was a junior and one of the first people Loh met as a freshman at Cornell. “When we first started Nexus, I didn’t know anything – not even basic knowledge about programming or wiring circuit boards – let alone building an entire vehicle that was going to traverse beaches and charge itself,” Loh says. “Alan would spend hours and hours mentoring me and teaching me concepts that I hadn’t even heard of. … Through his kindness, wisdom and compassion, he has definitely left his impact on me, our Nexus team, the Cornell campus and our planet.”

    Unleashing creativity, with help from alumni

    Nexus team members are now building a prototype with a multilayered filtering system to catch a range of different sizes of microplastics. When full, the robot will return to its docking station to offload the collected plastics and recharge.

    “Creating our robot requires knowledge about concepts and implementation mechanisms that are usually taught in graduate-level courses,” Loh says. Team members conduct their own in-depth research and seek out faculty who can guide their work. Joseph Skovira, Ph.D. ’90, senior lecturer in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the group’s faculty adviser, is helping them refine their product.Greg Whelan ’83 of Greywale Advisors and part of the McCarthy’s Venture Mentoring Network has been helping them navigate business outreach and fundraising.

    3
    Alan Hsiao ’21 solders a component of the autonomous robot prototype. Provided.

    To ensure they have funding to purchase specialized hardware and software components, Nexus members have been developing relationships with companies that might sponsor the project once they have a prototype. In spring 2021, Nexus won first prize in the Cornell Engineering Innovation Competition. The Yunni and Maxine Pao Social Innovation Award, funded by Carolyn Wang ’00 and Jeff Pao ’00, allowed them to buy better wheels, a more robust material for the robot’s frame, filtration nets and more accurate sensors.
    ===
    Doing the greatest good

    Nexus is testing and refining their prototype in the 2022-2023 academic year, using a sand bed to test the robot’s moving, digging and filtering mechanisms. Then they will place their robot at several beaches, including some recommended by alumni from the Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration.

    4
    This rendering illustrates what the Cornell Nexus robot will look like when completed. Provided.

    Once the land-based robot is completed, the team hopes to launch their robot into the water, where the vast majority of microplastics are. “Our vision is to expand our technology to address the heart of the microplastics problem, which is underwater,” Loh says. “Very few commercial robots are tackling this issue, on a macro and micro scale.”

    There are multiple design possibilities for a seafaring robot, including a water-based recharging and waste removal station, which could be more efficient than returning the robot to land.

    The Nexus team plans to make their design freely available to the public. “This includes all of our software code, mechanical CAD files, electrical circuit board designs, and so forth,” Loh says. “Our goal is to make an impact and do our part to save our planet.”

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Once called “the first American university” by educational historian Frederick Rudolph, Cornell University represents a distinctive mix of eminent scholarship and democratic ideals. Adding practical subjects to the classics and admitting qualified students regardless of nationality, race, social circumstance, gender, or religion was quite a departure when Cornell was founded in 1865.

    Today’s Cornell reflects this heritage of egalitarian excellence. It is home to the nation’s first colleges devoted to hotel administration, industrial and labor relations, and veterinary medicine. Both a private university and the land-grant institution of New York State, Cornell University is the most educationally diverse member of the Ivy League.

    On the Ithaca campus alone nearly 20,000 students representing every state and 120 countries choose from among 4,000 courses in 11 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. Many undergraduates participate in a wide range of interdisciplinary programs, play meaningful roles in original research, and study in Cornell programs in Washington, New York City, and the world over.

    Cornell University is a private, statutory, Ivy League and land-grant research university in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell’s founding principle, a popular 1868 quotation from founder Ezra Cornell: “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”

    The university is broadly organized into seven undergraduate colleges and seven graduate divisions at its main Ithaca campus, with each college and division defining its specific admission standards and academic programs in near autonomy. The university also administers two satellite medical campuses, one in New York City and one in Education City, Qatar, and Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute in New York City, a graduate program that incorporates technology, business, and creative thinking. The program moved from Google’s Chelsea Building in New York City to its permanent campus on Roosevelt Island in September 2017.

    Cornell is one of the few private land grant universities in the United States. Of its seven undergraduate colleges, three are state-supported statutory or contract colleges through the SUNY – The State University of New York system, including its Agricultural and Human Ecology colleges as well as its Industrial Labor Relations school. Of Cornell’s graduate schools, only the veterinary college is state-supported. As a land grant college, Cornell operates a cooperative extension outreach program in every county of New York and receives annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions. The Cornell University Ithaca Campus comprises 745 acres, but is much larger when the Cornell Botanic Gardens (more than 4,300 acres) and the numerous university-owned lands in New York City are considered.

    Alumni and affiliates of Cornell have reached many notable and influential positions in politics, media, and science. As of January 2021, 61 Nobel laureates, four Turing Award winners and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with Cornell. Cornell counts more than 250,000 living alumni, and its former and present faculty and alumni include 34 Marshall Scholars, 33 Rhodes Scholars, 29 Truman Scholars, 7 Gates Scholars, 55 Olympic Medalists, 10 current Fortune 500 CEOs, and 35 billionaire alumni. Since its founding, Cornell has been a co-educational, non-sectarian institution where admission has not been restricted by religion or race. The student body consists of more than 15,000 undergraduate and 9,000 graduate students from all 50 American states and 119 countries.

    History

    Cornell University was founded on April 27, 1865; the New York State (NYS) Senate authorized the university as the state’s land grant institution. Senator Ezra Cornell offered his farm in Ithaca, New York, as a site and $500,000 of his personal fortune as an initial endowment. Fellow senator and educator Andrew Dickson White agreed to be the first president. During the next three years, White oversaw the construction of the first two buildings and traveled to attract students and faculty. The university was inaugurated on October 7, 1868, and 412 men were enrolled the next day.

    Cornell developed as a technologically innovative institution, applying its research to its own campus and to outreach efforts. For example, in 1883 it was one of the first university campuses to use electricity from a water-powered dynamo to light the grounds. Since 1894, Cornell has included colleges that are state funded and fulfill statutory requirements; it has also administered research and extension activities that have been jointly funded by state and federal matching programs.

    Cornell has had active alumni since its earliest classes. It was one of the first universities to include alumni-elected representatives on its Board of Trustees. Cornell was also among the Ivies that had heightened student activism during the 1960s related to cultural issues; civil rights; and opposition to the Vietnam War, with protests and occupations resulting in the resignation of Cornell’s president and the restructuring of university governance. Today the university has more than 4,000 courses. Cornell is also known for the Residential Club Fire of 1967, a fire in the Residential Club building that killed eight students and one professor.

    Since 2000, Cornell has been expanding its international programs. In 2004, the university opened the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. It has partnerships with institutions in India, Singapore, and the People’s Republic of China. Former president Jeffrey S. Lehman described the university, with its high international profile, a “transnational university”. On March 9, 2004, Cornell and Stanford University laid the cornerstone for a new ‘Bridging the Rift Center’ to be built and jointly operated for education on the Israel–Jordan border.

    Research

    Cornell, a research university, is ranked fourth in the world in producing the largest number of graduates who go on to pursue PhDs in engineering or the natural sciences at American institutions, and fifth in the world in producing graduates who pursue PhDs at American institutions in any field. Research is a central element of the university’s mission; in 2009 Cornell spent $671 million on science and engineering research and development, the 16th highest in the United States. Cornell is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    For the 2016–17 fiscal year, the university spent $984.5 million on research. Federal sources constitute the largest source of research funding, with total federal investment of $438.2 million. The agencies contributing the largest share of that investment are The Department of Health and Human Services and the National Science Foundation, accounting for 49.6% and 24.4% of all federal investment, respectively. Cornell was on the top-ten list of U.S. universities receiving the most patents in 2003, and was one of the nation’s top five institutions in forming start-up companies. In 2004–05, Cornell received 200 invention disclosures; filed 203 U.S. patent applications; completed 77 commercial license agreements; and distributed royalties of more than $4.1 million to Cornell units and inventors.

    Since 1962, Cornell has been involved in unmanned missions to Mars. In the 21st century, Cornell had a hand in the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. Cornell’s Steve Squyres, Principal Investigator for the Athena Science Payload, led the selection of the landing zones and requested data collection features for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. NASA-JPL/Caltech engineers took those requests and designed the rovers to meet them. The rovers, both of which have operated long past their original life expectancies, are responsible for the discoveries that were awarded 2004 Breakthrough of the Year honors by Science. Control of the Mars rovers has shifted between National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s JPL-Caltech and Cornell’s Space Sciences Building.

    Further, Cornell researchers discovered the rings around the planet Uranus, and Cornell built and operated the telescope at Arecibo Observatory located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico until 2011, when they transferred the operations to SRI International, the Universities Space Research Association and the Metropolitan University of Puerto Rico [Universidad Metropolitana de Puerto Rico].

    The Automotive Crash Injury Research Project was begun in 1952. It pioneered the use of crash testing, originally using corpses rather than dummies. The project discovered that improved door locks; energy-absorbing steering wheels; padded dashboards; and seat belts could prevent an extraordinary percentage of injuries.

    In the early 1980s, Cornell deployed the first IBM 3090-400VF and coupled two IBM 3090-600E systems to investigate coarse-grained parallel computing. In 1984, the National Science Foundation began work on establishing five new supercomputer centers, including the Cornell Center for Advanced Computing, to provide high-speed computing resources for research within the United States. As a National Science Foundation center, Cornell deployed the first IBM Scalable Parallel supercomputer.

    In the 1990s, Cornell developed scheduling software and deployed the first supercomputer built by Dell. Most recently, Cornell deployed Red Cloud, one of the first cloud computing services designed specifically for research. Today, the center is a partner on the National Science Foundation XSEDE-Extreme Science Engineering Discovery Environment supercomputing program, providing coordination for XSEDE architecture and design, systems reliability testing, and online training using the Cornell Virtual Workshop learning platform.

    Cornell scientists have researched the fundamental particles of nature for more than 70 years. Cornell physicists, such as Hans Bethe, contributed not only to the foundations of nuclear physics but also participated in the Manhattan Project. In the 1930s, Cornell built the second cyclotron in the United States. In the 1950s, Cornell physicists became the first to study synchrotron radiation.

    During the 1990s, the Cornell Electron Storage Ring, located beneath Alumni Field, was the world’s highest-luminosity electron-positron collider. After building the synchrotron at Cornell, Robert R. Wilson took a leave of absence to become the founding director of DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, which involved designing and building the largest accelerator in the United States.

    Cornell’s accelerator and high-energy physics groups are involved in the design of the proposed ILC-International Linear Collider(JP) and plan to participate in its construction and operation. The International Linear Collider(JP), to be completed in the late 2010s, will complement the CERN Large Hadron Collider(CH) and shed light on questions such as the identity of dark matter and the existence of extra dimensions.

    As part of its research work, Cornell has established several research collaborations with universities around the globe. For example, a partnership with the University of Sussex(UK) (including the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex) allows research and teaching collaboration between the two institutions.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:40 pm on December 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "People and places at Penn Research", Alice Kate Li, Architecture using biomaterials, DumoLab, From Charles Addams Fine Arts Hall to the Schuylkill River four researchers share their science and their spaces., Laia Mogas-Soldevila, , , Poethig Lab, Robotics, Roderick B. Gagne, Scott Poethig, The BioPond,   

    From “Penn Today” At The University of Pennsylvania : “People and places at Penn Research” 

    From “Penn Today”

    at

    U Penn bloc

    The University of Pennsylvania

    12.5.22
    Kristina García – Writer
    Eric Sucar – Photographer

    From Charles Addams Fine Arts Hall to the Schuylkill River four researchers share their science and their spaces.

    1
    Clockwise from top left, Alice Kate Li, Laia Mogas-Soldevila, Erick Gagne, and Scott Poethig introduce their campus research workspaces.

    Laia Mogas-Soldevila is surrounded by possibilities—leather made from plants, ribbons of lattice that can filter air, sand structures that could replace concrete and rebar. She and the research team at DumoLab are experimenting with architecture using biomaterials that are healthy for humans and sustainable for the planet. Mogas-Soldevila is one of four researchers who share their science and their spaces in the fourth installment of People and Places at Penn.

    From robotics on the Schuylkill River to chronic wasting disease in Pennsylvania woodlands to a basement grow chamber near the BioPond, these individuals are searching for new ways to understand wildlife ecology, environmental engineering, sustainable architecture, and plant biology.

    Laia Mogas-Soldevila, DumoLab

    Laia Mogas-Soldevila’s office is a modern-day curiosity cabinet. Seed pods, feathers, cocoons, and barnacles coexist alongside science fiction offerings: a translucent, shell-like substance that curls up and stretches out again without cracking, a pink-and-orange, hexagonal-patterned fabric that feels like high-sheen leather, and a perforated, plastic-looking material with a snakeskin motif. But of course, nothing here is plastic or leather. It’s all biomaterials, reverse-engineered to make everyday objects that will biodegrade after they’ve fulfilled their purpose.

    2
    Laia Mogas-Soldevila in Meyerson Hall’s studio space looks up through “performative beacons,” student projects using lightweight natural materials.

    Mogas-Soldevila is assistant professor of graduate architecture at the Weitzman School of Design and her work explores material design. Using nature as inspiration, Mogas-Soldevila repurposes biomaterials to form everyday objects out of silk, cellulose, sand, and shrimp skins—everything is fair game, as long as it’s biodegradable.

    “Everything that we do is water-based,” Mogas-Soldevila says. “You, any human, is assembled in a water-based environment, in our mother’s womb. All this water-based fabrication already happens in nature, all the time.”

    Her lab has created a water-based gel that feels like plastic when it dries, but will degrade when it gets wet again. The hope is that this material could replace petroleum-based products, Mogas-Soldevila says. “It’s the plastic bag that you can use a couple of days and then the third day, it’s almost cracked.”

    3
    Mogas-Soldevila, a newly appointed professor at the Weitzman School of Design, creates biomaterials for architectural use, merging design with science. “If it was not beautiful, we would not do it,” she says.

    Originally from Spain, Mogas-Soldevila’s first advanced degree was in architecture. But she graduated during a construction crisis, she says. “I had to change gears. What else was out there?”

    Mogas-Soldevila earned an interdisciplinary Ph.D. working within a biomedical engineering lab, integrating biology and design at Tufts University, and two Master of Science degrees in design computation and digital fabrication from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Now at Penn, “my intent is to bring it all back to architecture,” Mogas-Soldevila says. She wants to scale up, making these materials affordable, durable, and accessible. Her DumoLab Research group, housed in Charles Addams Fine Arts Hall, is a room with 3-D printers and Hobart mixers that looks like a mix of an industrial bakery, an art studio, and a technology lab.

    Everything DumoLab makes has to have aesthetic value. “If it was not beautiful, we would not do it,” Mogas-Soldevila says. She’s exploring materials that could replace leather, both in upholstery and in clothing, and alternatives for construction material, like concrete.

    Together with a team of Penn undergraduates, Mogas-Soldevila will spend her summer building a dome structure from their new “concrete,” which has the color and texture of earth, a substance made not only of sand, but also biopolymers from shrimp shells, algae, calcium, and corn, along with natural fibers like flax, bamboo, and burlap. It looks like caramelized sugar and weighs like lead.

    And, like everything else, the concrete substitute is water soluble. “If it comes in, it must go back to Earth without toxicity. And that’s a challenge,” Mogas-Soldevila says. A “decade, multi-decade challenge. That’s why it’s difficult. But it’s going to be very rewarding if we get there.”
    ________________________________________________________________
    Scott Poethig, Poethig Lab

    4
    Scott Poethig in his office overlooking the BioPond.

    Born on the windy shores of Lake Erie in Buffalo, New York, Scott Poethig was quickly whisked away to tropical Manila by his parents, both Presbyterian missionaries. They wanted to immerse their son in Filipino culture and society, enrolling him in a local school. “In our biology class, when we had to dissect a frog, we had to bring the frog,” Poethig says.

    For the last 40 years, Poethig has found a home at Penn as the John H. and Margaret B. Fassitt Professor of plant biology in the School of Arts & Sciences. He studies the transition between juvenile and adult development—everything from birth to puberty.

    “Almost every aspect of the plant changes during the juvenile-to-adult transition,” Poethig says. “But, for many years, the vast majority of plant biologists didn’t know that [this transition] exists and certainly didn’t believe it was important.”

    5
    Poethig in one grow chamber filled with Arabidopsis thaliana (left) and in his laboratory (right).

    As it turns out, this transition controls many other processes, Poethig says. Photosynthetic efficiency differs, disease resistance varies, and almost every aspect of the shape of a plant—from its branching pattern to leaf shape—is differentially expressed in a juvenile plant, compared to its mature state.

    Poethig discovered which gene controls maturation—a piece of small RNA called miR156. A large presence of miR156 suppresses the adult genes during the juvenile phase. When miR156 decreases, plants transition to the adult stage. Environmental impacts affect this as well, he says. Shade, for instance, delays the process.

    Since 2006, Poethig has conducted his research at the Carolyn Lynch Laboratory, where ceiling-height glass windows look out onto Kaskey Park and the BioPond, framing a panoply of native species and their horticultural guests. In the fall, asters and toad lilies bloom in the understory. Tulip popular leaves yellow and fall, wafting down to rest on the understory.

    Here, Poethig, three post-doctoral students, and one undergraduate conduct experiments on Arabidopsis thaliana, an inconspicuous, weedy-looking plant that, upon maturation, shoots up a flowering, foot-long stalk from a cluster of serrated leaves—and promptly dies.

    With A. thaliana, the team is currently studying what Poethig calls “the master regulator of the final switch—reproduction.”

    Every organism, both plants and animals, go through two major changes: somatic, or body change, and reproductive maturation, he says. “One of the big questions is, what is the relationship between vegetative phase change—the type of leaves the plant makes—and reproductive competence?”

    People assume that physical maturation and reproductive competence are part of the same process, Poethig says, meaning that a plant will flower when it looks like an adult. “That’s what’s been assumed in plants for over 100 years,” he says. At Lynch Laboratory, results from the A. thaliana experiments show that these two processes are independently regulated. While miR156 controls many aspects of plant development, it does not inhibit reproduction.
    ________________________________________________________________
    Alice Kate Li, Underwater Weather

    6
    Alice Kate Li (center) and her six member team work on deploying the autonomous surface vehicle (ASV) with an on-board sensor suite, designed and tested with Yue Mao, Sixuan Liu, Sandeep Manjanna, Jasleen Dhanoa, Bharg Mehta, and Torrie Edwards, using a pulley system.

    On an early morning in late October, Alice Kate Li and five teammates bundle up in hats and coats and head down to the river to deploy a 45-pound robot. The project, called Underwater Weather, uses an autonomous surface vehicle kitted out with flame-red kayak pontoons to collect data on river sediment and flow dynamics, along with riverbed structure, tidal cycles, and storm flooding.

    While it may look static, the Schuylkill River is tidally influenced, with about a five-foot difference between high-tide and low-tide, says Li, a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences who works on Underwater Weather. The project is part of the ScalAR Lab at the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing & Perception (GRASP) Lab, housed in the Pennovation Center.

    Information the Underwater Weather team gathers could allow them to predict the impact of floods on urban infrastructure (like bridges and piers), the river ecosystem, and drinking water quality. “With all this data that we’re collecting, we should be able to model the dynamics—but also then extrapolate to make predictions on environmental changes, while climate change causes more frequent tornadoes and hurricanes, and therefore floods,” Li says.

    7
    (Left) Ph.D. candidate Victoria Edwards in a kayak, who follows the ASV during deployments, receives tools from Jeremy Wang, a design and mechatronics engineer for the GRASP Lab. (Right) Li sets up the monitoring system.

    True to the GRASP Lab’s collaborative nature, the Underwater Weather team is working with Douglas Jerolmack and Hugo Ulloa in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, who will use the amalgamated data to better understand river dynamics. “I really want my work to be impactful,” Li says. “I would love to take this data and, in the future, find out it is valuable for understanding the potential impacts of climate change.”

    Originally from the south of England, Li spent her high school years in Hong Kong before moving to California for college. She spent two years at a community college before heading to the University of California, Irvine to study mechanical engineering. Now in her third year of the electrical and systems engineering doctoral program at Penn, Li is working on active sensing—creating robots that can make autonomous decisions in real time while they’re out in the field.

    The GRASP Lab is a great place to do this work, she says. “I think a lot of it is the people, the environment as well—it’s highly collaborative and welcoming.”

    The Lab’s large open space facilitates conversation, Li says. Everyone is “happy to discuss ideas that probably have nothing to do with their research,” she says, which makes students feel connected to others and their work.

    Doctoral work can be lonely, Li says. “You can feel like, ‘Oh, what did I get myself into?’ But this kind of environment allows for people to stay sane, to stay motivated and inspired.”
    ________________________________________________________________
    Roderick B. Gagne, Wildlife Futures Program

    8
    Roderick “Erick” B. Gagne on the New Bolton Center campus in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. (Image: Hannah Kleckner Hall)

    It’s autumn at the School of Veterinary Medicine’s New Bolton Center in Kennett Square and the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania transmuted into a tapestry of green and gold, if only for a few weeks. Placid cows dot the hills, hemmed in by white fences. A murmuration of starlings undulates in the sky.

    Tucked off a gravel road on is the Wildlife Futures Program, which operates out of a stone farmhouse from 1792 and works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Game Commission on disease surveillance, management, and research in wildlife populations across the state.

    The program works on a variety of diseases, including chronic wasting disease (CWD), a fatal neurological illness that affects a variety of members of the deer family and is transmitted by animal-to-animal contact, including through saliva, feces, and carcasses. The illness is caused by misfolded proteins, called prions. There is currently no vaccine, no treatment, and no cure. Once CWD is established, it can spread within area herds.

    The Wildlife Futures team uses the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect protease-resistant proteins—a trait characteristic of prions—in CWD, says Roderick “Erick” B. Gagne, assistant professor of wildlife disease ecology. If positive, they administer an immunohistochemistry (IHC) screening, where a pathologist looks at a trimmed and stained piece of tissue under a microscope to look for look for evidence of binding with a prion-specific antibody. “That’s the gold standard,” Gagne says

    9
    Gagne works at his desk (left) and monitors test results (right). (Images: Hannah Kleckner Hall)

    The team is also experimenting with the real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-Quic) test, which is more sensitive than ELISA, Gagne says—similar to a real-time COVID PCR test.

    “The potential is for early detection of CWD,” he says. “We’re looking at where the prion is in animals in the wild, and then trying to address, or start to think about, how it’s getting there.”

    Pennsylvania’s deer hunting season is their busiest time of year. The 27-member team spends months gearing up, hiring additional staff and buying lab equipment and supplies. By the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, it’s all hands on deck, says Gagne. The program processes thousands of samples per week, he says, each from separately tagged white-tailed deer.

    To do so, the Wildlife Futures Program works collaboratively with management agencies, developing research questions together and applying novel approaches to find solutions. “Disease is becoming increasingly recognized as something that wildlife management agencies need to deal with,” Gagne says. “I envision this academic and state agency partnership only increasing. It’s a really good roadmap to actively solve urgent and immediate issues.”

    Gagne is a new hire, not quite two years into his position, which he accepted just before the birth of his first child. With a full beard and a quiet demeanor, Gagne is here to put down roots, to help mold the program’s future. It has “a real, tangible feeling—like your work is making a difference,” he says. “It’s kind of exciting to see just how quickly it can take shape. And then having that happening at a university like Penn just really leverages the potential of what we can do.”

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Penn campus

    Academic life at University of Pennsylvania is unparalleled, with 100 countries and every U.S. state represented in one of the Ivy League’s most diverse student bodies. Consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in the country, Penn enrolls 10,000 undergraduate students and welcomes an additional 10,000 students to our world-renowned graduate and professional schools.

    Penn’s award-winning educators and scholars encourage students to pursue inquiry and discovery, follow their passions, and address the world’s most challenging problems through an interdisciplinary approach.

    The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The university claims a founding date of 1740 and is one of the nine colonial colleges chartered prior to the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, Penn’s founder and first president, advocated an educational program that trained leaders in commerce, government, and public service, similar to a modern liberal arts curriculum.

    Penn has four undergraduate schools as well as twelve graduate and professional schools. Schools enrolling undergraduates include the College of Arts and Sciences; the School of Engineering and Applied Science; the Wharton School; and the School of Nursing. Penn’s “One University Policy” allows students to enroll in classes in any of Penn’s twelve schools. Among its highly ranked graduate and professional schools are a law school whose first professor wrote the first draft of the United States Constitution, the first school of medicine in North America (Perelman School of Medicine, 1765), and the first collegiate business school (Wharton School, 1881).

    Penn is also home to the first “student union” building and organization (Houston Hall, 1896), the first Catholic student club in North America (Newman Center, 1893), the first double-decker college football stadium (Franklin Field, 1924 when second deck was constructed), and Morris Arboretum, the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The first general-purpose electronic computer (ENIAC) was developed at Penn and formally dedicated in 1946. In 2019, the university had an endowment of $14.65 billion, the sixth-largest endowment of all universities in the United States, as well as a research budget of $1.02 billion. The university’s athletics program, the Quakers, fields varsity teams in 33 sports as a member of the NCAA Division I Ivy League conference.

    As of 2018, distinguished alumni and/or Trustees include three U.S. Supreme Court justices; 32 U.S. senators; 46 U.S. governors; 163 members of the U.S. House of Representatives; eight signers of the Declaration of Independence and seven signers of the U.S. Constitution (four of whom signed both representing two-thirds of the six people who signed both); 24 members of the Continental Congress; 14 foreign heads of state and two presidents of the United States, including Donald Trump. As of October 2019, 36 Nobel laureates; 80 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; 64 billionaires; 29 Rhodes Scholars; 15 Marshall Scholars and 16 Pulitzer Prize winners have been affiliated with the university.

    History

    The University of Pennsylvania considers itself the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, though this is contested by Princeton University and Columbia University. The university also considers itself as the first university in the United States with both undergraduate and graduate studies.

    In 1740, a group of Philadelphians joined together to erect a great preaching hall for the traveling evangelist George Whitefield, who toured the American colonies delivering open-air sermons. The building was designed and built by Edmund Woolley and was the largest building in the city at the time, drawing thousands of people the first time it was preached in. It was initially planned to serve as a charity school as well, but a lack of funds forced plans for the chapel and school to be suspended. According to Franklin’s autobiography, it was in 1743 when he first had the idea to establish an academy, “thinking the Rev. Richard Peters a fit person to superintend such an institution”. However, Peters declined a casual inquiry from Franklin and nothing further was done for another six years. In the fall of 1749, now more eager to create a school to educate future generations, Benjamin Franklin circulated a pamphlet titled Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania, his vision for what he called a “Public Academy of Philadelphia”. Unlike the other colonial colleges that existed in 1749—Harvard University, William & Mary, Yale Unversity, and The College of New Jersey—Franklin’s new school would not focus merely on education for the clergy. He advocated an innovative concept of higher education, one which would teach both the ornamental knowledge of the arts and the practical skills necessary for making a living and doing public service. The proposed program of study could have become the nation’s first modern liberal arts curriculum, although it was never implemented because Anglican priest William Smith (1727-1803), who became the first provost, and other trustees strongly preferred the traditional curriculum.

    Franklin assembled a board of trustees from among the leading citizens of Philadelphia, the first such non-sectarian board in America. At the first meeting of the 24 members of the board of trustees on November 13, 1749, the issue of where to locate the school was a prime concern. Although a lot across Sixth Street from the old Pennsylvania State House (later renamed and famously known since 1776 as “Independence Hall”), was offered without cost by James Logan, its owner, the trustees realized that the building erected in 1740, which was still vacant, would be an even better site. The original sponsors of the dormant building still owed considerable construction debts and asked Franklin’s group to assume their debts and, accordingly, their inactive trusts. On February 1, 1750, the new board took over the building and trusts of the old board. On August 13, 1751, the “Academy of Philadelphia”, using the great hall at 4th and Arch Streets, took in its first secondary students. A charity school also was chartered on July 13, 1753 by the intentions of the original “New Building” donors, although it lasted only a few years. On June 16, 1755, the “College of Philadelphia” was chartered, paving the way for the addition of undergraduate instruction. All three schools shared the same board of trustees and were considered to be part of the same institution. The first commencement exercises were held on May 17, 1757.

    The institution of higher learning was known as the College of Philadelphia from 1755 to 1779. In 1779, not trusting then-provost the Reverend William Smith’s “Loyalist” tendencies, the revolutionary State Legislature created a University of the State of Pennsylvania. The result was a schism, with Smith continuing to operate an attenuated version of the College of Philadelphia. In 1791, the legislature issued a new charter, merging the two institutions into a new University of Pennsylvania with twelve men from each institution on the new board of trustees.

    Penn has three claims to being the first university in the United States, according to university archives director Mark Frazier Lloyd: the 1765 founding of the first medical school in America made Penn the first institution to offer both “undergraduate” and professional education; the 1779 charter made it the first American institution of higher learning to take the name of “University”; and existing colleges were established as seminaries (although, as detailed earlier, Penn adopted a traditional seminary curriculum as well).

    After being located in downtown Philadelphia for more than a century, the campus was moved across the Schuylkill River to property purchased from the Blockley Almshouse in West Philadelphia in 1872, where it has since remained in an area now known as University City. Although Penn began operating as an academy or secondary school in 1751 and obtained its collegiate charter in 1755, it initially designated 1750 as its founding date; this is the year that appears on the first iteration of the university seal. Sometime later in its early history, Penn began to consider 1749 as its founding date and this year was referenced for over a century, including at the centennial celebration in 1849. In 1899, the board of trustees voted to adjust the founding date earlier again, this time to 1740, the date of “the creation of the earliest of the many educational trusts the University has taken upon itself”. The board of trustees voted in response to a three-year campaign by Penn’s General Alumni Society to retroactively revise the university’s founding date to appear older than Princeton University, which had been chartered in 1746.

    Research, innovations and discoveries

    Penn is classified as an “R1” doctoral university: “Highest research activity.” Its economic impact on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 2015 amounted to $14.3 billion. Penn’s research expenditures in the 2018 fiscal year were $1.442 billion, the fourth largest in the U.S. In fiscal year 2019 Penn received $582.3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health.

    In line with its well-known interdisciplinary tradition, Penn’s research centers often span two or more disciplines. In the 2010–2011 academic year alone, five interdisciplinary research centers were created or substantially expanded; these include the Center for Health-care Financing; the Center for Global Women’s Health at the Nursing School; the $13 million Morris Arboretum’s Horticulture Center; the $15 million Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at Wharton; and the $13 million Translational Research Center at Penn Medicine. With these additions, Penn now counts 165 research centers hosting a research community of over 4,300 faculty and over 1,100 postdoctoral fellows, 5,500 academic support staff and graduate student trainees. To further assist the advancement of interdisciplinary research President Amy Gutmann established the “Penn Integrates Knowledge” title awarded to selected Penn professors “whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge”. These professors hold endowed professorships and joint appointments between Penn’s schools.

    Penn is also among the most prolific producers of doctoral students. With 487 PhDs awarded in 2009, Penn ranks third in the Ivy League, only behind Columbia University and Cornell University (Harvard University did not report data). It also has one of the highest numbers of post-doctoral appointees (933 in number for 2004–2007), ranking third in the Ivy League (behind Harvard and Yale University) and tenth nationally.

    In most disciplines Penn professors’ productivity is among the highest in the nation and first in the fields of epidemiology, business, communication studies, comparative literature, languages, information science, criminal justice and criminology, social sciences and sociology. According to the National Research Council nearly three-quarters of Penn’s 41 assessed programs were placed in ranges including the top 10 rankings in their fields, with more than half of these in ranges including the top five rankings in these fields.

    Penn’s research tradition has historically been complemented by innovations that shaped higher education. In addition to establishing the first medical school; the first university teaching hospital; the first business school; and the first student union Penn was also the cradle of other significant developments. In 1852, Penn Law was the first law school in the nation to publish a law journal still in existence (then called The American Law Register, now the Penn Law Review, one of the most cited law journals in the world). Under the deanship of William Draper Lewis, the law school was also one of the first schools to emphasize legal teaching by full-time professors instead of practitioners, a system that is still followed today. The Wharton School was home to several pioneering developments in business education. It established the first research center in a business school in 1921 and the first center for entrepreneurship center in 1973 and it regularly introduced novel curricula for which BusinessWeek wrote, “Wharton is on the crest of a wave of reinvention and change in management education”.

    Several major scientific discoveries have also taken place at Penn. The university is probably best known as the place where the first general-purpose electronic computer (ENIAC) was born in 1946 at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering.

    ENIAC UPenn

    It was here also where the world’s first spelling and grammar checkers were created, as well as the popular COBOL programming language. Penn can also boast some of the most important discoveries in the field of medicine. The dialysis machine used as an artificial replacement for lost kidney function was conceived and devised out of a pressure cooker by William Inouye while he was still a student at Penn Med; the Rubella and Hepatitis B vaccines were developed at Penn; the discovery of cancer’s link with genes; cognitive therapy; Retin-A (the cream used to treat acne), Resistin; the Philadelphia gene (linked to chronic myelogenous leukemia) and the technology behind PET Scans were all discovered by Penn Med researchers. More recent gene research has led to the discovery of the genes for fragile X syndrome, the most common form of inherited mental retardation; spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, a disorder marked by progressive muscle wasting; and Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the hands, feet and limbs.

    Conductive polymer was also developed at Penn by Alan J. Heeger, Alan MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa, an invention that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. On faculty since 1965, Ralph L. Brinster developed the scientific basis for in vitro fertilization and the transgenic mouse at Penn and was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2010. The theory of superconductivity was also partly developed at Penn, by then-faculty member John Robert Schrieffer (along with John Bardeen and Leon Cooper). The university has also contributed major advancements in the fields of economics and management. Among the many discoveries are conjoint analysis, widely used as a predictive tool especially in market research; Simon Kuznets’s method of measuring Gross National Product; the Penn effect (the observation that consumer price levels in richer countries are systematically higher than in poorer ones) and the “Wharton Model” developed by Nobel-laureate Lawrence Klein to measure and forecast economic activity. The idea behind Health Maintenance Organizations also belonged to Penn professor Robert Eilers, who put it into practice during then-President Nixon’s health reform in the 1970s.

    International partnerships

    Students can study abroad for a semester or a year at partner institutions such as the London School of Economics(UK), University of Barcelona [Universitat de Barcelona](ES), Paris Institute of Political Studies [Institut d’études politiques de Paris](FR), University of Queensland(AU), University College London(UK), King’s College London(UK), Hebrew University of Jerusalem(IL) and University of Warwick(UK).

     
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