Tag Archive | Technology

Women in Science & Technology: Critical for Innovation

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Since 2001, the National Science Foundation has invested more than $130 million to support ADVANCE projects at nearly 100 institutions of higher education and STEM-related, not-for-profit organizations across the U.S. CONNECT@RIT (Creating Opportunity Networks for Engagement and Collective Transformation) focuses on improving conditions for female STEM faculty, with a unique emphasis on women who are deaf and hard-of-hearing at the university. RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) will address issues of recruitment, retention and advancement of female faculty through reassessment of some of its academic and human resource policies, expanding a newly established faculty mentoring program and increasing professional development and leadership opportunities.

Part of the NSF research included looking inward at RIT where a climate survey and examination of HR data trends led to the identification of barriers for women faculty. These ranged from the recruitment and advancement of women faculty to balancing work and life. RIT had only 23 percent of its female tenured and tenure track faculty in STEM disciplines, below the 30 percent average represented in U.S. colleges and universities, even though the number of female faculty had tripled at RIT over a 15-year period. Further data revealed gender-based, average salary gaps existed at each faculty rank, and that women left the faculty ranks at a rate nearly twice that of their male colleagues. These findings mirrored national trends for women in STEM careers in academia and in industry.

Among the Connect@RIT project goals includes attracting 30 percent female applicants for RIT STEM faculty positions, at least 75 percent of STEM departments achieving a critical mass of female faculty, retention rates for female faculty that closely mirror those of male faculty, and an increase in the percentage of women in academic leadership positions to a level which maps to their overall representation at RIT. The finish line for the project is five years out and the researchers have plenty of work ahead. But we are confident they will have a similar finish to last year’s race team.

In summary, a diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial for attracting and retaining top talent. This is especially true for colleges and universities, like RIT, that specialize in innovation. RIT has historically been a leader in developing new technologies, systems and approaches. RIT faculty and research teams often partner with business and industry leaders on research and development initiatives. In order to effectively continue in this capacity – to cultivate the best and brightest minds and to be an innovation resource for industry – everybody must proactively encourage diversity.

Diversity isn’t an altruistic aspiration; it’s a competitive demand.

Vietnam: Banks to embrace IT innovation

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IT was becoming more and more important to the financial security and operational efficiency of banking services, State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) Governor Nguyen Van Binh said at a banking technology conference in Hanoi, mid May 2013.

Many areas including payments, lending, e-banking and risk management had been equipped with new and more diversified technology, he said, adding that some services were now completely automated.

Speeding up IT application and upgrading banks’ IT infrastructure were necessary to catch up with the trend, he stressed.

According to the SBV, many weaknesses in risk and banking management were exposed last year. The banking system is currently grappling with one of the region’s highest bad debt ratios, at 8.82 per cent of total loans.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Minh Hoang singled out cloud computing, mobile computing and social media as major trends that had completely transformed the way banks operate and interact with customers.

“A focus on improving bank governance and risk management practices and pushing the restructuring of under-performing banks will be the main theme for 2013,” he said.

In order to develop banking technology, the country should boost international co-operation and enhancing human resources and management, said SBV’s Banking Strategy Institute director Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh.

World Bank economist Noritaka Akamatsu said that improving insolvency and restructuring State-owned enterprises should be the main goals for the banking sector’s development.

The International Data Group, the co-organiser of the event together with the SBV, said that e-banking and mobile banking were showing great potential.

How will we be able to touch virtual surface in the future?

Why you should listen to her

Could technology be more touchy feely? Mechanical engineer Katherine J. Kuchenbecker answers this question with a resounding ‘yes’. Katherine researches the design, control and performance of robotic systems that enable a user to touch virtual objects and distant environments as though they were real and within reach. These interfaces combine electromechanical sensors, actuators and computer control, allowing for technology that can fool the human sense of touch, otherwise known as ‘haptics.’

Imagine a tablet computer that lets you feel fabrics and textures, robotic surgical tools that let doctors use their incredibly well-honed sense of touch, video games that allow you to feel hits and computer programs that teach you the movements of a sport. By researching these areas — as well as applications in stroke rehabilitation and assistance for the blind — Katherine seeks to improve our understanding of touch and uncover new opportunities to use it in interactions between humans, computers and machines.

She graduated from Stanford University. She started as assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2010, Katherine has been named to the Popular Science Brilliant 10. She is also an avid photographer, and played volleyball at Stanford for two seasons.

The future of touch screens in USA

As we are used to communicate by screens and keyboards a lot of the perception of the world misses the real touch. No matter that the surface of smartphones‘ touchscreen always feels the same. No matter if we look at dog, a mountain, a tree, a baby, a cake, the usual playing cats or a volcano. All we can feel with our hands is a touchscreen.

Without the representation of the haptic experience, a lot of perceptions cannot be appreciated. Have a look at this inspiring TED talk by Katherine J. Kuchenbecker about the technology of touch to see how innovative technology can leverage the sensations the world produces on our skin and how our bodies orient on them.

Learn about the field of haptics, and how it could change everything from the way we shop online to how dentists learn the telltale feel of a cavity. Maybe these ideas will be the basis for touchscreen that really let us touch the world.

Virtual reality you can touch in Europe

Researchers at the Computer Vision Lab at ETH Zurich have also developed a method with which they can produce virtual copies of real objects. The copies can be touched and even sent via the Internet. By incorporating the sense of touch, the user can delve deeper into virtual reality.

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GM Explores WOO: Windows of Opportunity

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The Windows of Opportunity (WOO) Project was inspired by psychological studies indicating car passengers often feel disconnected from their environment, GM asked the Bezalel students to turn car windows into interactive displays capable of stimulating awareness, nurturing curiosity and encouraging a stronger connection with the world outside the vehicle.

“Traditionally, the use of interactive displays in cars has been limited to the driver and front passenger, but we see an opportunity to provide a technology interface designed specifically for rear seat passengers,” said Tom Seder, GM R&D lab group manager for human-machine interface. “Advanced windows that are capable of responding to vehicle speed and location could augment real world views with interactive enhancements to provide entertainment and educational value.”

Since GM has no immediate plans to put interactive display windows into production vehicles, the R&D team gave free reign to the Bezalel students to create applications without concern whether they could be mass produced. Bezalel is Israel’s oldest institute of higher education and one of the more prestigious schools of its kind in the world.

What is the State of IT Innovation?

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How are organizations budgeting for innovation? What’s holding innovation back? What technologies are considered innovative? Who benefits from innovation? And how do you spark innovation?

Facts:

  • 50% of companies are investing more on Innovation.
  • But 24% of compagnies don’t measure innovative investment.

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  • For 39% of companies, they have more satisfied customers with Innovations
  • For 28% of companies, Innovation gives them advantage over competition

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3D printing research showcased on top industry innovation list

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3D printing has the potential to revolutionize manufacturing processes in a vast number of fields and that includes objects both big and very, very small. The US-based Society of Manufacturing Engineers has highlighted KTH research into 3D printing of nanoscale silicon structures as one of 10 top manufacturing innovations for 2013.

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) connects researchers with industry experts and other resources worldwide, working to spread manufacturing knowledge among its 24 000 members, representing 21 000 companies worldwide, and the broader manufacturing community in fields from aerospace to energy to medicine.

Every year SME honors 10 new and emerging technologies that have the potential to make an impact on manufacturing processes. The 2013 list includes KTH research into 3D printing of silicon nanostructures used to manufacture photonic and silicon micro-sensor products in low volumes at an affordable cost.

Today, producing silicon-based sensors at a micro- or nanoscale requires a full-scale clean-room laboratory, which can cost several million euros. These labs are also rarely suitable for small-scale manufacturing, as the production technology is usually optimised for large production volumes running into hundreds of millions of devices.

The technology developed at KTH consists of an additive layer-by-layer process for defining 3D patterns in silicon, using a focused ion beam, followed by silicon deposition. The layered 3D silicon structures are defined by repeating these two steps over and over, with a final etching step in which the excess silicon material is dissolved away. In the team’s vision of the future, the structure would first be designed in a 3D drawing programme then sent to a 3D printer that recreates the structure in silicon, layer by layer from the bottom up.

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