Tag Archive | United States

Nigerian scientist wins MIT’s World Top Young Innovators Award

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Yemi Adesokan, 35- year based Nigerian born researcher, has put his country’s name on the map of nations of innovation.

Adesokan’s discovery which has potential to change the way mankind responds to disease pathogens, according to experts, may bring an end the era of increased burden of drug resistance in the world particularly, in sub Saharan Africa.

When he moved to United States in 1996, little did the young innovator have realise that he was going to rub shoulders with some of the greatest names in scientific technology.

But today, Adesokan who has been listed by Technology Review, an independent media company owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (MIT) USA. as one of the TR35 Award of the 2011 World top innovators. Past recipients have included Sergey Brin (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and Konstantin Novoselev (later a Nobel Laureate in Physics).

Adesokan is being so specially honoured for his work in the application of next generation sequencing to clinical diagnostics. Adesokan, who is also the founder of Pathogenica Inc., was selected as a member of the TR35 class of 2011 by a panel of expert judges and the editorial staff of Technology Review, who evaluated more than 300 nominations.

This work is being carried out by a biotechnology startup that I founded with Prof George Church of Harvard Medical School DNA technology. The Pathogenica’s test kits are able to identify the presence, allowing for physicians to screen for multiple diseases with accurate results and a rapid turnaround.

Sequencing technologies have improved a million – fold in the past seven years, bringing scientists a wealth of individual genomics and the key now is to employ the data to improve clinical practice. The DNA sequence of each individual or organism is unique, and is the most detailed signature for identification.

This year marks one decade since the completion of the Human Genome Project, a three billion-dollar effort to sequence a human genome.

A major issue in Nigeria today, is that some sterilised water may contain harmful pathogens. The technology is useful in screening a range of pathogens in water, livestock (poultry, etc.), and in food manufacturing. The key point for this technology is its high multiple. As it scales up, we actually see a reduction in price.

With the innovation, the cost of DNA sequencing has dropped more than 40,000_fold since that time to just $5,000 today. The price continues to drop. We are applying this fast, inexpensive technology in a unique way to improve routine clinical diagnostics.

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.

Facebook: How Often U.S. Government Comes Calling for Data

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Facebook revealed more detail on how frequently it gets information requests from government agencies in a public statement late Friday.

In a post on the company’s press site, Facebook General Counsel Ted Ullyot said it received between 9,000-10,000 requests over the six-month period ending on Dec. 31, 2012. That adds up to roughly 1,500 requests per month. . Ullyot said the nature of the requests from “government entities” is quite varied, including things like a local sheriff trying to locate a missing child to national security agencies investigating terrorist activity.

Ullyot said Facebook was only permitted to disclose the number of requests after negotiations with “U.S. national security authorities,” where Facebook urged for more transparency around the orders the company is required to comply with. Going forward, Facebook will now include the number of national-security requests (including FISA-related ones) in a transparency report, and is the first company to be allowed to do so, Ullyot wrote.

Although he said the change was “progress,” Ullyot said Facebook will continue to push for more transparency.

With the disclosure, Ullyot said he hopes it will give people a better idea of just how much of Facebook’s user base is affected by government requests. Those 9,000-10,000 requested data on between 18,000-19,000 Facebook accounts, or 0.002% of Facebook users.

Ullyot reiterated some of what Mark Zuckerberg said in his denials about government accessing Facebook data over the past couple of weeks: that Facebook scrutinizes every government request for user data, and that it rejects them “frequently.”

Facebook and other major tech companies have recently been under intense scrutiny after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden made claims that the government was obtaining large amounts of user data from wireless carriers and Internet services in a program called PRISM, and keeping it secret from the public.

BYD: Electric Bus for U.S.

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For being the first to bring electric to public transportation. The ever-innovative Chinese automobile company created the world’s first purely electric bus.

BYD’s e-BUS 12 releases zero emissions, can go for more than 150 miles on a single charge, and uses solar panels located on the roof to convert solar energy into electricity. The buses have been tested in China, Southeast Asia, and Europe; Hertz car rentals will use the buses to transport passengers at LAX.

BYD Electric Bus for U.S. consumer market

Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD has its eye on the U.S. consumer market, even though it’s focused on fleets for the time being. “We want to sell cars to consumers in the U.S. in the next several years,” BYD senior vice president Stella Li told reporters yesterday. BYD could localize production of passenger cars here in about 10 years, she said.

Li was in Lancaster, a desert city about 70 miles north of Los Angeles, where BYD just opened a production plant. The plant will initially produce electric buses, starting in October. BYD aims to turn out 50 units in the first year. The plant will have an annual capacity of 1,000 units, said Li.

“The is the first time a Chinese bus company is opening a manufacturing plant in the U.S. and the first North and South America plant for BYD,” Li told a gathering that included officials from Lancaster, Los Angeles County, the state of California, and several municipal transit companies.

BYD already has a contract with the Long Beach Transit for 10 ebuses, which will be in service in the first half of 2014, Long Beach Transit spokesman Kevin Lee told PluginCars.com. Stanford University has also placed on order for three ebuses, said BYD fleet sales manager Joel Reikes.

Made in U.S.A., By a Chinese Company

BYD has plants that assemble buses from imported parts—known as knock-down assembly—in numerous other countries, including Egypt and Bulgaria. Though some of the parts for the plant in Lancaster will be imported from China, Long Beach Transit used federal funds to buy the BYD buses, and one of the funding conditions is that the BYD ebuses must have at least 60 percent U.S.-produced content.

That isn’t a problem, said Li. The buses will have more than 70 percent local content, she said, and that is before considering the inductive chargers that will be used in Long Beach. If they are included, “It is close to 80 percent,” said Li. Those chargers are from Wave Inc., a Utah startup, and are considered part of the local content, said John Inglish, a Wave director, in an interview with PluginCars.com. It will install two chargers in Long Beach.

Among additional local content, the batteries for the ebuses will be assembled at a nearby plant using imported cells. And, the multiplex electronic control is sourced from I/O Controls Corp. in Azusa, Calif., Michael Kuang, vice president of engineering at I/O Controls, told PluginCars.com

Obama Wants to Upgrade 99% of Students to High-Speed Internet by 2018

obama HIGH SPEED

Capacity to communicate quicker is key.
United States is on the right way to produce the best innovative student.

TECH in AMERICA (TiA)

Obama-Connected-Initiative[1]by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai (courtesy mashable)

President Barack Obama thinks American students aren’t connected enough, and that access to faster Internet connections and technologies is crucial in today’s schools. That’s why he wants to make sure that 99% of students have high-speed broadband access within the next five years.

“We are living in a digital age, and to help our students get ahead, we must make sure they have access to cutting-edge technology,” Obama said in a statement published by the White House.

Obama will announce the new initiative, ConnectED, on Thursday during a speech at a high-tech middle school in Mooresville, N.C.

The initiative calls on the Federal Communications Commission to provide virtually all American students with high-speed broadband and wireless access in their schools and libraries by 2018. The initiative should also give students and teachers the tools needed to take advantage of high-speed Internet access.

“Basic Internet access is no…

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Jamaica: hub of innovation in Caribbean?

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4-day visit to Santiago on Innovation

A 12-person delegation, headed by Julian Robinson, minister of state in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, has just returned from a four-day visit to Santiago, Chile, to see first-hand how that country is developing a robust ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation.

The primary purpose of the mission was to visit Start-up Chile (SUP), a government-financed programme launched in August 2010 to attract early-stage, high-potential entrepreneurs to bootstrap their ventures in Chile, without taking equity in the firms.

Its goal was to convert Chile into the innovation and entrepreneurial hub of Latin America, akin to other centres of innovation in the world, particularly the Silicon Valley.

The Jamaican group was particularly thrilled to meet the founder of SUP, Nicolas Shea, a Stanford-educated entrepreneur who was recruited by the then minister of economy, Juan Andrés Fontaine, to join his staff as his entrepreneurship adviser. Only days after Shea relocated to Chile, a massive earthquake struck in February 2010, causing more than $15 billion in damages.

Today, after two and a half years, SUP is a highly successful programme that supports both foreigners and Chileans to create innovative ventures using much the same model as it did in 2010 with some minor changes to enhance its effectiveness.

Now, 40 per cent of the applications received are from Chile, but it is clear that the original objective of importing talent with a view to changing the entrepreneurial culture is still very much at the forefront of the programme.

To understand SUP innovative program

With a current budget of US$12 million per year, funded by Chile’s economic development agency CORFO, which is itself funded by a tax on mining companies operating in Chile, SUP can boast some impressive results.

Today, it has received 5,600 applications from 70 countries, admitted more than 1,000 entrepreneurs from 53 countries, and a host of social impacts – almost 600 “meet-ups” organised by SUP and participants or “suppers”, and 3,790 hours of mentorship provided by suppers. Additionally, there are all kinds of spin-off programmes supporting entrepreneurship and innovation and a global rush to emulate the programme’s design elements and impacts.

SUP has also created strong links to local and international companies and entrepreneurs, the global investor community, local and international universities and other programmes in Chile.

We visited one facility, Wayra, a tech incubator operated by Telefónica that incubates 10 companies for 10 months. The incubator manager, Claudio Barahona Jacobs said that Wayra wants to support international start-ups to capture the “winds of talent blowing” in its midst.

Coaching important

Wayra makes a direct investment of US$50,000 in each company in three parts: an initial sum and the other two tranches when agreed milestones are achieved. The investment is in the form of convertible notes. The incubator provides space and services, coaching in how to make a pitch to investors, how to run a company, to hire people and be a boss.

The entrepreneurs we spoke to said that the coaching was one of the most important elements of the programme, and they also participate in management courses run in collaboration with a local university.

Critical is making business links with Telefónica itself, using the company as a distribution channel or as a first customer, testing the applications developed by the entrepreneurs.

Telefónica has 11 million customers in Chile who have smartphones and 300 million business and consumer customers in 30 countries worldwide, so the company is a vital link to this huge market for mobile apps and business applications for its incubator clients.

Optimistic about Jamaica

SUP’s founder, Nicolas Shea, is optimistic about Jamaica and encouraged the group to adopt and adapt the best elements of the SUP programme. The World Bank and Minister Robinson plan to invite Shea and a number of the Chileans whom we met to Jamaica, later in the year, to continue discussions with a wider group of stakeholders.

Everyone on the mission agreed that Jamaica has the opportunity to replicate some of the successful elements of the Start-up Chile programme. Jamaica has talented and technologically savvy young people who are eager to tap into the global demand for creative applications that solve real-world business and social problems.

In so doing, they create their own employment. We have the interest and support of international development partners including the World Bank to finance initiatives that will support the growth of the Jamaican economy. It is an opportunity to forge public-private partnerships to provide early stage and venture capital financing for SMEs, mentorships and access to markets. But will our leaders champion such efforts to move us beyond mere talk? And will we collectively have the courage to act now to secure the future of our nation?

Cold fusion reactor independently verified, has 10,000 times the energy density of gas

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We are speaking about cold fusion more than 15 years. But, until now, no result to produce energy more than used to produce cold fusion itself. But this energy will be the future and will redisign the world with more energy and possibly more innovations with an energy less expansive. Let´s read this very interesting article fromage Tech in America.

TECH in AMERICA (TiA)

Rossi's E-Cat cold fusion device

Against all probability, a device that purports to use cold fusion to generate vast amounts of power has been verified by a panel of independent scientists. The research paper, which hasn’t yet undergone peer review, seems to confirm both the existence of cold fusion, and its potency: The cold fusion device being tested has roughly 10,000 times the energy density and 1,000 times the power density of gasoline. Even allowing for a massively conservative margin of error, the scientists say that the cold fusion device they tested is 10 times more powerful than gasoline — which is currently the best fuel readily available to mankind.

The device being tested, which is called the Energy Catalyzer (E-Cat for short), was created by Andrea Rossi. Rossi has been claiming for the past two years that he had finally cracked cold fusion, but much to the chagrin of the scientific community he hasn’t allowed anyone…

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Switzerland: Solar Impulse project

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HB-SIA, Solar Impulse prototype A

With its huge wingspan equal to that of an Airbus A340, and its proportionally tiny weight – that of an average car – the HB-SIA prototype presents physical and aerodynamic features never seen before. These place it in a yet unexplored flight envelope.

Carbon fiber structure, propulsion chain, flight instrumentation, everything has been designed to save energy, to resist the hostile conditions facing airplane and pilot at high altitudes and to marry weight restraints with the required strength.

Solar Impulse is a Swiss long-range solar powered aircraft project being undertaken at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. The project eventually hopes to achieve the first circumnavigation of the Earth by a piloted fixed-wing aircraft using only solar power. The project is led by Swiss psychiatrist and aeronaut Bertrand Piccard, who co-piloted the first balloon to circle the world non-stop, and Swiss businessman André Borschberg.

Piccard initiated the Solar Impulse project in 2003. By 2009, he had assembled a multi-disciplinary team of 50 specialists from six countries, assisted by about 100 outside advisers. The project is financed by a number of private companies. The four main partners are Deutsche Bank, Omega SA, Solvay, and Schindler. Other partners include Bayer MaterialScience, Altran, Swisscom and Swiss Re. Other supporters include Clarins, Semper, Toyota, BKW and STG. The EPFL, the European Space Agency and Dassault have provided additional technical expertise, while Bay Area based SunPower provided the aircraft’s photovoltaic cells.

HB-SIB, the new plane will flight in 2015

It was not built to fly round the world. Its purpose was rather to demonstrate the feasibility of the program by making the first ever whole day-and-night flight without fuel, a task that it accomplished brilliantly in July 2010. The lessons learned by the team are now being applied to the construction of Solar Impulse HB-SIB, which is due to circumnavigate the Earth in 2015.

Question of energy defines the project

At midday, each square meter of land surface receives, in the form of light energy, the equivalent of 1000 watts, or 1.3 horsepower of light power. Over 24 hours, this sun energy averages out at just 250W/m². With 200m² of photovoltaic cells and a 12 % total efficiency of the propulsion chain, the plane’s motors achieve an average power of 8 HP or 6kW.

That’s roughly the amount of power the Wright brothers had available to them in 1903 when they made their first powered flight. And it is with that energy, optimized from the solar panel to the propeller, that Solar Impulse managed to fly day and night without fuel!

FIVE world records established by HB-SIA

Absolute height: 9235 m (30300 ft)
Height gain: 8744 m (28690 ft)
Duration: 26 hours, 10 minutes, 19 seconds
Free Distance along a course: 1116 km (693.5 miles)
Straight distance, pre-declared waypoints: 1099.3 km (683 miles)

Across America 2013: Golden Gate end of April

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Digital Promise: accelerating innovation in U.S. education

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The U.S. president message

President Barack Obama said “Digital Promise is a unique partnership that will bring everyone together – educators, entrepreneurs, and researchers – to use technology to help students learn and teachers teach. There’s no silver bullet when it comes to education, but technology can be a powerful tool, and Digital Promise will help us make the most of it.”

Their mission

Digital Promise is a nonprofit corporation authorized by Congress “to support a comprehensive research and development program to harness the increasing capacity of advanced information and digital technologies to improve all levels of learning and education, formal and informal, in order to provide Americans with the knowledge and skills needed to compete in the global economy.”

Their history

In 2008, Digital Promise was formally authorized as the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies through the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush. With an initial Board of Directors recommended in part by Members of Congress and appointed by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Digital Promise was formally launched by President Barack Obama in September 2011 with startup support from the U.S. Department of Education, Carnegie Corporation of New York, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Digital Promise League

The Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools is a unique national coalition of 32 school districts in 21 states that serve more than 2.7 million students. Through partnerships with start-ups, research institutions, and one another, League districts are committing to demonstrate, evaluate, and scale up innovations that deliver better results for students.

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