In The News Archive

This monthly summary includes excerpts from Illinois in the News, a daily service provided by the University of Illinois News Bureau and other media search tools. This collection of recent stories focuses on engineering topics and faculty contacted for their expertise by print and broadcast reporters around the world.

Brunswick Innovation Lab to open in Research Park

Trade Only Today (March 28) -- Brunswick Corp. said today that it will soon open the Brunswick Innovation Laboratory in the Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Innovation Lab will augment the considerable research and development activity the Company currently conducts across all of its primary lines of business, including marine engine, pleasure boats and fitness equipment.

Next Big Thing at NCSA

HPC Wire (March 28) -- In a recent interview, Bill Gropp sketched out the new challenges and opportunities he is facing as NCSA's acting director.

Immigration

WMAQ-TV (Chicago, March 27) – After Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated the federal government’s threat to block funding for so-called “sanctuary cities,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel doubled down on his own promise that Chicago will “continue to welcome” immigrants. “Half the patents at the University of Illinois come from immigrants, and so we want to continue to welcome people, welcome their ideas, welcome their families to the city of Chicago, who want to build the American dream for their children and their grandchildren.”

Student startup nets $2.6 million in seed funding

Fast Company (March 27) -- Lightform, the company developing the first computer made for projected augmented reality, emerged from stealth today with $2.6 million in seed funding from Lux Capital and Seven Seas Partners, with participation from several prominent angel investors and the National Science Foundation. Lightform was formerly known as Lumenous, a startup founded by CS PhD students Brett Jones, Kevin Karsch, and Raj Sodhi at Illinois.

Adobe Research Intern

Fast Company (March 23) – Almost half of Adobe’s tech contributions of the last 10 years started with Adobe Research interns or as academic collaborations with college student interns. For example, Zhangyang “Atlas” Wang interned with Adobe Research in summer 2014 while a grad student in electrical and computer engineering at Illinois, helping to create DeepFont, a program for recognizing fonts.

Artificial intelligence

Inverse (March 22) – A paper co-published by Adobe and U. of I. researchers explains how a new artificial intelligence program could remove the background behind a person or object in virtually any situation, letting actors – who often must perform in front of a green screen – do their jobs in slightly more natural circumstances. Also: Digital Trends (March 22).

Electronics ban on international flights

Time (March 21) -- The Trump Administration's new ban on carry-on electronic devices on some international flights has left many wondering why certain devices and airports are being targeted, and why carry-on and checked luggage are treated differently. Sheldon Jacobson, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studies aviation security, questioned whether the rules could create a "porous security environment" if other countries don't adopt similar rules. The United Kingdom followed the U.S. on Tuesday by announcing a similar ban on certain electronic devices, affecting select flights from six countries. Also: CBC News (Canada, March 21), Christian Science Monitor (March 21), BBC News (March 21).

Startup: Serionix

Chicago Inno (March 20) – An Illinois startup just got funding from NASA for its “smart” air filter technology that can remove toxic gases from spacesuits. Serionix, a company based at Illinois’ Research Park, was awarded a $750,000 contract from NASA to fund continued development of its filters. Also: Yahoo! Finance (March 20).

Social media security

Los Angeles Times (March 16) – Security experts say the hacking of McDonald’s Twitter account Monday should be a lesson to corporations to better secure their platforms. “There are just so many ways, if you’re not careful, for an adversary to have access to your social media accounts,” says Michael Bailey, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois. “Corporations are ripe targets because they have such a large presence on social media.”

Tech workforce

Chicago Business Journal (March 16) – Billionaire J.B. Pritzker recently stressed that despite the state’s financial woes, companies are still moving to Chicago to tap its highly educated technical workforce churned out by the U. of I., the Illinois Institute of Technology, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

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