In The News

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.

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July 2016 media appearances

New LED method

Phys.Org (July 29) -- Researchers, led by ECE assistant professor Can Bayram, have developed a new method for making brighter and more efficient green light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Using an industry-standard semiconductor growth technique, they have created gallium nitride (GaN) cubic crystals grown on a silicon substrate that are capable of producing powerful green light for advanced solid-state lighting. Also: ScienceBlog (July 29), 14U News (July 31), YIBADA English (China, July 31), New Electronics (United Kingdom, Aug. 1), domain-B (Aug. 1), The TeCake (Aug. 2).

Quantum experiment aboard ISS

Nature (July 27) – Researchers have proposed a quantum experiment aboard the International Space Station that would simultaneously entangle the states of two separate properties of a photon – a technique known as hyperentanglement – to make teleportation more reliable and efficient. As well as making communications much more secure, satellite systems would mark a major step toward a “quantum internet” made up of quantum computers around the world, or a quantum computing cloud, says Paul Kwiat, a physicist at Illinois who is working with NASA on the ISS project.

Nanoparticle drug delivery

Phys.Org (July 25) -- At the University of Illinois, MatSE professor Jianjun Cheng teamed up with a veterinarian to test a bone cancer drug delivery system in animals bigger than the standard animal model, the mouse. They chose dogs - mammals closer in size and biology to humans - with naturally occurring bone cancers, which also are a lot like human bone tumors. Also: My Science (July 25), Scienmag (July 25), Science Daily (July 26), Bioscience Technology (July 26), ScienceBlog (July 26), G.I.T. Laboratory Journal (July 26), Drug Discovery & Development (July 27), National Institutes of Health (Director's Blog, Aug. 2).

At the University of Illinois, an engineer teamed up with a veterinarian to test a bone cancer drug delivery system in animals bigger than the standard animal model, the mouse. They chose dogs - mammals closer in size and biology to humans - with naturally occurring bone cancers, which also are a lot like human bone tumors.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-scientists-nanoparticle-drug-delivery-dogs.html#jCp
Chemical etching method

Nanowerk (July 25) -- Researchers, led by ECE professor Xiuling Li, have developed a way to etch very tall, narrow finFETs, a type of transistor that forms a tall semiconductor “fin” for the current to travel over. The etching technique addresses many problems in trying to create 3-D devices, typically done now by stacking layers or carving out structures from a thicker semiconductor wafer. Also: ScienceBlog (July 25), Electronics Weekly (July 26), Science Daily (July 26), AZoMaterials (July 27), Science Codex (July 26).

Measure of age in soil nitrogen

Phys.Org (July 26) -- University of Illinois engineers developed a model to calculate the age of nitrogen in corn and soybean fields, which could lead to improved fertilizer application techniques to promote crop growth while reducing leaching. Civil and environmental engineering professor Praveen Kumar and graduate student Dong Kook Woo published their work in the journal Water Resources Research. Also: National Science Foundation (July 25), ScienceBlog (July 26), Science Daily (July 26), AgPro.com (July 27), Science 360 (NSF, July 28), Feedstuffs (July 29).

University of Illinois engineers developed a model to calculate the age of nitrogen in corn and soybean fields, which could lead to improved fertilizer application techniques to promote crop growth while reducing leaching.

Civil and environmental engineering professor Praveen Kumar and graduate student Dong Kook Woo published their work in the journal Water Resources Research.



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-age-soil-nitrogen-precision-agriculture.html#jCp
Stretchable electronics

WFMZ-TV (Penn., July 20) -- "We've been able to create a new class of materials that we call stretchable electronics," said Marvin Slepian, associate department head of biomedical engineering at the University of Arizona. Slepian figured out how to put thin electronics into materials that move with the body. This bio stamp sends metrics on heart rate, movement and more to an iPad in real time. Slepian is working in collaboration with researchers at the University of Illinois, Tufts, and Northwestern. They've also developed a wearable sweat sensor that can track electrolytes and hydration. It could be used for athletes and for soldiers in the field. Also: NBC5-TV (Dallas, TX, July 7), WNDU-TV (South Bend, Ind., July 20), ASEE FirstBell (July 21).

.ead more from WFMZ.com at: http://www.wfmz.com/lifestyle/Health-Beat/Health-Beat-Tracking-tech-for-the-heart/40490534
Connect with us... Facebook/69WFMZ or @69News
"We've been able to create a new class of materials that we call stretchable electronics," said Marvin Slepian, associate department head of biomedical engineering at the University of Arizona. Slepian figured out how to put thin electronics into materials that move with the body. This bio stamp sends metrics on heart rate, movement and more to an iPad in real time.

Read more from WFMZ.com at: http://www.wfmz.com/lifestyle/Health-Beat/Health-Beat-Tracking-tech-for-the-heart/40490534
Connect with us... Facebook/69WFMZ or @69News
Human eye can detect individual photons

Scientific American (July 19) -- People can detect flashes of light as feeble as a single photon, an experiment has demonstrated—a finding that seems to conclude a 70-year quest to test the limits of human vision. A new study, published in Nature Communications, “finally answers a long-standing question about whether humans can see single photons — they can!” says Paul Kwiat, a quantum optics researcher at Illinois who was not involved in the study. The techniques used in the study also open up ways of testing how quantum properties—such as the ability of photons to be in two places at the same time—affect biology, he adds. Also: Nature (July 19).

Bicycle accident physics

The National Law Review (July 19) – There are several reasons why bicycle accidents can be very severe, including the physical forces that are involved when a cyclist is either struck by or strikes a motor vehicle. According to physics professor Mats Selen at Illinois, how fast a cyclist is traveling, how much he or she weighs and how suddenly he or she stops all factor into the severity of the resulting injuries in an accident.

Crain's Tech 50

Crain's Chicago Business (July) -- Artificial intelligence, Big Data, machine learning, the cloud and the internet of things are attracting money, talent and attention right now in Chicago tech. No surprise they figure prominently into the sixth edition of Crain's Tech 50. The University of Illinois and the College of Engineering are well-represented with alumni featured among its #Tech 50: Adam Tilton (MechSE), Greg Goff (ECE), Michael Gray (Physics), Matt Hansen (Math and ECE), Steve Miller (Business), Adam Robinson (Communication).

Infrastructure institute director named

Des Moines Register (Des Moines, Iowa, July 18) – Mark Petri, the director of the University of Iowa’s premiere energy research center, says he’s resigning after a successful tenure marked by pushback from utilities and other groups. Petri says the situation made him open to recruitment efforts by the University of Illinois, where he will lead a new critical infrastructure resilience institute. The Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute conducts research and education to enhance the resiliency of the Nation’s critical infrastructures and the businesses and public entities that own and operate those assets and systems. CIRI is a joint partnership with the Applied Research Institute and the Information Trust Institute at Illinois and involves the expertise of a number of DOE national labs and research universities. 

Alumnus Kashkari

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (from Bloomberg; July 18) – Illinois engineering alumnus Neel Kashkari, the president of the Minneapolis Fed who at 42 is the youngest regional Fed bank president, is updating Fed watchers in 140 Twitter characters or less.  Kashkari views his unconventional, folksy approach as one way to engage with people who don’t work on Wall Street.

Sun storms and the electrical grid

Science Magazine (July 15) - Some scientists fear that a coronal mass ejection from the sun could destroy tens to hundreds of transformers, plunging vast portions of entire continents into the dark for weeks or months. Transformer manufacturers say that such fears are overblown, and that most transformers would survive. Thomas Overbye, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois, says nobody knows for sure. “We don’t have a lot of data associated with large storms because they are very rare,” he says.

NSF grants $2 million to enhance bioengineering education

WCIA-TV (Champaign, July 14) -- The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Bioengineering (BIOE) will revolutionize its undergraduate curriculum, its students’ clinical and research experiences, and its faculty members’ approaches to teaching, thanks to a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Research Park growth

Chicago Inno (July 12) – A $10.8 million apartment and retail complex has been proposed for the U. of I.’s Research Park. The mixed use three-story building would include 16 one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as four extended-stay studio apartments, with room for retail, restaurants and office space.

"Biohybrid" robotics

The New York Times (July 12) – The creation of a new artificial stingray advances the nascent field of “biohybrid” robotics, which integrates mechanical engineering with genetic and tissue engineering, says Rashid Bashir, department head and professor of bioengineering at Illinois. Earlier this spring, his research group built a similar light-controlled robot that crawls rather than swims.

MakerGirl workshops--STEM for girls

The Pantagraph (from The Associated Press; Bloomington, Ill., July 12) – MakerGirl is a science, technology, engineering and math initiative for young girls started by female engineering students at Illinois. The group is traveling to schools in 19 states over 8 weeks this summer; the trip started June 1.

Related story: Freeport Journal-Standard (July 12) About 30 young girls on June 20 participated in a STEM workshop in Pearl City, Illinois hosted by female engineering students at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The workshop, called MakerGirl, looks to close the gender gap in STEM fields and will be offered at elementary schools in 19 states this summer. Also: ASEE FirstBell (July 13).

Drones for construction management

Builtworlds (July 12) -- A robotic quadcopter drone dubbed "The Flying Superintendent" has taken to the skies, designed and outfitted with cameras by a trio of computer science and engineering professors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The new construction management tool that closely and frequently observes sites from above, tracking progress and enabling real-time checks against scheduled deadlines, particularly those involving time-sensitive, labor-intensive tasks. It is the brainchild of associate professors Mani Golparvar-Fard (civil and environmental engineering), Derek Hoiem (computer science), and Timothy Bretl (aerospace engineering).

Neutrino experiment proves Leggett theory

Science (July 12) -- Data from a massive neutrino experiment show that the elusive subatomic particles must literally be of two mutually exclusive types at once—poking a hole in our intuitive sense of reality. The result is bedrock quantum mechanics. The test with neutrinos involves correlations between measurements separated not in space, but in time. In 1985, theorists Anupam Garg, now at Northwestern University, and physics professor Anthony Leggett of Illinois, considered repeated measurements of a single quantum system: a ring of superconductor in which an unquenchable current flows one way or the other. Now, Joseph Formaggio, a neutrino physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and colleagues provide a demonstration using data from the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search experiment at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, which fires neutrinos at near-light-speed 735 kilometers to a 5.4-kiloton detector in the Soudan Mine in Minnesota. Also: ChicagoInno (July 8).

Student startup: Amber Ag

Big Ten Network (July 11) -- Amber Ag, a startup run by students at Illinois, is not only challenging the way we think about technology’s use in agriculture, it’s also innovating a process that will potentially save farmers thousands of dollars per harvest. The core component of Amber Ag’s business is a product called Amber Waves Grain Sensing, essentially a series of sensors installed in grain silos that measure the amount of moisture in the grain stored there. The sensors not only detect the potential for costly spoilage from excess moisture, but do so at a significantly more affordable price point for farmers.

Physics of baseball: Hitting a home run

Washington Post (July 11) -- On Monday night, some of Major League Baseball’s best sluggers will square off in the sport’s biggest annual display of brute strength: the home run derby. Each batter has seven “outs” to hit as many balls as possible out of San Diego’s Petco Park. To most fans, it’s just a fun spectacle. But to Alan Nathan, emeritus professor of physics at Illinois, home-run hitting is a physics problem. Given the distance between home plate and the outfield wall, what combination of ball speed, bat angle and external factors will send the ball out of the park? “It's driven by a need to understand,” he said. “It’s the same reason I did experimental nuclear physics for many years.”

Related story: ABC News (July 20) – Entering Monday’s games, Major League Baseball was on pace for 5,584 home runs. The only season with a higher rate of home runs hit was 2000, in the heart of the steroid era. Science suggests that pitcher velocity has little to do with home run distance. Alan Nathan, a professor emeritus of physics at Illinois, has written that each mph of pitch speed adds about 0.2 feet to the distance of a batted ball, which explains only a small part of the increase in fly ball and home run distances.

Drones and the elderly

The Washington Post (July 8) -- Some see drones as an opportunity to help the elderly receive more attentive care and stay in their homes longer. Naira Hovakimyan, a professor of mechanical science and engineering at Illinois, received a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to experiment with drones that can perform simple household tasks, such as transporting a bottle of medicine.

Rankings

Forbes (July 7) -- “The best public schools in the country are not just limited to those on the nation’s coasts,” Forbes writes regarding its Top 25 public schools for 2016. Illinois ranked at No. 11 on the list.

Engineer Guy: Diaper design

Business Insider (from Tech Insider; July 7) – Disposable diapers may be full of it, but their designs are anything but. Bill Hammack, an engineer at Illinois, says the ordinary-seeming products actually boast an intriguing and deceptive level of complexity.

Tunable wetting and adhesion of graphene

Phys.Org (July 7) -- Researchers led by MechSE assistant professor SungWoo Nam have demonstrated doping-induced tunable wetting and adhesion of graphene, revealing new and unique opportunities for advanced coating materials and transducers. "Our study suggests that the doping-induced modulation of the charge carrier density in graphene influences its wettability and adhesion," Nam explained. "This work investigates this new doping-induced tunable wetting phenomena which is unique to graphene and potentially other 2D materials in complementary theoretical and experimental investigations." Also: ECNmag.com (July 7), Science360 (NSF, July 8), Nanotechnology Now (July 9), AZoNano (July 11).

Alumnus innovation: auto-tune

Highsnobiety (New York, July 7) -- Unlike other musical tricks and gimmicks of yesteryear like the vocoder, the origins of auto-tune technology was actually born out of another money-making venture that couldn’t be much further from making music: the oil business. Illinois alumnus Andy Hildebrand found himself in the oil field after receiving a PhD in electrical engineering with a specialty in signal processing from Illinois in 1976.

CS alumnus leads DNA storage breakthrough

Mashable (July 7) -- Microsoft and the University of Washington announced the storage breakthrough, reporting that they had managed to store a 2010, high-definition OK Go music video as well as 100 books and Crop Trust's seed database on some DNA strands. Storing data on synthetic DNA is not new, but 200 MB is a huge leap from the most recent DNA storage record of just 22 MB. "It's a thousand times bigger than we had done last year. Just demonstrating that we can scale our methods... was really important," said lead researcher Luis Ceze, an Illinois alumnus (PhD, 2007, Computer Science) and an associate professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. “As long as there is DNA-based life on the planet, we’ll be interested in reading it,” said alumna Karin Strauss (PhD, 2007, Computer Science), the principal Microsoft researcher on the project. “So it’s eternally relevant.”Also: Seattle Times (July 7), Microsoft (blog, July 7), The Verge (July 7), Phys.Org (July 8), U.S. News & World Report (July 7), Engadget (July 7), ASEE FirstBell (July 8).

Startup Veriflow secures $8.2M in Series A funding

Yahoo Finance (July 6) -- Veriflow, the network breach and outage prevention company, has raised $8.2 million in Series A funding, led by Menlo Ventures along with current investor New Enterprise Associates (NEA). The company was created by a team of computer science professors and PhD students at Illinois, and is backed by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Menlo Ventures, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Defense. It will use the funding to build its sales force, hire new engineering talent, and increase marketing efforts to further drive the company’s technological innovation and growth as well as industry awareness of mathematical network verification. Also: Reuters (July 6), Fortune (Term Sheet, July 6), Red Herring (July 6), PE Hub Network (July 6), Network World (July 6), siliconANGLE (blog, July 6), TechCrunch (July 6), eWeek (July 6), Information Week (July 6), Chicago Inno (July 7).

Sun Times Ed: Put higher education on strong path to future

Chicago Sun-Times (Editorial, July 6) -- "In a global knowledge economy, Illinois’ future relies on a highly educated workforce whose ideas can be transformed into jobs and revenue. Of the 20,000 or so students who graduate each year from one of the three University of Illinois campuses, 70 percent remain in the state. A 2015 study by the Idaho firm Economic Modeling Specialists International concluded that for every dollar taxpayers spend on the University of Illinois, they earn an average annual return of 19.3 percent. Try getting that kind of average return in your 401K."

Engineer Guy: Chemical History of the Candle

Hackaday (July 3) -- “There is no better, no more open door by which you can enter into the study of science than by considering the physical phenomena of a candle,” said British chemist Michael Faraday in 1848. Even now, over 150 years later, one would be hard pressed to find an object of study that would equal the candle, said Bill Hammack and Don DeCoste in their new companion book to the YouTube series on The Chemical History of a Candle. Also: ScienceBlog (June 28).

Student team wins Shell Ideas360 competition

Rigzone (Houston, July 1) -- A team of students from Illinois has won this year's Ideas360 innovation competition. The Illinois team, calling itself the Lean Mean Graphene Machine, beat four other finalists to be named Ideas360 2016 champions at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium.

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