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201 Research + Innovation Articles | Page: | Show All

Tech248 update: ORBBEC builds 3D cameras for VR, AR, 3D printing, AI and more

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Virtual and Augmented reality are becoming the hot new technologies on the scene. Troy-based ORBBEC makes computer-controlled 3D cameras that can see, hear and respond to people and their environments with unprecedented accuracy fitting in nicely with this trend. ORBBEC is the featured company in this Tech248 update.

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Michigan universities push ahead on autonomous vehicles

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On the small campus of Lawrence Technological University, a few students are on the cusp of programming one of the nation’s first autonomous vehicles as a class project.

Already, the two-seat electric vehicle — the size of a golf cart — won an international competition last spring for the software the students developed, taking first place in a new division of the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition at Oakland University.

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Beaumont Health tests Michigan's first 3D whole breast ultrasound for cancer detection

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Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn is one of eight centers nationwide participating in research to improve the detection of breast cancer in women by using SoftVue three-dimensional ultrasound technology on women with dense breast tissue.

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Farmington Hills-based S2 Equipment creates Solar Briefcase and PowerPack for remote energy apps

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S2 Equipment in Farmington Hills, which operates The Invention Shop, announced the debut of the Hans PowerPack and the Solar BriefCase 60, which can charge mobile devices during a power outage or provide electrical power during a trip off the grid, at a tailgate party, or at other events.

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Tech248 member MatchRX revolutionizing surplus prescription drug industry

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Check out this cool Tech248 member company MatchRX a private web-based inter-pharmacy marketplace to buy and sell small quantities of non-controlled, non-expired overstocked prescription drugs and drugs in short supply to satisfy a specific patient need or declared public health emergency.

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Farmington Hills manufacturer teams with OU to turn water into electricity

A Farmington Hills-based company believes it has a developed a game-changing product for the clean energy industry. And a unique partnership with Oakland University has helped convince them and many others that they've done just that.

It's called the Oscillo Drive, a device developed and patented by Wave Water Works, LLC. Basically, the Oscillo Drive is placed in water and uses the motion of waves to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. The device produces energy, which is then moved to a generator, converting that energy into electrical energy. It is quiet, renewable, and sheds no pollution.

"And the amazing thing is, the damn thing works," says Wave Water Works project director and general manager Chuck Keys.

Another seemingly amazing part of the story is that the Oscillo Drive had been sitting on the shelf for three decades before its inventor, Phil Padula, president and CEO of Wave Water Works, hired Keys in 2013 to bring the product to market. Keys has been talking to interested parties as near as Macomb County and as far as Israel and India.

The Oscillo Drive is going into production this winter and the company will have projects in the water the following spring.

The company enrolled in the Oakland University INC business incubator program last year, gaining access to important equipment and help from engineering faculty and 43 students. Keys estimates that Wave Water Works received $1.5 million in professional engineering services as a result of the partnership.

"We needed to be able to test the device," he says. "We knew it worked but we needed to be able to measure it. At OU, we were able to run it through a battery of tests."

Wave Water Works is also readying an Oscillo Drive that works in rivers. A desalination device is also nearing production.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Delphi Partners with Innoviz Technologies on advanced LiDAR solutions for autonomous vehicles

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Delphi Automotive, a global technology company that operates its North American headquarters in Troy, has announced a commercial partnership agreement with Innoviz Technologies, an Israeli company developing LiDAR technology for the mass commercialization of autonomous vehicles.

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LG Electronics to establish U.S. factory for electric vehicle components in Michigan

LG Electronics Inc. announced plans to establish a U.S. factory for advanced electric vehicle (EV) components in Michigan. The 250,000-square-foot facility, in the Detroit suburb of Hazel Park, Mich., will produce EV components starting in 2018. The project will mean at least 292 new Michigan jobs, including factory workers in Hazel Park and engineers at the expanded LG R&D Center in Troy, Mich.
 
Representing an LG investment of about $25 million, the project is supported by a $2.9 million capital grant under the Michigan Business Development Program over the next four years, as announced today by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. LG also will receive hiring and training assistance from the state, including MI Works support in cooperation with local community colleges, and from the cities of Hazel Park and Troy.
 
“When leading global companies like LG invest in Michigan and create hundreds of good, high-paying jobs here, it speaks volumes about the strong business and mobility climate in the state today,” Governor Rick Snyder said. “LG’s great technological advancements and our outstanding workforce will help pave the way for the vehicles of the future right here in Michigan.”
 
Ken Chang, LG Electronics USA senior vice president and head of the LG Vehicle Components North American Business Center, said, “LG’s initiative to develop and produce world-class EV components in the United States represents a key pillar of our strategy to be the best technology partner to U.S. automakers.”

Vehicle components represent the fastest-growing business of global technology leader LG Electronics. LG’s first-half 2017 global revenues for vehicle components were more than $1.5 billion, a 43 percent increase from the same period last year, thanks in large part to the successful collaboration with General Motors on the popular Chevrolet Bolt EV. Honored by GM as a global supplier of the year, LG Electronics received the coveted 2017 GM Innovation Award.

LG’s jobs and investment commitment in Michigan coincides with two other major LG projects in the United States. The company will soon begin construction on the world’s most advanced production plant for washing machines in Clarksville, Tenn. This $250-million factory will create 600 new U.S jobs by 2019. In addition, construction is under way on the new LG North American Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., a $300-million project that is expected to increase LG’s local employment there from 500 today to more than 1,000 by 2019. 

OU professor awarded $210,829 NSF grant for research on new terahertz generator

Dr. Andrei Slavin, a distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Physics at Oakland University, has been awarded a $210,829 grant from the National Science Foundation as part of a collaborative research project which seeks to develop a new type of terahertz generator that can be used in a variety of fields, including communication, medical imaging and security.
 
“Existing generators of terahertz radiation either work at temperatures below room temperature or are based on expensive and bulky laser systems,” Slavin said. “These significant deficiencies severely limit their usefulness. The goal of this project is to create a new type of terahertz generator that is compact, inexpensive and works at room temperature.”
 
According to Slavin, terahertz radiation falls between infrared radiation and microwave radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum. It can pass through clothing, paper, cardboard, wood, masonry, plastic and ceramics, which makes it ideal for detecting concealed weapons and explosive materials.
 
Terahertz radiation can also detect differences in density of a tissue, which could allow for effective detection of skin and surface cancer. Some frequencies of terahertz radiation can also be used for 3D imaging of teeth and may be more accurate than conventional X-ray imaging.
 
In addition, terahertz waves, which operate at a much higher frequency than microwaves, could one day be used to deliver data up to 100 times faster than today’s cellular or Wi-Fi networks.
 
“We believe that communication technology will go further with increased frequencies,” Slavin said. “So the next generation of 5G communication will probably use frequencies that are higher than current frequencies.”
 
According to Slavin, the research project is a collaborative effort between a team of experts in magnetic device fabrication at the University of California, Irvine, and leading theorists in the field of magnetic devices at Oakland University.
 
“As a result of this three-year research effort, we expect the result will be a terahertz generator that will be micro-sized – approximately 10 microns in diameter and less than 1 micron in thickness,” Slavin said, noting that 10 microns is approximately twice the size of a human blood cell.
 
“With this device, we will be able to generate approximately 1 microwatt of power at a frequency of about one-half terahertz,” he added. “You might think one microwatt isn’t a lot, but one microwatt is sufficient power for many applications, especially communication applications.”
 
The new generators will be based on readily available antiferromagnetic materials, such as iron oxide and nickel oxide, and will operate via conversion of magnetic oscillation in these materials into terahertz electromagnetic waves.
 
“Our invention is an example of trying to tap into the naturally existing internal magnetic field in the antiferromagnetic material using the fact that current propagating in the heavy metal creates a perpendicular current of spins,” Slavin said.
 
The NSF grant is for a three-year period.
 
“The grant allows us to concentrate more and intensively collaborate with our experimental counterparts at the University of California, Irvine, and creates a possibly to check our theoretical ideas experimentally,” Slavin said. “We’re very grateful to the NSF. Nobody knows whether it will work or not, but we will try to do our best to bring them an experimental prototype within three years. “
 
More information about the NSF grant can be found online at nsf.gov.

LTU researching autonomous taxi with gifts from MOBIS, Dataspeed, SoarTech, Realtime Technologies

Lawrence Technological University has begun the research and development of an autonomous campus taxi thanks to donations from several corporate partners.

Hyundai MOBIS, the parts and service division of the Korean automaker, donated $15,000 for the purchase of a Polaris GEM e2 two-seat electric vehicle. Dataspeed Inc., a Rochester Hills engineering firm specializing in mobile robotics and autonomous vehicle technology, converted the vehicle to an autonomous drive-by-wire system. 

Also donating to the effort were a pair of Ann Arbor high-tech firms – Soar Technology Inc. provided a LIDAR (laser-based radar) unit to help the vehicle find its way, while Realtime Technologies Inc., a simulation technology firm, provided a cash donation.

Hyundai MOBIS formally turned the keys of the vehicle over to LTU Provost Maria Vaz and C.J. Chung, professor of computer science, in a ceremony on the LTU campus last week. Vaz thanked the sponsors for providing a great learning and research opportunity. David Agnew, director of advanced engineering at MOBIS, made the presentation.

LTU computer science students have already won an international award with the vehicle. They developed software to make the car operate autonomously – well enough that it took first place in the new Spec 2 division of the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition, held at Oakland University in June. The Spec 2 competition required multiple self-driving vehicle functions such as lane following, lane change, traffic sign detection, obstacle avoidance, and left turns.

After winning at IGVC, team members began reprogramming the vehicle to serve as an autonomous taxi on the LTU campus. It’s been rechristened ACT, an acronym for Autonomous Campus Transport/Taxi, in a naming contest won by Nick Paul, one of the team members. Chung said the university is planning to introduce Level 3 autonomy with the vehicle – allowing both hands and eyes off the road – by August 2018.

A video of the car in competition at the IGVC is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSzxPp66vxk&feature=youtu.be

OU INC client Wave Water Works teams with engineering students for product validation

OU INC client Wave Water Works, LLC has a patented Oscillo Drive that converts the up and down movement of wave water into reusable energy and electricity. The company recently leveraged the strong relationship between OU INC and Oakland University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science (SECS) to successfully test their Oscillo Drive technology, verifying the device’s production and output of energy and electricity.  

Wave Water Works utilized talented students through the school’s senior design course. This requirement for OU senior-level engineering students brings together mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering students to work on real-world projects that demand the skills and knowledge of each of their disciplines. A State of Michigan Business Accelerator Fund award allowed for OU INC to partially fund the effort.
 
Based on the results obtained by the students, Wave Water Works approved an undisclosed operational testing site for the Oscillo Drive in Port Huron, Michigan. This extension of the OU SECS testing will allow for further measurement and monitoring of the power input and electrical output from the wave-water oscillating movements. Wave Water Works is additionally locating multiple working sites, including locations in Macomb County, Israel, and Lebanon.
 
“It is estimated that OU INC, through the professional efforts of SECS students and faculty, provided Wave Water Works with more than $1.5M worth of professional engineering services,” said Chuck Keys, project director and business manager of Wave Water Works.

Completing hardware and software research and development (R&D) for this startup green-energy company includes the following faculty and students:

·         Michael Latcha, Ph.D., ME, director, SECS Senior Design Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering
·         Daniel Aloi, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical Engineering
·         Oakland University Senior Engineering Students: 
                 -Tia Sherrard, Electrical Engineering, Team Manager
                 -Carla Gerst, Electrical Engineering
                 -Makayla Eckardt, Computer Engineering
                 -Mark Tarnicki, Electrical Engineering
                 -Brent Stelzer, Electrical Engineering
                 -William Carter, Mechanical Engineering
                 -Edwin McBride, Mechanical Engineering
                 -Paul Smyrski, Mechanical Engineering
 
For more information, contact Joan Carleton at (586) 884-9324 or jfcarlet@oakland.edu.

OU INC is a Smartzone Business Incubator and Innovation Center, in collaboration with the City of Rochester Hills, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and strategic industry partners. With a focus on the energy, medical device, and information technology sectors, OU INC provides entrepreneurial resources and strategic business solutions for developing business ventures and accelerating ideas to market. OU INC is a designated Soft Landing Facility through the International Business Association for international companies. For more information, visit oakland.edu/ouinc.

The Business Accelerator Fund is an initiative of the State of Michigan’s 21st Century Jobs Fund Program and is distributed by the Michigan Small Business Development Center (MI­-SBDC) through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan’s network of business accelerators. Through this program, OU INC is successfully delivering specialized business acceleration services to companies commercializing advanced technology.

Gestamp to open new R&D center, adding jobs in Auburn Hills

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Troy-based Gestamp North America is opening a new state-of-the-art R&D facility in Auburn Hills with plans to add 64 new jobs. The company specializes in the design, development and manufacturing of metal components for the automotive industry. 

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OU INC clients Munetrix and Skypersonic awarded $125,000 via Macomb Innovation Fund

Munetrix and Skypersonic have been awarded $125,000 in funding from the Innovation Fund Macomb Community College, powered by JPMorgan Chase & Co. These two Oakland County-based companies were the sole awardees of this seventh round of funding, chosen from a pool of 17 qualified applicants. Both companies are startup clients at Oakland University’s business incubator, OU INC.

Munetrix will receive a $100,000 award to advance the company toward larger-scale funding. Munetrix is a data science and advisory firm that provides analytics, planning, transparency and compliance tools for school districts and state and local governments. For public administrators, this cloud-based technology is designed to simplify data analysis and use predictive analytics to improve the communication of financials with policymakers and other community stakeholders.

Skypersonic will receive a $25,000 award to support taking initial steps to the market. Skypersonic develops drones for indoor applications within the commercial, industrial, agricultural, and civil industries. The drone’s propeller apparatus is enclosed and protected by an external casing, and it has multiple operating modes including flying, rolling, and traveling on ground.

"We are very excited for our companies, Munetrix and Skypersonic. The support from the Macomb Innovation Fund will catalyze their growth in the market. As each of these companies are building their business, their solutions also provide valuable resources to the community. Skypersonic is providing drone educational kits to K-12 institutions, and Munetrix is providing meaningful data and scorecard resources to local governments and schools,” said Amy Butler, OU INC Executive Director.

The Innovation Fund is a $2.7 million effort to stimulate economic development and job growth among promising Detroit-area entrepreneurs and next-stage companies with high-growth potential. Funding is provided by Macomb Community College’s Strategic Fund and JPMorgan Chase, as part of the company’s $150 million commitment to Detroit’s economic recovery. Information about the application process is available at macomb.edu/cie.

For more information, contact Joan Carleton at (586) 884-9324 or jfcarlet@oakland.edu.

Henry Ford to offer innovative cancer screenings for dense breasts

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In a first for Michigan, the Henry Ford Cancer Institute is introducing a new and advanced molecular breast imaging system to screen women with dense breast tissue, who are at an increased risk for breast cancer.

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Diagnostic biomarkers in saliva show promise in recognizing early Alzheimer's disease

Your spit may hold a clue to future brain health. Investigators at the Beaumont Research Institute, part of Beaumont Health in Michigan, are hopeful that their study involving small molecules in saliva will help identify those at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease - a neurologic condition predicted to reach epidemic proportions worldwide by 2050.

Their study, “Diagnostic Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease as Identified in Saliva using 1H NMR-Based Metabolomics” was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 58(2) on May 16.

Investigators found salivary molecules hold promise as reliable diagnostic biomarkers.

The study exemplifies the quest by scientists to combat Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain disorder with no cure and few reliable diagnostic tests. In the United States, Alzheimer’s is a health epidemic affecting more than 5 million Americans. Investigators seek to develop valid and reliable biomarkers, diagnosing the disease in its earliest stages before brain damage occurs and dementia begins.

Researcher Stewart Graham, Ph.D. said, “We used metabolomics, a newer technique to study molecules involved in metabolism. Our goal was to find unique patterns of molecules in the saliva of our study participants that could be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in the earliest stages, when treatment is considered most effective. Presently, therapies for Alzheimer’s are initiated only after a patient is diagnosed and treatments offer modest benefits.”

Metabolomics is used in medicine and biology for the study of living organisms. It measures large numbers of naturally occurring small molecules, called metabolites, present in the blood, saliva and tissues. The pattern or fingerprint of metabolites in the biological sample can be used to learn about the health of the organism.

“Our team’s study demonstrates the potential for using metabolomics and saliva for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease,” explained Dr. Graham. “Given the ease and convenience of collecting saliva, the development of accurate and sensitive biomarkers would be ideal for screening those at greatest risk of developing Alzheimer’s. In fact, unlike blood or cerebrospinal fluid, saliva is one of the most noninvasive means of getting cellular samples and it’s also inexpensive.”

The study participants included 29 adults in three groups: mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease and a control group. After specimens were collected, the researchers positively identified and accurately quantified 57 metabolites. Some of the observed variances in the biomarkers were significant.  From their data, they were able to make predictions as to those at most risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Said Dr. Graham, “Worldwide, the development of valid and reliable biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease is considered the No. 1 priority for most national dementia strategies. It’s a necessary first step to design prevention and early-intervention research studies.”

As Americans age, the number of people affected by Alzheimer’s is rising dramatically. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, by 2050, it’s estimated the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease will triple to about 15-16 million.

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia affecting a person’s ability to think, communicate and function. It greatly impacts their relationships, their independence and lifestyle. The condition’s toll not only affects millions of Americans, but in 2017, it could cost the nation $259 billion.

The Beaumont Research Institute study was partly funded by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.

The eight investigators are now seeking additional funding to conduct a larger, three-year study with significantly more participants to validate the pilot study. Seven of the researchers are with the Beaumont Research Institute; Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine; and one is with the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
 
201 Research + Innovation Articles | Page: | Show All
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