By Eric Siy and Dr. Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer
The Jefferson Project at Lake George, being launched today in Upstate New York, is the culmination of a generation’s work to understand the lake’s changing water quality and what it will take to protect it for the next generation.
The project will advance the “Legacy Strategy” of The FUND for Lake Gorge, a science-based advocacy group founded in 1980. The Strategy was adopted last fall to stop documented declines in water quality as revealed by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Margaret A. and David M. Darrin ’40 Fresh Water Institute (DFWI). Continue Reading »
Earlier this month IBM Research hosted the inaugural Smarter Energy Research Institute Conference (SERI) where energy and utility experts from around the globe came to share ideas and demonstrate prototype applications that shine a light on the next generation of analytics for the utility industry. Famed inventor and creator of the Segway Personal Transporter, Dean Kamen, delivered the keynote address and spoke of the need to inspire the next generation of great inventors.
The Smarter Planet blog sat down with Kamen prior to his speech to get his views on the future of the individual inventor, his pursuit of a solution to provide drinkable water to the 2 billion humans living without it, and what the utility of the future may look like. (The following is an excerpt.) Continue Reading »
By Jörg Sprengel, Ph.D.
Each year, tremendous resources are invested in research and development (R&D) to help eradicate or mitigate the devastating effects of rare or incurable illnesses, and inoculate us against the health threats of tomorrow.
Researchers estimate that it takes an average investment of $1.3 billion and more than a decade of work to bring a new pharmaceutical product to market. Yet 60 percent of R&D projects fail to bring a new products and treatments to fruition for a variety of reasons. Some fail to meet specific safety criteria, while others are proven ineffective. In other cases, study results are contradictory, making it difficult to verify or replicate findings. And let’s not forget the need for critical regulatory safeguards to test new products for safety and efficacy. In fact, regulation poses a steep threshold for market entry that can sometimes hold investors back from exploring new frontiers and products.
But what if the process could be faster, cheaper, and more efficient? Continue Reading »
By Rich Hume
With 20 percent of its land below sea level and more than half of the country vulnerable to flooding, The Netherlands depends on a vast network of dykes and sluices to hold back and divert sea, river and rain water. For most of the past 500 years, the ever-evolving system has done its job admirably. (An exception came in 1953, with flooding that caused the deaths of 1800 people.) Yet global warming and the threat of rising sea levels but also more droughts means the Dutch can’t rest on their laurels. So the government is launching an innovative collaboration aimed at harnessing big data to improve management of the water system while restraining cost increases. Continue Reading »
By Alán Aspuru-Guzik
What if you could capture and convert sunlight into electricity with a material as inexpensive, versatile and easy to produce as the one used for plastic bags? What if a liquid version of this material could be used to coat surfaces for solar energy production? What if these materials were light enough and thin enough for use in portable devices? And finally, what if these materials were so inexpensive that they could help provide electricity to people in the developing world and others without access to power grids?
Organic solar cells offer us the potential to realize these highly desirable outcomes. With that in mind, we launched the Clean Energy Project at Harvard to discover suitable materials from which to develop devices for generating electricity from sunlight. The Clean Energy Project uses massive amounts of computing power to screen an unprecedented number of organic compounds in an attempt to identify potential high-performance materials.
By Dan Lohrmann
A radical change is sweeping across the global workplace: mobile technology is redefining the boundaries between work, home life and play.
According to IT analyst firm Gartner, the rise of bring your own device (BYOD) programs is the single most radical shift in the economics of client computing since the introduction of the personal computer in the workplace.
Bringing your own mobile device offers many benefits. Employees are comfortable with the various features and functionality of their preferred—and often beloved—smartphone. Also, using personally-owned mobile technology can eliminate the need for carrying two devices—one for personal use and the other for work. Continue Reading »
IBM Research scientist Robert Dennard, who at age 80 still comes to work at the lab nearly every day, has been awarded the Kyoto Prize—one of the world’s most prestigious recognitions for personal achievement. He will receive the Advanced Technology Prize in Electronics at a November ceremony in Japan.
Dennard, an IBM Fellow, is best known for inventing the memory chip in 1967. The simplicity, low cost and low power consumption of his invention, dynamic random access memory (DRAM), opened the door to the personal computer. Today, memory chips are used in every PC, laptop computer, game console and mobile communications device. Continue Reading »
By Paul Brody
3D printing, intelligent robotics, and open source hardware are three emerging technologies that stand to revolutionize modern-day manufacturing. These disruptive forces will usher in a new manufacturing paradigm that is managed by software and data files – something we call the “software-defined supply chain.”
For more than a year, my colleagues and I have been carefully studying the likely impact and implications of these technologies. We wanted to see if these new technologies could alleviate many of the constraints and the fixed costs of a traditional supply chain, and if so, to what extent? To verify this, we built an integrated supply chain model and then tore apart a series of electronics items – including a mobile phone, a hearing aid, a washing machine, and an industrial display. Continue Reading »