In the Media

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, focusing on engineering topics and faculty contacted for their expertise by print and broadcast reporters around the world.

 

This former UI student thinks he can help scooters, drones and delivery robots charge themselves with sunlight

Tech Crunch (Aug. 22) -- After attending Illinois for two years, Rohit Kalyanpur dropped out of school to start Optivolt Labs. Though still nascent, Optivolt has figured out a way to provide efficient power transfer systems, solar developer and simulation tools, and cloud-based APIs to enable fleets of machines to self-charge in ambient light. Think e-scooters, electric vehicles, drones, sensors and other connected devices.

Mizzou, U of I researchers work to stop hackers from stealing your info

KMOX (Aug. 21) -- Teams from the University of Missouri and the U. of I. will look for ways to stop hackers from building personal profiles from the information they find in public data sources. The engineering and computer science experts will study existing techniques for protecting private information in online databases and develop better ways to thwart cyberthieves. The four-year project is funded by a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Faced with a Data Deluge, Astronomers Turn to Automation

Scientic American (Aug. 21) -- Machine learning could boost multimessenger astronomy by automating crucial early phases of discovery, winnowing potential signals from torrents of noise-filled data. “This is like a tsunami,” says Eliu Huerta, an astrophysicist and artificial intelligence researcher at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at Illinois. “People realize that for the big data we have (coming) in the future, we can no longer rely on what we have been doing in the past.”

Sydney Uni touts simultaneous control of light and sound on small scales

ZDNet (Aug. 20) A team of scientists has found a way to adapt the feedback process that occurs when data travels through fiber and disperses in a phenomenon known as Brillouin scattering. “Not only do we see immense technological applications, but also the wealth of pure scientific investigations that are made possible,” says Gaurav Bahl, a professor of mechanical science and engineering at Illinois. Also: Popular Mechanics (Aug. 20), Xinhua (Aug. 20), Optics and Photonics (Aug. 21)

A new discovery about magnetism could lead to faster and more energy efficient computer memory technology

Massive Science (Aug. 18) -- You might think that magnetism is as simple as a north pole and a south pole attracting each other. Yet this phenomenon, silently omnipresent in our daily life, still isn’t completely understood, as evidenced by a new study from Illinois physicists. Their discovery about magnetism could lead to faster and more energy efficient computer memory.

To power A.I., start-up creates a giant computer chip

New York Times (Aug. 19) -- A Silicon Valley start-up, Cerebras, unveiled what it claims is the largest computer chip ever built. The engineers behind the chip believe it can be used in giant data centers and help accelerate the progress of artificial intelligence. “It is not that people have not been able to build this kind of a chip,” says Rakesh Kumar, a professor at Illinois who is also exploring large chips for A.I. “The problem is that they have not been able to build one that is commercially feasible.

A new app can detect Bluetooth credit card skimmers on gas pumps

Tech Crunch (Aug. 14) -- A team of computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego and the U. of I. has developed an app that allows state and federal inspectors to detect devices that steal consumer credit and debit card data at gas pumps and ATMs by using Bluetooth to transmit the stolen information. Also: Claims Journal (Aug. 14), Fast Company (Aug. 14), Science Daily (Aug. 14), Gizmodo (Aug. 16) 

NASA selects proposals to further study the fundamental nature of space

Phys.org (Aug. 14) -- The GLIDE mission, led by University of Illinois physicist Lara Waldrop, will study variability in Earth's exosphere, the uppermost region of its atmosphere, by tracking far ultraviolet light emitted from hydrogen. It was one of two proposals selected by NASA for concept studies that could help us better understand the fundamental nature of space and how it changes in response to planetary atmospheres, radiation from the Sun, and interstellar particles.

Polymer printing adapted for better electrical conductivity

The Engineer (Aug. 13) -- Researchers at the University of Illinois have adapted the polymer printing process to stretch and flatten twisted molecules so that they conduct electricity better.

Turning off backscattering to improve optical data transmission

Science Daily (Aug. 13) -- Engineers have found a way to redirect misfit light waves to reduce energy loss during optical data transmission. In a study, researchers exploited an interaction between light and sound waves to suppress the scattering of light from material defects -- which could lead to improved fiber optic communication. Also: Nanowork (Aug. 12)

 

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