Four Pacific Northwest public-private partnerships have won support from the National Science Foundation through a $43 million nationwide program to promote regional technology innovations.
The NSF’s Regional Innovation Engines program is aimed at ensuring that the U.S. remains in the vanguard of technological competitiveness. Forty-four teams in all were selected to receive up to $1 million in Type-1 funding each for up to two years to develop program proposals in their chosen fields.
Programs that are selected for Type-2 funding could eventually receive up to $160 million over the course of 10 years.
“These NSF Engines Development Awards lay the foundation for emerging hubs of innovation and potential future NSF Engines,” NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said today in a news release. “These awardees are part of the fabric of NSF’s vision to create opportunities everywhere and enable innovation anywhere. They will build robust regional partnerships rooted in scientific and technological innovation in every part of our nation.”
BlueDot, based in Bellevue, Wash., came into the open last November with the goal of turning the discoveries made at research institutions around the country into innovative products. At the time, Jain told GeekWire that the venture’s first technological targets would be charging devices that harvest ambient energy and non-invasive devices that detect pathogens.
Now we’re learning how BlueDot plans to proceed, and how much it will take.
CNBC reports that the venture has brought in $8.3 million in investment, which translates into a valuation of $60 million. And NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski has surfaced as the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer.
Not even the click of a pen or the rustle of a shirt goes undetected by Signal Interface Group’s acoustic imager. But how about a person’s, um, rude noises?
“We don’t record those,” the company’s president, Neil Fenichel, says with a smile.
The gizmo that Fenichel demonstrated this week at Signal Interface Group’s office in Bellevue, Wash., is designed for higher purposes: to find out why an elevator is whining, where an air-conditioning system is leaking, which fluorescent light is buzzing, why a car’s engine is making a funny sound, or even how a hummingbird does its buzz.
The imaging system, developed in cooperation with Bellevue-based OptiNav, combines several tricks of the acoustic trade.
A decade from now, we could all be driving low-cost electric cars for hundreds of miles without recharging, thanks to an advance in lithium-air battery technology announced today. Or maybe it’ll be some other lithium-air innovation. Or maybe we’ll see batteries with a different chemistry, such as sodium-air or sodium-lithium.
“The battery of the future is going to encompass a lot of these different technologies,” University of Cambridge chemist Clare Grey told GeekWire.
Grey is the senior author of a study describing a technological twist that promises to remove some of the obstacles that have blocked the path to battery nirvana. The research, featured on the cover of this week’s issue of the journal Science, shows how changing the nanostructure of the electrodes and shifting the chemistry can boost a lithium-oxygen battery’s efficiency and make it more stable.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the task force charged with drawing up recommendations for registering recreational drones includes two Amazon representatives: Sean Cassidy, a former Alaska Airlines pilot who’s working on the Amazon Prime Air drone venture; and Ben Gielow, who’s a senior manager for public policy at Amazon.
Other task force members include Walmart’s Thomas Head, Best Buy’s Parker Brugge and GoPro’s Tony Bates, as well as representatives of drone manufacturers and operators, aviation associations, surveyors and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The task force is charged with suggesting a system for registering recreational drones by Nov. 20. The group is due to convene formally for the first time next Tuesday, the FAA said. Public comments are being taken through Nov. 6.
Alan Mulally started out designing Boeing jets in 1969, and eventually made his mark as the president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Then he moved on to lead Ford Motor Co.’s revival as president and CEO, inspiring a book titled“American Icon.” Now the 70-year-old management guru has a new allegiance.
“I found a new love in Google,” Mulally told his fans on Wednesday evening, during a talk that kicked off this fall’s Albers Executive Speaker Series at Seattle University. “I’m a Googler now.”
But the real point of the exercise is to make it easier to convert NASA’s out-of-this-world ideas into profitable innovations on Earth. NASA is willing to waive the patent licensing fees for the first three years of commercialization, but will take a standard net royalty fee once businesses start selling commercial products.
The resulting products might well have nothing to do with outer space. Here are seven patented ideas that may sound crazy but could work for the right kind of startup.
“In order to demonstrate the widest possible applicability of potential solutions, the competition will have two tracks: one focused on testing technologies at a coal power plant, and one focused on testing technologies at a natural gas power plant,” Paul Bunje, principal and senior scientist for energy and environment at XPrize, said in Tuesday’s announcement.
Would-be competitors have until next June to sign up. Their proposals will be assessed by a judging panel, and the top 15 teams in each track will move on to demonstrate their technologies in controlled experiments.
In each track, the five top-rated finalists will share a $2.5 million milestone purse, based on the results of the experiments. Then they’ll try out their technologies using actual emissions from power plants. In March 2020, the highest-rated team in each track will be awarded a grand prize of $7.5 million. Check out the Carbon XPrize website for the details.
Taking a ride on a flying air taxi could become as cheap as taking an Uber ride, and get you where you’re going in as little as a third of the time, according to a NASA concept study.
In fact, if you’re looking for your flying car, today’s Uber ride-on-demand arrangement just might provide the best model for finding it, said Mark Moore, chief technologist for on-demand mobility at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia.
“Uber could provide a true door-to-door system,” Moore observed during a presentation at this week’s SAE AeroTech Congress and Exhibition in Seattle. “It’s hard to beat that economic model.”