The number of patients with these devices is merely tens of thousands because of the extreme invasiveness of the implantation process and the large size of the implanted device.The invention of a less invasive implant device with many more channels that can interact with the brain would result in revolutionary improvements to brain-machine interfaces, including direct interfaces to the auditory cortex and the visual cortex, expanding dramatically the ways in which artificial systems can support brain function.Thanks to a new four-year $15.8M grant from the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Columbia Engineering Professor Ken Shepard, a pioneer in the development of electronics that interface with biological systems, is leading a team to do just that: invent an implanted brain-interface device that could transform the lives of people with neurodegenerative diseases or people who are hearing and visually impaired."This topic has drawn lots of interest from the private sector recently, including start-ups Neuralink and Kernel," says Shepard, who is the Lau Family Professor of Electrical Engineering, and professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering.Shepard's project is in DARPA's Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) program, part of the larger Federal-government-wide BRAIN Initiative.Shepard's team includes researchers from leading institutions such as Baylor College of Medicine, California Institute of Technology, Duke University, New York University, Northwestern, and Medtronic.
The authors determined that the plasmonic-nanoparticle-coated foils created by their method perform as well or better than existing SSAs and maintain high efficiency throughout the day, regardless of the angle of the sun, due to the wide-angle design.They propose that the simple, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly process provides an appealing alternative to current SSA fabrication methods.Solar-thermal converters, which can absorb light across the entire solar spectrum and convert it to heat at remarkably high efficiencies, offer a highly promising pathway for solar-energy harvesting.non-emissive, when it comes to thermal radiation (mid- to far-infrared light).Working with instruments and facilities in Columbia Engineering laboratory space and the Columbia Nano Initiative (CNI), the researchers were able to fabricate metal-based plasmonic SSAs using an inexpensive process that can tune the SSAs to suit different operating conditions, and is compatible with industrial manufacturing methods.By dipping strips coated with a reactive metal (zinc) into a solution containing ions of a less reactive metal (copper), solar-absorbing nanoparticles of copper can be easily formed on the zinc strips by a galvanic displacement reaction.
New York, NY -- Sept. 19, 2017-- Researchers at Columbia Engineering have solved a long-standing issue in the creation of untethered soft robots whose actions and movements can help mimic natural biological systems.A group in the Creative Machines lab led by Hod Lipson, professor of mechanical engineering, has developed a 3D-printable synthetic soft muscle, a one-of-a-kind artificial active tissue with intrinsic expansion ability that does not require an external compressor or high voltage equipment as previous muscles required.Their findings are outlined in a new study ([DOI 10.1038/10.1038/s41467-017-00685-3), "Soft Material for Soft Actuators," published today by Nature Communications.Existing soft actuator technologies are typically based on pneumatic or hydraulic inflation of elastomer skins that expand when air or liquid is supplied to them.The external compressors and pressure-regulating equipment required for such technologies prevent miniaturization and the creation of robots that can move and work independently.To achieve an actuator with high strain and high stress coupled with low density, the lead author of the study Aslan Miriyev, a postdoctoral researcher in the Creative Machines lab, used a silicone rubber matrix with ethanol distributed throughout in micro-bubbles.
Researchers at Columbia Engineering have made a breakthrough in soft robotics that is said to have solved a long standing issue in creating untethered soft robots.The goal of these soft robots is to mimic the action and movements of natural biological systems.The research team was led by Hod Lipson, a professor of mechanical engineering.The team developed a 3D printable synthetic soft muscle.This is an artificial active tissue that doesn’t need an external compressor or high voltages as other artificial muscles created in the past have needed.One of the key characteristics of this breakthrough is that the new material features a strain density that is 15 times higher than natural muscle.
With the recent Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and now Maria, which ravaged much of Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, as well as Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, from which NYC infrastructure is still recovering, it has become clear that addressing threats to infrastructure is critical to keeping our communities safe, functional, and healthy.Storm surge has emerged as one of the most destructive forces on infrastructure, especially interconnected structures in cities.To address this issue, Columbia Engineering Professors George Deodatis, Daniel Bienstock, and Kyle Mandli were recently awarded a two-year $500,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to study storm surge threats to New York City infrastructure."Events like these powerful hurricanes have underscored the need for comprehensive plans to protect our infrastructure," says Deodatis, Santiago and Robertina Calatrava Family Professor of Civil Engineering, and Chair, Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, who uses probabilistic methods to study the effects of natural hazards, including climate change and extreme weather, to the civil infrastructure.We urgently need to develop a multi-pronged approach that takes into account how infrastructure is interconnected and how failures in one type of infrastructure can impact the other."The team will use the grant to address the threat from storm-induced flooding to interdependent infrastructure -transportation, power systems, and emergency services -- by designing a methodology that can test various adaptation strategies and their ability to protect these important life-lines.
To counter a growing public safety concern, a professor at the Data Science Institute, Columbia University, is leading a research team to design an intelligent headphone system that will warn pedestrians of imminent dangers from vehicles.The number of injuries and deaths to them has tripled in the last seven years in the U.S., according to one study.Walkers wearing headphones cannot hear the auditory cues - horns, shouts or the sound of an approaching car - that signal impending danger.Therefore, the intelligent wearable headphone system will be outfitted with miniature microphones and intelligent signal processing to detect sounds of approaching vehicles.Once developed, the intelligent wearable system could help reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities from accidents.The four-year research project, supported by a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, is directed by Fred Jiang, a professor of electrical engineering at Columbia Engineering and affiliate of the Data Science Institute, where he co-chairs the Smart Cities Center.
New York, NY -- Oct. 6, 2017 -- Columbia Engineering researchers, led by Harish Krishnaswamy, associate professor of electrical engineering, in collaboration with Professor Andrea Alu's group from UT-Austin, continue to break new ground in developing magnet-free non-reciprocal components in modern semiconductor processes.At the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference in February, Krishnaswamy's group unveiled a new device: the first magnet-free non-reciprocal circulator on a silicon chip that operates at millimeter-wave frequencies (frequencies near and above 30GHz).Nonreciprocal devices, such as circulators, on the other hand, allow forward and reverse signals to traverse different paths and therefore be separated.Traditionally, nonreciprocal devices have been built from special magnetic materials that make them bulky, expensive, and not suitable for consumer wireless electronics.The team has developed a new way to enable nonreciprocal transmission of waves: using carefully synchronized high-speed transistor switches that route forward and reverse waves differently.In effect, it is similar to two trains approaching each other at super-high speeds that are detoured at the last moment so that they do not collide.
In the science-fiction movie Gattaca, visitors only clear security if a blood test and readout of their genetic profile matches the sample on file.Researchers at Columbia University and the New York Genome Center have developed a method to quickly and accurately identify people and cell lines from their DNA."Our method opens up new ways to use off-the-shelf technology to benefit society," said the study's senior author Yaniv Erlich, a computer science professor at Columbia Engineering, an adjunct core member at NYGC, and a member of Columbia's Data Science Institute.The software is designed to run on the MinION, an instrument the size of a credit card that pulls in strands of DNA through its microscopic pores and reads out sequences of nucleotides, or the DNA letters A, T, C, G. The device has made it possible for researchers to study bacteria and viruses in the field, but its high error-rate and large sequencing gaps have, until now, limited its use on human cells with their billions of nucleotides.In an innovative two-step process, the researchers outline a new way to use the $1,000 MinION and the abundance of human genetic data now online to validate the identity of people and cells by their DNA with near-perfect accuracy.With each cross-check, the algorithm updates the likelihood of finding a match, rapidly narrowing the search.
Imagine if the sun's energy could be harnessed to power energy needs on Earth, and done in a way that is economical, scalable, and environmentally responsible.Researchers have long seen this as one of the grand challenges of the 21st century.Daniel Esposito, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Columbia Engineering, has been studying water electrolysis?the splitting of water into oxygen (O2) and hydrogen (H2) fuel?as a way to convert electricity from solar photovoltaics (PVs) into storable hydrogen fuel.Hydrogen is a clean fuel that is currently used to propel rockets in NASA's space program and is widely expected to play an important role in a sustainable energy future.The vast majority of today's hydrogen is produced from natural gas through a process called steam methane reforming that simultaneously releases CO2, but water electrolysis using electricity from solar PV offers a promising route to produce H2 without any associated CO2 emissions.Based on the concept of buoyancy-induced separation, the simple electrolyzer architecture produces H2 with purity as high as 99 percent.
New York, NY--December 19, 2017--Some 50,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD) every year.Falls and fall-related injuries are a major issue for people with Parkinson's?up to 70 percent of advanced PD patients fall at least once a year and two-thirds suffer recurring falls.These fall rates are twice as high as those of adults of comparable age, so improving balance in patients with Parkinson's would provide a major health advantage.Sunil Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering and of rehabilitation and regenerative medicine at Columbia Engineering, along with Dario Martelli, a post-doctoral researcher in his group, have been working on this issue with Movement Disorders faculty from the department of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center?Stanley Fahn, a leading expert in Parkinson's, and Un Jung Kang, division director, and Movement Disorder Fellow Lan Luo.The researchers found that the ability to adapt to multiple perturbations or to modify responses to changing amplitudes or directions was not affected by PD; both the Parkinson's and the healthy subjects controlled their reactive strategies in the same way.Agrawal's team, experts in rehabilitation robotics, used a robotic system--Tethered Pelvic Assist Device (TPAD)--invented in his Robotics and Rehabilitation (ROAR) Laboratory to perform the study.
Neurodegenerative disorder Parkinson’s disease can be debilitating for the growing number of people affected by it — 50,000 people are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.Although exciting breakthroughs are being made, there’s currently no cure for the disease.A team of researchers at Columbia University is working on alternative ways to help patients and has developed a smart robotic harness that can be used to “teach” Parkinson’s patients to improve their balance, thereby reducing the likelihood of falling.“We have developed a cable-driven robot that consists of a lightweight belt worn by a participant on the pelvis to which several wires are attached,” Sunil Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering and rehabilitation and regenerative medicine at Columbia Engineering, told Digital Trends.“Desired forces and moments can be applied at the pelvis in any direction, and at precise time points within the gait cycle.This technology, which we call Tethered Pelvic Assist Device (TPAD), does not add inertia and rigid links to the human body.
Columbia University's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science has announced a $10 million grant from the Blavatnik Family Foundation to fund innovative research at the intersection of engineering and health and to expedite the development, application, and commercialization of breakthrough discoveries.The Blavatnik Family Foundation is headed by American industrialist and philanthropist Len Blavatnik, the founder of Access Industries, a privately held global, diversified industrial group, and an alumnus of Columbia Engineering, where he earned a master's degree in computer science in 1991."We are deeply grateful for this transformative gift that will fund pioneering research for the next 10 years," said Mary C. Boyce, dean of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science."With his generous gift, Len Blavatnik is furthering our vision of Engineering for a Healthy Humanity by supporting a research pipeline in health and medical research, from doctoral students just beginning their inquiries, to faculty at the crossroads of engineering and medicine, to funding the translation of their research from the laboratory to industry."The first, the Blavatnik Doctoral Fellows, is an elite cohort of graduate researchers.Over the next 10 years of the fund, up to 50 young researchers will benefit from the financial support and recognition of being named Blavatnik Fellows.
In a new study, researchers at Columbia University found that street trees protected by guards that stopped passersby from trampling the surrounding soil absorbed runoff water more quickly than trees in unprotected pits.The results are published online in the journal Ecological Engineering.The researchers hypothesize that the guards improve infiltration by limiting soil compaction in tree pits."Placing guards around tree pits allows urban trees to absorb more storm water runoff, taking pressure off the city sewer system," said the study's senior author, Patricia Culligan, a professor at Columbia Engineering and a member of Columbia's Earth Institute and Data Science Institute.City-recommended tree guards cost about $1,000, depending on their style and size of the tree pit, but an improvised $20 fence can work just as well, said the study's lead author Robert Elliott, a recent graduate of Columbia Engineering and cofounder of Urban Leaf, a New York City startup helping city dwellers grow food at home.New York's 660,000 trees cover about 6 percent of the city.
The Data Science Institute (DSI) at Columbia awarded Seeds Fund Grants to five research teams whose proposed projects will use state-of-the-art data science to solve seemingly intractable societal problems in the fields of cancer research, medical science, transportation and technology."In awarding these grants, the DSI review committee selected projects that brought together teams of scholars who aspire to push the state-of-the-art in data science by conducting novel, ethical and socially beneficial research," said Jeannette M.Wing, Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute.The seed program is just one of many initiatives that Wing has spearheaded since the summer of 2017, when she was named director of DSI, a world-leading institution in field of data science.p(true): Distilling Truth by Community Rating of Claims on the Web:The team: Nikolaus Kriegeskorte, Professor, Psychology and Director of Cognitive Imaging, Zuckerman's Institute; Chris Wiggins, Associate Professor, Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia Engineering; Nima Mesgarani, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering Department, Columbia Engineering; Trenton Jerde, Lecturer, Applied Analytics Program, School of Professional Studies.But those actions end up boosting certain claims while blocking others, which amounts to a powerful mechanism of amplification and filtering.
New York, NY--Jan. 31, 2018--The rapid development of flexible and wearable electronics is giving rise to an exciting range of applications, from smart watches and flexible displays--such as smart phones, tablets, and TV--to smart fabrics, smart glass, transdermal patches, sensors, and more.With this rise, demand has increased for high-performance flexible batteries.A team led by Yuan Yang, assistant professor of materials science and engineering in the department of applied physics and mathematics at Columbia Engineering, has developed a prototype that addresses this challenge: a Li-on battery shaped like the human spine that allows remarkable flexibility, high energy density, and stable voltage no matter how it is flexed or twisted."The energy density of our prototype is one of the highest reported so far," says Yang.Yang, whose group explores the composition and structure of battery materials to realize high performance, was inspired by the suppleness of the spine while doing sit-ups in the gym.The battery also successfully survived a harsh dynamic mechanical load test because of our rational bio-inspired design."
Or building a complicated DIY project with step-by-step instructions appearing "on" your glasses.Or being a first-responder unsure which way to go, receiving information from central headquarters "on" your glasses.An interdisciplinary Columbia Engineering team is working with colleagues at Stanford, UMass Amherst, and Trex Enterprises Corporation to come up with an alternative solution.Thanks to a $4.7 million, four-year grant from DARPA, they are developing a revolutionary lightweight glass that is able to dynamically monitor the wearer's vision and display contextual images that are vision-corrected."We are creating a game-changer, a completely novel glass design that enables high resolution projection and detection of light with no moving parts," says Michal Lipson, Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering at Columbia, a pioneer in nanophotonics who is leading the team.Our ultimate deliverable will be an ultrahigh-resolution, see-through, head-mounted display with a large field of view and vastly reduced SWaP (size, weight, and power consumption), coupled with the ability to correct users' ocular aberrations in real time and project aberration-corrected visible contextual information onto the retina."
A frequency comb is a special kind of light beam with many different frequencies, or "colors," all spaced from each other in an extremely precise way.When this many-color light is sent through a chemical specimen, some colors are absorbed by the specimen's molecules.This technique, known as frequency-comb spectroscopy, enables molecular fingerprinting and can be used to detect toxic chemicals in industrial areas, to implement occupational safety controls, or to monitor the environment.This span enables a larger variety of chemicals to be detected with the same device, and also makes it easier to uniquely identify the molecules: the broader the range of colors in the comb, the broader the diversity of molecules that can see the colors.In contrast, the Columbia Engineering chip-scale dual comb can easily be carried around and used for sensing and spectroscopy in field environments in real time.They also used a single laser to generate both the combs, rather than the two lasers used in conventional dual combs, which reduced the experimental complexity and removed the need for complicated electronics.
The RAD, an audio-based interface that can easily be integrated into existing video games, enables people who are visually impaired to play video games with the same speed and control as sighted players, with full 3D graphics and complex, challenging racetracksNew York, NY--March 6, 2018--Brian A. Smith, a PhD candidate in Computer Science at Columbia Engineering, has developed the RAD--a racing auditory display-- to enable gamers who are visually impaired to play the same types of racing games that sighted players can play with the same speed, control, and excitement that sighted players experience."The RAD is the first system to make it possible for people who are blind to play a 'real' 3D racing game--with full 3D graphics, realistic vehicle physics, complex racetracks, and a standard PlayStation 4 controller," says Smith, who worked on the project with Shree Nayar, T.C.Others are versions of popular games so simplified that a blind gamer does nothing more than follow orders.The RAD comprises two novel sonification techniques: a sound slider for understanding a car's speed and trajectory on a racetrack, and a turn indicator system for alerting players about upcoming turns well in advance of the actual turns."The RAD's sound slider and turn indicator system work together to help players know the car's current speed; align the car with the track's heading; learn the track's layout; profile the direction, sharpness, timing, and length of upcoming turns; cut corners; choose an early or late apex; position the car for optimal turning paths; and know when to brake to complete a turn," says Smith.
A PhD candidate in computer science at Columbia Engineering has developed a powerful new piece of software that allows the blind and visually impaired to play racing video games.The technology, known as racing auditory display (or RAD), was designed by PhD candidate Brian Smith to allow those with a visual impairment to play racing video games at the same speed and intensity as those who are sighted.RAD works by essentially creating an auditory ‘picture’ of the video game and what’s happening within it.As the player moves around the track they are constantly fed different auditory signals that can then give them information about their position on the track, speed and how close they are to cutting or missing the corner completely.The goal, as Smith explains, was to make sure that at no point was the system cutting any corners on the experience of playing a racing game at full speed.“The RAD is the first system to make it possible for people who are blind to play a ‘real’ 3D racing game—with full 3D graphics, realistic vehicle physics, complex racetracks, and a standard PlayStation 4 controller,” says Smith.
A PhD candidate in Computer Science at Columbia Engineering, Brian A. Smith, created a new system for blind gamers who want to get a little racing in.The system, called racing auditory display or RAD, is truly amazing.It lets the visually impaired play racing games without “seeing” the screen.Instead, the audio output tells the player when they’re getting closer to an edge and can even enable to them to cut corners in tight turns.“The RAD is the first system to make it possible for people who are blind to play a ‘real’ 3D racing game–with full 3D graphics, realistic vehicle physics, complex racetracks, and a standard PlayStation 4 controller,” said Smith, who worked on the project with Shree Nayar, T.C.Chang Professor of Computer Science.