Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


Simulation and Game Institute opens at GMU

With the rise of experimentation in “serious gaming,” George Mason University and Prince William County opened the new Simulation and Game Institute  on the school’s Prince William campus last week.

A public-private partnership in game design and simulation, SGI is the only institution of its kind on the East Coast, and one of only four global affiliated facilities focused on entrepreneurship into serious gaming. The facility offers high-quality game design, research and development, simulation and game training and certification in addition to visualization and simulation software and rapid-prototyping development.

“The world is changing quickly. In the innovation economy, “high value industries of the mind” are creating the well-paid jobs of the future,” George Mason CEO Dr. Annie Hunt Burriss said. “Together, George Mason University and Prince William County, with our community partners, are creating a great new industry and jobs that Americans want.”

The George Mason University foundation secured the institute’s establishment in October 2013 with $32,000 from the Prince William County Economic Development Opportunity Fund. Companies chosen to reside at the institute will receive business assistance services from the Prince William County Department of Economic Development.

Posted on Apr 02, 2014 at 11:33 AM0 comments


Penn State to auction its intellectual property online

Penn State will hold an auction for intellectual property, where winners will receive licensing rights to patents derived from faculty research in the College of Engineering, according to a university statement.

The auction will be the first of its kind in the United States to be directly overseen by a university, and will take place from March 31 to April 11. University officials believe this auction will be the first of many.

“Penn State and other research universities typically have IP that has been marketed by their tech transfer offices but for a variety of reasons has not been picked up by a commercial entity and therefore sits on the proverbial shelf,” said Penn State Associate Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer Ron Huss. “This auction is an effort to get our IP off of the shelf and in the hands of companies that can use the technology, at very favorable terms and price points. The buyers get the rights to use the IP, and the University gets a financial return. It's a win-win situation.”

The Intellectual Property Auction Website -- I-PAW -- is now accessible at http://patents.psu.edu/ so that interested parties can view available IP, create an account and pre-register for the auction.

But selling patents is not the sole purpose of the auction. Penn State Interim Vice President for Research Neil Sharkey said the idea was chosen in part to raise awareness of the University’s licenses whose commercial applications could prove extremely valuable.

There will be about 70 engineering patents available for auction in fields such as acoustics, fuel cells and sensors. Many of the required minimum bids will be around $5,000. Beyond the patents currently on auction, users can browse Penn State invention patents that are available for licensing through the Office of Technology Management.

Posted on Apr 01, 2014 at 10:07 AM0 comments


IRS adds new features to mobile tax filing app, sees ROI

With tax day just around the corner, the IRS has added new features to its IRS2Go mobile application, which provides users with tax tips and tools to navigate key IRS services.

Taxpayers can now check the status of their federal income tax refund using their Apple or Android mobile device. They can access the information by entering their Social Security number, filing status and the amount of their anticipated refund from their 2013 tax return.

Users who filed a return electronically can check their refund status within 24 hours after the return is received. The update also allows users to request their tax return or account transcript, which they will receive in the mail.

In addition to IRS2Go, the IRS is moving rapidly to adopt electronic and social media services to assist taxpayers and lower the cost overhead of traditional customer services. Currently, the IRS has channels up and going for taxpayer tips and information on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

The federal government has been successful in getting a return on these investments in IRS electronic services, according to a recent report by Accenture. Of 147.6 million tax returns that were filed in September 2012, 113.8 million (77 percent) were done online, it said.

The IRS2Go smartphone app in particular was a key reason for the agency’s success with e-services, according to Accenture, which put the value of potentially fraudulent refunds avoided by using the app at $4.2 billion.

The IRS first launched IRS2Go in January 2011. Within two months, 110,000 iPhone users and 135,000 Android users had downloaded the app. Total cost of the in-house development: $50,000, spent mostly for security features.

Posted on Mar 27, 2014 at 11:20 AM0 comments


Sensors, wireless tech protect police dogs from heat stroke

Police and military dogs face many of the same dangers as their human partners. Many of these dogs, also known as K9s, fall victim to heat related conditions such as heat stroke, which could result in death.

To combat K9 casualties, Massachusetts, Arizona and Texas law enforcement units have invested in a wireless monitoring system to convey the dog’s internal body temperature to its human partner. Data Sciences International and Blueforce Development Corp. have partnered to develop the new system.

The system continuously measures the K9’s body temperature using a small surgically implanted sensor. The sensor then relays the temperature to a receiver attached to the dog’s protective gear, where it can be monitored by the human partners. The receiver relays the information to the K9 officer's smartphone and will instantly alert him if the K9's body temperature exceeds safe health limits.

"Our active involvement in public safety revealed that officers have serious K9 safety needs," said Blueforce CEO Mike Helfrich. "We expect this solution to help save K9 lives by communicating real-time temperature."

The telemetry is communicated to anyone subscribed to the animal through the Blueforce Tactical mobile application for Android or iOS, according to Blueforce blog post. Those who are subscribed receive a notification when the dog’s body temperature exceeds or falls below prescribed values.

Posted on Mar 26, 2014 at 11:17 AM0 comments


Defense teams rapidly deploy mobile, cloud biosurveillance tools

Scientists as the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have spent the past two years helping the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) better predict pending epidemics and regional disease outbreaks.

The objective is at the heart of two linked programs at DTRA. First, the 24 Month Challenge is a multi-agency project to identify and develop diagnostic devices needed to make biosurveillance analytics a reality.  Meanwhile, a parallel DTRA program is developing a cloud database that analyzes the incoming data, according to the NRL announcement.

In the first phase of the 24 Month Challenge, the NRL team solicited proposals for diagnostic technologies that met several core requirements: the ability to differentiate the cause of febrile illness and send the diagnostic data to the cloud database. Evaluations over the past year whittled down the original list to four technologies, enabling NRL to work with three companies to develop prototype technologies that directly address the program's requirements.

"NRL has developed a relationship with two companies, InBIOS International Inc. and ChemBio Diagnostics Systems Inc., that make lateral flow immunoassay strips or LFIs. For reference, the best known example of a LFI is the home pregnancy test," said the NRL principal investigator Shawn Mulvaney. "We then challenged these companies to make their new LFIs capable of detecting the causative agents for malaria, dengue fever, melioidosis, and the plague using only a blood sample obtained from a finger prick. These are some of the most concerning diseases found in theater, particularly for our troops stationed in tropical climates."

NRL has also partnered with Fio Corp. to use the Deki Reader for test analysis and communications. The Deki Reader is a portable unit built around an Android smartphone. It can use its camera feature to take pictures of every test result, and the software can guide the user, analyze the outcomes, and upload the data over the cellular network.

"This is a clever solution to multiple challenges," said NRL’s Mulvaney.  

Based on strong analytical data obtained during NRL's testing, the three technologies are set for field-trials in South America, Africa and southeast Asia. 

Posted on Mar 25, 2014 at 9:56 AM0 comments