Media Highlights-CMU News - Carnegie Mellon University

CMU in the Media, 2015


New Scientist

No-touch smartwatch scans the skin to see the world around you

What are you doing now? Your next watch may know the answer.

Two new smartwatch prototypes developed at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, can guess what their wearer is up to by tracking subtle signals in their skin and muscles. The technology could allow the owner to answer calls, track activities, and more – all without needing to be touched.



3D printing hair is as easy as using a hot glue gun

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have devised an ingenious method for creating lifelike hair fibers the only requires a common, inexpensive fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer.

Psychology Today

How Big Is Your Hippocampus? Does It Matter? Yes and No.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) were curious to identify whether the experience of navigating London's complex system of streets caused changes to hippocampal size or, conversely, the correlation reflected the fact that only people with a larger hippocampus at the outset of the study were predisposed to succeed at becoming licensed cab drivers.

This Professor Is Making Arteries With an Off-the-Shelf 3D Printer

When Adam Feinberg tried to figure out how to synthesize human tissue four years ago, his supplies were prosaic: a kitchen blender, some gelatin packets from the supermarket baking aisle, and a $2,000 3D printer.

“I had no external funding when I started, so we did it kind of on the cheap,” said Feinberg, 38, a biomedical engineer who runs a lab at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

The Washington Post

The new app that serves as eyes for the blind

As computers get better at navigating the world around them, they are also helping humans better navigate that world as well. Thanks to advances in AI and robotics, scientists from IBM Research and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) are working on new types of real-world accessibility solutions for the visually impaired.

Network World

How higher ed IT is staying ahead of the cloud computing curve

Signs that cloud computing is for real are piling up around Carnegie Mellon University’s Tom Dugas, but nothing else brings this home like the fact that the renowned Pittsburgh research school has posted a job opening for its first-ever cloud architect.


The Spark: Not your average autonomous car

In this week's edition of The Spark, CNBC's Kelly Evans takes a look at autonomous driving technology at Carnegie Mellon.


How Duolingo Mastered the Fickle Language of Startup Success

Speaking a second language is like possessing a master key that unlocks limitless doors of opportunity. Milestones that might otherwise be impossible to achieve using your mother tongue alone: A new country. A new job. A new life. An escape from poverty.

A firm belief in multilingualism as a pathway to success is what fueled Carnegie Mellon computer science professor Luis Von Ahn, 36, and his former Ph.D. student, Severin Hacker, 31, to launch Duolingo. The Pittsburgh-based startup created a popular free app, also called Duolingo, that makes learning a new language all fun and games. Literally.


Popular Science


The human body is difficult territory to conquer, even for medicine: Many drugs have to enter the bloodstream, bypass the immune system, and arrive at a precise location within a designated cell. That’s why Kathryn Whitehead, a chemical engineer at Carnegie Mellon University, is searching for the perfect vehicle: a nanoparticle that can shuttle new therapies directly to where they’re most needed.

IEEE Spectrum

Sensors You Can Swallow Could Be Made of Nutrients and Powered by Stomach Acid

The future of ingestible sensors could be a cross between silicon-based circuitry and biodegradable materials, with batteries made of nutrients and running on stomach juices.

That, at least, is the vision of Christopher Bettinger, assistant professor of materials science and biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. His group is working on edible electronics and ways to power them. 


Low-cost saltwater battery wins $500,000 award

An Aqueous Hybrid Ion battery roughly the size of a dishwasher or small refrigerator potentially stores enough solar or wind energy to power a single-family home completely off the grid in a region where sunlight is relatively plentiful, according to Dr. Jay Whitacre, a professor of materials science at Carnegie Mellon who invented the battery.

Popular Science

The Scientist Who Is Making 3D Printing More Human

Madeline Gannon is a researcher, teacher at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture and Ph.D. candidate in Computational Design — but that’s not all. She is on a mission to open up the infinite design possibilities of 3D printing to the world.

“Currently you have to have a lot of technical background in order to participate in creating things for 3D printers,” Gannon says. “There is still a huge knowledge barrier for how we create digital models.”


Automakers, Google take different roads to automated cars

From his laboratory at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, automated vehicle pioneer Raj Rajkumar says self-driving cars will evolve step-by-step, with humans staying in charge for a long time to come.

MIT Technology Review

Researchers Employ Baxter Robot to Help the Blind

Many people with visual impairments find seeing-eye dogs invaluable for avoiding obstacles and negotiating traffic. But even the smartest guide dog can’t distinguish between similar banknotes, read a bus timetable, or give directions. Now robotics researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are developing assistive robots to help blind travelers navigate the modern world.


IDG News Service

Tired of memorizing passwords? A Turing Award winner came up with this algorithmic trick.

Passwords are a bane of life on the Internet, but one Turing Award winner has an algorithmic approach that he thinks can make them not only easier to manage but also more secure.

Manuel Blum, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University who won the Turing Award in 1995, has been working on what he calls "human computable" passwords that are not only relatively secure but also don't require us to memorize a different one for each site. Instead, we learn ahead of time an algorithm and a personal, private key, and we use them with the website's name to create and re-create our own unique passwords on the fly for any website at any time.

Swarms of tiny drones could be used for rescue missions

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are working on a new generation of disaster drones that can be deployed in swarms into buildings to give first responders a look inside, mapping out the interior as they go.

Tata Consultancy to Form Tech Center in Gift to Carnegie Mellon

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. will help fund a technology center at Carnegie Mellon University where it will provide researchers as well as recruit in areas such as robotics and artificial intelligence.


Solar panels and wind turbines are everywhere these days, but the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. Meaning, the more panels and turbines you build, the more you need a backup for rainy days (literally). Storing excess solar and wind energy would be ideal, but conventional batteries wear out quickly, sometimes catch fire, often leak toxic crud and leave behind heavy metal waste when they go. That leaves unconventional batteries — say, power cells built out of something cheap, plentiful and nonflammable that’s also utterly nontoxic. Maybe, since we’re dreaming here, even safe enough to eat.

Make that, safe enough to eat and drink, and somewhere Jay Whitacre’s ears perk up. For the past five years, the Carnegie Mellon professor and a team of engineers at his startup, Aquion Energy, have been developing a long-lived, eco-friendly and inexpensive battery out of nothing more than salt water and other simple components.

The Washington Post

‘Drinkable book’ filters filthy water and makes it safe to drink, researchers say

Imagine a book that has pages you can tear out and use to turn raw sewage into drinking water. Each page is implanted with silver or copper nanoparticles that kill bacteria when water passes through them. And each page is printed with a message in your local language: “The water in your village may contain deadly diseases. But each page of this book is a paper water filter that will make it safe to drink.”

That’s exactly what one postdoctoral researcher at Carnegie Mellon University says she’s created. She calls it the “drinkable book."

MIT Technology Review

Making Robots Talk to Each Other

When you give two robots the ability to communicate in real-time, the possibilities for their teamwork are vast. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have done just that: enabled two types of robots with very different capabilities to collaborate in order to fulfill people’s requests.

Fox News

Eye-scanning tech used to track terrorists adapted to help find missing children

A technology developed for identifying terrorists is being adapted to help find missing children. 

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed high-resolution cameras they hope to place at major checkpoints -- like airports -- to scan a person's iris from 40 feet away.



See Why This Snake-Inspired Robot Is So Important

Robotics researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a modular snake robot designed to safely perform tasks that aren’t easily done by humans.

Forbes India

India can leapfrog to the next wave of technology, says Carnegie Mellon University president

Its infrastructure gap allows the country to move directly into creating something new instead of tearing down existing frameworks, says Carnegie Mellon University president Subra Suresh.

Hornet Tor alternative for high-speed anonymous browsing revealed

Academics have developed a Tor network alternative for users which allows for high-speed anonymous web surfing.

Developed by Chen Chen of Carnegie Mellon University together with Daniele Enrico Asoni, David Barrera, George Danezis and Adrian Perrig -- hailing from Zurich's Federal Institute of Technology and University College London -- the low-latency onion routing system enables end-to-end anonymous channels and has been designed as a quicker and more secure alternative to Tor.


Softer, More Human Robots

Robots made entirely out of soft materials could be real game-changers. They could integrate more easily with human activities ranging from the ordinary to the exceptional. And a group of engineers at Carnegie Mellon University is working to make such soft robots a hard reality.

National Public Radio "All Things Considered"

They're No. 1: U.S. Wins Math Olympiad For First Time In 21 Years

In one of this year's most intense international competitions, the United States has come out as best in the world — and this time, we're not talking about soccer.

This week, the top-ranked math students from high schools around the country went head-to-head with competitors from more than 100 countries at the International Mathematical Olympian in Chiang Mai, Thailand. And, for the first time in more than two decades, they won.

Po-Shen Loh, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and head coach for Team USA, says the competition is held over the course of two days. Students work on three math problems each.

Carnegie Mellon to form "living lab" of internet of things through Google initiative

When Google proposed its Open Web of Things initiative last December, it was seeking to increase interoperability, security, and an elegant user interface in the global movement towards connected smart devices. The company has awarded half a million dollars towards Carnegie Mellon University to develop its campus and eventually Pittsburg, PA into a "living lab" of cheap and ubiquitous sensors, integrated apps, and user-developed tools to work towards Google's vision of an integrated machine future.

The Associated Press/The New York Times

6 Questions for Carnegie Mellon Autonomous Car Prof Rajkumar

Back in 1984, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University developed a self-driving car called the "Terregator" that used video cameras, sonar and laser to travel a few centimeters per second.

Today, the Pittsburgh school is among the world's leaders in autonomous cars. Google's self-driving car chief got his training there. It's doing research for General Motors, and ride-sharing service Uber recently signed on to develop a self-driving vehicle.

Business Insider

Scientists discovered that having more sex won't make you happier, but that's not the most surprising part

In the first study of its kind, a team of scientists at Carnegie Mellon University has upended the common notion that having more sex will make you happier. 

More surprising is that more sex might even generate unhappiness, George Leowenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon, and his colleagues report in their recent paper.


T.H.E. Journal

Carnegie Mellon To Experiment with Blended Learning for Computer Science

Carnegie Mellon University will launch an experiment this year discover if blended learning can help it meet the growing need for computer science courses without also increasing staff or classroom space. The university plans to pass selected course materials along to high schools for use in their classes as early as 2016.

Humanity's Future Will Be In Caves .. On The Moon

While I talked with the legendary roboticist Red Whittaker in his lab at Carnegie Mellon, a half-moon shaped remnant of a Lifesaver was resting on his knee. He nibbled on it as we talked about sending autonomous robots to explore the moon. That’s when he told me about the moon caves that could be humanity’s future home.

Popular Science

Here's A Photo Of A Brain Forming A New Idea

When a cartoon character has an idea, a light bulb illuminates above his head—a metaphor for how a new thought just seems to click into existence in the human brain. Now neuroscientists at Carnegie Mellon University have captured the brain’s “eureka” moment on film for the first time, according to a study published recently in Human Brain Mapping.

San Francisco Chronicle

Venture capitalist donates $31M to Pittsburgh alma mater

Carnegie Mellon University has received a $31 million gift from a Silicon Valley venture capitalist whose firm invested early in Facebook, Etsy, Spotify and other successful tech companies.

The Wall Street Journal’s Venture Capital blog

Google Capital Backs Duolingo to Help Language-Learning App Go Global

Duolingo Inc. has enticed more than 100 million language learners to use its free, game-like mobile app, a threefold increase during the past year. Now, the Pittsburgh-based startup has secured $45 million from Google Capital and others to launch new revenue experiments and extend its free tutoring to the rest of the world.

Built by a handful of artificial intelligence experts from Carnegie Mellon University and Google Inc., Duolingo offers bite-size, personalized lessons, which automatically adapt to each student’s progress. The lessons are now available in more than a dozen major languages, with modules for Hebrew, Vietnamese, Hungarian and Klingon still under construction.


Next-Gen Educational Tools Deliver A Big Dose Of Fun

Visionary teachers and students from Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship introduced new technologies intended to make education more interactive, individualized, and fun at an event Oracle recently hosted at its headquarters.

The Huffington Post

Carnegie Mellon Students Create Interactive Graphic Novel To Teach How To Stop Sexual Assault

A class at Carnegie Mellon University has created an interactive graphic novel aimed at helping students better understand how to spot warning signs and intervene to stop sexual assault in real social situations.

Tech Times

Bipedal Disney Robots Now A Thing, Will Probably Take Over the World 

In a terrifying new development that proves we are only this much closer to androids and drones ruling us all, Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research have teamed up to create my latest nightmare: bipedal robots designed to mimic the mannerisms of famous cartoon characters.


Route Fifty

Transit Guide-Bots for Blind Passengers?

A blind person is traveling on the subway. The train they’re riding on pulls into a stop, the doors open and the person exits. Waiting there on the platform, to help guide them through the station, is a robot.

“Making a robot do that, there are some challenges, but it’s not as challenging as it used to be,” said Aaron Steinfeld after describing the scenario involving the guide-bot during a recent interview. Steinfeld is an associate research professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute in Pittsburgh, where he specializes in human-robot interaction.


The future of cuddly robots

Disney's Big Hero 6 star Baymax has captured the hearts of millions around the world. But while the health monitoring balloon-like machine is a work of science fiction, researchers are working towards making soft, human-friendly robots a reality. 

Chris Atkeson's work in the field of soft robotics inspired the creation of Baymax. He, along with researcher Yong-Lea Park, both computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University, say the public's perception is changing with the realization that robots don't necessarily want to take over the world.

The Atlantic

Long-Range Iris Scanning Is Here

An officer pulls someone over on the side of the highway. The cop sits in the car a moment, runs the plates—they’re fine—and gets out of the car. As he or she approach the driver’s side window, the driver pulls out a gun, shoots the officer, and flees.

Marios Savvides, a Carnegie Mellon engineering professor, says he’s invented the fix: a long-range iris scanner that can identify someone as they glance at their rear-view mirror. In other words, it’s technology that could potentially identify a dangerous suspect before the cop even gets out of the car.

National Monitor

Water vapor is erupting from Saturn’s moon Enceledus — does it harbor life?

The water found in a geyser-like plume on Saturn's moon Enceladus has a composition similar to waters here on Earth, raising hope among scientists that it could harbor life.

Researchers were able to learn about the pH level of the water coming from a plume on Eceladus based on research by a team from Carnegie Mellon University led by Christopher Glein, which was attempting to see whether life could have ever existed on Saturn's sixth-largest moon, a geologically active celestial body that scientists believe has a liquid water ocean beneath the its frozen surface, according to media reports. 


Earthlings, today is your last chance to send a doodle to the moon

In 1969, a “museum” was established on the moon. A tiny wafer attached to the leg of a lunar landing module contained works by artists including Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Claes Oldenburg. Forty-six years later, the moon is ready for a new exhibit, this time, featuring your artwork.

“Moon Drawings,” a project at the Carnegie Mellon University has put out a call for 10,000 drawings to be included in an “ark” that will travel to the moon via a Space X Falcon 9 rocket next year.


There’s a Way to Control Phones With Sound, Not Electronics

GIERAD LAPUT THINKS the future of smartphone interaction could look a lot like playing the flute. For his most recent project, Acoustruments, Laput, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon’s Future Interfaces Group and Eric Brockmeyer, from the Disney Research Lab, have developed a series of phone accessories that function less like the electronic gadgets you see at Best Buy and more like simple, tiny woodwind instruments.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

CMU chemistry professor earns prize for polymer research work

Carnegie Mellon University chemistry professor Krzysztof Matyjaszewski has won another major award for his pioneering work in polymer research -- the 2015 Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences.


Associated Press

Computer Program to Take on World's Best in Texas Hold 'Em

Carnegie Mellon University researchers are going all in, pitting a computer program against some of the world's best professional poker players.

The Washington Post

Carnegie Mellon students invent apps to head off sexual assaults

A freshman girl stumbles glassy-eyed at a crowded party, and a guy steps in, leading her upstairs to his room. Maybe a couple of people notice, and wonder: “Shouldn’t her friends, whoever they are, walk her home?” then turn back to their conversations.

Soon, some students at Carnegie Mellon hope, bystanders will have an easy, anonymous way to ask her friends if everything is okay, and head off some bad situations.


New Technology Cracks 'Strong' Passwords -- What You Need To Know 

A new paper built on five years of research by a team led by three professors from Carnegie Mellon University, and which will be presented tomorrow at the Human Computer Interaction conference in Korea, shows how long, “complex” passwords can often be far more easily and quickly cracked than most people would tend to believe.

Discovery News

Iris Scanner Identifies a Person 40 Feet Away

Police traffic stops are in the news again, tragically, sparking a new round of discussion on whether and how to outfit police with cameras and other technology.

For several years now, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Biometrics Center have been testing an iris recognition system that can be used to identify subjects at a range of up to 40 feet.

You Can Now Use Your Cellphone As A 3D Modeling Tool

Researchers have created a new technology that uses the camera and accelerometers in an average cellphone to measure real objects in 3D space. Created at Carnegie Mellon University, you can use the system to build “3D models of the world” just by waving your phone around an object or scene.


Unpowered exoboot takes some of the hard work out of hiking

A newly designed, unpowered boot by researchers at Carnegie Mellon and North Carolina University uses spring power to reduce the energy expended in walking by around 7 percent. That seems like a small amount, but it's on a par with powered devices of a similar nature, and will help optimize the human gait.


The Wall Street Journal's Digits blog

Where Were You 3 Minutes Ago? Your Apps Know

Computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University concluded that a dozen or so popular Android apps collected device location – GPS coordinates accurate to within 50 meters – an average 6,200 times, or roughly every three minutes, per participant over a two-week study period.

The Guardian

Learning the Duolingo – how one app speaks volumes for language learning

Behind the online phenomenon are founders Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker, two computer scientists who generated the idea while working on a project to translate web pages at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. What emerged is an app in which the user answers multiple-choice questions, speaks translations into a microphone, and types in phrases in a structured tree of learning.


Does Mars have the answer to storing energy?

Pittsburgh-based Aquion Energy believe they have developed a potentially game-changing energy storage device by using what the company describes as a 'twist' on saltwater batteries, a 200 year old technology according to Aquion.

Jay Whitacre is the founder and CTO of Aquion Energy. Before his role at Aquion, Whitacre worked on energy storage for NASA's Mars rover program.

As an Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Whitacre was able to research and develop, "the chemistry that is the basis for Aquion Energy's product line," according to the company's website.


IEEE Spectrum

Manuela Veloso: RoboCup's Champion

Stepping out of the elevator on the seventh floor of Carnegie Mellon University's Gates Center for Computer Science, I'm greeted by an ungainly yet courteous robot. It guides me to the office of Manuela Veloso, who beams at the bot like a proud parent. Veloso then punches a few buttons to send it off to her laboratory a few corridors away.

The Huffington Post

The Right to Breathe Easy

I have written before about air quality as an issue for community-centered deliberation and action, and as a place where technology fluency can change the world. Air quality is never far from recent news tropes; but the past month we have witnessed an explosion in coverage, and for good reason.


Google Lunar XPrize Teams To Hold 'Nascar' Race On The Moon

Japan's Hakuto and Carnegie Mellon University spin-off Astrobotic are two of the teams competing for the $20 million grand prize that requires the teams to safely land a robot on the moon, then ambulate it 500 meters on, above or below the surface and send back an HDTV video signal to Earth.

The New York Times

It's Tradition

At Carnegie Mellon, students plot their takeover of the fence, encased in layer after layer of paint. The rules call for use of paintbrushes only.

The Associated Press

Ride-hailing service Uber is partnering with Carnegie Mellon University on a Pittsburgh research lab both hope could lead to the development of driverless cars.

Uber, Carnegie Mellon Partnering on Pittsburgh Research Lab


The Huffington Post

Justine Cassell, Associate Vice Provost at Carnegie Mellon University, said the advancement of technology, while scary, could foster new creativity and doesn't necessarily mean humans will be replaced by machines.

Justine Cassell: Microchips In Humans Not A Question Of 'If,' But 'When'

The Huffington Post

Sleeping Bag That Turns Into Tent Could Help Homeless People This Winter

Earlier this month, students at Carnegie Mellon's Integrated Innovation Institute partook in an "Impact-a-Thon," a competition that tasked groups with devising innovative and affordable solutions to help homeless people survive the winter.


Traffic lights on your windshield could get you home faster

Being stuck in traffic is one of the most infuriating experiences for a driver, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University may have found a solution.

The New York Times

Tony Award for Teachers

A new Tony Award will be given annually to a theater teacher who has made a "monumental impact" on the lives of students, executives who oversee the Tonys and officials at Carnegie Mellon University announced on Sunday.

Fast Company

How Duolingo's CEO Keeps Innovating

Luis von Ahn has always been passionate about education, so the Carnegie Mellon computer-science professor decided to start a business that would teach people something.

News Mentions by Year

2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006

About News Clips

Each day, CMU makes news in media outlets far and wide, from local stories on how the university's research impacts Pittsburgh to faculty experts who weigh in on important national and international issues.

CMU monitors media hits and offers a summary of the biggest news clips.

Media hits range between 200 and 400 each week. This is just a sampling of CMU's presence in the local, national and international media.