CMU in the Media, 2015
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
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
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.
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 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
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
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.
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.
Robotics researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a modular snake robot designed to safely perform tasks that aren’t easily done by humans.
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.
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.
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"
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
The Huffington Post
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.
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
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.
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.