Carnegie Mellon University

Jay Reddy, Advanced Optronics: Helping surgeons do their job better

Jay Reddy is a California native who came to Pittsburgh to attend Carnegie Mellon University for graduate school, and he’s stuck around to co-found and run Advanced Optronics Inc., a Pittsburgh-based biotech company that uses sensor technology and flexible materials to help surgeons do their jobs better. Advanced Optronics, whose first clinical application of its technology is for cochlear implantations to address hearing loss, and CMU recently won $650,000 from the National Science Foundation to help scale the technology and explore other applications.



Toyz Electronics is Empowering Gen Z

Generation Z has recently joined the workforce, marking a new era of growth and challenges. Employers have already identified a generational skill gap that could potentially result in trillions in lost revenue. The tech industry already suffers from a lack of diversity that may be exacerbated by this expanding gap. To ensure that no one is left behind in the Intelligence Age, Toyz Electronics is gamifying STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) education. 

Founded in 2014, Toyz Electronics combines gaming, a marketplace and online learning platforms all into one immersive platform. By gamifying learning, upskilling diverse prospects, and offering mentoring relationships and career opportunities, Toyz teaches students how to start their journey and to also tell their story in the process.

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The American computer scientist Lenore Blum just wanted to do mathematics. But for that, she had to become political.

In one of the most crucial moments of her life, Lenore Blum was not invited. It was the 1960s in America, a party at a professor's apartment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, abbreviated MIT, one of the world's most prestigious scientific universities.



Gather AI Raises $17M to Accelerate Growth

Gather AI, makers of computer vision and AI-powered warehouse inventory monitoring solutions, today announced a $17M Series A-1 led by Bain Capital Ventures with participation from Tribeca Venture Partners, Dundee Venture Capital, Expa, and Bling Capital. The new funding provides a total of $34M raised to date. It will be invested in scaling operations as Gather AI continues to attract customers by solving supply chain issues with richer data and AI.




Abridge, the leader in generative AI for clinical documentation, announced an additional $150 million investment, leveraging momentum from their product’s rapid uptake among health systems throughout the nation. This raise comes just 4 months after their $30M Series B, and is one of the largest funding rounds made to date in generative AI for healthcare. 



SeaLion Energy Awarded DOE Voucher Support for Prototype

SeaLion Energy, a battery engineering company that spun out of Energy Fellow Reeja Jayan’s lab, received one the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Technology Transition vouchers to advance clean energy technology. The DOE announced that 111 entities would be receiving support valued at $9.8M.



Galen Health Named Semifinalist in Microsoft Imagine Cup

Galen Health founder and James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellow Logan Nye, MD, has announced that his company is a semi-finalist in the Microsoft Imagine Cup. Co-founded with Carnegie Mellon master of Science student Kushagra Agarwal, the company is one of twenty teams selected to advance to the semi-finals out of hundreds of teams from over fifty countries.




Advanced Optronics and Carnegie Mellon University Awarded $650,000 NSF Grant to Develop Bio-Inspired Medical Instruments

Advanced Optronics Inc, a medical sensor technology startup, has been awarded a $650,000 National Science Foundation Convergence Accelerator Phase-I grant along with Carnegie Mellon University.

The convergence research will develop medical instruments that sense their own shape changes during complex surgeries to provide real time tactile feedback to surgeons. The team is using a bio-inspired approach, synthesizing data from distributed sensors to imbue flexible medical instruments such as catheters, endoscopes, and electrodes with senses of tactility and proprioception that surpass human abilities. Their initial focus is on cochlear implantation to address hearing loss. 


The ‘Accidental Activist’ Who Changed the Face of Mathematics

This article/Q&A from Quanta Magazine is about the Founder of Project Olympus, Lenore Blum! 

Lenore Blum’s long career has spanned the breadth of mathematics and computer science. She’s done influential work in logic and cryptography, and she formulated an entirely new model of computation. And though she didn’t set out to do so, she’s also devoted a significant chunk of her time to building institutions to help women follow in her footsteps.

“I had never wanted to think of myself as a woman mathematician,” she said. “But I started realizing I had a role to play.”

Her personal life, too, has led her to unexpected places. Born in New York City in 1942, Blum moved to Caracas, Venezuela, at the age of 9 when her father went into business with a relative. There she met Manuel Blum, who would become her husband of 62 years and a pioneering computer scientist himself. In Caracas, Blum also discovered the other great love of her life, mathematics.

Read more in Quanta Magazine...


Founders of HEARTio and CMU professor place on Forbes' annual 30 Under 30 list

In the health care list category, Forbes included Adam Butchy, Utkars Jain and Michael Leasure, all of whom are engineering students at the University of Pittsburgh and co-founders of HEARTio, a startup that's developing an algorithm for electrocardiogram readings that could lead to the identification and subsequent prevention or treatment of severe heart problems. In March 2022, the Pittsburgh Business Times named Butchy and Jain among that year's class of 30 Under 30 honorees due in part to their efforts at HEARTio, which closed on a $1 million funding round in Q4 2022.


screen-shot-2023-05-03-at-9.16.03-am-2.pngToyzSTEAM turning kids into superheroes through video games

Host Heather Abraham is chatting with Damola and Wole Idowu, a father and son duo inspiring kids to learn the STEAM subjects through video game superheroes. 

Watch the interview here! 


Shift Robotics Recognized by TIME as one of Best Inventions of 2023

These battery-­powered wheeled shoes allow you to walk normally (not skate), just faster and more easily. The Moonwalkers use AI to sense when you’re speeding up or slowing down and adjust themselves accordingly, and the wheels lock when you’re taking the stairs. Tested in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New York City, and Washington, D.C., the shoes allow you to walk at speeds up to 7 m.p.h.—250% faster than your average gait—so you can travel farther without tiring out.

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ViralMoment, AI Social Video Insights Tool Coveted by Top Brands and Agencies Including Ogilvy and Warner Bros, Raises $2.5M

ViralMoment, the leading provider of AI-powered social video insights and analytics, today announced a seed round of $2.5M, led by Supernode Global, with participation from funds including Crush Ventures, Duo Partners, Carnegie Mellon University, and Techstars. With powerhouse brands already on board including Warner Bros, WPP, and Omnicom agencies, ViralMoment's leading AI is the only way for marketing teams to truly own and analyze short-form user-generated videos - the #1 form of social media content today.




On keeping the ‘big-picture goal’ in mind: 10 questions with Farm to Flame Energy cofounder Kwaku Jyamfi

In this RustBuilt Pittsburgh Q&A, the exec shares lessons on building a mission-driven team and scaling a young energy company.

If you’re anything like Kwaku Jyamfi, he says, you might tend to get lost in the details of growing a company. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — but seeking advice from others who’ve been in your place can go a long way to keep perspective.

In 2018, Jyamfi and Will McKnight cofounded Farm to Flame, a Duquesne-based startup bringing clean energy to farmers and businesses by manufacturing generators that replace diesel with carbon neutral feedstocks.





ESTAT Actuation has hired 12 Pitt co-ops since the program’s inception and has provided great hands-on experience, project management, and leadership skills to our students in a real-world working environment. ESTAT Actuation builds electroadhesive clutches and brakes that are 10x lighter, 10x more compact, and 1000x more efficient than conventional clutch hardware. Their customers use these products to create robot designs that were previously infeasible in the mobile robotics, logistics robotics, wearable robotics, and manufacturing verticals.  


JJ Xu, Founder of TalkMeUp, Announces Latest Blog and Webinars

JJ Xu, founder of the AI communication coach TalkMeUp, has announced the latest blog for the company, "Lessons Learned About Persuasive Communication Skills Improvement in 2023". This is a must-read for anyone looking to elevate their communication skills. Read the blog here.

Check out the archived blogs and webinars.


Power 3D Wins $75K DOE Microbattery Design Prize

Power 3D Inc., an early-stage I-Corps startup looking to commercialize a novel battery manufacturing process using 3D-printed lithium-ion batteries, has received a $75,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) through its Microbattery Design Prize initiative.

Offered through the DOE Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office, the prize is designed to advance innovative new designs for microbatteries and accelerate their commercialization and integration into existing technologies needed for clean energy manufacturing. Eight prizes were awarded, for a total of $600,000.




A FREE and fun way to learn to read music

Founder of Noteful, Becky Billock, talks about her startup journey and what it means to her to be an entrepreneur. The Noteful app provides you with a few minutes of daily practice in note reading, ear training, and music theory so you can understand all those dots on the page and have a better ear for the music you listen to and play. 

Read more and listen here...