Enhancing VR | Better disease detection | Merging AI and psychology
“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” — Zora Neale Hurston, an American author and anthropologist
MAY 21, 2020
FLYOVER U RESEARCH
Carnegie Mellon students develop touch enhancement to virtual reality
Photo courtesy Carnegie Mellon University
Virtual reality applications are stunning to see. The technology can trick you into thinking you’re in another world or render fantastic environments in great detail. But the impact could be so much greater if you could not only see but touch the virtual world around you.
The key to this magic is wires. Lead student researcher Cathy Fang and her team developed a wire string mechanism that ties to the fingers and operates strings built into a mechanism similar to that in a retractable keychain or lanyard. The mechanism provides haptic resistance that simulates touch.
The students dubbed the device “Wireality” and believe it could be mass-produced for $35. The Association for Computing Machinery published the team’s research paper as part of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.
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Missouri researchers develop early disease detection system
Researchers at Missouri S&T have collaborated with experts at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop a biomedical diagnostics process to assist in early disease detection.
Dr. Risheng Wang, an assistant professor of chemistry at Missouri S&T, said the new, super-sensitive DNA biosensor can detect, transmit, and record information about substances such as nucleic acids, proteins, and antibodies. Made of carbon nanotubes and gold nanoparticles, the sensors could help unearth early biomarkers for diagnosis and genetic disorders, along with monitoring patient responses to therapies.
“Biosensing with nanomaterials have the advantages of greater sensitivity and faster response than traditional analytical methods that require today’s medical devices and time-consuming molecular amplification techniques,” Wang said. He recently published study results in the American Chemical Society journal Analytical Chemistry.
$20 million gift to Vandy will fund treatments for brain disorders
Vanderbilt University has received a $20 million gift from the William K. Warren Foundation to develop drug treatments for the most devastating and vexing brain disorders. The gift establishes the Warren Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery, the new name for Vandy’s center of research into neuroscience. The center researches drug treatments that may prevent Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s Disease, among other brain disorders.
“The basis of any remarkable scientific advancement begins first with unlocking fundamental knowledge,” said Lawrence Marnett, dean of basic sciences in Vandy’s School of Medicine. “This work often takes years of patient, systematic trial and error. Yet, the ultimate benefit to society can be transformational.”
FUELING THE FUTURE
North Carolina Biotechnology Center funds life sciences research
Crop protection, gene editing, and a better sweetener are just a few of the emerging technologies getting a leg up from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. The non-profit Research Triangle Park organization awarded 13 loans and grants totaling $1.8 million this spring to universities and bioscience companies. The awards focused on life science research, entrepreneurship, and bringing technology to market.
Indy software developer lands $3.1M
Encamp, an environmental, health, and safety software platform based in Indianapolis, has raised $3.1 million in Series A funding. The investment was led by Allos Ventures and High Alpha Capital.
Gene therapy company secures $80.5M in Series A round
Kriya Therapeutics, which has offices in Durham, NC, and Palo Alto, CA, has just secured $80.5 million in Series A financing. The company will use the investment to develop gene therapies for treating diabetes and severe obesity.
Chicago-based Tock raises $10M
Tock recently announced that it has raised an oversubscribed $10 million financing, led by Valor Siren Ventures. The company handles reservations, table management, and carryout operations for close to 3,000 restaurants in 28 countries.
NC software startup closes $3.3M round
Raleigh’s MemberHub, a “family & community software platform for parent-teacher organizations,” has raised $3.3 million in an oversubscribed round led by VentureSouth, with participation by several new and existing investors.
Cybersecurity firm raises $12.5M in funding
Columbus-based Finite State has raised $12.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Energy Impact Partners. The company builds technology that “uncovers vulnerabilities and threats in the supply chain of IoT and connected devices.”
Knoxville’s Lirio is merging AI and psychology to improve health
When you think of wellness, artificial intelligence and behavior science might not spring to mind. But that’s what Knoxville-based Lirio is working on. By applying concepts of behavior science to the company’s AI tech, Lirio hopes to help healthcare systems tailor care to individual patients and to encourage patients to be better participants in their own wellness. The ultimate goal is not only better healthcare outcomes but also reduced costs for patients, healthcare facilities, and governments.
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