Author: Melanie Noble

Registration Open for New England Security Day

UConn will host the New England Security Day on March 15, 2024 at the Innovation Partnership Building | UConn Tech Park. This event showcases cutting-edge research in all areas of cybersecurity from academics and professionals. The audience is a mix of students (undergraduate and graduate) and working researchers. It represents an opportunity to learn about state-of-the-art and recruit phenomenal students from universities across New England. The program committee creating the schedule has participants from Boston University, Brown, UConn, Harvard, UMass, MIT, Northeastern, WPI, and Yale. We encourage attendance and participation from industry. Talks will be accessible to a general audience in cybersecurity so don’t worry if you’re behind on the latest fuzzer, ML methods for intrusion detection, or efficient post-quantum cryptography.

Please register here. If you would like to be more involved please contact Jessica Guilbeault jessica.guilbeault@uconn.edu and Benjamin Fuller Benjamin.fuller@uconn.edu.

Moving Beyond Implications: Research into Policy Inaugural Conference

UConn Tech Park responded to a call for researchers to shape policies that optimize benefit to Connecticut’s communities, environment, and economy. Interim Executive Director Emmanouil Anagnostou and Professor George Bollas, along with other researchers and academicians, participated in the inaugural “Moving Beyond Implications: Research into Policy” conference at the State Capitol. This event fosters collaboration between policymakers and researchers, promoting evidence-based policymaking in the state. Anagnostou and Bollas presented topics related to the impact of extreme rainfall on water infrastructure and non-carbon-based fuels, respectively, contributing to the dynamic discussion on how scientists can inform future policy decisions for impactful results.

Check out the UConn Today article, “Conference to Unite Legislators and Scientists in Joint Effort to Strengthen Connecticut” for additional details on the conference’s objectives and background.

Co-organizers State Rep. Jaime Foster and Kerri Raissian provide post-conference commentary in the CT Mirror article, “For progress, put Connecticut lawmakers and researchers in the same room.”

CBIA BizCast: UConn Tech Park Drives Innovation » CBIA

“This isn’t just a good resource. It’s an unbelievable resource,” says Mike DiDonato, business development manager at UConn Tech Park – Innovation Partnership Building. DiDonato joined the CBIA BizCast recently to talk about how UConn Tech Park is helping businesses in Connecticut.

2nd Industrial Workshop on Separations Technology at UConn Tech Park

The Connecticut Center for Advanced Separations Technology (CCAST) hosted its 2nd Industrial Workshop on Separations Technology at UConn Tech Park on October 5-6th.

CCAST Center Director Jeff McCutcheon was thrilled with the success of this year’s event and explains that his vision is “for the workshop to become a premier event on industrially relevant separations that features talks from prominent speakers from industry.” The 1 ½ day event drew over 110 registrants from more than 60 companies and featured 16 speakers, 19 panelists, and over 20 poster presenters focused on separations technology innovation, financing, startups, and technology needs across different industries.

The dynamic workshop was well attended by a range of separations technologies stakeholders, including end users, established providers, start-ups, public/private funding entities, researchers, and experienced industry experts, providing an excellent networking opportunity for guests.

Speakers and panelists discussed the importance and value propositions for new separations technologies, with a range of topics including challenges that require new separations technologies, business opportunities for new separations technologies, how separation technologies impact industry and businesses, innovations in separation technologies, and perspectives and trends on the separations field that may guide future R&D efforts.

McCutcheon expressed his thanks to all who helped make the event happen. “This year’s workshop would not have been possible without help from my co-organizer Dr. Shan Yong,” he says. “It really does take a village to run a workshop, and I’m grateful to UConn, CCAST and C2E2 staff, faculty, and students for lending so much support for this event. I greatly appreciate all the panelists, speakers, and company representatives who shared their research and insights at this far-reaching workshop. Special thanks goes to all our sponsors for helping make this a free event for all who attended!”

The 2023 workshop company sponsors are Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Mott Corporation, and the Athletic Brewing Co. Planning is already underway for the 3rd Industrial Workshop on Separations Technology at UConn Tech Park! Click here to share your agenda suggestions and join the mailing list for the 2024 workshop, or email jeffrey.mccutcheon@uconn.edu

Connecticut Center for Applied Separations Technologies serves the State of Connecticut, greater New England, and the U.S. by identifying opportunities to implement membrane and other advanced separation technology into various industrial and manufacturing processes in order to lower energy use, reduce carbon footprint, limit waste, and prevent adverse environmental and health impacts.

 

 

 

New Center at UConn Tech Park Teams Up Nurses and Engineers to Develop Innovative Healthcare Solutions

Nurse instructing young patient on how to use healthcare device.

Tech Park is delighted to welcome the recently established Nursing and Engineering Innovation Center, co-directed by Tiffany Kelley, UConn School of Nursing and Leila Daneshmandi, UConn College of Engineering. The new center, one of the first of its kind in the nation, focuses on advancing healthcare and promoting workforce and economic development by fostering interdisciplinary collaborations between nursing and engineering.

Patient healthcare greatly benefits from and is influenced by new technologies, but implementing new technology effectively can be a challenge. Engineers are expert problem solvers and builders but may lack clinical insights that are essential for application. Nurses, on the other hand, are ground-floor experts for how a product “should” work and often find themselves improvising solutions for technologies that are complex or less practical.

The Nursing and Engineering Innovation Center aims to bridge this gap by involving nurses and engineers early in the design phase, addressing real-world issues before a product reaches the clinic. User-centered design is a critical first step in overcoming these technology design barriers and holds significant potential to enhance patient care and amplify the impact of healthcare innovations.

The Center will focus its first two to three years on the creation of seed grants for collaborative research among faculty along with joint educational programs for students through Senior Design, coursework, and fellowship programs.

The Center recently announced its NursEng Healthcare Innovation Seed Grant and is currently accepting proposals through November 15, 2023, 5:00 pm. This seed grant was established to promote and support interdisciplinary and innovative research, scholarship, and creative collaborations among faculty from the Schools of Nursing and Engineering that will advance innovation in healthcare technology and have strong potential as a foundation for extramural funding for larger-scale innovation and research activities in the future.

Innovation research, scholarship, and creative collaborations funded by this grant are expected to lead to significant long-term outcomes, such as publications, intellectual property, academic symposia, and future research, scholarship, or collaborations. Click here for more details.

In another initiative, the Center launched the NursEng Innovation Fellowship in April that teams up nursing and engineering undergraduates and empowers them to tackle unmet needs in equitable healthcare quality and to design innovative healthcare technology solutions.

Daneshmandi, a seasoned entrepreneur, explains, “this new program is designed to foster creativity, collaboration, and user-driven innovation and entrepreneurial thinking in healthcare.”

Students are selected for the Fellowship through a proposal process to collaborate as part of an interdisciplinary team to address a healthcare challenge in need of a technological solution. Throughout the academic year, Fellows are trained in user-driven innovation, prototype development, and entrepreneurial skills. Students also benefit from mentoring sessions and access to prototyping centers and receive up to $1750 in seed funding to support prototype development. At the culmination of the Fellowship year, each student team will present their project achievements and upon successful completion of the program, Fellows will receive a certificate of completion. This initiative is currently funded by an awarded Courses and Programs grant from VentureWell.

The Nursing and Engineering Innovation Center’s longer-term strategy is to expand its scope to create a shared state-of-the-art research and teaching facility, which will require major University, state, federal, or donor investment.

Kelley is enthusiastic about the potential offered by the new Center, saying, “By partnering our students and workforce in the nursing and engineering fields and advancing their education with the appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward innovative behaviors and culture, we hold the potential to drive significant positive change in the profession of nursing and health care at large.”

Visit the Nursing and Engineering Innovation Center web site to learn more about the Center, meet this year’s seven Fellows, and find out about other opportunities at the Nursing and Engineering Innovation Center.

Tiffany Kelley, Ph.D., MBA, RN-BC, is Visiting Professor and Director of the UConn School of Nursing’s Healthcare Innovation Online Graduate Certificate Program. Leila Daneshmandi, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in Residence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Director of the entrepreneurship Hub (eHub) in the UConn School of Engineering.

Leveraging Active Machine Learning to Optimize 3D Printing Autonomously

Prof. Anson Ma demonstrates the machine learning capabilities of the HuskyJet 3D printer at the SHAP3D lab in IPB.
Prof. Anson Ma demonstrates the machine learning capabilities of the HuskyJet 3D printer at the SHAP3D lab in IPB.

Inkjet printing has evolved from a graphics and marking technology to a broader variety of additive manufacturing and 3D printing processes for electronic, optical, pharmaceutical, and biological applications. The success of adopting inkjet technology for these newer applications is contingent on whether the ink materials can be consistently and reliably jetted by the print systems. Currently, each printer-and-ink combination requires calibration by trial and error, which consumes a considerable amount of time and materials. IPB researcher, Prof. Anson Ma, Site Director of SHAP3D, teamed up with UConn machine learning expert, Prof. Qian Yang, to demonstrate a new concept of “autonomous 3D printing”, leveraging an active machine learning method they developed to efficiently create a jettability diagram that predicts the best conditions for jetting an ink from a printhead.

Briefly, a camera is used to image the printhead and capture the behavior of ink jetted from a printhead. Starting with a few randomly chosen conditions, a machine learning algorithm predicts the optimal jetting conditions and then “cleverly decides” on the next set of experiments that can further improve prediction accuracy. After performing those experiments, the algorithm analyzes the newly acquired images, updates the prediction for the desired jetting conditions, and iteratively selects the next experiments, continuing autonomously until a small experimental budget is reached. This approach has achieved a prediction accuracy of more than 95% while considerably reducing the number of experiments required by 80% compared to a typical grid-search approach. This novel approach is especially powerful for optimizing complex print systems with many tunable process parameters.

This work was recently published in the journal 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing (http://doi.org/10.1089/3dp.2023.0023) and led to a pending patent application (WO 2023/2788542).

UConn Students Help ASSA ABLOY Advance a Sustainable Future

A sustainable green office building with a green roof

Connecticut and University of Connecticut (UConn) are national leaders in Clean Energy and Sustainability. UConn was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to lead a nationwide decarbonization effort, centrally coordinating critical activities that can facilitate the adoption of Onsite Sustainable Energy Technologies among large energy users. This honor builds upon UConn’s reputation as a national leader in advancing clean energy.

UConn’s Innovation Partnership Building (IPB) at UConn Tech Park is a focal point for businesses interested in reducing their carbon footprint. By connecting companies to critical energy research, incredible high-tech facilities, and programs like Senior Design projects and professional education, the IPB is committed to driving progress in sustainability, and securing a sustainable, efficient, and profitable future powered by clean energy.

Recently, the IPB began conversations with ASSA ABLOY on applying state-of-the-art research towards achieving ASSA ABLOY’s sustainability commitments. Discussions led to options for student engagement, particularly through UConn’s Senior Design program.

Each year, UConn’s School of Engineering capstone Senior Design program engages seniors, faculty, and industry in a yearlong partnership to develop and apply innovative solutions to engineering challenges faced in real-life business settings.

In 2023, over 240 Senior Design projects were sponsored by more than 120 global and domestic participating organizations representing manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, medical, consulting, and utilities sectors. Students and their supporting faculty advisor work together with an industry sponsor to develop solutions to real-life problems in the field. The students research and analyze the problem, conceptualize design solutions and present solutions that can make a real difference to local industry and the state of Connecticut.

Recognizing the potential of enlisting student help to achieve their sustainability goals, ASSA ABLOY sponsored two UConn Senior Design projects.

ASSA ABLOY is the global leader in access solutions, operating in over 70 countries around the world with industry leading innovation and technology, making them a perfect fit as a sponsor for the Senior Design projects.

ASSA ABLOY supported three Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Engineering teams with two projects: reduced carbon footprint door construction, and improved materials for door-locking cylinder products for increased security. Through mentorship from ASSA ABLOY employees Dan Glover, Product Manager, Door Group; Dan Picard, Senior Director of Innovation, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Americas; and Clyde Roberson, Director of Product Management and Tech Services, Medeco Security Locks, the student teams spent two semesters dedicating hundreds of hours to their projects. Final projects were presented at an end-of-year public demonstration, where hundreds of teams shared their projects and findings.

UConn Senior Design Day Gampel Pavilion 2023
UConn Senior Design Day 2023, Gampel Pavilion

“The projects we sponsored were based on some real challenges we have,” Picard explains. “We can only do so much with our limited resources, specifically on challenges surrounding science-based targets and materials themselves. We don’t have materials scientists or materials engineers in-house, so we must go to the experts. Fortunately, UConn has a wealth of experience and knowledge, so it made sense to sponsor the Senior Engineering Capstone projects.”

Sponsoring these projects also gave ASSA ABLOY the opportunity to meet new subject matter experts in these different areas and collaborate with UConn’s faculty. Picard affirms that “The engineering teams at UConn have access to some amazing technology, such as theoretical tools that help us to understand how materials function. These tools enabled the door construction project to do finite element analysis and see potential product failure points through all different types of door assemblies. They could test different amounts of force and impact resistance. This is something we do in our test lab, but they were able to simulate on a computer. The expertise of this software is something we don’t have in-house.”

Out of the 240 teams participating in Senior Design, one of ASSA ABLOY’s sponsored teams placed 3rd in the Materials Science and Engineering department competition. The project that focused on improving door locking cylinders for increased security and drill resistance, involved in-depth research of harder and tougher materials that improve the product but are easier to manufacture and machine.

UConn Senior Design Day Gampel Pavilion 2023
UConn Senior Design MSE team 3rd place winners: Jonathan Bane, Matthew Carragher & Charles Schwarz

“This team placing third is huge,” Glover explains. “They were competing against major companies and corporations like Sikorsky Helicopter, NASA, and Pratt and Whitney. They were also featured in UConn’s magazine, where only four projects were listed. It was an exciting achievement for them and for us as sponsors.”

What’s next for these winning ideas? They aren’t just forgotten at the end of the year. The work by the sponsored teams is being served as a baseline to kick-start new innovation initiatives at ASSA ABLOY.

“The teams at UConn provided us with ideas and insights that will help guide our future product development,” according to Picard. “We were beyond impressed with the results, particularly in lowering the CO2 footprint of the door, while maintaining its performance and integrity, and the investment was worth it. We had a real-life problem and were able to share our experiences with the students. In exchange, they provided us with hundreds of hours of research and offered potential solutions to our challenges.”

Both Glover and Picard comment on invaluable personal experiences during the program. “It’s an extra “above and beyond” what we normally do, but I learned so much,” Glover says. “I thank ASSA ABLOY for the opportunity to get involved and I would recommend we do it again in a heartbeat! It is such an enlightening experience and working with young engineers that see problems differently is energizing. We are helping develop our next generation of innovators and potential ASSA ABLOY teammates – it’s so rewarding.”

If your organization is interested in sponsoring a future UConn Senior Design project or partnering with IPB at UConn Tech Park to advance efficiency and competitiveness through sustainability, we would love to hear from you. Please contact:

Senior Design

Charles B. Maric
Director of Technical Business Development, Senior Design Projects
UConn School of Engineering
Charles.Maric@UConn.edu
860-428-2258

IPB Partnership for Sustainability

Michael DiDonato
Business Development Manager
Innovation Partnership Building at UConn Tech Park
Michael.DiDonato@UConn.edu
203-671-8719

 

UConn’s SPARK, BRIDGE Summer Campers Visit IPB

SPARK students visit IPB

This summer, IPB hosted budding young scientists participating in SPARK and BRIDGE, two UConn summer programs that serve underrepresented students including women and minorities, particularly in STEM fields. This was the perfect opportunity to pique curiosity and nurture interest in science and engineering among these middle and high school school students, who were excited to learn about engineering research applications and see firsthand IPB’s sophisticated technology including specialized 3D printers, nanoscale Xray tomography equipment and powerful electron microscopes, with visits to IPB’s additive manufacturing and materials characterization labs PW AMC, SHAP3D, and REFINE.

IPB’s Interim Executive Director Emmanouil Anagnostou stresses IPB’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, saying, “The IPB community strives to support these impactful educational efforts and it is an honor to help develop a future generation of engineers through programs that serve underrepresented groups.”

The SPARK tour was sponsored and facilitated by Pratt & Whitney’s Women’s Initiative for Success and Equity. SPARK and BRIDGE are made possible by UConn School of Engineering’s Vergnano Institute for Inclusion, launched in 2021 by alumni Betsy and Mark Vergnano, dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented students in engineering and other STEM fields.

SPARK students visit IPB