Leading the News
CES Announcement Reviews Focus On AI Innovations.
In a news roundup, USA Today (1/9) highlights smart home innovations announced at CES, including Alexa’s integration into bathroom mirrors and Lenovo’s smart displays. USA Today also mentions the debut of Alexa-integrated smart glasses.
The E-Commerce Times (1/9, Jones) says that AI dominated CES, as “Google all but declared war on Amazon with its Google Assistant voice technology.” The Times also cites how “LG rolled out a new lineup of high-end AI OLED and Super UHD televisions infused with its ThinQ AI technology.” The Times mentions Google’s expanded partnership with LG, Toyota’s e-Palette platform for creating self-driving vehicles, and its plans to begin test autonomous vehicles by 2020.
TechRepublic (1/9, Brown) carries video coverage online of TechRepublic managing editor Bill Detwiler reporting from CES in Las Vegas. TechRepublic highlights how CES is focusing on AI, big data, drones, and 5G innovations. Detwiler said the emerging business technology trends are bigger TVs, self-driving cars, consumer tech, and how AI will be affecting businesses in 2018.
In its wrap-up of the announcements from the start of CES, CNET News (1/9, German) outlines Ford’s partnership with Qualcomm on vehicle-to-everything communication, Alexa’s integration into Toyota and Lexus vehicles, Honda’s robot concepts, Sony’s Aibo robot dog, Dell’s Portable Thunderbolt 3 SSD storage device, and the standalone VR headset Lenovo Mirage Solo.
Mashable (1/9) editor Raymond Wong offers his picks for the top announcements thus far at CES, including Sony’s Aibo, the Fisker EMotion electric sedan, self-driving Lyft cars by Aptiv, LG’s OLED canyon display, Samsung’s “The Wall” 4K TV, LG’s rollable OLED TV, Razer’s Project Linda laptop dock for its smartphone, Dell’s revamped XP3 13 laptop, the Special Aflac duck for chemotherapy patients, the FoldiMate laundry folding robot, Lenovo’s smart display with Google Assistant, the Nanoleaf compatible with Apple’s HomeKit, and the HTC Vive Pro VR headset.
DroidLife (1/9) continues coverage of Google’s announcement that its Assistant is coming to smart displays, meaning “Google Home-like units with touch displays, just like Amazon’s Echo Show or Echo Spot.”
The AP (1/10) points out that “today’s vision of a smart home has more to do with what’s technologically possible than what people really need.”
Convertible PCs Said To Be More Popular At CES Than Tablets. ZDNet (1/9) contributor Ross Rubin says that although “top-tier corporate PC makers HP, Lenovo, and Dell all announced new PC models” at CES that provide “no shortage of highly mobile computing devices, you won’t find any slates in the mold of the unadorned iPad.” Rubin asserts the CES exhibits show “business people in particular have largely clung to the advantages of the clamshell despite a multi-year assault on the benefits of touch and the optimization of computing for it,” highlighting the popularity of convertibles over tablets this year.
ED Officials Offer Student Advocates Few Details On Tougher Student Loan Relief Standards.
Inside Higher Ed (1/9) reports that ED “officials said Monday that they do not have any estimates of how many borrowers would clear new, tougher standards proposed for claims of loan relief when a student is defrauded or misled by their college.” The piece describes ED’s proposed new rules to “require a student borrower to demonstrate clear and convincing evidence that their college intended to deceive them or had a reckless disregard for the truth in making claims about job-placement rates, credit transferability and other outcomes.” On Monday, negotiators hammering out details of the new rules “representing student advocates pressed the department repeatedly Monday for details on how students would make demonstrations of evidence under the new tougher standard and for estimates of how many current applicants would clear the new standard. Department officials said they could provide neither.”
NSF Awards $1 Million Grant To Pennsylvania Community College STEM Program.
The Lehighton (PA) Times News (1/9) reports the National Science Foundation S-STEM program, “designed to produce skilled graduates prepared to enter the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workforce,” awarded a five-year, $1 million grant to Lehigh Carbon Community College for its Start SMART project. Starting in the fall, the Start SMART – “Self-Motivated, Academic, Reflective and Talented” – project “will provide scholarships for 90 to 100 academically talented, low-income students to increase their retention, degree completion and transfers to four-year programs.” Participating students “will participate as a cohort in structured activities to motivate them to persist in their STEM programs,” and “will be required to create and maintain ePortfolios to record their goals, artifacts of coursework and activities, and ongoing reflections of their personal and professional development.” A key component of Smart START “is a research study to determine whether the project’s evidence-based strategies will lead to academic success for community college students in STEM programs.”
Fraud Lawsuit Filed Against Pennsylvania Student Loan Servicer.
Reuters (1/9, Reuters) reports a group of student loan borrowers filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. In the proposed class-action lawsuit, the borrowers accused the loan servicer of “fraud, unjust enrichment, misrepresentation and violations of various state consumer protection laws” for allegedly “extending the length of student loans to increase its servicing fees.”
Research and Development
Colorado Mines Students Work On Mobility Systems For Disabled Veterans, First Responders.
The Denver Post (1/9) profiles the Human Centered Design Studio at the Colorado School of Mines, “where students work exclusively to develop adaptive equipment to solve mobility challenges posed by veterans and first responders.” The Post reports that the lab has gotten a donation from the nonprofit Quality of Life Plus “to enhance the lab” with “equipment for measuring, prototyping and fabricating innovative, custom devices to boost the independence of injured veterans, said Joel Bach, director of Mines’ Human Centered Design Studio.”
University Of Dayton Touts Research Profile.
The Dayton (OH) Daily News (1/9) reports that the University of Dayton has announced that it “set another research record in fiscal year 2017 and reclaimed its preeminent spot in federally sponsored materials engineering research.” The school “said it rose in National Science Foundation rankings for fiscal 2016 higher education research expenditures.” The school “and its research institute performed $135.9 million in sponsored research in fiscal year 2017, well above the previous record of $117.6 million set in fiscal 2016.” The Dayton (OH) Business Journal (1/9, Subscription Publication) also covers this story.
Ford Links Up With Postmates To Test Delivery With Autonomous Vehicles In Unnamed US City.
Reuters (1/9, White) reports that Ford announced a partnership with Postmates Inc. to move people, foods, and goods using the automaker’s autonomous vehicles in an as-yet-unnamed US city. Ford already has another partnership with Lyft, but Ford’s president of global markets, Jim Farley, and chief of autonomous and electric vehicle development, Sherif Marakby, say the car company wants to focus on package and food delivery to test the concept of using autonomous vehicles for transportation services.
DOT Launches Pilot Programs To Modernize Its Data Collection, Analysis.
Trucker (1/9) reports that the DOT launched “a multi-modal initiative, including two pilot programs, to modernize its data analysis and integrate its traditional data sets with new ‘big data’ sources to gain insights into transportation safety.” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said, “Advances in data science have the potential to transform the department’s approach to safety research and provide insights that can help improve highway safety.” One pilot program will “integrate established data on known crashes and highway design with anonymous data from GPS-enabled devices that provide prevailing speeds at 5-minute intervals across the entire National Highway System.” The other pilot program will “integrate traffic crash data with data from the crowd-sourced app Waze on traffic hazards and conditions.”
Researchers Develop More Efficient Cooling Mechanism For Electronic Components Made Of Graphene.
Nanowerk (1/9) reports researchers “from the Laboratoire Pierre Aigrain (LPA) based in the ENS Physics department in Paris (France) discovered a new cooling mechanism concerning electronic components made of graphene deposited on boron nitride,” which “allowed them to reach electric intensities at the intrinsic limit of the laws of conduction.” Nanowerk says the cooling mechanism was “10 times more efficient than basic heat diffusion” by opening a “thermal bridge” between the graphene sheet and the substrate. The article says the research, published in Nature Nanotechnology “is an important step towards the development of graphene-based high-frequency electronic transistors.”
Graphene-Based Wearable May “Revolutionize” Infant Health Monitoring, Research Says.
SlashGear (1/9, Roston) reports research published Tuesday in the Nanoscale journal from the Royal Society of Chemistry found that “a liquid emulsion made of graphene, oil, and water” could be “a key component for a potential wearable that could track certain health metrics, including a baby’s pulse and respiration.” SlashGear says “the team is developing this technology with the goal of producing a commercial product” in the next two to four years.
Pew Research Center: Half Of Women In Tech Experience Workplace Discrimination.
NBC News (1/9) reports that according to a new study from the Pew Research Center, “half of all women working in science, technology, engineering and math have experienced gender discrimination at work.” The study comes “the day after a disgraced Google engineer filed a lawsuit claiming white conservative men are the true victims of Silicon Valley.” The study “found that in the traditionally male-dominated fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), only 19 percent of men said they had experienced gender discrimination at work, versus 50 percent of women.” Pew Director of Science and Society Research said, “The challenges that women in STEM face often echo the challenges of all working women. What the study does is take a broad-based look at the issues facing the STEM workforce. I think they really speak to the complex issues surrounding diversity in the workplace.”
Engineering and Public Policy
Experts See Possibility Of Danger In Self-Driving Cars.
McClatchy (1/9, Johnson) discusses the dangers of self-driving cars, saying, “The clearly visible potential danger…focuses on vulnerability to hackers who could turn driverless autos into vehicles for mayhem if not into weapons themselves.” Dr. Mary Cummings of Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering is quoted saying, “Most people don’t understand how easy it is to hack into a driverless car, and then basically steer it off course.”
New Mexico Attorney General Wants More Information For Potential Solar Panel Customers.
The AP (1/9) reports New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas “is hoping a new disclosure form will provide more information for customers considering rooftop solar.” He “released the new form last week, saying it was created in collaboration with the solar industry, consumer groups and regulators.” According to Balderas the aim of the form is to make “more understandable the complex terms that are often associated with distributed electricity generation, which includes rooftop solar systems, and power purchase agreements or leases.”
Plans Announced For $36 Million Power Plant In Southeast Mississippi.
The AP (1/9) reports Cooperative Energy has announced plans to build “a $36 million natural gas-fired power plant in southeast Mississippi.” The company “announced plans Monday to replace an existing plant in the George County community of Benndale with a 23 megawatt plant.” The “relatively small” facility “provides capacity to restart if there’s a complete blackout on the grid.” Cooperative Energy “generates and transmits power for its owners, 11 cooperatives in southern and western Mississippi.”
Fort Wayne Community Schools Add STEM Initiatives.
Inside INdiana Business (1/9, Brown) reports Fort Wayne Community Schools officials “approved a four-year contract with Maryland-based Discovery Education to provide professional learning services and develop a project-based and inquiry-based system at seven schools.” The district says the contract “adds onto a previous deal with Discovery Education to update and enhance the STEM curriculum at Irwin Elementary, the district’s science and math magnet school.” The contract will also have Discovery Education implement a STEAM intiative in the district’s fine arts magnet schools.
Survey Shows Most Americans Say They Liked Math, Science Classes In School.
The Education Week (1/9, Will) “Teaching Now” blog reports a new survey by the Pew Research Center of nearly 5,000 American adults found most said they liked math and science classes in school. 61 percent said they liked math classes because of the subject matter, while the 40 percent “of Americans who disliked math classes blamed the teaching.” 68 percent said they like science classes because of the subject itself, while among those “who disliked science in school, just 36 percent said it was because of how the classes were taught,” with most blaming the subject matter. The survey also found most Americans said science and math education are “no matter than average” compared to other developed nations.
Tuesday’s Lead Stories
• Analyses: Autonomous Vehicle Tech Exhibits “Dominate” CES.
• Virginia Colleges Award State Record Number Of Bachelor’s Degrees In 2016-17 School Year.
• North Carolina Leads States In Industry-Funded University Research.
• Fired Engineer Sues Google Alleging Anti-White Male Discrimination.
• FERC Rejects Perry Plan To Prop Up Nuclear, Coal Power In Struggling Markets.
• Connecticut Students Receive $6,000 NASA Grant For Robotics Competition.