News & Events to Inspire STEAM Education

GREEN

Breaking the Electrode Barrier: New Low-Cost Organic Solar Cells

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014

Now that global climate changed has been scientifically proven to be a present and future problem, researchers and companies alike are working all over all the world to come up...

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INNOVATE

Screening of Space Shuttle Endeavour “Three Nights, Three Days” at 10th Annual Film Festival Hollyshorts

Posted by on Sep 4, 2014

The HollyShorts Film Festival (HSFF) is an annual film festival showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe of 30 minutes or less. The biggest names,...

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TECHNOLOGY

Mathobotix presents First Robotics to High School Students at the Garden Grove Library

Posted by on Sep 15, 2014

Recently Mathobotix presented to high school students at the Garden Grove Library information about First Robotics and how to get a team started. Mathobotix headquarted in Irvine,...

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SCIENCE

First of its Kind–a Blood Test for Depression?

Posted by on Sep 30, 2014

Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world. It is a debilitating illness characterized by loss of energy, lack of pleasure in life and potentially suicidal...

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Recent Posts

First of its Kind–a Blood Test for Depression?

First of its Kind–a Blood Test for Depression?

Sep 30, 2014

depression

Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world. It is a debilitating illness characterized by loss of energy, lack of pleasure in life and potentially suicidal thoughts. Diagnosis of this sickness is often done by family physicians, and is based on the patient’s reports of their symptoms. The problem with this system is that patients often under-report symptoms so diagnosis is difficult. Fortunately there may be another way.

 

A recent study in Nature published by Dr. EE Redei et al at Northwestern University in Chicago Illinois suggests that depression has biomarkers, or parameters that are measurable, in the blood stream. Before DNA gets translated into protein, it first gets converted into RNA transcripts. This is what they used for biomarkers—they extracted RNA from the blood of patients with and without Major Depressive Disorder and looked for differences. They found three markers that differed between those who were sick and those who were not.

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Besides antidepressants, a common treatment for depression is cognitive behavioral therapy. Excitingly enough, they found transcript differences between those who improved from the therapy and those who did not. This indicates that the markers may be a measurable parameter of the severity of the illness. This means the blood test could be used to determine if treatment is working.

 

Having a blood test to diagnose depression is a huge step forward in the treatment of mental illness. If we could develop tests that catch these illnesses before they manifest themselves fully we could treat them before they get out of hand and the patients require hospitalization. This would keep healthcare costs down and improve the quality of life for many people.

Breaking the Electrode Barrier: New Low-Cost Organic Solar Cells

Breaking the Electrode Barrier: New Low-Cost Organic Solar Cells

Sep 29, 2014

Now that global climate changed has been scientifically proven to be a present and future problem, researchers and companies alike are working all over all the world to come up with more efficient solutions to this inevitable fate. One of the main focuses has been to create more affordable solar cells so that solar power technology can become more accessible to the commercial public.  This has been an issue that synthetic chemists and polymer scientists have been working on for decades.

This month, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst released an exciting report stating that they have come up with a more efficient and lightweight, low-cost organic solar cell that is “breaking the electrode barrier” since virtually any metal can be used with it.  One of the main problems with solar power technology is that the power conversion efficiency, that is how much energy from the sun that can actually be harnessed and utilized, has been hindered by the instability and susceptibility to oxidation that normal metal electrodes commonly face.

“The sun produces 7,000 times more energy per day than we can use, but we can’t harness it well. One reason is the trade-off between oxidative stability and the work function of the metal cathode,” explains UMass Amherst’s Thomas Russell, professor of polymer science and engineering.  When choosing a metal for use as an electrode, scientists always have to compensate with the trade-off.  More stable metals that don’t degrade in the presence of water and oxygen have high work function but do not allow for good electron-transport.  The metals that have high electron-transport eventually degrade over time and will therefore slowly become less conductive.

“People have thought you’d need to use tricks to help electrons, the water in the lock, over an obstacle, the electrode, like a dam. Tricks like sawing the dam apart to allow the flow. But tricks are always messy, introducing a lot of stuff you don’t need,” says Russell. “The beauty of the solution reached by these synthetic chemists is to just move the dam out of the way, electronically move it so there is no longer a difference in energy level.”

This has been a challenge that was unmet and was therefore the goal that was accomplished by the research team at UMass Amherst.

To read the specifics about just how this research team was able to create these new low-cost organic solar cells, check out the following links:

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Science Daily

Dr. Michael Werner Project Scientist for NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope speaking at AIAA Dinner Event in Pasadena, Ca

Dr. Michael Werner Project Scientist for NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope speaking at AIAA Dinner Event in Pasadena, Ca

Sep 25, 2014

Dr. Michael Werner Project Scientist for NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Chief Scientist for Astronomy and Physics at JPL Caltech, recently spoke at the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) San Gabriel Section dinner event at Beckham Grill & Bar in Pasadena, Ca. The Spitzer Space Telescope, formerly known as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, is an infrared telescope that studies the early universe, young galaxies and forming stars, and is used to detect dust disks around stars, considered an important signpost of planetary formation. The mission is the fourth and final observatory under NASA’s Great Observatories program, which also includes the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-Ray Observatory and Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. It is also the first new mission under NASA’s Origins program, which seeks to answer the questions: Where did we come from? Are we alone?

Gregory Smetana, Ph.D. student in Aeronautics, Explosion Dynamics Laboratory at Caltech interviewed Dr. Michael Werner while at the AIAA dinner event right before his presentation started:

To Learn More, visit:

Dr. Michael Werner

2014 AIAA Space Science Award

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope

Spitzer discover largest ring around Saturn

Spitzer Science Center

spitzer logo

Mathobotix presents First Robotics to High School Students at the Garden Grove Library

Mathobotix presents First Robotics to High School Students at the Garden Grove Library

Sep 15, 2014

Recently Mathobotix presented to high school students at the Garden Grove Library information about First Robotics and how to get a team started. Mathobotix headquarted in Irvine, Ca offers Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) educational services K – 12 linking Robotics to Grade Level Academic Success and Workplace. So it’s no surprise that CEO & President Kumar Ramajayam of Mathobotix is also the point of contact and Regional Director for First Robotics in Orange County, Ca. After the presentation, QGITS asked Teen Services Librarian of the Garden Grove Libray – Kimberly Banks what she thought about having First Robotics come out and talk to the students. “It seems like a great program that provides opportunities for teens to get real world engineering experience, as well as learn important team-building skills. It would be a excellent program for Garden Grove High School or a team from all three of the Garden Grove high schools to get involved with.”

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In photo: Louis Gavidia Mentor at Mathobotix speaking to Garden Grove High School students.

The FIRST Robotics Competition challenges teams of young people and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week timeframe using a standard “kit of parts” and a common set of rules. Teams build robots from the parts and compete in games. It’s as close to “real-world engineering” as a student can get. Students involved in First Robotics learn from professional engineers, build and compete with a robot of their own design, learn and use sophisticated hardware and software, develop design, project management, programming, teamwork and strategic thinking, they can earn a place in the Championship, qualify for scholarships at over 150 colleges. www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc

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In photo: President Kumar Ramajayam of Mathobotix and mentor Louis Gavidia. www.mathobotix.com

Mathobotix

FRC
oc public libaries

A Portable EKG Integrated with GoPro & Arduino by Inventor Andrew Wilson

A Portable EKG Integrated with GoPro & Arduino by Inventor Andrew Wilson

Sep 12, 2014

This video shows the heart activity of inventor Andrew Wilson, Embedded Engineer while making a BASE jump in Moab, Utah wearing a portable EKG, integrated with a GoPro. It’s a technical engineering project, but built for no other reason than to do it–that is an applied engineering multi media experience art! The home built electro-cardiogram is powered by an Arduino Uno and is paired with the GoPro video during the jump. He added a LED and piezo buzzer that blink/buzz at the beginning of each data capture also custom software was written to filter the data and render it into the playable video you see here. The numbers shown alongside the green heart activity trace are calculated beats per minute. When the numbers are not displayed, the data was too noisy to distinguish the heart beat.

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Photo by Andrew Wilson

See this cool EKG base jump video Andrew created with filtered EKG traces and ‘beat per minute’ calculations.

To read up on the full project overview, check out:
http://derefnull.org/ekg/

Screening of Space Shuttle Endeavour “Three Nights, Three Days” at 10th Annual Film Festival Hollyshorts

Screening of Space Shuttle Endeavour “Three Nights, Three Days” at 10th Annual Film Festival Hollyshorts

Sep 4, 2014

The HollyShorts Film Festival (HSFF) is an annual film festival showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe of 30 minutes or less. The biggest names, celebrities and Oscar winners have participated in the festival in the past 10 years also a destination to help filmmakers to connect with industry pros and advance their careers in movie making. This year’s 2014 10th Annual Film Festival Hollyshorts presented the screening of “Three Nights, Three Days: Endeavour’s Journey Through Los Angeles.” The ‘mini-film’ is an incredible documentary chronicling Endeavour’s final journey, a three-day voyage to the California Science Center with a cheering crowd of over 1.5 million who lined the route. At the film festival QGITS had the opportunity to video interview some of the cast and film crew after watching “Three Nights, Three Days” on the big screen.

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On the red carpet, I caught up with Astronaut Garrett Reisman who flew on Endeavour mission STS-123 to the International Space Station (ISS); Director Paul Bozymowski; Executive Producer David Knight; Producer Melissa Ayn Eccles and Cinematographer, Mark August. Check out video interview at the Hollyshorts event:

For more information please visti:

Film “Three Nights, Three Days

Space Shuttle Endeavour’s Track through L.A.

California Science Center

Hollyshorts

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Mandalay Bay Hosts 2015 CES Press Day, CEA Market Research Presentations & CES Unveiled Las Vegas

Mandalay Bay Hosts 2015 CES Press Day, CEA Market Research Presentations & CES Unveiled Las Vegas

Sep 3, 2014

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) today announced its official Press Day schedule for the 2015 International CES. Open exclusively to registered CES media, Press Day will showcase 2015 CES exhibitor press conferences with major product and company news from 8 AM-5 PM on Monday, January 5, at Mandalay Bay. Owned and produced by CEA, the International CES is the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. The 2015 CES is scheduled to run January 6-9, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

CES

“Every year, we are energized by the innovative product unveilings at Press Day that reveal the trends we’ll see on the CES show floor and the technologies that will fuel our industry and excite consumers in the year ahead,” said Karen Chupka, senior vice president, International CES and corporate business strategy, CEA. “We’ve got a terrific group of companies that are part of the dynamic 2015 Press Day lineup, including first-timer ZTE, all of whom will announce the next generation of breakthrough innovations in consumer technology.”

The 2015 CES will feature more than 3,500 exhibitors unveiling the latest consumer technology products and services across the entire ecosystem of consumer technologies. For more information on the 2015 CES, visit CESweb.org

13 Year old Quin Etnyre CEO of Qtechknow teaching Intro to Arduino Class at Deezmaker

13 Year old Quin Etnyre CEO of Qtechknow teaching Intro to Arduino Class at Deezmaker

Aug 11, 2014

Quin Etnyre is a maker, teacher and entrepreneur at just 13 years old, he runs his own company Qtechknow. His company manufactures electronic ArduSensors and kits that enables beginners, intermediate and advanced users to start making and programming with the open-source computing platform – Arduino. Quin recently taught a fun interactive intro to Arduino workshop class at Deezmaker 3D Printers & Hackerspace in Pasadena, Ca to both kids and adults of all ages. Diego Porqueras Founder of Deezmaker said of the event, ” It’s a really fun experience to have Quin teach a class at Deezmaker working with the Arduinos that we love to do. He is super smart, fun to hangout with and his parents are very supportive. When people see him teaching Arduino, it amazes them and makes them also feel that what he’s teaching in the Arduino system is really not that hard to work with, its pretty accessible for everybody to learn it . It’s been inspiring for the young kids to see someone their age know about it and for the adults they understand that if a younger person can do it, maybe they can learn Arduino too.” This is Quin’s 3rd time teaching the intro to Arduino class at Deezmaker, he has also taught MIT graduates how to program electronics, he has been invited to speak at the Caltech Entrepreneurs Forum and he was invited to participate at the first ever White House Maker Faire.

Matt Terndrup a Writer at Hackaday spoke with Quin, CEO of Qtechknow while at the Arduino workshop event at Deezmaker, as students were working on there projects.

Quin is also the Maker of Fuzzbot a fully autonomous small Arduino robot that acts like a Swiffer Duster to pick up any unwanted dirt off of the floor. Seen here in photo demonstrated on table by one of the students in the class.

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Check out more photos from the intro to Arduino class with Qtechknow at Deezmaker Hackerspace. Photos taken by Grant Keller.

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www.Qtechknow.com

Rick Tumlinson Chairman of Deep Space Industries | National Space Society ISDC 2014

Rick Tumlinson Chairman of Deep Space Industries | National Space Society ISDC 2014

Aug 3, 2014

One of the world’s top visionaries and influential people in the space field Rick Tumlinson Chairmain of the Board at Deep Space Industries. Deep Space is a renaissance company that combines veterans in space commerce, policy, asteroid missions, and risk management with young leading edge leaders from the “maker” and nanosat communities. Rick has also led the team that took over the Mir Space Station as the world’s first commercial space facility, signed up financier Dennis Tito to become the first citizen explorer to stay on the International Space Station and was a Founding Trustee of the X Prize. He co-founded the Space Frontier Foundation and founded the Texas Space Alliance, the EarthLight Institute and Orbital Outfitters – provider of commercial space suits to the new industry of suborbital space travel. He has testified on space policy issues twice for the US Senate, four times in the US House of Representatives and assisted NASA in the creation of its plan to return to the Moon and the formation of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group.

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QGITS had the chance to talk to Rick Tumlinson after his presentation at the ISDC International Space Development conference 2014, here’s what he had to say:

For more information visit:

Deep Space Industries

Space Frontier Foundation

International Space Development Conference

Interview with Entrepreneur Techie & CEO Neel Murthy of Swapbox

Interview with Entrepreneur Techie & CEO Neel Murthy of Swapbox

Jul 30, 2014

Originally from Huntington Beach, Ca Neel Murthy studied in the technical field at Stanford University where he started his first entrepreneurial venture videocrank with a few other Stanford students as a front-end and back-end developer. From there he leveraged his experience to become a lead developer of mylinkpower a startup from one of Stanford’s top entrepreneurial programs on campus called StartX and in his latest venture he is Co-founder & CEO of Swapbox a San Francisco-based startup that’s received $800,000 in seed funding from the Y Combinator accelerator program. Swapbox has now become a trending Bay Area startup that’s led by a team of engineers from Stanford, Google, Microsoft, and Zynga. I had the opportunity to have a phone chat with Neel Murthy and talk to him about his entrepreneurial experience and Swapbox easy convenient way to send/receive packages.

QGITS: What exactly is Swapbox?

Neel: Swapbox is a fully automated post office that is located inside places you already go – grocery stores, convenience stores, laundromats, etc…it’s like an atm for packages. It allows you to send and receive packages in a fraction of the time it took before and at your own convenience. To receive a package simply sign up at swapbox.com and choose your closest swapbox (you can change it later) and we’ll give you a new address to ship packages too and notify you via text/email when it arrives. To send packages, just take your item to your closest Swapbox, answer a few onscreen questions and drop off your item (packaged or not – we’ll professionally pack it up for you if it’s not packages) – That’s it!

swapbox 3Photo credit by: Swapbox

QGITS: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur and start working on your own ventures?

Neel: I think I was just fortunate enough to go to a place like Stanford where I was exposed to a lot of good people that inspired me to do something that has meaning and purpose. Before going to Stanford, I was on this path to become a doctor and that’s what I thought I would do my entire life. Since going to Stanford I connected with some cool people, worked on a couple of projects there and tried a couple of my own ventures also while in school. Eventually, I came across the genesis of Swapbox and worked on it for quite some time in school but then it just took a hold; it became something that I thought about all the time. I ended up dropping out of school in the MSCS/MBA program to pursue Swapbox full time. That was a hard decision and I am pretty thankful that I was able to do that.

QGITS: How did you and your team come up with the idea of swapbox?

Neel: Swapbox was not actually the first iteration it sort of evolved into it’s concept. The initial inspiration for both me and my co-founder Nitin Shantharam who I have known for 15 years, was that we would talk about how we thought transactions were broken. There are two things: 1) the global transaction, you buy from an ecommerce site and receive your package; 2) the postal system that was designed for a different age and purpose. Family dynamics are different today. I still have a stack of missed delivery notices that we keep as reminders and inspiration of why we started Swapbox.

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QGITS: Where we can find Swapbox locations?

Neel: So right now we have 21 kiosks in San Francisco area, we just got started a little bit over a year ago and we are working pretty hard to expand. We are targeting LA then New York next. We still have a small team and we want to make sure we get this right, to stay customer focused and make sure we don’t expand to quickly. We have locations in 7-eleven stores and also have plans to be in big grocery store chains. The biggest thing is we are so technology focused and we have algorithms for figuring out where the packages went, being able to dynamically route and store packages. It’s all suppose to be very hassle free and the biggest thing we like to do is make sure the interface is really easy to handle for our customer’s user experience.

Check out video by Swapbox:

www.swapbox.com