New Hope for People Living with Paralysis

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UMBC and UMB scientists are working together to build sensors that can be sewn into clothing to detect the gestures of people with paralysis. This technology has tremendous potential as a cost-effective way to empower people with limited mobility, such as enabling a person to turn on a light by waving a hand over their arm or knee.

The goal says, Nilanjan Banerjee, an assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering is to, “use these sensors,” to sense “gestures for controlling the environment.” So that patients could control light switches or call 911.

Learn more by watching the video.

http://research.microsoft.com/apps/video/?id=231786

The team working on this project is comprised of Nilanjan Banerjee and Ryan Robucci, both assistant professors from the computer science and electrical engineering department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Sandy McComb Waller, associate professor of physical therapy and rehabilitation science at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

UMBC Undergraduate Research Conference a Success

UMBC held its 17th annual undergraduate research symposium on October 25.
This event was open to students from outside UMBC, with participants coming from Maryland universities and colleges, as well as participants coming from as far away as Massachusetts and Alabama.
The conference was by all accounts a tremendous success with 500 participants from 16 states.

Penny Rheingans on Tech Firms Offering Egg Freezing as a Benefit

Penny Rheingans, a professor in computer science and electrical engineering, talks with the BBC about the benefit that some tech companies are now offering women — paying for female employees to freeze eggs.

Rheingans tell the BBC, “my initial reaction is negative.”

She says that the companies are suggesting that, “their culture and work expectations might be incompatible with raising a family.”

Furthermore, she says, “they’re saying to women that they should wait to have those babies until the company is done with their technically productive years.”

Listen to the complete interview

From Antarctica to the Chesapeake

In the Chesapeake Bay Quarterly, published by the Maryland Sea Grant program a recent article discusses seal level rise due to the melting of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.

Antarctica is, in many ways, the king of the cryosphere. Greenland is melting at a faster rate, but the southern continent holds a lot more ice, says Christopher Shuman, a geoscientist at the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, a collaboration between the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. In total, there’s enough ice on Antarctica to raise the world’s oceans by more than 200 feet.

“That’s what makes it the 800-pound gorilla compared to the more rapidly changing parts of the cryosphere,” Shuman says.

 

Shuman is no stranger to the Mid Atlantic.

The geoscientist grew up in the Philadelphia area and spent family vacations in his grandparents’ cabin on the Elk River near Cecilton, Maryland. Today, some of his cousins own the house. Like so many other property owners in Maryland, they’ve seen the handiwork of rising waters. These days, when a big storm hits the Chesapeake, waves often wash over the family’s dock.

“It’s a special place to us,” Shuman says. “It’s also a pretty good vantage point for appreciating the world that’s evolving around us.”

In recent years, scientists have learned more about the role that Antarctica will play in this evolving world. Their research points to big losses in the years to come.

 

Read the entire story

Information Systems Ph.D. Student is Co-Developer of an iPhone App in iOS8 Package

Brian Frey, UMBC Ph.D. student in information systems, has been collaborating for the past several years with colleagues at Georgia Tech University on a very simple concept: How can one infuse braille communication with the iPhone? Over these past few years the team has been refining their Braille Touch App in support of that concept. Their efforts were validated with the recent release of the Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS8. Of the millions of apps that Apple has approved for release in the App Store since the release of the first generation iPhone, only a select few have been tapped for inclusion as a “native” app, included in the iOS software package itself. Braille Touch provides a familiar braille layout for the vision impaired user as well as audio feedback to give the user instant feedback that they are typing the message as they intended.