Category Archives: Science & Technology

Robots to the refuse

If you long for the sort of space-age future once envisioned on the Jetsons, here’s one to watch: a robot-drone combo that could soon make garbage pick-up automatic.

ROAR, which stands for Robot-based Autonomous Refuse handling, is a joint project of the Volvo Group in collaboration with a Swedish waste-recycling company and engineering students at two Swedish universities and Penn State.

“Within Volvo Group we foresee a future with more automation,” says Per-Lage Götvall, Volvo Patent Coordination Manager. “This project provides a way to stretch the imagination and test new concepts to shape transport solutions for tomorrow.” The concept the ROAR team came up with is shown in this video.

Continue reading Robots to the refuse

Focus on research: Big data problems threaten privacy

By Jungwoo Ryoo

As more personal information is collected up by ever-more-powerful computers, giant sets of data – big data – have become available for not only legitimate uses but also abuses.

Big data has an enormous potential to revolutionize our lives with its predictive power. Imagine a future in which you know what your weather will be like with 95 percent accuracy 48 hours ahead of time. But due to the possibility of malicious use, there are both security and privacy threats of big data you should be concerned about, especially as you spend more time on the Internet.

What threats are emerging? How should we address these growing concerns without denying society the benefits big data can bring?  Continue reading Focus on research: Big data problems threaten privacy

‘We can still contain this superbug’

“Don’t freak out, wash your hands, be careful in health care settings to observe all infection control requirements.”
– Andrew Read, director of Penn State’s Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics

Late last week, researchers at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center published a paper revealing that a woman in Pennsylvania was infected with a strain of antibiotic resistant E. coli, the first known incident in the United States. Although the patient in this case recovered, the finding raises the possibility of a “superbug” that could cause untreatable infections.

In the videos below, Penn State infectious disease experts offer comment.

“…this sort of thing we fear, this superbug, we can still contain it. So long as we start doing things sensibly, start looking for alternative solutions, start getting this hygiene right, making sure we’re using the drugs only when we need to.”
-Andrew Read

Continue reading ‘We can still contain this superbug’

Establishing a baseline

Did you know that Penn State’s Center for Concussion Research and Service offers baseline concussion testing?

Student athlete performing a baseline concussion test. Photo by Patrick Mansell.

Many contact sports leagues — from junior high and high school sports teams to the NFL — require their athletes to undergo baseline testing before the season begins. Establishing a baseline is important so that doctors can test against it should the athlete experience a traumatic brain injury, or concussion, during the season. Concussion testing can be mentally draining, whether a person is concussed or not.  Continue reading Establishing a baseline

New issue of Research|Penn State is now online

For those of you who haven’t seen our magazine, Research|Penn State, and those who receive the print magazine but would like to read an e-version, our Spring 2016 issue is now available online in flipbook and downloadable PDF formats. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find.


Continue reading New issue of Research|Penn State is now online