University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Diffusive Memristor as a Synapse
Neuromorphic computing, systems designed to mimic the biological nervous system, require far less power than current computer processors. The increased efficiency makes feasible artificial intelligence applications for smaller, hand-held devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets).  To this end, UMass inventors have designed hardware components that mimic neuronal synapses (Figure A). Specifically, diffusive Ag-in-oxide memristors show a temporal response during and after stimulation similar to that of a biological synapse. The novel diffusive memristor and its synapse-like dynamics enable a direct emulation of both short- and long-term plasticity of biological synapses and represent a major advancement in a hardware implementation for neuromorphic computing.
Published: 10/27/2017   |   Inventor(s): Jinhua (Joshua) Yang, Qiangfei Xia, Mark McLean, Qing Wu, Mark Barnell
Category(s): Devices, Engineering, Physical Science, Communications & internet, Computers
Graphene-Based Microfluidic Devices
This invention is the first example where large-area graphene has been harnessed as an architectural material in microfluidic devices. Incorporation of single-layer graphene enables a drastic reduction in device thickness. The resulting ultra-thin architecture facilitates on chip X-ray diffraction analysis. Graphene layers serve as a diffusion barrier to protect sample against evaporative losses and from external contaminants, e.g. such as oxygen for anaerobic work.

 

These devices have tremendous utility for applications in X-ray science, such as X-ray diffraction for structural biology and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) as well as other lab- on- a- chip applications. 

 

Published: 10/27/2017   |   Inventor(s): Sarah Perry, Christos Dimitrakopoulos, Shuo Sui, Yuxi (Nancy) Wang
Category(s): Devices & sensors, Research tools, Devices
Fulleropyrrolidine Interlayers for High Efficiency Perovskite Solar Cells
Interface engineering is critical for achieving efficient solar cells.  This invention provides a significant power conversion efficiency (PCE) improvement of fullerene/perovskite planar heterojunction solar cells from 7.50% to 15.48% by inserting a fulleropyrrolidine interlayer between the metal electrode and the electron transport layer. The interlayer enhances recombination resistance, increases electron extraction rate and prolongs free carrier lifetime.cells.
Published: 8/11/2017   |   Inventor(s): Thomas Russell, Todd Emrick, Yao Liu, Zachariah Page
Category(s): Devices, Physical Science, Material science, Clean Energy
Modular and Portable Multi-camera Photogrammetry System
This invention provides a hand-held, portable, and modular photogrammetry system that consists of multiple cameras attached to movable mounting arms coupled to a holdable plate. The system also includes a trigger mechanism that activates the cameras simultaneously.  The system enables rapid (15 - 45 seconds) capture of 2D images of objects for the creation of high-resolution 3D models.
Published: 9/15/2016   |   Inventor(s): Duncan Irschick, Kasey Smart, Dylan Briggs
Category(s): Devices, Engineering
Prosthetic Fitment System
An ill-fitting prosthesis can result in discomfort and can compromise mobility and performance. Therefore, there is a strong need for innovative diagnostic tools for quantifying the socket-limb interface during the fitment process. Scientists at UMass Amherst have developed a prosthetic socket fitment tool which applies recently-available high-precision line-of-sight ultrasound transceivers and intuitive visualization software to provide a quantifiable internal measurement of the residual limb and bone movement to a prosthetist during the fitment process. This tool will inform the positioning of socket components to ensure a comfortable fit for the patient.
Published: 9/15/2016   |   Inventor(s): Frank Sup, Andrew LaPre, Michael White
Category(s): Devices, Diagnostic technology, Healthcare, Engineering
Seatbelt System for Buses – Retrofit or New
A novel seatbelt system has been developed that can be installed independent of the existing bus seats that did not have seatbelts. The invention can be adaptable for inter-city buses (coaches), as well as mid-sized buses and school buses.  Most other seatbelt systems apply only to a specific seat design whereas this invention facilitates a seamless transition for the different seat configurations of the intended buses.  Based on the design and condition of the sets, the strength of the support can be uniquely designed and customized to support the seatbelt design, while maintaining the integrity of the existing bus frame structure.  Thus, this seatbelt system can be expected to be universal and economical.
Published: 9/14/2016   |   Inventor(s): Sundar Krishnamurty, Douglas Eddy, Anne Schewe, Conrad Zanzinger
Category(s): Devices, Engineering
Silver Nanoparticles Detection and Analysis in Complex Matrices
Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are the most commonly used nanoparticles in many consumer products and related matrices. Given the wide application and formation of AgNPs, the environmental and biological fate and toxicity of the AgNPs needs to investigated comprehensively, including if AgNPs transfer through different trophic levels and impact food chains. This invention was developed by combining hydrophobization-mediated extraction with unique capability of Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS).
Published: 9/13/2016   |   Inventor(s): Lili He, Baoshan Xing, Huiyuan Guo
Category(s): Devices, Diagnostic technology, Environmental, Healthcare, Engineering, Nanotechnology
Eye Tracker System for Diagnostics (CIDER)
This invention relates generally to a highly optimized low power wearable eye tracker system for detecting eye parameters including eye movement, pupil center, pupil diameter (i.e., dilation), blink duration, and blink frequency.  The system operates at a ten-fold reduction in power usage as compared to current eye tracker systems and methods. The invention does not require active calibration by the user. The eye parameters may then be used to determine a variety of physiological and psychological conditions in humans.  The eye tracker device includes an imaging component, an illuminator component, a photodiode component and a controller, or special-purpose processor.  The controller may be integrated with the eye tracking device or reside remotely such as within another device such as a mobile device including a tablet or smart phone. The system incorporates a neural network enabling trade-offs between power consumption and robustness to illumination conditions, as well as between sensing and computational modes. The system can operate at very high frame rates (exceeding 100 fps) during typical operation.
Published: 9/13/2016   |   Inventor(s): Deepak Ganesan, Christopher Salthouse, Addison Mayberry, Benjamin Marlin
Category(s): Devices, Electronics, Healthcare, Software & information technology
Reduced-Pain Syringe Needle Injection Systems
This invention provides cost-effective and user-friendly syringe needle injection systems that ease patients' discomfort during the injection operations.
Published: 9/8/2016   |   Inventor(s): Alfred Crosby, Shruti Rattan
Category(s): Healthcare, Devices
Efficient Thermoelectric Converters
The invention provides thermoelectric devices similar to conventional Peltier-elements based on folded, multi-layered nanomembranes prepared from 2-dimensional (2D) van der Waals materials. These van der Waals materials (e.g. graphene, hexagonal boron nitride, and transition metal dichalcogenides) have both single atomic layers with strong in-plane covalent bonding and weak bonding across atomic mononolayers. When devices are fabricated by folding monolayers onto themselves and into layered structures (figure). In this configuration, the electric path is shorter and the thermal path is suppressed. Moreover, multiple elements can be combined in series and parallel configurations to produce a useful amount of electricity. Thus, these devices can be used to convert waste-heat into electricity and can also serve a thermoelectric cooler. Some information about different applications here.
Published: 3/8/2016   |   Inventor(s): Zlatan Aksamija, Robert Blick
Category(s): Clean Energy, Devices, Devices & sensors, Electronics, Engineering, Material science, Nanotechnology, Physical Science
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