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Simple hardware modification eliminates passive RFID tag interference

Eliminate interference at the tag, not at the reader

Eliminate interference at the tag, not at the reader.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems transmit data wirelessly between a reader and a tag/sensor attached to an object.  The purpose is to identify and track the object, and sometimes to collect and transmit information about the object’s environment.

The tag may either be “active”, having its own source of power, or “passive”, relying solely on the RF energy emitted by the reader to generate a response signal.  Each system has advantages is certain applications.  In general, passive tags are much smaller, cheaper and last longer.  One the other hand, because all of the tags within a vicinity respond when the reader emits an interrogating signal, multiple tag signals interfere with one another and may be difficult for the reader to separate.

Read More…

Detect breast cancer 1 to 5 years earlier

Cancer Diagnostic

Tissue microenvironment analysis

This computer-aided diagnosis tool is designed not only to provide early detection of breast tumors, but also to predict the likelihood of a malignancy to develop before the tumor appears.  This could improve early breast cancer diagnostics by 1-5 years.

By analyzing extensive imaging data, researchers discovered that breast tissue fluctuations in regions surrounding tumors are organized differently depending on whether the tumor is benign v. malignant.  Tissue surrounding benign tumors is similar to normal breast tissue, while the tissue in the microenvironment of malignant tumors is disrupted in way that this diagnostic tool characterizes quantitatively.  The disruptance “score” may be used to  diagnose and predict malignancy in breast and potentially other tissues.

See the patent application

Novel system architecture results in 33.9% increase in computer system performance

comparison set-resetIt is predicted that by 2018 computers will be capable of a billion billion calculations per second.  That means they will require 1000 times more memory than is available today.  One essential type of memory, DRAM, is reaching its performance limit for energy efficiency and transistor scaling.

Phase Change Memory (PCM) is a leading contender to replace DRAM.  It outperforms in both power usage and scalability and, unlike DRAM, PCM stores data permanently instead of losing it if the power goes out.  This is similar to other permanent memory devices, like the familiar flash drive, but PCM is more reliable and over 100 times faster than flash.

However, PCM has a major weakness: slow data write speed.  This is due to characteristics of the chip material that cause writing a “1” data bit to be slower than writing a “0” bit.  So the speed of writing a bit sequence is always limited by the ones present.  The chip also requires more electrical current to write a zero than a one.  As a result, the zeros present limit the number of PCM cells that can be written concurrently. Read More…

Gorham Lamp provides cool, fully adjustable light for magnification and photography

2013-07 Gorham Lamp moth

Gorham Lamp with specimen

2013-07 Gorham Lamp This multi-purpose studio and microscope light adds flexible functionality far superior to the standard ring light.  The unique design provides  adjustable annular and semi-annular illumination for bright-field, dark-field, transmitted, and other oblique lighting applications.

The combination of lighting options possible with this product is particularly useful for observation of small objects where fine control of light direction, intensity, and distribution directly impacts observable surface features and object translucence.

This technology is available for licensing and a limited production run of commercial units is underway.  Contact us if you are a microscopist, entomologist, archeologist, curator, or photographer interested in participating in testing this new product in your laboratory.

Contact: Joe Staples at jstaples@usm.maine.edu

US Patent 14/335,730 pending

Then only paint matching phone app calibrated to ambient light

Cover art

There are a number of smartphone apps that are designed to help consumers match colors of existing paint or furnishings to paint swatches.  However, none of the existing tools take into account the differences in lighting between the home and the store.  Colors can look quite different under different lighting, resulting in a surprise for painters and product returns to the paint counter.

To use the app, the user calibrates a digital phone camera against a gray control card provided at the paint counter. The user then takes a photo, in their home, of the paint or furnishings to match.  The calibration accounts for the variation in lighting between home and the store, allowing an exact match of paint or fabric to be selected according to the way it will appear in the home.

The app was first developed as a tool to measure reflectivity of snow or water for scientists studying climate.  Some minor modifications are required for use in paint matching.  The code will be made available to a developer with the resources to commercialize.

Related App: Hydrocolor

Analyze Samples in the Lab or Field with this New Portable Fluorescence Spectrometer

2010-05 Ring Spec

Custom software and curved reflective surface in this spectrometer reduces size and focuses light so well that inexpensive LEDs replace expensive light sources.

Problems 1.) Important science curricula may not be adequately addressed in high schools because spectroscopy instruments are too expensive to purchase and maintain  2.) Field technicians have to take water and soil samples to a lab for spectroscopy analysis, adding time and complication  3.) Valuable data is not available from remote sensors due to spectrometer power and durability limitations.

Solution: A portable, durable, inexpensive florescence spectrometer

Read More…

Synthesis of Bacterial Cellulose in Low-cost Culture Medium Using Hot Water Extracted Wood Sugars

20113-10 Bacterial Cellulose Yield

Figure: Bacterial yield in hot water wood extract after 28 days of cultivation at pH (first number) and temp (second number).

Cellulose is well known as one of the most abundant biodegradable materials in nature and has received considerable interest in both academic and industrial fields. Cellulose synthesized by bacteria is of particular interest over plant cellulose for some applications due to its unique structural and mechanical properties and high purity.

Some high value applications for bacterial cellulose include biomedical applications (scaffold for tissue engineering, wound dressing materials, artificial skin), and production of membranes for high tech applications, such as diaphragms for loudspeakers.

Problem: Bacterial cellulose is currently expensive to produce and purchase however, due to the expense of the media.

Solution: Use inexpensive hot water extracted wood sugars for bacterial cellulose production.

Read More…

25% stronger, 100% bio-based fiber board

2013-13 NFC board

This invention provides particle board or fiber board that is non-toxic, 25% stronger than currently available products and made completely from renewable materials.  This is accomplished by replacing commonly used formaldehyde based resins with a safe, renewable nanocellulose based binder.

Benefits:

  • Reduction of health problems and related expenses (up to $48m per year1) caused by formaldehyde exposure
  • Increased strength reduces material and transportation costs
  • Nanocellulose, a renewable resource, replaces binders generally synthesized from non-renewable resources

Read More…

Reinforcement system increases wall panel strength by 20%

Typical failure at nail site

Typical failure at nail site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When stressed, oriented strand board (OSB) panels tend to fail along the edges and at nail sites, particularly if the panel has gotten wet.  This technology presents a system for waterproofing and reinforcing panel edges.  The reinforced edge improves fastener performance and reduces the edge swell and weakening caused by moisture exposure.  Reinforced edges strengthen the panel by up to 20%.

UMaine Reference: 2005-07

Patents:

(US 6,699,575 issued Mar 2, 2004)

US 7,547,470 issued Jun 16, 2009

InventorsDouglas J. Gardner, Stephen M. Shaler, Lech Muszynski, Ciprian Pirvu, Jungil Son

Read More…

Composite Panels for Blast and Ballistic Protection

panel_installation.jpg

The Modular Ballistic Protection System (MBPS) provides soldiers with enhanced ballistic protection where it never existed before – in their tents where they work, eat, and sleep.  The system consists of composite ballistic panels that are mounted to the inside of the tent frame using an energy-absorbing connection system.  Requiring no tools, the MBPS can be used to up-armor a 20ft x 32ft tent in less than 30 minutes with 4 soldiers.

More information

US Patent 7,68,5921

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