IHMC scientist wins international recognition

Peter Pirolli of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition is joining an elite group of global inventors whose patents and research have helped improve the world’s quality of life.

The National Academy of Inventors named Pirolli and 154 other inventors from around the world to its class of 2017 NAI Fellows. Election as an NAI fellow is among the highest professional accolade bestowed to academic inventors at universities and research institutions worldwide.

Before joining IHMC earlier this year, Pirolli was a research fellow in the Interactive Intelligence Area at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) where he studied human information interaction.

“This is a wonderful recognition for Peter,” said IHMC founder and CEO Ken Ford. “Peter is a leader the field of complex human-information interaction systems. It doesn’t surprise me that NAI would name Peter a fellow. Peter holds 74 patents and is among the most talented and versatile researchers that I know.”

With the election of the 2017 class, there are now 912 NAI Fellows worldwide who collectively hold more than 32,000 patents. NAI fellows have helped create more than 9,400 technologies and companies which have generated 1.3 million jobs and more than $137 billion in revenue.

“To say I’m humbled by being named an NAI Fellow is an understatement,” said Pirolli. “I have worked with so many great people over the years and this recognition would have never happened without their friendship and support.”

Pirolli joins Ford and five previously elected NAI Fellows affiliated with IHMC, including researchers William J. Clancey and David P. Fries, and board members William S. Dalton, Alain T. Rappaport and T. Dwayne McKay.”

Before working at IHMC and PARC, Pirolli was a professor in the School of Education at the University of California Berkeley. He received his doctorate in cognitive psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in 1985 and is the author of “Information Foraging Therory: Adaptive Interaction with Information. He also is currently an associate editor for the journal Human Computer Interaction.

STEM-Talk wins first place!

IHMC’s podcast STEM-Talk won first place in the science and medicine category at the 12th Annual People’s Choice Podcast Awards on Sunday.

The international competition featured more than 2,000 nominees in 20 categories. STEM-Talk also was a runner-up in the People’s Choice Award, the grand prize of the competition.

STEM-Talk bills itself as “conversations with some of the most interesting people in the world of science and technology.”

“We really didn’t expect this,” said Ken Ford, IHMC’s founder and CEO, who came up with the idea for STEM-Talk. “Our podcast is just a little more than a year old and we’re thrilled to receive this kind of recognition so soon.”

STEM-Talk uploads to iTunes every other Tuesday and is nearing its 50th episode.

Ford co-hosts the podcast with IHMC research scientist Dawn Kernagis. Veteran NASA astronaut Tom Jones, who also is a senior research scientist at IHMC, has co-hosted several episodes of STEM-Talk. STEM-Talk is edited by IHMC Senior Creative and Multimedia Specialist William “Billy” Howell and Communications Director Randy Hammer is the show’s producer.

The Oct. 24 episode will feature Kernagis interviewing Ford about artificial intelligence and the founding of IHMC. Ford, an early adapter of a ketogenic diet, also will answer questions about his study of nutrition and ways to maintain strength and function with aging. The interview precedes Ford’s induction into the Florida Inventor’s Hall of Fame, which is set for Nov. 6 in Tampa.

More information is at stemtalk.us or podcastawards.com

Attached a video about STEM-Talk that was played at the Podcast Awards:

Florida Inventors Hall of Fame honors Ken Ford as 2017 Inductee


TAMPA, Fla. (Mar. 22, 2017) – The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame announced today that the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition co-founder and CEO Ken Ford is among the eight inventors who will be inducted into the 2017 Florida Inventors Hall of Fame in September.

Ford is being recognized for his pioneering work in artificial intelligence and human-centered computing as well as his significant contributions to the United States and Florida’s technology and research communities. The Hall of Fame particularly highlighted Ford’s role in the 1990 co-founding of IHMC.

The not-for-profit research institute, which is headquartered in Pensacola and has a second location in Ocala, has grown into one of the world’s premier research organizations. Ford was instrumental in bringing scientists and engineers from around the globe to Florida and IHMC to investigate a board range of topics related to building technological systems aimed at amplifying and extending human cognition, perception, locomotion and resilience.

“The list of inductees and their accomplishments is quite amazing,” said Ford. “I am very honored to be included with such a distinguished group of people.”

Ford holds two patents and is the author of hundreds of scientific papers and six books whose topics include artificial intelligence, cognitive science, human-centered computing, and entrepreneurship in government and academia. He joins others from IHMC who have been inducted, including IHMC senior research scientist Jerry Pratt who was inducted into the 2015 Hall of Fame class; William Dalton, IHMC’s board chair who was part of the 2016 class, as well as Dwayne McCay, who joins Ford in this year’s class and is a member of IHMC’s scientific advisory board.

Ford has had a wide-ranging career. In January 1997, he was asked by NASA to develop and direct its new Center of Excellence in Information Technology at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, where he also served as associate center director. In 1999, Ford was awarded the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal. That same year, he returned to private life in Florida and to IHMC.

In 2002, President George W. Bush nominated Ford to serve on the National Science Board. In 2005, Ford was appointed and sworn in as a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. In 2007, he became a member of the NASA Advisory Council and in 2008 he was named chairman – a capacity in which he served until October 2011. In 2010, Ford was awarded NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest honor the agency confers.

In 2012, Dr. Ford was named to a two-year term on the Defense Science Board and in 2013 he became a member of the Advanced Technology Board, which supports the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

This year’s Hall of Fame class also includes Michael J. DeLuca for his groundbreaking technology known today as “voltage scaling,” which significantly increased the battery life of portable communication devices, and the Hall of Fame’s first scientific couple, Drs. T. Dwayne and Mary Helen McCay, who hold 15 joint U.S. patents and have greatly contributed to increased patient safety and improved medical outcomes in facilities nationwide. Other induces include:

Issa Batarseh, whose innovative research led to the creation of the first compact single solar photovoltaic (PV) panel; Phillip Frost, physician, inventor, and internationally-lauded businessman who invented a revolutionary disposable punch biopsy tool; Richard Gitlin, for his inventive research and development in digital communications, broadband networking, and wireless systems; and the late Thomas Maren, for inventing Trusopt®, the first commercialized topical treatment for glaucoma.

Dr. Ford will be inducted at the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame Fourth Annual Induction Ceremony and Gala on Sep. 8 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.

“We are delighted to be announcing this class of exceptional inventors whose work has greatly impacted Florida and our nation,” said Randy Berridge, who serves on the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame advisory board and as chair of the selection committee.

Nominees, who must have at least one U.S. patent and a connection to Florida, were nominated through an open nomination process and elected by a selection committee comprising distinguished leaders in research and innovation throughout Florida.

“Collectively, the 2017 inductees hold more than 260 U.S. patents,” said Berridge, “Among them are two industry inventors, the founder of one of the nation’s premier research institutes, and representatives of four Florida universities.”

“The accomplishments of this year’s inductees have been recognized by national and international organizations with many other honors and awards,” said Paul R. Sanberg, chair of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame advisory board, senior vice president for research, innovation and economic development at the University of South Florida, and a 2015 inductee. “We are honored to be inducting them into the Hall of Fame.”

The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame was recognized by the Florida Senate in 2014 with a resolution sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes that commended the Hall of Fame “for its commitment to honoring inventors and celebrating innovation, discovery, and excellence.” The Hall of Fame is located at the University of South Florida in Tampa and supported, in part, by the Florida High Tech Corridor Council.

More information is at www.FloridaInvents.org or contact info@FloridaInvents.org.

Inventors Academy Honors Prolific IHMC Scientist

David FriesDavid Fries has been named a prestigious Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). David is an interdisciplinary research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) and an expert and true innovator in undersea technologies, especially microsystems and robotics for sensing applications, advanced sensor development, and mobile robotic systems for field applications. He holds more than 35 U.S. patents, 13 of which have been licensed to seven separate companies.

David was cited as having “demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.” The NAI was founded in 2010 “to recognize investigators at universities and non-profit research institutes who translate their research findings into inventions that may benefit society,” according to the group’s website.

In addition to his research at IHMC, David is the co-founder of Intelligent Micropatterning LLC, the co-founder and CTO of Spyglass Technologies, Inc., the founder of non-profit SciFlies.org, and the co-founder of Guided Particle Systems, Inc. He has published more than 60 technical articles and has been featured in more than 50 media articles and broadcasts.

Fries is a member of the Marine Technology Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the American Chemical Society, and the Oceanography Society. He was an original member of the University of South Florida’s Center for Ocean Technology, where he began the field of underwater mass spectrometry. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Thunderdome Project, and several other non-profit service organizations.

The NAI Fellows Program currently has 582 Fellows worldwide representing more than 190 universities and governmental and non-profit research institutions. Collectively, the Fellows hold more than 21,000 issued U.S. patents.

NAI Fellows now include more than 80 presidents and senior leaders of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 313 members of the other National Academies (NAS, NAE, IOM), 27 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, 36 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation and U.S. National Medal of Science, 27 Nobel Laureates, 14 Lemelson-MIT prize recipients, 170 AAAS Fellows, and 98 IEEE Fellows. IHMC Director and CEO Ken Ford was named a Charter Fellow in 2012.

David Fries will be inducted during the 6th Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors on April 6, 2017, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, MA.

IHMC Wins Silver Medal in Cybathlon

 

cybathlonceremony

In a weekend international showdown, the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) robotics team once again demonstrated its brawn as it placed a strong second in the powered exoskeleton division of the first annual Cybathlon. Held October 8th, in Zurich, Switzerland, the Cybathlon is a global competition for disabled athletes aided by wearable robotic devices.  The unique competition hosted 66 teams from across the globe, competing in six distinct divisions.

Using the Mina v2 exoskeleton, developed at IHMC’s research facility in Pensacola, Florida, the IHMC pilot athlete was Mark Daniel. Daniel, who grew up in Pensacola, suffered a spinal cord injury in 2007 as a result of a car accident, which left him paralyzed. He began assisting the IHMC research team in 2010, with the evaluation and testing of powered exoskeletons.

Senior Research Scientist Peter Neuhaus, the lead researcher on the project, said, “I am very proud of our team’s Silver Medal finish in the Powered Exoskeleton race. This competition was open to researchers and companies throughout the world, and to finish just behind an established company affirms our position in the field.”

German-based company ReWalk won first place in the competition, represented by Andre Van Ruschen, who also suffered a spinal cord injury due to a car accident. Nine teams from around the world competed in the exoskeleton division event, with IHMC being the only team from the United States to compete and place.

“The team worked hard getting the software and hardware ready, and Mark’s ceaseless training paid off,” Neuhaus continued. A true athlete in mind, spirit, and body, Daniel rolled his wheelchair up to fifteen miles a day and swam to prepare for the event.

The powered exoskeleton competition was comprised of a race among the athletes that included six tasks with a ten-minute time limit. The robotic-assisted tasks included sitting down and standing back up from a sofa; walking through a slalom course without hitting the poles; climbing a ramp and opening a door; walking up and down stairs; and walking on a path landing the feet on random flat stones.

There were five other disciplines beyond the exoskeleton division at the packed event, which welcomed over 4,600 visitors and 66 teams. It was held at the SWISS Arena Kloten and organized by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The main sponsor for the competition was Hocoma, the maker of Lokomat and other rehabilitation exoskeletons.

Supporting the IHMC team were local sponsors to include Stormy Dawn Anderson, Scivation Inc., the William and Karen Dalton Family, Allied Motion, Futek, Elmo Motion Control, Lord MicroStrain Sensing, inTec and Star Prototype.

Neuhaus said the Cybathlon marks an important step in IHMC’s long-term research goals in exoskeletons. The Cybathlon win is the most recent in a string of many for the IHMC robotics team. In June 2015, the team took second place in the world, and first place among teams from the United States, in the DARPA Robotics Challenge. “While it is impressive what we, as a community, have accomplished and demonstrated so far, we have a long way to go with regard to restoring mobility with robotic devices for people with paralysis,” Neuhaus said. “Our goal is to continue to make advancements in mobility assistance through cutting edge research.”

cybathlonteam

IHMC Dedicates Innovative “Levin Center for IHMC Research”

The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, (IHMC), officially opened its new, state of the art research facility named after Fredric Levin, a prominent, successful Pensacola businessman and lawyer.  On Monday, Sept. 26th, IHMC hosted a building dedication, ribbon cutting, and unveiled the name of the building followed by an open house and tours of the new facility.

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The event, attended by several hundred people, was hosted by IHMC Director, Dr. Ken Ford and the IHMC Board of Directors and emceed by IHMC’s Dr. Pamella Dana. Also speaking at the event was the IHMC Board Chair Bill Dalton, Escambia Board of County Commissioners Chair Grover Robinson, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward, and IHMC CEO Ken Ford.  The donor, Fredric Levin, who made a one million dollar cash gift to IHMC, was the keynote speaker at the event.

“The opportunities facilities like the IHMC offer Pensacola are amazing,” said Levin. “IHMC is bringing brilliant researchers to our area where people can learn and benefit from them in a wide range of areas, like robotics, medicine, and technology. My $1 million dollar donation is for not only the future of our community, but for the benefit of all mankind.”

“It’s an exciting moment in IHMC history,” said IHMC Director Dr. Ken Ford, noting this is the institute’s first new building since it was founded in 2004. The building, with a physical address of 420 East Romana Street, is adjacent to IHMC’s current main building at 40 S. Alcaniz St., which IHMC will continue to use. The $8 million dollar building was constructed by Hewes & Company, LLC and designed by Pensacola’s Quina Grundhoefer Architects. IHMC will use the 30,000 square foot facility to consolidate other research locations, including the Wright Street Robotics Lab.

Under Dr. Ford’s leadership, IHMC has grown into one of the nation’s premier research organizations with world-class scientists and engineers investigating a broad range of topics related to building technological systems aimed at amplifying and extending human cognitive, physical and perceptual capacities. Its headquarters are in Pensacola, Fla., with an associated research facility in Ocala, Fla.

The first floor of the Levin Center for IHMC Research houses both a robotics and exoskeleton high bay laboratory and a sensory substitution lab. The second floor observation corridor showcases a glass wall that overlooks the high bay robotics laboratory that will offer youth and area visitors viewing access to state of the art robotics work.  The second and third floors also include conference rooms, offices, a boardroom, and future lab space. There is a rooftop deck offering excellent views of Downtown Pensacola in all directions.

Over the years Fred Levin has given more than $20 million to local charitable and community based organizations. He and his sister-in-law Teri, gave $1 million to the YMCA of Northwest Florida for a new facility, he gave $500,000 to build the Marilyn Kapner Levin Center for Children’s Advocacy and Child Abuse Prevention which houses the Gulf Coast Kid’s House, $100,000 to the new UWF Argo Football program, and to date, another $2.5 million to other organizations like Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, and Escambia Westgate Center.  He is best known for rewriting Florida’s Medicaid Third-Party Recovery Act to allow the State of Florida to sue and recover billions of dollars from the tobacco industry for smoking related illnesses. The Fredric G. Levin College of Law at the University of Florida was named for him after Mr. Levin donated $10 million to the school in 1999.

Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Levin was named The Trial Lawyer of the Year by the National Trial Lawyers for 2015. He was also inducted into the Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame in 2009, which is located at Temple Law School in Philadelphia.  Fred Levin is also a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, an organization limited to 100 of the top trial attorneys in the country, and has been listed in every edition of the publication Best Lawyers in America. A biography of his life was published in 2014, titled, ‘And Give up ShowBiz? How Fred Levin Beat Big Tobacco, Avoided Two Murder Prosecutions, Became a Chief of Ghana, Earned Boxing Manager of the Year & Transformed American Law.’

For more about Fred Levin visit https://www.levinlaw.com/attorney-profiles/fredric-levin.

Dawn Kernagis Joins NASA’s Undersea Mission

Dr. Dawn Kernagis, a Research Scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) and host of STEM-Talk, has been chosen as one of six crew members to join NASA’s undersea analog mission, NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations).

Dawn KernagisLiving on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, the 21st NEEMO crew will focus on evaluating tools and techniques being tested for future space exploration by living in simulated spacecraft conditions and conducting simulated spacewalks outside of their undersea habitat. The NEEMO 21 crew and two professional habitat technicians will live 62 feet (19 meters) below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean at the The Aquarius Undersea Reef Base, owned and operated by Florida International University under permit by NOAA and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Inside the habitat, the international crew will conduct a variety of research and operational studies, such testing a mini DNA sequencer and a medical telemetry device that will be used for future space applications. During their simulated spacewalks, the crew will collect samples for marine biology and geology studies, team with underwater remote operating vehicles, test operational software, and participate in a coral restoration project. Throughout many of these tasks, the mission will also test time delays in communications to simulate scenarios often encountered in space exploration.

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman will command the first 8 days of the NEEMO 21 mission aboard the Aquarius laboratory. Wiseman flew in space as part of Expedition 40/41 in 2014, spending 166 days living and working in the extreme environment of microgravity aboard the International Space Station. Wiseman was a naval aviator and test pilot prior to joining NASA in 2009.

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur Behnken will command the second half of NEEMO 21 and will live in the habitat for the entire 16-day mission. Behnken has served as a Capsule Communicator for both the space shuttle and space station, and she flew on the STS-125 shuttle mission in 2009. Prior to joining NASA, Behnken obtained her PhD in Oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Joining Behnken for the entire 16 days is Matthias Maurer (European Space Agency). For the first 8 days, Marc O’Griofa (Veterans Administration researcher) will also join Wiseman, Behnken, and Maurer. For the second half of the mission, Behnken and Maurer will be joined by Kernagis and Noel Du Toit (Naval Postgraduate School researcher).

Kernagis is thrilled to have the opportunity as a crew member to combine her background as a diver and a biomedical researcher, and she anticipates a very productive and exciting mission. “The NEEMO 21 crew, researchers, and support staff are the best of the best, and I have no doubt that it will be an incredible mission. We will be conducting a wide array of scientific studies and operational evaluations that will provide a tremendous amount of information for future space exploration and research.” In addition to her participation as a crew member, Kernagis will also be conducting a study to investigate changes to the gut bacteria and to human genes in response to living in such an extreme environment. This research is not only of interest for astronaut health and performance, but also for military and commercial divers who live and work for extended periods of time in similar environments.

IHMC CEO and Director Ken Ford commented on Dawn’s exciting opportunity stating that “through her rare combination of technical diving and scholarly research capabilities, Dawn is leading us into a new field of study at the institute, namely the optimization of human performance, resilience and safety in extreme environments.”

At IHMC, Kernagis studies new ways to optimize performance and resilience for humans operating in extreme environments, such as undersea divers, high altitude aviators, and astronauts. She completed her PhD at Duke University, where she received Office of Naval Research funding to study the genetics of decompression sickness in divers. As a postdoctoral researcher at Duke, she received additional ONR funding to study the mechanisms of oxygen toxicity in divers and a Fellowship Award from the American Heart Association for her clinical development of a neuroprotective therapeutic for acute brain injury.

From 1996 – 2007, Kernagis was a diver and manager with the world-record breaking deep underwater cave exploration team; she has been a diver and consultant for numerous diving exploration and research projects around the world since 1996. Based on her career in underwater exploration and research, Kernagis was recently inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame, Class of 2016.

IHMC Designated Bronze-level Bike-Friendly Workplace

BFB bronze sealIHMC is officially a bike-friendly work place.

The League of American Bicyclists recognized IHMC as a bronze level Bicycle Friendly Business (BFBSM). IHMC joins a cutting-edge group of nearly 1,200 local businesses, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies across the United States that have a bike-friendly designation. “The business community’s investment in bicycling is playing a central role in making the country a safer, happier, and more sustainable place to live and work,” said Amelia Neptune, League Bicycle Friendly Business Program Manager. “We applaud this new round of businesses, including IHMC, for leading the charge in creating a bicycle-friendly America for everyone.”

The designation lasts for four years, and is renewable thereafter. Before that, IHMC can re-apply for a higher designation. Tim Bustos, Principal at Sustainable Transportation Planning & Design commented, “On behalf of Bike Pensacola, I’d like to congratulate IHMC on being awarded a “Bicycle Friendly Business” award at the “Bronze Level.” The criteria developed by LAB is challenging at best, so many businesses don’t even get an “honorable mention” the first time they apply. The fact that IHMC came in at the Bronze level the first time around demonstrates their commitment to a more bikeable community, and all area residents benefit from their efforts.”

Several IHMC employees bike to and from the Pensacola location, and the Institute has its own bikes for employees to use. In Ocala, research scientist Kristy Hollingshead frequently bikes to work.

“IHMC is actually one of the best places I’ve worked at in terms of how easy and convenient it is to bike to work. The bike parking is easily accessible, closer even than the parking lot, and we have showers (and even a hair dryer!) for those hot and sticky Florida days,” Hollingshead said. “It’s a great way to start the day, cruising through the local neighborhoods and seeing the morning light on the ponds in Tuscawilla park, and a peaceful way to end the work day. I get in some exercise, save on gas, and keep my car’s mileage down – a win-win-win in my book!”

In Pensacola, research associate Tim Hutcheson rides his bike to work each day, including home for lunch midday. “I’m particularly fortunate that IHMC is only about 4 miles from my house, so I have a quick ride and hardly work up a sweat – but it’s enough to get aerobic four times a day. Using the back streets and sidewalks, I get a chance to think about my job at the institute. Some of my most creative ideas come to me while riding the bike. And I get the fun of dodging the crazy baby squirrels just out of the nest in the spring. Great way to start and finish the day!”

IHMC is also proudly participating as a Pensacola refreshing station offering breakfast and robotics lab tours to people biking to work on Bike to Work Day this Friday, May 20, 2016 between 7 and 9:30 am.

Learn more about the League’s Bicycle Friendly Business program at bikeleague.org/business.

Dalton Inducted to 2016 Florida Inventors Hall of Fame

IHMC Board of Directors Vice Chair Dr. William Dalton to be Inducted into 2016 Florida Inventors Hall of Fame

William DaltonTAMPA, Fla. (Mar. 15, 2016) –Dr. William (Bill) Dalton, Founder and CEO of M2Gen®, a subsidiary of Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, and Vice Chairman of the IHMC Board of Directors is among the seven inventors announced today as the 2016 inductees of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

Bill Dalton was nominated and approved as an inductee for his revolutionizing developments in cancer treatment and he will be inducted at the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame 3rd Annual Induction Ceremony & Gala on Sep. 16, 2016, in Tampa.

Nominees, who must have at least one U.S. patent and a connection to Florida, were nominated through an open nomination process and elected by a selection committee comprising distinguished leaders in research and innovation throughout Florida.  Bill will join IHMC Senior Scientist and Inventor Dr. Jerry Pratt who was inducted into the Florida Hall of Fame in 2015.

“We are delighted to be announcing this class of exceptional inventors whose work has greatly impacted Florida and our nation,” said Randy Berridge, who serves on the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame advisory board and as chair of the selection committee.  “Collectively, the seven 2016 inductees hold more than 90 U.S. patents,” said Berridge, who is also president of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council. “Among them are representatives of two storied U.S. agencies, a non-profit research institute, and five Florida research universities.”

“The high merit of this year’s inductees has been recognized by national and international organizations with many other honors and awards,” said Paul R. Sanberg, chair of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame advisory board and a 2015 inductee. “We are honored to be inducting them into the Hall of Fame.”

The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame was recognized by the Florida Senate in 2014 with a resolution sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes that commended the Hall of Fame “for its commitment to honoring inventors and celebrating innovation, discovery, and excellence.”

The 2016 inductees of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame are:

William S. Dalton is the founder and current CEO of M2Gen®, a subsidiary of Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, where he previously served as president and CEO, and was founder and chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Oncology at the University of South Florida. Dalton is being recognized for his revolutionizing developments in cancer treatment and research in molecular mechanisms of drug resistance that led to the creation of Total Cancer Care™: personalized protocols for the treatment of cancer and information/decision tools used by clinicians worldwide. To date, Total Cancer Care™ has impacted the lives of over 120,000 patients and includes one of the largest bio-repositories and data warehouses in the U.S., dedicated to the improvement of personalized medicine. Dalton holds 10 U.S. patents.

D. Yogi Goswami, Distinguished University Professor of chemical engineering and director of the Clean Energy Research Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa, is being recognized for his pioneering contributions and technology development related to solar energy and indoor air quality. Goswami’s contributions in combined power/cooling cycles have impacted global research in a new class of thermodynamic cycles. He has invented nano-scale antenna technologies to convert sunlight to power and thermal energy storage technologies. He also founded Transformair, Inc., which is commercializing his technology to destroy indoor air pollutants including viruses, bacteria, mold, airborne fumes and allergens, which is helping allergy and asthma sufferers worldwide. Goswami holds 16 U.S. patents.

Alan George Marshall, professor of chemistry and founding director and chief scientist of the Ion Cyclotron Resonance (ICR) Program at Florida State University in Tallahassee, co-invented and leads continuing development of the Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometry, which aids in the study of molecular structure and the composition of cells. Marshall holds 8 U.S. patents and his inventions created an entirely new arena of discovery in a broad range of fields, from petroleum analysis to biomedicine. His original patents spawned the first commercial instrument (Nicolet Instrument Corp.) and subsequent FT-ICR instruments from other companies, with more than 800 FT-ICR instruments installed worldwide.

Nicholas Muzyczka, professor of microbiology and the Edward R. Koger Eminent Scholar for Cancer Research at the University of Florida in Gainesville, is recognized for his pivotal invention of the “granddaddy patent” for recombinant adeno associated virus (rAAV) vectors. Muzyczka’s lab created a breakthrough with successful production of the AAV2 genome and AAV vectors. He holds 15 U.S. patents and his research led to potential therapies for neurodegenerative, pulmonary, cardiovascular, and eye diseases. In 1994, he became founding director of Powell Gene Therapy Center, making UF one of the leading institutions in AAV gene therapy. In 2001, Muzyczka founded Applied Genetic Technologies Corp (AGTC), a Florida-based company that commercializes gene therapy applications.

Jacqueline W. Quinn is a NASA environmental engineer who leads diverse environmental chemistry research at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Quinn invented NASA’s most licensed and recognized technology for groundwater remediation, Emulsified Zero Valent Iron (EZVI). Additional environmental remediation methods created by Quinn include AMTS and SPEARS, used for removal of cancer-causing PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in materials, soils and sediments. Quinn holds 12 U.S. patents and her technologies have been licensed by companies throughout the United States and internationally.

Andrew V. Schally, Nobel Laureate and Distinguished Medical Research Scientist at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Distinguished Professor of pathology at the University of Miami, and chief of the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center Endocrine, Polypeptide and Cancer Institute, Schally received the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1978 for his discovery of hypothalamic hormones. Subsequently he pioneered the application of analogues of hypothalamic hormones to cancer treatment, including the therapy of prostate cancer with agonists of LHRH used worldwide. Schally holds 32 U.S. patents licensed to 5 companies and is author or co-author of more than 2,400 publications.

M.J. Soileau, vice president for research and commercialization and professor of optics and photonics, electrical and computer engineering, and physics at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is being recognized for his pioneering research in nonlinear interaction of laser pulses with optical materials and for leading the development of the internationally recognized Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL) at UCF. Soileau holds 6 U.S. patents, the applications of which have contributed to the advancement of high energy laser optics used by the United States Department of Defense.

More information is at www.FloridaInvents.org or contact info@FloridaInvents.org.

About the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame

The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame (FIHF) recognizes and commends Florida inventors whose achievements have advanced the quality of life for Floridians, the state and the nation. Founded in 2013 and housed in the USF Research Park in Tampa, FIHF was recognized by Florida Senate Resolution 1756 in April of 2014. FIHF encourages individuals of all ages and backgrounds to strive toward the betterment of Florida and society through continuous, groundbreaking innovation, and, by commending the incredible scientific work being accomplished in the state, to further the growth of Florida’s innovation sector. FloridaInvents.org

Media Contact: Holly Behrend, 813-974-8772, hollybehrend@floridainvents.org

Bill Clancey Named NAI Fellow

Bill Clancey

As a mathematical sciences major at Rice University in the 1970s, William “Bill” Clancey took courses in 13 different departments—ranging from philosophy and anthropology to art and music.

But it was a cover story in Life Magazine about Shakey, the first robot who could analyze and carry out consecutive commands, that opened up Clancey’s world onto the newly emergent field that he would spend much of his career working on: artificial intelligence.

Clancey was especially interested in the philosophical and psychological underpinnings of artificial intelligence, pondering questions such as: What is the nature of knowledge? What can computers do? Can knowledge be converted into a program?

“You really need to understand people and psychology if you are going to build a smart machine,” he said.

Those initial insights led Clancey down the path of a brilliant career that includes holding six patents and establishing two software companies.

Most recently, Clancey, a senior research scientist with the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

The Tampa-based Academy named a total of 168 Fellows this week, bringing the total number of Fellows to 582. This is the fourth year that Fellows have been named.

IHMC CEO and Director Ken Ford, who is also an NAI Fellow, said, “Bill joins a league of highly distinguished scientists with this recognition. He has made landmark contributions to artificial intelligence research, specifically in evaluating complex human-automation interaction in safety-critical situations.”

Clancey is most well-known for developing a work practice modeling and simulation system called Brahms, a tool for comprehensive design of work systems, relating people and automation.

Using the Brahms modeling system, scientists study the flow of information and communications in real-world work settings, and the effect of automated systems. One important practical application is the coordination among air traffic controllers, pilots and automated systems during flights.

The Brahms system, for example, could be used to help prevent miscommunication when it most matters, or as Clancey said, where “every single second counts.”

One striking example of a situation in which Brahms might have saved the day had it been applied was the mid-air collision between two planes in Überlingen, Germany in 2002 that killed 71 people. The pilots on the two planes received conflicting information from the traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) and the air traffic controllers, leading to the collision.

“Before TCAS was deployed commercially, engineers verified that the program would give the right advice to separate the planes. What they didn’t consider is if the air traffic controllers gave conflicting advice at the same time,” Clancey said. “This is where Brahms comes in.”

Brahms could simulate, second-by-second, what pilots, air traffic controllers, and others are doing. “It simulates what is on their radar screens, who is talking to who on the radio…. You can see what is happening in a distributed way,” Clancey said.

“AI [artificial intelligence] systems become players in the overall choreography of what’s happening where many lives are at stake,” he continued. “[The Brahms system] is very broadly applicable to situations on earth, in air, in space or undersea.”

Notably, NASA applied Brahms to automate routine file communications between the International Space Station computers and support personnel at NASA centers. “In some humble way, if I could say, ‘Why do I deserve this?’ [NAI Fellow] … it would be the application we made using Brahms at NASA,” Clancey said.

Within the past few years, interest in Brahms has picked up across the government, he added.

“We’re just on the edge of government agencies starting to ask for proposals with this type of capability,” Clancey said. That’s not unusual, he added, since AI research has typically been a decade or two ahead of society’s readiness to apply it.

Clancey predicts that the application of these tools in the aviation world “is a story that’s going to be unfolding in the next few decades,” particularly as the air traffic control system incorporates satellite-based navigation.

Clancey also notes as a professional achievement his early involvement in a project called MYCIN, out of Stanford University. It was a system that attempted to diagnose patients based on reported symptoms and medical test results. Already way ahead of the game, MYCIN, at the outset of its development in the 1970s, was especially designed to prevent the over-prescription of antibiotics.

“If MYCIN had been deployed and used systematically, we might not have had the problem of super infections that we have today,” Clancey said.

Clancey is one of three scientists affiliated with IHMC, including Ford, to be named a NAI Fellow. Alain Rappaport, also a NAI Fellow, is on the IHMC Board of Directors.

The NAI Fellows will be inducted on April 15, 2016, as part of the Fifth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Virginia.

 

 

Dawn Kernagis Inducted into Women Divers Hall of Fame

When Dawn Kernagis went to the ocean for the first time as a nine-year-old, she knew that she wanted to explore its depths.

She had just moved from Iowa to North Carolina. “I became completely intrigued by the ocean,” she said. “I wanted to be a marine biologist. I started to read everything I could get my hands on.”

Her parents gave her scuba diving lessons as a birthday present when she turned fifteen, and she would spend the better part of the next two decades in the sea or studying it.

Recently, Kernagis, who is a Research Scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Pensacola, where her research focuses on risk mitigation for divers, was named one of six women who will be inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame (WDHOF) in 2016.

The WDHOF is a non-profit, professional honor society that recognizes outstanding women divers who have made substantial contributions to contributions to the exploration, understanding, safety and conservation of the underwater world. The society also provides financial assistance and mentorship to people interested in pursuing diving careers. Kernagis said she will be working on the scholarship committee, which grants 16 distinct scholarships for different types of diving and training each year.

Kernagis has been nominated for the honor before, and says that she has long admired the women in the Hall of Fame. “Some of them are women I’ve looked up to since middle school, when I first knew I wanted to dive.”

Kernagis’ cave diving career began with a cavern dive in Ginnie Springs when she was a sophomore in high school, and she has completed over 1400 dives.

She was a diver and Project Dive Manager for an international dive team exploring Wakulla Springs and the surrounding cave systems from 1996-2007, where she directed several world record-breaking deep cave dives, including the historic connection and swim-through cave dives between Turner Sink and Wakulla Springs in 2007.

Her experiences both in participating in cave dives and managing underwater exploration teams inspired her studies in undersea biomedical research, and her PhD research at Duke University was focused on identifying the role of that genetics play in decompression sickness in divers. In 2008, she was the first Predoctoral Award recipient from the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) Undersea Medicine Program, and she has since received additional research awards from ONR on diving medical research.

At IHMC, Kernagis is developing new ways to optimize human performance and resilience in extreme environments, focusing on undersea diving operations.

IHMC CEO and Director Ken Ford, in his nomination letter on Kernagis for the WDHOF, wrote, “Through her rare combination of technical diving and scholarly research capabilities, Dawn is leading us into a new field of study at the institute, namely the optimization of human performance, resilience and safety in extreme environments.”

“Her studies have led us to focus on the identification of genetic predictors or markers of stress that may indicate an individual’s susceptibility to undersea threats such as oxygen toxicity and decompression sickness, as well as the development of novel therapies minimize the risk of these hazards affecting divers,” Ford continued.

“Dawn’s work has far reaching implications in that it applies to a wide variety of situations where the brain is responding to extreme environments, such as those encountered by high altitude aviators, astronauts, special operations forces, and elite athletes.”

Kernagis says she has never had a negative experience herself while diving, but “accidents can happen in those environments” she said, adding that proper training is crucial.

Nowadays, the diving that she does is more recreational. Her segue from diver to researcher has been a natural one, and the impetus is rooted in her childhood, she said.

She remembers playing the game “Why” with her father, in which every answer given has a ‘Why’ that follows. “He had the patience of a saint,” she said. “But I genuinely wanted to know. I see science as a different form of exploration. Research is a form of mental and knowledge-based exploration.”

Two other Florida-based divers—Patti Kirk Gross, a marine conservation educator and coral ambassador, and Ruth Petzold, an underwater photographer—are also being inducted into the WDHOF.

The induction ceremony will take place On April 2, 2016 at the Beneath the Sea (BTS) Awards Banquet in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Ken Ford named AAAS Fellow

Ken Ford Boardroom

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has elected Ken Ford, director and CEO of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), as a Fellow.

Ford is one of 347 scientists who have been named Fellows this year. The electing Council elects people “whose efforts on behalf of the advancement of science of its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished.”

According to a press release from AAAS, Ford was selected “for founding and directing the IHMC, for his scientific contributions to artificial intelligence and human-centered computing, and for service to many federal agencies.”

“I am truly honored to be inducted as an AAAS Fellow,” Dr. Ford said. “The advancement of science is what we strive for every day at IHMC; to be recognized for it by scientists is a reward in itself.”

IHMC, which Ford founded in 1990, is known for its groundbreaking research in the field of artificial intelligence. It employs scientists and engineers from around the world who are investigating topics related to building technological systems aimed at amplifying and extending human cognitive, physical and perceptual capacities. Its headquarters are in Pensacola, Fla., with an associated research facility in Ocala, Fla.

Ford himself is a renowned artificial intelligence researcher. He holds numerous awards and honors, including the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Distinguished Service Award.

He has also served on the National Science Board, chaired the NASA Advisory Council and served on the U.S. Air Force Science Advisory Board and the Defense Science Board.

AAAS began electing Fellows in 1874. The AAAS chief executive officer, or AAAS members elect Fellows. There are an estimated 100,000 AAAS members.

Ford and the other Fellows will receive an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin on Saturday, February 13 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

IHMC Scientist Named To Florida Inventors Hall Of Fame

Jerry Pratt HeashotJerry Pratt, one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of robotics, has been named to the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame, joining an august group of inventors which includes the likes of Thomas Edison.

Pratt, a senior research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Pensacola, holds four patents on robotics inventions and is considered a rising star in the field. He is one of seven people with Florida connections who will be inducted into the Hall at an October ceremony in Tampa. Others in this group, the second year of inductees, include famed automaker Henry Ford and scientist Robert Grubbs, winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

“Collectively, the seven 2015 inductees hold more than 430 U.S. patents,” said Randy Berridge, chairman of the selection committee. “Their high merit has been recognized by national and international institutions and communities … and we are honored to be inducting them into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.”

Pratt said he was honored and humbled by the recognition.

“Sometimes I think what’s most fun about working in robotics is that we are practically inventing the field every day,” Pratt said. “There’s a long way to go before robotics is a mature field, and I am honored to join so many other people who are working to create the future.”

Pratt, 43, holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before joining IHMC in 2002, Pratt’s company developed a powered exoskeleton that allowed a person to carry large loads over rough terrain with little effort. His other patents cover technology that allows bipedal robots to know where to place their feet when walking, and to maintain their balance and prevent falls.

Pratt leads a team of researchers who also developed the HexRunner, which last year set a world speed record for legged robots, reaching speeds of more than 30 mph. Pratt’s work has been instrumental in changing the stereotype of robots as clunky machines with jerky movements to ones that maximize speed, agility and biological similarity, said IHMC founder and CEO Ken Ford.

“We’re really proud of Jerry; it’s a well-deserved honor,” Ford said. “Jerry’s work personifies the subtle and rather beautiful virtuous cycle between the acts of invention and of scientific discovery.”

JerryPrattRoboticsTrialsIn June, Pratt and the IHMC Robotics Team will compete in the final round of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) international robotics competition, which tests the ability of humanoid robot systems to respond to disasters. The team placed first in the Virtual Robotics Challenge, a computer simulation, and second in the DRC Trials at Homestead Miami Speedway using actual robots in a competition featuring 26 teams from around the globe.

Pratt is married to former Pensacola City Councilwoman Megan Benson Pratt. They have two children. The couple co-founded the Pensacola MESS Hall, a hands-on learning center where kids explore Math, Engineering, Science and Stuff. It is a spinoff of IHMC’s Science Saturdays education outreach program.

The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame, begun in 2013, is based in Tampa and seeks to recognize the leading scientific and technological accomplishments in the state. Nominees, who must have at least one U.S. patent, are submitted through an open nomination process and are elected by a committee of distinguished leaders in research and innovation throughout Florida.

For more information on the Hall of Fame and the complete list of inductees, visit www.floridainvents.org.

 

Ken Ford receives top AAAI award

Kenneth M. FordThe Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) has awarded one of its highest honors, the AAAI Distinguished Service Award, to Dr. Ken Ford, director and CEO of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC).

The Distinguished Service Award, established in 1999, recognizes a single individual each year “for extraordinary and sustained service” to the artificial intelligence (AI) community. Dr. Ford is the 14th honoree.

In a letter to Dr. Ford announcing the honor, Awards Committee Chair Manuelo Veloso wrote that he was “specifically honored for your contributions to the field of artificial intelligence through sustained service, including the founding of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), leadership roles at NASA, and your work on the advisory boards of federal science and technology research organizations.”

In nominating Dr. Ford for the award, former NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin said that, “Few technologies have greater potential benefit to humanity than does the field of artificial intelligence, and even fewer people are able to convey the essence and importance of the field to federal leaders in the fashion in which Ken Ford has done and continues to do it. He is quite simply a national resource, and a more than deserving recipient of the AAAI Distinguished Service Award.”

Griffin said that to many people at NASA, “Ken Ford simply ‘is’ artificial intelligence as it relates to the field of space flight.”

He also cited Dr. Ford’s “stunning success in founding and growing IHMC,” which has become known for its groundbreaking research in the field of artificial intelligence.

“I’m truly humbled by the recognition from AAAI,” Dr. Ford said. “It is a testament to the important work done by my colleagues at IHMC.”

In addition to founding IHMC, Dr. Ford is a groundbreaking AI researcher. He is Emeritus Editor-in-Chief of AAAI/MIT Press and is an AAAI Fellow, a charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, a member of the Association for Computing Machinery, a member of the IEEE Computer Society, and a member of the National Association of Scholars. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the Doctor Honoris Causas from the University of Bordeaux in 2005 and the 2008 Robert S. Englemore Memorial Award for his work in AI. In 2012, Tulane University named him its Outstanding Alumnus in the School of Science and Engineering. He served on the National Science Board, chaired the NASA Advisory Council, and has served on the Air Force Science Advisory Board and the Defense Science Board.

Under his leadership, IHMC has grown into one of the nation’s premier research organizations with world-class scientists and engineers investigating a broad range of topics related to building technological systems aimed at amplifying and extending human cognitive, physical and perceptual capacities. Its headquarters are in Pensacola, Fla., with an associated research facility in Ocala, Fla.

The award was presented during the AAAI annual meeting in Austin, Texas, on January 27. Previous winners include Barbara Grosz of Harvard, Raj Reddy of Carnegie Mellon, Nils Nilsson of Stanford, Ronald J. Brachman of Yahoo Research and David Waltz of Columbia.

IHMC Board Member Cited for High Honor

Alain RappaportDr. Alain T. Rappaport has been named a prestigious Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Dr. Rappaport is a member of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) Board of Directors and of its Science Advisory Council.

Dr. Rappaport was cited as having “demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.”

The Tampa-based NAI was founded in 2010 “to recognize investigators at universities and non-profit research institutes who translate their research findings into inventions that may benefit society,” according to the group’s website. “To join, an inventor must be affiliated with a Member Institution and be a named inventor on one or more patents issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.”

Dr. Rappaport is an Internet and software entrepreneur, the co-founder and CEO of Nudgit, Inc., an Internet company focused on intelligent choice. He received his M.D. from the Necker Sick-Children School of Medicine, René Descartes University, and his Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology from the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris. Prior to Nudgit, Dr. Rappaport was general manager of health search in the Bing group at Microsoft Corporation until September 2010. He also served as general manager of health search for Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group.

He has published in the areas of artificial intelligence, cognitive science and neurosciences in major journals and has been a speaker in leading technology and business workshops and conferences. Dr. Rappaport served as a NASA Advisory Council, Technology and Innovation Committee member in 2010-2012 and is a founding member of the Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence (IAAI) Conference. He holds over 10 patents.

The new class of 170 brings the total number of NAI Fellows to 414, who collectively hold nearly 14,000 patents and represent more than 150 top research institutes and universities around the world.

NAI Fellows now include 61 presidents and senior leadership of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 208 members of the other National Academies (NAS, NAE, IOM), 21 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, 16 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, 10 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Science, 21 Nobel Laureates, 11 Lemelson-MIT prize recipients, 107 AAAS Fellows, and 62 IEEE Fellows.

IHMC Director and CEO Dr. Ken Ford was named a Charter NAI Fellow in 2012, and IHMC Board Member Dr. William Dalton was named a Fellow in 2013.

Dr. Rappaport will be inducted during the 4th Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors on March 20, 2015, at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

IHMC CEO on Panel Awarding Brain Research Money for NFL Partnership

Kenneth M. FordThe NFL has announced seven winners of $500,000 brain research grants in Head Health Challenge II. Ken Ford, director/CEO of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, serves on the six-person judging panel that selected the winners, who are eligible to receive up to $8.5 million to accelerate brain injury research, diagnosis and protection. The NFL’s partners in Head Health Challenge II are Under Armour and General Electric.

The winners, which include researchers from the public and private sectors, were selected among nearly 500 proposals that were submitted between Sept. 2013 and Feb. 2014 from 19 countries.

“We had to pick the winners from a long list of smart, innovative proposals that represent some of the best new ideas on how to prevent, diagnose and treat traumatic brain injuries,” Dr. Ford said. “It’s very rewarding to be able to be part of the Head Health Challenge II program. The implications go well beyond football.”

Concern about traumatic brain injuries has been sparked by the increased awareness of problems stemming from a variety of causes, including the use of powerful improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and the increased awareness of concussions in football and other sports.

Dr. Ford was named to the panel due to his significant expertise and experience in the development of technologies intended to enable cognitive orthotics and his broad background in science and technology R&D. An international leader in research on human cognition and artificial intelligence (AI), Ford holds a Ph.D. in computer science. He served as chairman of the NASA Advisory Council (Oct. 2008-Oct. 2011), received a presidential appointment in 2002 to the National Science Board, and recently completed a term on the Defense Science Board.

According to an NFL release, progress of the initiatives will be monitored over the next year. Each winner will receive $500,000 and have the opportunity to receive an additional $1 million to advance their research on brain injury.

“The disruptive ideas introduced by these seven entries are designed to increase brain safety for athletes, members of the armed forces and society at-large,” the release stated. “The stories behind the winning entries and their pioneering efforts in this field are showcased in seven short online videos available to watch atwww.headhealthchallenge.com.”

The effort is part of a multi-year collaboration among Under Armour, GE and the NFL called the Head Health Initiative. Launched in March 2013, it includes a four-year, $40 million research and development program from the NFL and GE to develop next-generation imaging technologies to improve diagnosis and allow for targeting treatment therapy for patients with mild traumatic brain injury.

The full NFL release can be found at NFL.com, or www.nflevolution.com/article/nfl,-under-armour,-ge-announce-head-health-challenge-ii-winners?ref=0ap3000000427468.

IHMC robot sets world speed record

A new land-speed record for legged robots was achieved on May 22 by researchers at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC). The HexRunner robot reached an estimated 30-33 mph on an open course, without any support tethers.

The record-setting run was filmed by the Discovery Channel, which is expected to broadcast it later this summer.

The HexRunner running robot on its record-setting speed run.

“More significant than the top speed is showing that you can make a running robot that doesn’t need a lot of feedback from sensors, and you don’t need a lot of actuation,” said IHMC Senior Research Scientist Jerry Pratt, team leader of the HexRunner project.

HexRunner is a running robot with six spring-loaded legs revolving around a central hub, with three legs on each side of the hub. At the tip of the top leg it stands six feet high. Dr. Pratt said the speed was measured with a chase car and through analysis of high-speed motion video shot from the side.

“The speedometer on the chase car hit 33 while the robot was still running away from it,” he said. The 30 mph documented speed is a conservative figure based on motion analysis from video taken during the test. “We might be able to hit 45 mph with small modifications if we have a good run on a long enough course.”

The HexRunner is the “parent” of the OutRunner robot, a two-foot version based on technology licensed from IHMC to Robotics Unlimited, headed by Research Scientist Sebastien Cotton, who worked on the HexRunner team.

HexRunner was developed as part of IHMC’s DARPA-sponsored FastRunner project. Dr. Pratt said that the FastRunner robot is more complicated than HexRunner, and while it has shown excellent stability in simulation, the research team doesn’t fully understand the stabilizing mechanisms. HexRunner, a less complex machine, was built to help develop that understanding.

“By looking at the HexRunner and understanding why it is stable, we can now look at the more complicated model and see if we see the same stabilizing mechanisms,” Dr. Pratt said. “And once we understand better what is going on, then we should be able to get the FastRunner working.”

He credits a computer simulation done by IHMC Research Associate Johnny Godowski for leading to HexRunner, under development for about a year.

“We had to do something completely different than had been done before,” Godowski said. “It’s a different architecture, but it mimics what’s being done in nature. It opened new vistas between engineering and biology.”

The ultimate goal, Dr. Pratt said, is to figure out how animals run in nature, an understanding that could produce breakthroughs in robotics.

“The high-level question is how can animals run with stability at high speeds?” he said. “And how can we make a robot to achieve the same feats?”

IHMC Research Scientist Chris Schmidt-Wetekam said one of the next goals of the FastRunner project is to develop a fully segmented leg that more closely mimics biology.

“We’re working toward more complicated robots,” Dr. Schmidt-Wetekam said. “Things look really promising in simulation, but it’s a lot more complicated in actuality, so we went back to basics. HexRunner checks off an important box on our checklist, and validates our simulation. OK, we can do this.”

IHMC Scientist featured at inaugural STEM Symposium

tomJones

Veteran Shuttle astronaut Tom Jones, a senior research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), will be a featured speaker at the first-ever X-STEM: Extreme STEM Symposium in Washington, D.C., on April 24.

The symposium opens the third annual USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo and Book Fair, April 26-27, hosted by sponsor Lockheed Martin. Held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, X-STEM is a “TED-style” event for kids with talks by 50 of the nation’s most noted science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals representing top universities, corporations, non-profits and governmental agencies.

“I’m honored to speak at X-STEM and get to meet some of our future explorers,” Jones said. “Exciting our young people about science, technology, engineering and math — so they can write the next chapter in the history of space exploration — is crucial to America’s future. I hope I can help energize tomorrow’s explorers, scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs. They’re the ones who will revitalize and maintain our competitive, vibrant economy.“

Jones is a veteran NASA astronaut, planetary scientist, author and speaker. He flew on four space shuttle missions, and led three spacewalks at the International Space Station (ISS) to help install the U.S. science lab, Destiny.

The Wall Street Journal named Jones’s book, “Sky Walking: An Astronaut’s Memoir,” one if its “Five Best” books on space. He writes frequently on space exploration and history, and offers regular on-air commentary about the United States’ space exploration activities and plans.

An Air Force Academy graduate, he earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the University of Arizona, conducting a telescopic search for water on asteroids. He flew B-52 bombers for the Air Force, studied solar system exploration concepts for NASA, engineered CIA intelligence-gathering systems, and served on the NASA Advisory Council. His current interests are asteroid exploration and resources, planetary defense, and extending human exploration to the Moon, asteroids and Mars.

Jones’ current books include “Planetology: Unlocking the Secrets of the Solar System” (written with Ellen Stofan, Ph.D.; National Geographic), and “Hell Hawks!” (written with Robert F. Dorr; Zenith Press), a true story of an aerial band of brothers in World War II.

Founded by serial entrepreneur Larry Bock and Lockheed Martin CTO Ray O. Johnson to address the severe shortage in science and tech talent, the USA Science & Engineering Festival is the nation’s largest science festival. More than 250,000 people are expected to attend.

Geared toward middle and high-school students, X-STEM features interactive presentations and workshops by top STEM role models and industry leaders to inspire students about STEM careers. Sessions will cover a wide array of subject areas, including space exploration, storm chasing, oceanography, the science of social networks, the physics of superheroes, mathematical puzzles and more.

For more information, visit www.USAScienceFestival.org.

Bradshaw to chair new Nissan advisory board

IHMC Senior Research Scientist Jeff Bradshaw has been named chair of the inaugural Scientific Advisory Council for the Nissan Research Center — Silicon Valley, in Sunnyvale, Calif.

The advisory group will give guidance on matters of science, technology, research and other similar topics of special interest to Nissan Motor Corporation. That includes research regarding autonomous vehicles, connected vehicles, human machine interactions and other matters of special interest to Nissan.

“I’m excited to work with this stellar group of experts,” Dr. Bradshaw said. “Nissan’s commitment to a human-centered, rather than a technology-centered, design approach puts them in a unique and enviable competitive position. As a result, they will produce well connected, environmentally aware and highly capable vehicles that excel in their safety, usability and usefulness.”

The other members of the board are James Euchner, vice president of Global Innovation, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company; Dr. Don Norman, co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group; Dr. Missy Cummings, associate professor at Duke University and director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory; and Dr. Terry Fong, director of the Intelligent Robotics Group at the NASA Ames Research Center.

Human-Agent-Robot Teamwork has been a central interest for Dr. Bradshaw. From 2002-2006, IHMC’s KAoS framework was used as part of a NASA series of annual two-week field tests of human-robot teams led by Dr. Bill Clancey and Dr. Maarten Sierhuis performing simulated planetary surface exploration at the Mars Desert Research Station in the Utah desert. With Dr. Sierhuis he co-founded and, with the help of Dr. Catholijn Jonker and Dr. Virginia Dignum, organized the Human-Agent-Robot Teamwork Workshop series (HART). Recently, Dr. Bradshaw led an international workshop for the National Academies of Science (NAS) on Intelligent Human-Machine Collaboration.

In collaboration with Dr. Paul Feltovich, Matt Johnson and Dr. Robert Hoffman of IHMC, and Dr. David Woods and others, Dr. Bradshaw has co-authored a series of influential articles relating to the inadequacies of the supervisory control model, the “myths of autonomy,” and the virtues of what Johnson has termed, developed and championed as “coactive design” — an approach to human-machine interaction that contributed to IHMC’s leading performance within the DARPA Robotics Challenge program.

Nissan, Japan’s second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 236,000 employees globally, Nissan sold more than 4.9 million vehicles and generated revenue of $116.16 billion in fiscal 2012.

bradshawBoard

IHMC Senior Research Scientist Jeff Bradshaw has been named chair of the inaugural Nissan Scientific Advisory Council (SAC). Pictured from left to right: Yoshitaka Deguchi (Nissan Research Center-Sillicon Valley, Principal Researcher); Terry Fong (member, SAC); Greg Dibb (NRC-SV, Senior Manager of Strategy and Operations); Jim Euchner (member, SAC); Maarten Sierhuis (NRC-SV Director); Jeff Bradshaw (Chair, SAC); Don Norman (member, SAC); Missy Cummings (member, SAC); and Takeshi Mitamura (General Manager, Nissan Mobility and Services Laboratory).