‘Daylight Harvesting’ Technology licensed to Philips

UC Davis has signed a co-exclusive license agreement with Philips to commercialize inventions that reduce the cost and increase the reliability of daylight harvesting systems. The license agreement covers a package of patents and patent applications describing strategies and technologies developed by the California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) at UC Davis. This agreement is the fourth agreement out of four possible slots in the co-exclusive licensing arrangement. Previously the co-exclusive agreements were signed with Watt Stopper/Legrand of Santa Clara, Calif., Axis Technologies Inc. of Lincoln, Neb. and Convergence Wireless, Inc. of San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Students Take Part in Synthetic Biology Competition

A team of UC Davis undergraduates recently competed in the annual iGEM ‘Synthetic Biology’ competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Team UC Davis UC Davis IGEM Team 2010was among about a third of the competing teams from around the world to be awarded a gold medal for their work.

The aim of iGEM, or the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, is to use a biological kit of parts to build a system and make it work in living cells.

Battle of the Brains

Two teams of UC Davis students took part in the regional heats of an international programming competition Nov. 13, finishing 11th and 37th out of a field of 70 teams. The teams in the Pacific Northwest Regional Competition of the ACM International Collegiate Programming contest were competing for a space in the World Finals of the contest, to be held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, Feb. 27-March 4 next year.

The IBM-sponsored competition, popularly known as “the Battle of the Brains,” pits teams of three students against eight or more real-world programming problems, working on a single computer with a five-hour deadline for each problem. Judging is strict, and the team that solves the most problems in the least time is the winner.

Going Viral with Kinect

3D video captureMicrosoft’s Kinect game controller, launched this month, is designed to let you control a video game with body movements. UC Davis computer science researcher Oliver Kreylos, however, has found out how to use the device to capture three-dimensional video on a computer.

In this video, Kreylos shows how he can use the Kinect to create a 3D camera image. Things start getting freaky around 47 seconds where he moves the virtual point of view around. Because the device is actually in one place, there is a ‘shadow’ behind Kreylos — though at one point when the point of view is behind his head, you can see the computer projecting his face on the inside.

Engineering startup incubator signs first tenant

The UC Davis Engineering Translational Technology Center (ETTC) has signed its first tenant.

PutahGreen Systems, Inc., founded by computer science professor Biswanath Mukherjee, focuses on software technology that reduces internet-scale network router energy consumption by as much as 75 percent.

Mukherjee’s start-up will occupy a portion of the 8,000 square foot space available to tenure track engineering professors whose high-impact, innovative ideas are well past the early research and discovery stage, but need to develop sufficiently to demonstrate proof of concept or financial viability to investors. Tenants have up to 18 months to reach investment viability, paying month-to-month and per square foot occupancy. ETTC is currently working with more than ten other prospective tenants, with one close to finalizing an agreement.

Set your DVR for Sea Monsters

UC Davis geologist Ryosuke Motani and postdoc Lars Schmitz appear on National Geographic channel this Thursday, Nov. 18 10 p.m., in “Ancient Sea Monsters.” The episode revolves around the excavation of a 35-foot long, 240 million year old icthyosaur from Nevada, and also features Motani’s other fieldwork in Nevada looking for fossil marine reptiles.

Schmitz appears in the second of two trailers here.

Motani was also recently hunting icthyosaurs in China, as well as advising local governments on fossil preservation  — see this nice writeup from the California Aggie.

Ryosuke Motani’s icthyosaur page: everything you wanted to know about these extinct sea creatures.

Video: Black Swans and White Whales

In June this year UC Davis geologist Ken Verosub organized an on-line discussion and a special session for a World Bank Conference on Understanding Risk – Innovation in Disaster Risk Assessment. At the opening ceremony, each session leader was asked to give an Ignite Talk: a fast-paced presentation in which a speaker is given only 5 minutes and 20 slides that auto advance every 15 seconds. Here’s Verosub’s Ignite talk about Black Swans and White Whales, just posted.

Black Swans are novel events that change our perception of an issue: White Whales are events that we know are out there, but that are very rare.

Large Hadron Collider Starts Throwing Lead

The Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) near Geneva, Switzerland enters a new phase of operations Nov. 4. Scientists will stop running streams of protons through the machine and begin running lead atoms, stripped of their electrons, around the ring Lead ion simulationand smashing them into each other.

Physicists from the Heavy Ion Group at the UC Davis physics department are part of the team for the lead ion experiments. The group includes Professors Daniel Cebra and Manuel Calderon de la Barca, postdoctoral scholar Sevil Salur and graduate student Jorge Robles. Salur and Robles are currently at CERN.