Technology is helping the team at the University of Pittsburgh’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) find new solutions for people with disabilities throughout the nation.
Mobility is a key area of focus for HERL’s work, and the laboratory has developed everything from an air powered scooter that was pilot tested in Giant Eagle supermarkets to robotic wheelchair-bed systems that allow people to move from one to the other with minimal assistance.
Because people who use wheelchairs need to change their seated positions regularly to reduce the risk of injury, HERL partnered with Permobil in Tennessee to create the Virtual Seating Coach. Using machine learning and contextual awareness algorithms, the coach helps people learn to use powered seating functions to better manage their health.
On the horizon at HERL are technologies including a mobility enhancement robotic wheelchair, alternative power sources, origami inspired design and accessible workstation robots. The laboratory’s outreach and internship programs target people with disabilities, veterans and students to participate in research and development of solutions.
Since the early days of the Morris worm, the country’s first major Internet attack, Pittsburgh has been crucial in the nation’s cybersecurity response, Sophie Burkholder reports for Technical.ly Pittsburgh.
Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute founded CERT — formerly an acronym for the computer emergency response team — in 1988. Since then, the Pittsburgh region has expanded its talent base and expertise to help create new agencies around the globe.
Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security formed its own response team, which often collaborates with Carnegie Mellon’s CERT. And other initiatives throughout the region play an equally important role in preventing cyberattacks.
“We’re trying to understand very fundamental concepts of why cancer starts, why it progresses and how to treat it. The Assembly is going to help us do that because we can interact with other scientists, and then other innovative companies and people that are really trying to take what we do in the lab … and translate that into therapies or something that can actually go into patients.”
Katherine Aird, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC Hillman Cancer Center – on the official opening of Wexford Science + Technology’s The Assembly