The CITRIS Resarch Process

With our cutting-edge laboratories and renowned faculty experts, CITRIS serves as an incubator for translating new ideas into working prototypes. The combination-information technology research with state-of-the-art facilities creating products for the benefit of society-distinguishes us from other interdisciplinary research centers.

 

Our iterative process has four steps

Learn: We are committed to meeting UC's educational mission and sparking the desire to learn among students and faculty alike.
Build: We offer unparalleled facilities to building prototypes and demonstration models for projects large and small.
Launch: Once a proof of concept has been tested and refined, it is ready to launch to the broader community of experts, agencies or the interested public.
Connect: The final step is to connect these innovators with the sectors or groups that will benefit and promote adoption or implementation.

Sustainable Infrastructures

The Sustainable Infrastructures Initiative pursues information technology research in energy, water, and transportation as parts of the cyber-infrastructure of a sustainable society.

Connected Communities

The CITRIS Connected Communities Initiative supports collaborative discovery, design, and governance through new technologies that enhance education, creative work, and public engagement.

People and Robots

Cloud Robotics, Deep Learning, Human-Centric Automation, and Bio-Inspired Robotics are among the primary research themes in the new CITRIS People and Robots Initiative that focuses on new theory, benchmarks, software, and approaches that address challenges in the interest of society.

Health

Improving health outcomes and access to cost-effective care through the development and integration of innovative technology in telehealth, sensors, analytics and mobile devices.

 

 

  • An Automatic Wearable Speech Supplement in Face-to-Face and Classroom Situations

    Millions of individuals with language and speech challenges require additional support for language understanding and learning. Lip-reading, for example, allows deaf and hard of hearing individuals to perceive and understand oral language and event to speak. However, lip-reading does not allow for a full understanding for all of the spoken input and other techniques are necessary to allow a richer input.The proposed activity will develop a real-time system to automatically detect robust characteristics of auditory speech and to transform these continuous acoustic features into continuous supplementary visible features. This information combined with watching the speaker’s face provides enough information for a person with limited hearing to perceive and understand what is being said. This new technology will allow the design of a wearable computing device that would transform these continuous acoustic features into continuous supplementary visible features and display them on a pair of eyeglasses. 
    Health
    2014
    2014
  • The Sensing Entity Tracking Initiative (SETI): A CITRIS Center for Smart Energy Infrastructure

    Power consumption inside buildings is one of the most critical factors when analyzing energy usage. The brand-new UC Merced campus represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a full-scale test-bed for advanced energy management in campus buildings and systems. The new research university has made environmental performance, energy efficiency, and sustainability a campus-wide theme.Goals of this research include developing and deploying a sensor network system for real-time accurate estimation of person transitions among different part of the buildings when using public hallways. Researchers plan to utilize a 30 node smart camera test bed to be deployed in the Science and Engineering building. Through this test bed, they will collect extensive data to create a data-driven model that allows analysis and simulations. The project will enhance existing approaches to building design and operation with the results of its new measurement technologies.  
    People and Robots, Sustainable Infrastructures
    2014
    2014
  • ThermoVote: Participatory Sensing for Efficient Building HVAC Conditioning

    In recent years, multiple works have been published showing how wireless sensor networks can be utilized to reduce the energy consumed by buildings. However, within the wireless sensor network community, there has been little research attempted to improve the quality of service for users. Instead, the aim has been simply to maintain, or in some cases, potentially decrease the quality of service in order to achieve greater efficiency. The goal of this research is to increase the conditioning effectiveness of the HVAC system by incorporating participatory sensing and making adjustments to the building management systems in real time. Part of this goal is to show how participatory sensing is an effective tool for augmenting and maintaining the building management systems. 
    People and Robots, Sustainable Infrastructures
    2014
    2014
  • Smart Tiny Home Power System

    This project is designed to develop smart infrastructure for affordable urban and rural housing communities. The project is a collaboration among UC Santa Cruz, UC Merced and Cabrillo Community College, focused on the Monterey Bay and Central Valley regions. Smart cities, grids and infrastructures are seen as a means of conserving resources and using them more efficiently. But this "smart" revolution bypasses many households in lower-income urban and rural areas. A Tiny Row House (TRH) is two-story, modular structure of 500-750 square feet, designed to be built in groups of four to six structures that incorporate a menu of resources-conserving construction, sustainable materials, shared utilities and renewable energy microgrids, monitored by smart sensors. Each individual smart infrastructure system will monitor and manage individual energy, water and resource use and internal environment, and together, the performance of the entire group. This project falls within Technology Readiness Level 7 as "demonstration of an actual system prototype in an operational environment." It fits into the "Connected Communities" initiative in that it will "broaden access and public participation in technology" and the "Sustainable Infrastructures" initiative in that it incorporates integrated sensors, advanced controls for water and energy systems, and data management. This project involves faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students from all three institutions playing a role in design, development and construction of systems and structures. A solution to a societal challenge: California faces a growing affordable housing crisis. As real estate and rental prices rise across the state, due to gentrification and the tech boom, low and middle-income families are being pushed out of cities, far from their places of employment, into sprawling resource-intensive and energy-inefficient suburbs. In rural areas of the Central Valley, agricultural workers face a similar dynamic and dilemma. Many of the newly-homeless do not qualify for such low-income housing as is available and for those who do, waiting lists are lengthy and dwellings of poor quality.
    Sustainable Infrastructures, Connected Communities
    2016
    2016
  • Terrestrial Remote Sensing for Monitoring Atmospheric Particulates

    Using digital cameras, this project monitors for particulates in the air. California’s Central Valley suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the nation and yet there are only a handful of monitoring sites that can provide real-time measurements of pollution levels. Digital cameras of static scenes focusing on fixed objects, like the Sierra Nevada Mountains, offer a cost-effective alternative to using specialized monitoring equipment.The key technical challenge involved in this project is developing processing techniques for estimating pollution levels, specifically particulate concentrations. The project is currently studying reduced visibility from static images as a result of higher concentrations of particulate pollution.
    Health
    2007
    2007
  • Climate Feedback - Crowdsourcing the evaluation of climate change information credibility

    Climate Feedback (http://climatefeedback.org) brings the expertise of scientists to subject influential media articles about climate change to a process akin to peer-review. Using a new web-annotation tool, Hypothesis, scientists provide their analyses layered directly onto original text, validating science-based content,  highlighting inaccuracies,  or adding context. Each article evaluation features a summary in clear language for lay readers and a credibility rating issued by scientists. This rating provides an easy to share, objective and transparent assessment of the scientific credibility of a news source.Over the last 6 months, Climate Feedback's network of contributors has grown to 70+ PhD scientists who have completed evaluations of a dozen articles from The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, CNN, The New York Times, Pope Francis’ Encyclical and more. One of the evaluations has led a major British news outlet (The Telegraph) to issue an official correction and heavily modify its article.Climate Feedback works towards creating a comprehensive database on the scientific trustworthiness of major climate change reporting that would allow anyone to easily compare and contrast the credibility of different news sources and identify sources of information they can trust.  This approach has the potential to provide a strong incentive for news sources to ensure that their reporting is scientifically accurate.Climate Feedback has developed an open-source website template that enables linking news articles to relevant experts, organizing contributors and quickly publishing a response. The hope is to inspire others to reuse this work and build on this approach in other fields of science. Climate experts are able to highlight and display information inline with the text, allowing for a convenient display of comments on climate articles. 
    Connected Communities
    2015
    2015
  • Digital Preservation in Historic Bodie

    The heritage site of Bodie is a popular California State Historic Park that encompasses 2,900-acre landscape of historic buildings, objects, California Natives archaeological remains, and landforms associated with mining-related activities. Bodie is at risk of being lost due to wildfires and lack of funding for conservation. Having the capacity to call public attention to critical social issues and build constituencies, mobile apps and social media are a potential solution to this problem.Bodie Digital Community – Connect with your Past is an augmented reality application for mobile devices created in collaboration with California State Parks. This app promotes public engagement in heritage preservation, fosters connection among visitors, and generates useful data that improve the management and preservation of California natural and cultural resources.
    Connected Communities
    2016
    2016
  • Genome-linked Antibiotic Resistance Database

    Antibiotic resistance is one of the most serious threats facing humanity. Unlike other problems such as clean energy, global climate change, and sustainable farming, we have no idea how to move forward to maintain the usefulness of antibiotics, and thus the ability to cure infections.In an effort to inform hospitals about the antibiotic resistance threats most likely to result in treatment failures, this project sequences the genomes of microbial isolates collected from Mercy Medical Center to determine what genetic components are making them resistant to antibiotics and creates a network available to hospitals for both accessing information about what resistance has been found in other hospitals and disseminating the information about resistance that an individual hospital collects.  This effort is intended to prolong, over the short-term, the ability of doctors to identify the most effective antibiotic treatments, and over the long term, create a cooperative network that can examine and test different approaches to antibiotic resistance.
    Health
    2015
    2015
  • Canary on a Chip: Biomimetic Lung-Based Biosensor for the Rapid Detection of Airborne Pollutants

    Respiratory epithelial cells, which form the lining of the airway system, provide our bodies its first line of defense against many harmful inhaled agents including dusts, air pollutants, chemicals and microbes, in addition to many biological and chemical agents.CITRIS researchers aimed to design and develop small-scale biosensors to incorporate airway epithelial cells to detect airborne pollutants through microfluidic devices. These devices detect harmful airborne agents, which, when integrated into a wireless system, would enable a detection system linked into a real-time communications network. These sensor communications networks could provide a much needed early warning system for sensitive areas, such as in large population centers or areas with polluted air. This project also represents a unique opportunity to apply sensor network technology to monitor the air quality in the San Joaquin Valley, which ranks amongst the most polluted air basins in the US and has been designated by EPA as a “nonattainment” area. However, biosensors for nanoparticles are still under-developed. This project aims to develop a highly sensitive and potential portable whole cell-based biosensor with the capability to detect the presence of a wide-variety of nanoparticles for air quality control.
    Health
    2014
    2014
  • Center for Sierra Nevada Water Information System

    The Center for Sierra Nevada Water Information System (CSNWIS) project resulted in a web portal which provides Sierra Nevada satellite-snow-cover information, wireless-sensor-network data, and analyses which are useful for water scientists, engineers, regulators, and managers. CSNWIS has created snow-covered-area datasets for 2000-2011 years which are currently available for viewing and download. Basin-scale analyses of snow products by elevation are also available through the web portal. Using a modular, scalable design, the CSNWIS provides a platform for archiving and serving water information. CSNWIS will continue to expand with more data sets to provide information to users with research and operational forecasting interests. In the future, projects may be expanded through collaboration with the California Resources Agency, hydroelectric companies, and local water providers.  
    Sustainable Infrastructures
    2014
    2014
  • Managed Aquifer Recharge Network (MAR-NET): Adaptive Floodwater Capture to Mitigate the California Budget Deficit

    Groundwater is often over-looked by the average Californian, but is an important—albeit overused—local source of water throughout the state. We currently use groundwater to close the gap between water demands and supplies from surface water and inter-basin transfers.The objective of the project was to create a prototype for an end-to-end Managed Aquifer Recharge Network (MAR-net) to help ensure a sustainable water supply for California. This project will design and test a scalable system for maintaining a continuous account of our groundwater resources. The project operated a prototypical MAR-net system in the Fresno Wastewater Treatment Plant from 10/2010 through 12/2011. The system included three vertical soil monitoring stations with moisture, temperature and salinity sensors, along with input flow metering, pressure transducers to measure pond depth, and a weather station. Researchers are currently developing a model to describe the data. 
    Sustainable Infrastructures, Connected Communities
    2014
    2014
  • Enabling robots to express emotions based on human demonstrations

    Robotics is becoming more and more involved in our lives, from working alongside us in factories, to empowering us to remain independent as we age. Despite working around us, robots tend to be purely functional entities. They go about their tasks methodically, only minding humans when they need to coordinate with us to achieve some task; little is known about how to make robots relatable to humans, a topic at the core of the People and Robots Initiative.The goal of this project is for robots to leverage "body language" to express their state of awareness, hesitation, excitement,disappointment, etc. The project is a collaboration between roboticists, computer graphics experts and professional dancers. The team will develop and test methods for transferring motion capture data of a human dancer expressing emotions to a robot arm in a manner that preserves the emotional content of the motion. Experiments will use the PR2 and Kinova arm to evaluate these methods with human subjects via the Amazon Mechanical Turk platform.
    People and Robots
    2016
    2016
  • Towards Semantic Spatial Awareness: Robust Text Spotting for Assistive Technology Applications

    The ability to move independently is a critical component of a person’s quality of life. For many people, however, independent mobility is hampered by one or more forms of disability: motor, cognitive, or sensorial. For example, blind persons experience difficulty moving and finding their way in a previously unexplored environment, due to lack of visual access to the features that sighted persons use for self-orientation. Likewise, some wheelchair users may find it challenging or impossible to safely and reliably control their wheelchair due to poor upper limbs control or to cognitive impairment. The main goal of this project is the development of computer vision techniques that can be used to assist both categories of users mentioned above: persons who, due to visual impairment, experience difficulty self-orienting, and persons with mobility impairment who are unable to independently control the trajectory of their motorized wheelchair. Specifically, researchers will develop technology that promotes semantic spatial awareness in manmade environments by means of direct access to printed textual information. 
    Health
    2014
    2014
  • Understanding Image-based Big Data using Human Computation

    This proposal seeks to enhance machine understanding of big image and video data sets by including human computational units as an element inside larger computational systems. Cameras generate by far the most data in the world, and even small organizations can easily deploy cameras to monitor social and environmental problems. Thus, this project has four goals: characterize and benchmark human computation co-processors (HPUS) platforms, propose instructions and algorithms, implement instructions and algorithms, and evaluate work. Researchers seek to build an automated test suite of small tasks that can be run on a wide set of HPU platforms, providing a snapshot of the accuracy, latency, and reliability of each platform. Researchers need to evaluate their work, which will be done using applications already under development that have previously suffered from insufficient robustness of existing computer vision libraries. Lastly, researchers will quantify performance against existing solutions. 
    Connected Communities
    2014
    2014
  • Robotic and Virtual Assistive Agents for Establishing the Center on Autonomous and Interactive Systems at UC Merced

    This research focuses on intelligent systems that can be used to train and assist people in preparation for or during complex and difficult situations. Two of its main sub-projects include wireless based localization and design of human-like motion interfaces. Intelligent systems must achieve the ability to seamlessly cooperate with humans in order to be successfully integrated into society. These systems can be fully autonomous, remotely operated, or directly controlled.When put in the context of a disaster framework where human-robot interfaces are key for achieving effective robot-operator and robot-victim interactions, the need for effective cooperation becomes especially apparent. There are two ways systems can be designed: carefully engineered to perform simple functionalities or programmed with generalized concepts to be reused under a variety of contexts. 
    Health
    2017
    2017
  • The Solar Irradiance Mapping Initiative (SIMI): A CITRIS Center for Forecasting Solar Power Availability in California

    Researchers at UC Merced designed and deployed 2 advanced solar observatories at the UC Merced and UC Davis campuses. In order to implement an effective policy for solar power connectivity, the ability to forecast both short- and long-term solar availability is paramount to utility companies and large-scale power generators. CITRIS researchers utilized SIMI, a new concept that combines state-of-the-art satellite and radar image processing with real-time data from ground solar stations to forecast solar power availability for the various atmospheric conditions found around California.The web-based, near real-time information database generated by SIMI is providing a direct estimate of both current and prospective power availability for solar-based technologies in the state of California, as well as facilitating the deployment and connectivity of solar power plants to the electric grid. The data will be used in decision-making regarding installation, incentives and policies for solar technologies through the consideration of geographical and financial constraints. One of the expected results from this initiative is a complete web-based GIS (Geographic Information System) that facilitates the promotion and management of solar energy utilization in California. 
    People and Robots
    2014
    2014
  • Pwning Asthma Triggers: Health Games as Technologies of Social Engagement

    Games have a considerable history of introducing novel methods of thinking to communities through non-standard paths of transformation and informal learning, especially concerning political conflict or uncertainty.This research is combining three strategies: data mining, anthropological field work, and dramatization through game design. In the game, researchers will correlate spatial maps of public records and scenarios of future climate change and population growth with gameplay data to see if players develop effective strategies in a simulated game environment to manage asthma triggers and optimize their healthcare. A beta version will be developed in hmtl5 for adoption across multiple platforms and presented to focus groups in their two research sites for evaluation. In particular, they are interested in seeing which game design approaches will lead to intrinsic incentives for replay and adoption of the game as opposed to replay values driven by extrinsic incentives such as access to media, free minutes, or gift certificates.
    Health
    2014
    2014
  • An EMR-based, Probabilistic Clinical Support System for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Sepsis Patients

    Sepsis is a severe medical condition with high hospitalization cost and high mortality rates, with more than half of the patients with septic shock dying within 30 days. While scoring tests and alert systems are in place for sepsis patients, researchers currently lack a data-based tool to guide clinicians on early prognosis and effective treatment of sepsis. Researchers propose to create an adaptive, data-driven, probabilistic clinician decision support system (CDSS) that will employ state of the art machine learning tools to mine the data rich Electronic Medical Records of the UC Davis Health System and can be readily deployed throughout hospitals in CA and around the country. Specifically, the project will be organized in three main phases: data mining, system design and implementation, assessment and refinement. 
    Health
    2014
    2014
  • Archaeo-Pedia 3D: Collaborative Research in Cyber-Archaeology

    One of the key challenges in archaeology is successfully communicating data, even within the scientific community. Although there has been exponential growth in the production of 3D content for archaeology, very few are accessible. As a result, a very small percentage of information that is produced is well communicated. This has an adverse impact on the interpretation process, where the process remains an isolated experience without feedback. This project can create the necessary infrastructure to promote discussion and improve interpretations in real time. The primary goal of this project is to create a network of virtual collaborative environments across UC campuses to develop novel techniques for collaborative research and learning in archaeology. These environments allow users to interact and learn in rich 3D virtual spaces, where they can exchange data and information. Through these environments, history, archaeology and other scholars can collaboratively interpret reconstructed heritage artifacts, sites, and landscapes. This project will extensively integrate different immersive systems and 3D web virtual environments. 
    Connected Communities
    2014
    2014
  • Efficient Strategies for Condition Monitoring and Fault Detection of HVAC Systems for Energy Efficient Buildings

    Large and complex HVAC systems are naturally difficult to monitor. Indeed, one of the outcomes of this research was the development of a top-down strategy for fault detection, which discovered several faults in the Science and Engineering building. The objective of this project is to develop methods for effective monitoring of system conditions and fault detection of large and complex HVAC systems. This project contributes to the development of intelligent control, monitoring, and fault detection technologies that are integral part of energy-efficient carbon-neutral buildings.The key outcome of the project includes methods for spatial and temporal partition of large complex HVAC systems, development of pre-processing algorithms to discover new features in the monitored data set, selection of effective methods for HVAC monitoring and fault detection, and finally establishment of thresholds for various faults.  
    People and Robots, Sustainable Infrastructures
    2014
    2014
  • Motion Interfaces for Physical Therapy

    Real time motion capture and interactive 3D computer-generated environments are emerging as an integrated and powerful approach revolutionizing many applications. The potential for clinical and therapeutic applications is just beginning to be appreciated and explored in various areas of medicine, including telemedicine, stroke rehabilitation, pain management, and cognitive behavioral therapy.There are three main objectives for this research project: evaluate latest sensor technologies for use on virtual therapy applications, design an interactive prototype application for prescribed and personalized therapy rehabilitation, and to evaluate novel solutions for tracking finger, hand, and facial skin deformations for rehabilitation of hand motor control and facial expressions after burn injuries. This research resulted in a working prototype system for modeling upper-body physical therapy exercise motions and for automated monitoring of patients following exercises demonstrated by an animated 3D character. A provisional patent application about the main techniques was developed and two poster papers were presented and published at the IEEE VR conference.
    Health
    2014
    2014
  • Magnetically Actuated MEMS Power Conditioning Circuits for Energy Scavenging in SmartGrid Applications

    With the predicted prevalence of the SmartGrid—a wireless sensor network derived from a number of small devices, demand will grow for devices that can: economically perform measurement and control tasks to ensure the stability of the larger grids of electrical energy producers and consumers, as well as permit the transmission of energy from renewable energy sources whose outputs tend to be more variable. The goal of this seed project is to establish the feasibility of electromechanically conditioning the energy obtained from energized conductors to power wireless electrical sensors in SmartGrid applications. Wireless sensor networks are becoming commonplace: for example, companies currently link miniature wireless radios together with sensors to measure and report data in refineries and manufacturing plants. This research is focused on novel devices that will efficiently obtain and store electrical energy scavenged from energized conductors such as common electrical cords and higher voltage power distribution and transmission lines and circuit components. 
    People and Robots, Sustainable Infrastructures
    2014
    2014
  • Integrating Electrically Conducting Membranes as In-Situ Sensors in Autonomous Water Treatment Systems

    Growing populations, agricultural land under cultivation, and stricter environmental regulations are pushing providers to consider highly impaired water sources, such as wastewater, as potable water sources. However, the complex nature of these water resources in terms of the concentrations and variety of contaminants is driving a growing interest in membrane-based separation processes, due to the membrane’s ability to physically remove these contaminants from the purified product stream. Membrane systems are typically controlled using proprietary software and hardware, and require a skilled operator to monitor system performance. These conditions limit system flexibility, and make the deployment of these systems in remote locations difficult. In this project, we will develop membrane-based systems that couple electrically conducting membranes with open-source hardware and software to produce a modular and autonomous water treatment technology that can adjust operating conditions to respond to changes in feed water quality, as well as initiate cleaning and maintenance operations without the need of human intervention. Here, the electrically conducting membranes will serve multiple roles, including removal of contaminants, electrochemical sensors for fouling monitoring, and self-cleaning surface through electrooxidation. Data from the membrane sensors, as well as other sensors in the system (pressure, flow meters, conductivity) will be integrated in a logical command framework that will control system parameters with the goal of optimizing system performance. This seed project will form a foundation for our overall goal of developing autonomous water treatment systems that can be rapidly deployed across multiple environments to produce potable water from any contaminated water resource.
    Sustainable Infrastructures
    2016
    2016
  • IndianaDrones: Smart Cave Drones as Robotic Co-Archaeologists

    The goal of this CITRIS seed project is to advance technological development in mapping archaeological cave sites using low-cost drones for cave exploration as robotic "co-archaeologists."Using video imagery collected by drones, we plan to produce high resolution, accurate, 3D images with smart lighting control. This is a major advance in archaeological practice, enabling us to quickly map these complex spaces to that we may conduct 3D analyses. Our project will potentially forever change the way that future cave archaeology is done.
    People and Robots
    2016
    2016
  • Mobile Sensor Networks for Independent Living and Safety at Home

    The senior population in the U.S. will grow to 72 million by 2030, representing 20% of the total U.S. population. As a result, there is a growing need for computer and information technology to improve senior citizen quality of living while reducing the overall cost of health care. CITRIS researchers developed a mobile sensor platform for use in monitoring, home security, and personal assistance using relatively inexpensive hardware. Using a research version of Roomba, the iRobot Create platform, researchers found a solution that would be able to monitor a senior without disruption of daily activities while remaining relatively inexpensive. However, using inexpensive components also created a challenge for researchers. Ultimately, the main objective of this project is to develop robust inference algorithms and multi-robot coordination methods to overcome the problems arising from using inexpensive hardware. 
    Health
    2014
    2014
  • Collaborative Virtual Environments for Virtual Heritage

    To explore innovation in human-computer interfacing for virtual environments, this project focused on reconstructing environments from historical sites. This will eventually lead to the creation of networked virtual heritage sites connecting multiple UCs and other institutions. Its main objective was to create natural interfaces for collaborative virtual environments to facilitate computer interactions accessible for non-computer experts to program virtual environments. The researchers will also contribute to an ongoing effort to establish a center on Autonomous and Interactive Systems at UC Merced. Some notable accomplishments from the project include: developing software to run a visualization system at UC Merced, visualizing datasets from UC Davis through visualization software developed at UC Davis. Researchers have also developed a graphics framework to display a realistic visualization of the virtual heritage dataset of Villa di Livia. In the future, adjustments will need to be developed to connect with a 10-camera system being installed to track the user’s motions.
    Connected Communities
    2014
    2014
  • Smart Transdermal Drug Delivery Patch

    Transdermal patches are the least invasive of available drug delivery techniques. Since their approval for clinical use in transdermal patches have become ideal carriers for a variety of drugs. Although transdermal patches are very promising, even wider application of this drug-delivery technique is still hindered by two main factors: the limited permeability of the human skin and the absence of a cheap, reliable and versatile patch that can release well-controlled dosages of a variety of drugs at precise time intervals over a long period. This project aims to design a smart controllable membrane, which combines the simplicity of a membrane based patch with the precise drug delivery of a complex micro-machine based system. This has the potential to decrease the cost and increase the applicability of transdermal delivery. The aim of the research is to investigate whether a modeling approach encompassing two complementary simulation techniques in an integrated framework can be used to design a smart membrane. Specifically, the goal of the proposed research is to investigate how porous membrane surface features could be rationally designed for precise flow control. 
    Health
    2014
    2014
  • Economic Value of Improved Water Operations Enabled by Sensor-Based Information Technologies

    Intelligent water information systems have the potential to provide precise measurement of snowpack and its condition from day to day and particularly at critical points in the annual cycle. This information can be translated into more accurate flow predications, presenting managers with the opportunity to improve the operation of water infrastructure, including power generation, water supply, flood protection, and extend the functional life of existing infrastructure. The goal of this project is to collect and analyze data on the economic uses of water, understand the value of accuracy and timeliness of this information, and develop an improved economic model that can assess the value of better information concerning the release of water from watersheds above the river and reservoir system of California. Using sensor-based water management technologies, the researchers will select an initial case study for the work, and include recommendations on how the approach could be adapted. 
    Sustainable Infrastructures, Connected Communities
    2014
    2014
  • Virtual Reality Technologies for Robotic Aided First Response

    Every day, robotic technologies save human lives in a variety of situations. Robots can go where it is unsafe for human beings in first response situations, and they can be fully controlled by trained operators. Usually, the robot operator experiences the situation being assessed only through a user interface combining a set of perceptual cues provided by the robot sensors. Moreover, the operator interacts with the robot using control devices similar to those commonly used to control virtual reality artifacts, like video game characters or synthetic avatars operating in cyberspace.Thanks to a synergy between the robotics group at UC Merced and the Merced Sheriff Office SWAT team, the goal of this project is to explore how this interplay between virtual reality and robotics can lead to the development of better training tools for first responders. A unique feature of this project is the partnership between end-users already using tactical robots and a university research team with multi-year experience in the field of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) robots. 
    Connected Communities
    2014
    2014
  • Sensing CO2 Domes for Adaptive Management of Urban Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Urbanized regions are responsible for a disproportionately large percentage (30-40%) of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. While a growing number of studies have addressed urban and suburban CO2 fluxes, current experimental techniques are not robust with respect to policy or scientific objectives. Thus, researchers explored a novel technique for surface flux partitioning based on coupled atmospheric models and continuous sensor-network observation of ambient CO2 and carbonyl sulfide.  The goal of the project was to create proof of concept results and a science plan for developing, deploying, and assessing a new COS sensor and atmospheric modeling strategy for the application of greenhouse gas emissions measurement at the city scale. Researchers initiated the implementation of a unique top-down constraint on an urban GHG budget using the simultaneous analysis of atmospheric CO2 and carbonyl sulfide. 
    Health, Sustainable Infrastructures
    2014
    2014
  • New Piezoelectric Transducer Material Platform for Technological Innovation

    This CITRIS research project was primarily focused on synthesizing a new type of a photo-response polymer system. Polymers’ responsive behaviors, response frequency, amplitude, force generated and the number of cycles before failure as a function of light and heat stimulations will be characterized. Energy and force transduction efficiency include converting thermal energy into electriciyy and transforming electrical “force” to mechanical displacement will be investigated.Without any conventional photosensitive moieties, this new type of polymer film can directly convert photon energy into mechanical energy reliably and can also generate electricity when it is attached to a PVDF film. Unlike azobenzene-based conventional photomechanical polymer systems, this new material has higher photon transmission and thus offers great potential to generate higher mechanical actuation.  
    People and Robots
    2014
    2014
  • Aggressively Duty-Cycling Buildings: The Next Frontier in Energy Efficiency

    Sustainable buildings represent a major paradigm shift from current practice. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings accounted for near 40% of US primary energy consumption in 2006, 75% of which is electrical energy. At the same time, energy and performance ratings are becoming more actively pursued and new methods are being sought for performance certification based on operational measurements. This defines a need to combine state of the art sensor network technology with novel processing and control algorithms in order to determine the distribution of people inside buildings and actuate the HVAC system using this information. Researchers plan to use an existing wireless sensor test bed of micro-cameras deployed on the SE1 Building at UC Merced in order to measure real-time occupancy. Further, they plan to develop a system to take the real time occupancy data from the testbed and interface with the EMS system in order to actuate part of the building. They plan to run control experiments obtaining quantitative and qualitative data of energy savings and levels of thermal comfort for the users. 
    People and Robots
    2014
    2014
  • Mobile Remote-Sensing Platform for Precision Agriculture

    This project develops of a transformative measurement and analytical tool to empower crop managers with data to make critical decisions in the areas of water conservation and resources administration. The system consists of an autonomous robotic platform equipped with sensors to ground-validate and enhance data provided by currently available satellite systems.The robot autonomously navigates orchards collecting data "under the canopy" that is otherwise not accessible from satellite or UAVs. Combining GPS, IMUs, and data coming from other sensors, the robot accurately localizes itself in the field and builds an accurate map of the orchard including a variety of information relevant to farmers, like presence of weeds, water leaks, and the like. The onboard control software also ensures navigation through predetermined waypoints is safe, i.e., it implements obstacle avoidance and other features handling unforeseen circumstances.By combining and validating satellite data with samples collected by an autonomous mobile sensor suite, a new class of decision support systems can be developed. A fully functioning prototype of the proposed system is being developed and tested on the field on multiple sites on the coast and in the Central Valley. In a time of unprecedented, persistent drought, the proposed system has the potential to provide decision makers with superior information to formulate sustainable management decisions.
    People and Robots
    2015
    2015