Research Snapshots – Fall 2016

Delivering Vision Therapy via Virtual Reality Gaming

Tara Alvarez and Marc Sequeira are applying immersive virtual reality gaming technology to vision therapy. The researchers have devised a suite of fun, interactive 3-D virtual reality games that deliver clinical therapy techniques tailored to different age groups and various vision problems. The work is especially relevant to the 5 percent of children and 40 to 50 percent of traumatic brain injury patients who suffer from eye movement disorders that affect their ability to see, read, learn and work at near distances. The novel therapy will supplement office treatments and encourage patients to adhere to recommended regimens at home.

Mapping the Brain

Bharat Biswal is an internationally renowned researcher recognized for mapping the brain’s activity using  an advanced noninvasive technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). He helped create the 1000 Functional Connectomes Project, which gathers fMRI data from around the world. This open resource for mapping and understanding brain function aims to help clinicians detect autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and traumatic brain injury at an earlier stage and to understand the impact of different forms of therapy.

Developing New Mathematical Techniques

Brittany Froese specializes in the development of computational methods for solving challenging mathematical problems that arise in science and industry. Her work has far-reaching implications for a number of applications, including mapping the earth’s surface, detecting oil reserves, designing lenses to control lasers, predicting the weather and processing medical images.

Transforming Cloud Computing Technology

Xiaoning Ding seeks to improve memory virtualization technology — cloud computing and other virtualized platforms that make up the backbone of the modern computing infrastructures used by industry, military, academia and the wider population. With funding from the National Science Foundation, Ding’s research would enable applications on these platforms to work better, consume less energy and be more reliable. The resulting research framework and techniques will be open to the community for sharing.

Exploring Smart Materials for Smarter Buildings and More Resilient Cities

Martina Decker, an environmentally concerned architect with a keen interest in technology, collaborates with colleagues in other disciplines at NJIT to explore new and emergent materials. Sometimes engineered at the nanoscale, these smart materials can change their size and shape, store and release water, generate or conduct electricity, or change color in response to fluctuations in temperature. Transferred to architecture and the constructed environment, these materials will be crucial for more sustainable, climate-resilient cities.

Investigating a More Sustainable Concrete

Matthew P. Adams and Matthew Bandelt are investigating more sustainable, environmentally friendly alternatives to concrete — the mixture of sand, gravel and small rocks combined with cement and water that is one of the world’s most widely used construction materials. Production of concrete consumes an enormous quantity of natural resources and releases significant amounts of damaging greenhouse gases. By using alternative cements and recycled concrete aggregates, the two are pursuing solutions that would provide compressive strength and long-term durability.

Creating More Intelligent Computing Systems

Bipin Rajendran draws inspiration from the human brain. Studying the key architectural principles used in learning, memory and computation, he seeks to build new nanoscale devices, algorithms and systems that more closely mimic these higher order neural functions. Applications for his bio-inspired intelligent computing include complex decision-making scenarios, such as health care diagnoses and autonomous navigation systems.

Improving Clinical Care Practices in New Jersey

Backed by a $49.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) — an NJIT corporation that applies the intellectual and technological resources of the university to challenges identified by industry partners — is working with medical practices in the state to improve the quality and efficiency of the care they provide, while also lowering costs. The Practice Transformation Networks (PTN) program will transition 11,500 clinicians from a fee-for-service model to a value-based reimbursement system that compensates providers for keeping their patients well through ongoing, evidence-based disease management. The effort is expected to generate $250 million in health care savings.

Advancing Manufacturing

Cong Wang and his industrial partners are using data analytics and artificial intelligence to develop control techniques that address new challenges in robotic manufacturing such as sensory prediction and skill perception. Industrial robots are pervasive in the manufacturing of autos, metals, semiconductors, electronics, plastics, food, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods. In engineering the next generation of robotics, these techniques will enable advanced robotic manufacturing applications including teaching robots through demonstration, human-robot collaborative operations, and advanced integrated circuit fabrication.

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