So I was especially intrigued the other day to receive a press release from Robert Morris University that starts off as follows:
I hope that I'll be hearing more about RMU's partnering with Innovation Works. The press release came to my in box from longtime Burghosphere contributor and new RMU Director of Public Relations Jonathan Potts, he of The Conversation and the Dead Tree Blog.
Robert Morris University’s Center for Applied Research in Engineering and Science (RMU-CARES) has received two grants from Pittsburgh-based Innovation Works to fund the development of a new manufacturing process and the creation of a device to aid in the care of homebound individuals.
The first grant, for $50,000, is to design and build a robotic work cell for Penna Flame Inc., a Zelienople company that provides flame hardening, a process that renders the surface of machine parts more resistant to wear. Currently, Penna Flame utilizes a manual process in which each tooth of a gear is individually heated with a 2200-degree Fahrenheit flame. As with other manual processes, problems arise with operator fatigue and consistency and quality. The manual operation will be eliminated and replaced by an automated one using industrial robots.
The second grant, for $25,000, will be utilized to design and build three prototypes of a unique device dubbed The Memory Minder. Triggered by a sensor, the device will provide recorded messages in response to the needs of the individual user. The Memory Minder delivers customized messages set by a caretaker, nurse, family
member or the user. The device can deliver several timed messages throughout the day with personalized messages from familiar voices that are critical to an individual’s care.