Technology in 2014: A Year in Review

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Technology in 2014: A Year in Review

Merry Christmas! (1)

Hydrogen fuel cells, wirelessly charging cell phones, big data and wearable technology. These are all tech terms you have heard and come to know this year. What you may not know is The University of Alabama is developing technology dealing with each of these terms.

We at the Office for Technology Transfer (OTT) want to recap 2014’s popular technology and share a little bit about how our developments relate to these terms.

2013_Toyota_FCV_CONCEPT_01

Toyota’s Mirai

To begin, let’s discuss hydrogen fuel cells. This year Toyota unveiled the first hydrogen fuel celled powered car available to consumers. Toyota calls the new car the Mirai, which is Japanese for “future.” The Mirai is definitely a great step in the direction toward fuel efficient cars and a future without gasoline, but it will likely be too expensive for average consumers coming in at $60K for a base model.

At The University of Alabama, Dr. Shanlin Pan has developed an electrolyzer capable of hydrolysis. In layman’s terms, it is a piece of metal with a special coating that splits water into pure hydrogen and pure oxygen. As you may know, pure hydrogen is combustible and can be used as a source of fuel. So, with the help of Dr. Pan’s electrolyzer, water can be put into a system with pure hydrogen being consumed and pure oxygen as the bi-product. What can we say? At UA, we do our share for cleaner air.

The Apple Watch was debuted this year and goes on sale early 2015.

The Apple Watch was debuted this year and goes on sale early 2015.

From the Fitbit to Apple Watch, 2014 was a big year for wearable technology. This rise in popularity is mainly to help consumers track key health and fitness metrics. With the knowledge these metrics provide, users of wearable tech can make strategic decisions to see improvements in their physical fitness regimens.

At UA, a company called 2B Electronics is working to bring their take on wearable tech to market. Their product is an electrode that attaches to the body and measures the activity of specific muscles. Users will instantly know if they are utilizing the desired muscle to full capacity or not. The information is displayed through a smartphone application that logs the information for the user to review later.

Big data is a term that you have surely heard by now — unless, of course, you have been hiding under a rock, or the equally bulky, original computer. For those that haven’t heard, big data is a term that describes the collection and analysis of large data sets. With the rise of web and smartphone applications, it is becoming easier and easier to recognize the trends in market interactions. The goal of the applications is to provide necessary functionality to analyze these trends and help users make informed decisions.

Bidsters, a company from UA, is working to provide a web application that helps the construction industry communicate better during the preconstruction process. Users will have the opportunity to share key information and files about new projects they are bidding on. As more users pick up the platform, trends on the industry will become apparent and help inform industry personnel. Hopefully, more informed construction personnel leads to shorter construction times, which will mean less times you are awakened at 5 AM to a jack hammer.

Cell phones and other mobile devices have become integral to modern day society. Seriously, who doesn’t get that empty feeling when they are without their phone? The only feeling worse than not having your phone is having it with no battery. This has become an increasingly larger problem as more and more activity becomes mobile.

A solution to this problem is in the works. e-Electricity, a company based in Tuscaloosa, is developing a technology that will allow consumers to wirelessly charge devices through the transmission of RF waves. The technology was created and developed by UA’s own Dr. Jaber Abu-Quahouq. So, with this new technology, soon you won’t have to worry about missing that important call or — the seemingly more important — opportunity to upload your latest selfie.

Even though there isn’t technology that predicts the future, at least not yet, we want to close with some predictions for 2015. We are scientists, not prognosticators, so take them for what you will.

 

  1. There will be more cord cutting in 2015

More and more options for consumers to stream content, like Netflix, Hulu, and HBOGo, will emerge. We now live in a society where people want everything instantly, and these types of services fulfill that need. The days of

traditional cable providers being the main source of video content are over, especially with more demand coming from mobile platforms.

 

  1.     Healthcare data analysis will be huge

We talked earlier about the increase in popularity of wearable, and we predict it will only increase as technology makes it possible to gauge aspects of personal health. Also, it will become easier to store this data and share it with physicians.

 

  1. Alternative energy will be a thing, again

We also talked earlier about the popularity of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This technology will expand and become more affordable for car buyers everywhere. Additionally, technology is finally making it economically viable to use solar and wind power as alternative options. Look for these to be incorporated more and more where possible.

 

  1. Smart textiles will be a new thing

Soon, your clothes will perform more functions that just keeping you covered. Things like heating you up, reading your pulse, or cooling you off will possible.

 

We hope that you will check in on our predictions throughout the year, and see how they are impacted by new technology developed by us here at OTT. Have a Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year!

 

Oh, and Roll Tide!

 

Merry Christmas! (1)

Hydrogen fuel cells, wirelessly charging cell phones, big data and wearable technology. These are all tech terms you have heard and come to know this year. What you may not know is The University of Alabama is developing technology dealing with each of these terms.

We at the Office for Technology Transfer (OTT) want to recap 2014’s popular technology and share a little bit about how our developments relate to these terms.

2013_Toyota_FCV_CONCEPT_01

Toyota’s Mirai

To begin, let’s discuss hydrogen fuel cells. This year Toyota unveiled the first hydrogen fuel celled powered car available to consumers. Toyota calls the new car the Mirai, which is Japanese for “future.” The Mirai is definitely a great step in the direction toward fuel efficient cars and a future without gasoline, but it will likely be too expensive for average consumers coming in at $60K for a base model.

At The University of Alabama, Dr. Shanlin Pan has developed an electrolyzer capable of hydrolysis. In layman’s terms, it is a piece of metal with a special coating that splits water into pure hydrogen and pure oxygen. As you may know, pure hydrogen is combustible and can be used as a source of fuel. So, with the help of Dr. Pan’s electrolyzer, water can be put into a system with pure hydrogen being consumed and pure oxygen as the bi-product. What can we say? At UA, we do our share for cleaner air.

The Apple Watch was debuted this year and goes on sale early 2015.

The Apple Watch was debuted this year and goes on sale early 2015.

From the Fitbit to Apple Watch, 2014 was a big year for wearable technology. This rise in popularity is mainly to help consumers track key health and fitness metrics. With the knowledge these metrics provide, users of wearable tech can make strategic decisions to see improvements in their physical fitness regimens.

At UA, a company called 2B Electronics is working to bring their take on wearable tech to market. Their product is an electrode that attaches to the body and measures the activity of specific muscles. Users will instantly know if they are utilizing the desired muscle to full capacity or not. The information is displayed through a smartphone application that logs the information for the user to review later.

Big data is a term that you have surely heard by now — unless, of course, you have been hiding under a rock, or the equally bulky, original computer. For those that haven’t heard, big data is a term that describes the collection and analysis of large data sets. With the rise of web and smartphone applications, it is becoming easier and easier to recognize the trends in market interactions. The goal of the applications is to provide necessary functionality to analyze these trends and help users make informed decisions.

Bidsters, a company from UA, is working to provide a web application that helps the construction industry communicate better during the preconstruction process. Users will have the opportunity to share key information and files about new projects they are bidding on. As more users pick up the platform, trends on the industry will become apparent and help inform industry personnel. Hopefully, more informed construction personnel leads to shorter construction times, which will mean less times you are awakened at 5 AM to a jack hammer.

Cell phones and other mobile devices have become integral to modern day society. Seriously, who doesn’t get that empty feeling when they are without their phone? The only feeling worse than not having your phone is having it with no battery. This has become an increasingly larger problem as more and more activity becomes mobile.

A solution to this problem is in the works. e-Electricity, a company based in Tuscaloosa, is developing a technology that will allow consumers to wirelessly charge devices through the transmission of RF waves. The technology was created and developed by UA’s own Dr. Jaber Abu-Quahouq. So, with this new technology, soon you won’t have to worry about missing that important call or — the seemingly more important — opportunity to upload your latest selfie.

Even though there isn’t technology that predicts the future, at least not yet, we want to close with some predictions for 2015. We are scientists, not prognosticators, so take them for what you will.

 

  1. There will be more cord cutting in 2015

More and more options for consumers to stream content, like Netflix, Hulu, and HBOGo, will emerge. We now live in a society where people want everything instantly, and these types of services fulfill that need. The days of

traditional cable providers being the main source of video content are over, especially with more demand coming from mobile platforms.

 

  1.     Healthcare data analysis will be huge

We talked earlier about the increase in popularity of wearable, and we predict it will only increase as technology makes it possible to gauge aspects of personal health. Also, it will become easier to store this data and share it with physicians.

 

  1. Alternative energy will be a thing, again

We also talked earlier about the popularity of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This technology will expand and become more affordable for car buyers everywhere. Additionally, technology is finally making it economically viable to use solar and wind power as alternative options. Look for these to be incorporated more and more where possible.

 

  1. Smart textiles will be a new thing

Soon, your clothes will perform more functions that just keeping you covered. Things like heating you up, reading your pulse, or cooling you off will possible.

 

We hope that you will check in on our predictions throughout the year, and see how they are impacted by new technology developed by us here at OTT. Have a Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year!

 

Oh, and Roll Tide!

 

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