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Post-doctoral research fellow Anthony McCaffrey of the Center for e-Design was the subject of an article in the February 11 issue of E Science News as a follow-up to his article in Psychological Science, the flagship journal of the Association for Psychological Science. McCaffrey has developed a toolkit for boosting anyone's problem-solving skills, based on his Obscure Features Hypothesis. His hypothesis has led to the first systematic, step-by-step approach to devising innovation-enhancing techniques to overcome a wide range of cognitive obstacles to invention.

The problem with health information technology, the computer hardware and software dealing with the storage, sharing, and use of healthcare data for communication and decision-making, is that it is basically very user-unfriendly. This drawback is especially unfortunate because health information technology is viewed by our government as one of the most promising tools for improving the overall quality, safety, efficiency, and cost of our ultra-expensive health delivery system.

“According to a new study of 36 million Facebook profiles, 3,337 company founders and CEOs across all industries hold an advanced degree in engineering, while 1,016 have advanced business degrees.” This news was reported in an article entitled “Move over MBAs: Here Come the Engineers” in the January 31 edition of the Wall Street Journal.

The January 31, 2012, issue of Medical Device + Diagnostic Industry magazine published another long article on the Vayu deep-pressure therapy vest for treating people with autism by giving them a “portable hug.” The vest is the brainchild of College of Engineering alumnus Brian Mullen (right), who developed it as a graduate student in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has notified Dr. Jenna Marquard of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department that she has been awarded a $400,000 NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant for a research project entitled “Computational Approaches to Model Physicians' and Patients' Interactions with Health Information Technology.” Specifically, her project will focus on computerized health information technology designed to improve the health, clinical care, and cost of management for diabetics and patients with high blood pressure.

When UMass Amherst alumni Mike and Terry Hluchyj created a fellowship in 2008 to support one graduate student per year from the College of Engineering and one from the School of Nursing, Terry Hluchyj summarized their motivation this way: “Quality healthcare ranks among the most important issues our society faces, and the collaborative research initiatives between nursing and engineering at UMass Amherst can make a real difference.” Indeed, during the ensuing four years, the Hluchyj Graduate Fellowship has done just that.

On January 23, two media reports focused on efforts to educate young people about the dangers of texting while driving by introducing them to “Distractology 101,” a program created by the Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory, whose director is Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department Head Don Fisher. The first report was aired on WWLP-TV 22, while the second was a feature article in the Springfield Republican.

Donald Fisher, head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, director of the Human Performance Laboratory, and expert on distracted driving, was interviewed on January 13 by WFCR public radio about the dangers of texting while driving. “Drivers of all ages are 17 to 20 percent more at risk when they’re texting than when they’re not texting,” explained Professor Fisher. “And that increased risk comes because they glance down longer than two seconds.” Dr.

Assistant Professor Ashwin Ramasubramaniam of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has been chosen by the Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society (TMS) as one of two recipients for the 2012 TMS EMPMD Young Leader Professional Development Award. His nomination was recently approved by the TMS Electronic, Magnetic, & Photonic Materials Division Award Committee.

A feature story in the January 3 Springfield Republican looked at the Sneakers 4 Success program started by mechanical engineering undergrad Samuel Del Pilar at the Renaissance School in Springfield to teach urban children about real-world business through what he calls “sneaker culture.” Del Pilar developed Sneakers 4 Success as an educational program that teaches city students real-life marketing, design, and business skills through their affinity for basketball sneakers.

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