2015 CITRIS Seed Funding awards $600,000 to eleven information technology projects

We are delighted to announce that the 2015 CITRIS Seed Fund Awards have been selected. This year, CITRIS received 24 highly competitive proposals from the four CITRIS campuses at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Merced, and UC Santa Cruz. Eleven proposals were selected for one year of seed funding, receiving an average of $55,000 each for a total of $600,000 in interdisciplinary research funds awarded. The eleven research proposals include work that will use data analytics to optimize health care, energy, and agriculture applications.

CITRIS has been awarding seed grants to spur multi-campus, multidisciplinary collaborations among the four CITRIS campuses since 2007. Numerous companies and centers have resulted from these grants, including Cellscope, which transforms ordinary cell phones into otoscopes for ear exams in the field; and the Center for Autonomous and Interactive Systems at UC Merced, which focuses on robotics, virtual characters, cognitive science, and human-computer interfaces.

The seed awards will support new information technology research and applications in the following areas:

Ariadne’s Thread: A mobile digital companion for blind indoor navigation
Principal Investigators: Roberto Manduchi (UC Santa Cruz) and Teenie Matlock (UC Merced)

This project will conduct basic research to inform the design and use of new technologies that support independent indoor navigation for visually impaired individuals. In the early stage of this work, scientists will develop and test novel software applications for smartphones that will help blind travelers retrace their paths and return to where they started, which is a frequent problem in blind navigation.

Big data analytics for the assessment of pathologic patient-ventilator interactions: pathway to patient multi-system dynamic health state prediction
Principal Investigators: Ramakrishna Akella (UC Santa Cruz) and Jason Adams (UC Davis Medical Center)

This work will develop associated dynamic multi-state, multi-modal analytics to improve patient health state prediction, thus improving care and quality of research. The knowledge derived will directly impact acute respiratory failure—one of the top five illnesses seen in intensive care—which collectively accounts for 0.66% of U.S. GDP and over $100B per year.

Combined remote-mobile sensing platform for precision agriculture in California’s high value crops
Principal Investigators: Stefano Carpin (UC Merced) and David Smart (UC Davis)

This project will develop a transformative measurement and analytical tool to empower crop managers with the data needed 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.

Crowdsourcing the evaluation of climate change information credibility
Principal Investigators: Teenie Matlock (UC Merced) and Michael Ranney (UC Berkeley)

This research will help people evaluate the trustworthiness of climate change information in online media using new developments in web annotation. Scientists will annotate influential news articles and comment on their scientific accuracy directly alongside the article using a new online database and discussion forum that are both under development.

Development and prototyping of a hardware-agnostic, self-configurable, integrated, optimal building automation system for small and medium commercial buildings
Principal Investigators: Mark Modera (UC Davis) and David Auslander (UC Berkeley)

This work will create a data-driven model of the thermal energy response of buildings. This model will be used to dynamically calculate set-points to minimize energy use and cost. The technology developed here has the potential to save 10 billion kWh of energy and reduce CO2 emissions by 7 million metric tons nationwide, based upon the high potential savings of integrated controls observed in several studies and the low price point estimated for this novel solution.

Development of GARD, a Genome-linked Antibiotic Resistance Database, enabling real-time decentralized pathogen data sharing
Principal Investigators: Todd Lowe (UC Santa Cruz), Manel Camps (UC Santa Cruz) and Miriam Barlow (UC Merced)

This project will build a real-time, searchable database of certain drug-resistant genomic sequences that includes their corresponding clinical data. In the future, this genomic data platform has the potential to become an essential resource for clinical care and epidemiological surveillance.

Improving resilience of the electricity distribution system
Principal Investigators: John Musacchio (UC Santa Cruz) and Galina Schwartz (UC Berkeley)

This research investigates how to leverage smart grid data to improve system resilience while taking incentives into account. The researchers expand on their prior work designing schemes based on control and game theory tools. Building on their game theoretic analysis and collaboration with the Modesto Irrigation District (MID), they plan to advance the project toward practical implementation.

Monitoring of Alzheimer patients with connected wearables
Principal Investigators: Alex Bayen (UC Berkeley) and Charles DeCarli (UC Davis)

This project will create a complete prototype of hardware needed for in-home monitoring of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, begin data collection with subjects, and test novel algorithms based on this data. The hardware ecosystem used here consists of Android Wear smart watches, Android phones, and Bluetooth in-home sensors.

On-chip light sources for multiplexed molecular biosensing
Principal Investigators: Holger Schmidt (UC Santa Cruz) and Subhash Risbud (UC Davis)

This work will develop on-chip light sources for optofluidic biosensors based on quantum dots embedded in the optical waveguide layers. These on-chip sources will help advance the goal of developing self-contained optofluidic labs-on-chip, leading to more powerful devices for personalized health care.

Rapid, portable, structural integrity assessment system for pre- and post-disaster infrastructure monitoring
Principal Investigators: Kenneth Loh (UC Davis) and Steve Glaser (UC Berkeley)

The goal of this research is to empower visual inspectors with a portable sensor that could directly probe for image damage occurring within critical structural components. The data generated is intended to support decision-making, whether it is used for routine monitoring or for post-disaster assessment. The enhanced accuracy, quantitative nature, and speed of the proposed system are crucial for achieving resilient cities of tomorrow.

Social-mobile platform for optimizing health services for complex chronic care management
Principal Investigators: Katherine Kim (UC Davis Medical Center) and Bjoern Hartmann (UC Berkeley)

This project will develop a working prototype of a social-mobile platform for care coordination for complex health conditions that can incorporate clinical- and patient-generated data, share data with electronic health records (EHRs), enable communication and collaboration between patients and care teams, and incorporate privacy preservation features.