Three New Videos Highlight CITRIS Research

Three videos highlight some of the research taking place at CITRIS. The videos show research successes with three projects: CellScope, Mobile Millennium, and smart thermostats.

CellScope (video)

Microscopy is the gold standard for medical diagnosis, but the necessary technology and personnel demands are often too high for use in the developing world. We are developing a platform for cell phone-based telemicroscopy, called the CellScope, which will enable remote image analysis for diagnosis and monitoring of diseases like malaria and tuberculosis.

Mobile Millennium (video)

Traffic in the San Francisco Bay Area is bad. But if the early results from the Mobile Millennium project are any indication, our ability to navigate through that traffic is about to get a lot better.

The idea behind Mobile Millennium is simple. Cell phone users download free software that automatically and anonymously contributes their position and velocity data to a central location. In exchange for this raw data, the phone owner gets a map-based, real-time view of traffic flow all over the Bay Area that can help them navigate around traffic jams and find the most viable alternative routes.

UC Berkeley Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Alexandre Bayen, in collaboration with Nokia, Navteq, the California and Federal Departments of Transportation, and with support from CITRIS, launched the Mobile Millennium pilot project in November 2008. The project uses GPS-equipped cell phones to provide real-time traffic information all over the Bay Area and is hosted by the California Center for Innovative Transportation (CCIT), a deployment-focused research center at UC Berkeley's Institute of Transportation Studies.

Smart Thermostats (video)

A key green technology on display at CITRIS HQ is a smart thermometer brought to market by Golden Power Manufacturing. The programmable thermostat can be enhanced with up to two modules that can communicate with anything from smart appliances in your home, to your electrical utility when demand on the grid is high, to you yourself, if you want to turn down the air conditioning remotely.

Tim Simon, the founder of Golden Power, explained the benefits of this kind of smart thermometer: on those hot days of summer, when everyone leaves their offices and drives home to crank up their air conditioning, the demand on the grid can force rolling blackouts to conserve power. But these thermometers can avoid that problem.

"Air conditioning uses one-third of the power during those hot days," Simon said. "In an emergency, raising the temperature in a house from 70 to 74 degrees, for example, would solve the problem."

The smart thermostats can be programmed to communicate with utilities, receiving information about the level of demand on the grid, and set energy use within the house accordingly. This kind of research, Simon said, can be done best at universities, which is why it's a perfect project for CITRIS.

"The advantage for a place like Berkeley is that they don't have the time pressure where they have to make money," he said. "Working with Berkeley gives us the ability to commercialize products based on the work that the Berkeley students and faculty have done."