Oregon State University is leading innovations to help high technology industries be faster, smarter and greener while controlling costs and improving profitability. Companies can work with Oregon State faculty and use advanced facilities to optimize their design and manufacturing operations.

High tech success stories

Greening the flat-panel display industry
In 2011, the global flat-panel screen industry shipped more than $120 billion worth of TVs, computers, smartphones and tablets. But manufacturing the semiconductors behind the screens produces waste — lots of it.

Doug Keszler and a team of scientists and engineers at Oregon State University and the University of Oregon are leading research to turn the industry into a zero-waste operation while improving product performance. This consortium, the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry (CSMC), includes industry partners such as Hewlett-Packard and Intel, along with other universities and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Already, the CSMC has produced significant results in both materials and processes. In addition, two Corvallis-based companies have spun off from the research: Inpria and Amorphyx.

Wireless glove could replace computer mouse
Douglas Engelbart, a 1948 Oregon State graduate, invented the computer mouse. Today, three engineering students — Mushfiqur Sarker, Anton Bilbaeno and Jason Muhlestein — are working to make computer interaction even more intuitive. They’ve developed a glove made of conductive fabric and sensors that detects hand rotation to wirelessly control a computer.

The wireless glove may help reduce hand and wrist injuries associated with repetitive motion, as well as contribute to advances in robotics, medicine and computer gaming. Besides directing objects on a computer screen based on their hand movements, users can perform operations such as opening or closing files or navigating through a digital map by touching the glove’s thumb to a spot on one of the fingers. The students estimate the cost of the wireless glove at just under $50.

Football informs artificial intelligence
Computer scientists in the field of artificial intelligence have made an important advance that blends computer vision, machine learning and automated planning to create a system that may improve operations from factories and airports to hospitals. And it’s based on watching the Oregon State University Beavers play football.

Alan Fern and his team created learning algorithms that allow a computer to watch video of football plays, learn from them and then design plays and control players in a football simulation or video game. Fern says football makes a good test bed for artificial intelligence because it’s visually and strategically complex, and like potential applications, it takes place in a structured setting. The technology to observe, learn and optimize could be used for control and logistics planning in industry and transportation, patient monitoring in health care and supply chains for the military.

The research has been supported by the NSF and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

A revolution in design and manufacturing
What if you could cut design time for a new machine by 80 percent? Even better, what if the first one works exactly as planned right off the assembly line? That’s the goal of Irem Tumer and a team of researchers in the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. They’re developing computer-modeling methods to create, test, revise and verify complex machines without having to build a physical prototype.

The technology behind the process is translating virtually every aspect of a mechanical system into data that can be mixed and matched in sophisticated computer systems — materials, functions and potential failure points — allowing designers to see what works as well as identify and solve problems. This could radically change how almost any complex machine is designed and built, including automobiles, aircraft, military vehicles, industrial equipment and consumer products. Oregon State researchers are collaborating with several universities and agencies with support from DARPA.