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End-to-end Encryption, Today -- Loophole Closed or Moved?
22 April 2016 | Infosec Island
by Vanishree Rao

Instant messaging is a big part of today’s digitally connected era, and there are a plethora of instant messaging apps, offering various features. Security, especially because of the latest developments with the Apple “back door” discussion, has become critical for these apps. The top apps with vaunted security features include iMessage and Snapchat. Despite the attention that app developers bestow on security, these apps possess vulnerability that is fairly easy to exploit.

 

Drastic disruptions are underway in the energy market
22 April 2016 | Tech Crunch
by Scott Elrod

It’s 6AM and I’m rolling out of bed. But before my feet hit the floor, my “home energy management agent” is negotiating with the California Independent System Operator (ISO), the nerve center controlling the flow of electricity on the grid.

Normally, I’d get my coffee first and then jump in the shower. But my personal agent has alerted me to the fact that a hair-trigger condition has developed! There is a hydro plant in the Sierras getting ready to ramp up production to meet the morning demand. I’ve already told my agent that it’s OK to request that I rearrange my schedule in modest ways, so it’s concluded that if I (and enough other homeowners!) can hold back on energy consumption for 10 more minutes, the hydro turbines won’t need to open, and the reservoir won’t need to be drained further.

 

Why Big Data Needs a Unified Theory of Everything
9 April 2016 | Venture Beat
by Marzieh Nabi, PARC

As I learned from my work in flight dynamics, to keep an airplane flying safely, you have to predict the likelihood of equipment failure. And today we do that by combining various data sets with real-world knowledge, such as the laws of physics.

Integrating these two sets of information — data and human knowledge — automatically is a relatively new idea and practice. It involves combining human knowledge with a multitude of data sets via data analytics and artificial intelligence to potentially answer critical questions (such as how to cure a specific type of cancer). As a systems scientist who has worked in areas such as robotics and distributed autonomous systems, I see how this integration has changed many industries. And I believe there is a lot more we can do.

 

Cities Create Their Own, Greener Transit Apps
In an effort to help people become less car-dependent, cities like Denver are getting directly involved in the certain of transportation apps.
8 April 2016 | GOVERNING
by Daniel C. Vock

Transportation planners in Denver face an increasingly familiar problem for booming cities in the South and West: Their surging population is straining its roads. Denver has grown nearly 40 percent since 1990, but alternative modes of transportation aren’t yet popular enough to ease traffic.

To encourage people to use different modes to navigate the Mile High City, Denver worked with Xerox to create a smartphone app that lets users evaluate all their options and compare the time it takes to use one of those options with another.

 

With China Faltering, Bay Area Poised to Grow High-tech Manufacturing
5 April 2016 | San Francisco Business Times
by Chris Rauber

...the Bay Area Council says the region and the state are poised "to lead an emerging transformation in global manufacturing" with high-tech advances like robotics and 3-D printing.
 

report by the Council's Economic Institute touts California's growing manufacturing sector — especially in beverages, fabricated metals, machinery, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment and supplies — and suggests ways to make its growth more robust.

[The report contains an Insight paper on “The Future of Making Things” written by Lawrence Lee, Tolga Kurtoglu and Janos Veres of PARC, a Xerox company.]

 

Xerox Could Blow Open Concentrating Solar Power Field With New Printer
5 April 2016 | CleanTechnica
by Tina Casey

Concentrating solar tech has been getting the stinkeye from some industry observers, with the main beefs being high complexity and high costs compared to conventional solar panels. Nevertheless, the US Energy Department has made a national showpiece out of five gigantic utility-scale thermal solar power plants, and last year the agency threw some grant dollars at Xerox’ cutting edge PARC company to work on the micro-scale, photovoltaic end of the concentrating solar field. The PARC micro-scale concentrating solar project aims at whittling down both the cost and complexity of concentrating solar power, by integrating tiny hexagonal solar elements directly into a flat panel.

 

Xerox PARC Working on Cheaper Photovoltaics
30 March 2016 | Energy Manager Today
by Carl Weinschenk

The MIT Technology Review reports that researchers at Xerox PARC are working on a digital printing process that could reduce the cost of mass producing concentrated photovoltaic systems. The process could increase efficiency dramatically by using lenses to concentrate the light onto small cells in the panel.

Solar energy is growing in low- and middle-income communities, according to GreenBiz. The organization cites a study from Kevala Research to make the claim.

 

A Xerox Machine for Super Solar Panels
Researchers at PARC are working on a way to cheaply print efficient solar cells at a large scale
25 March 2016 | MIT Technology Review
by Mike Orcutt

The technology giant that’s synonymous with photocopied documents has set its sights on highly efficient solar panels.
 
Researchers at PARC, an R&D-focused subsidiary of Xerox, say they’re developing a new digital printing process that could make it much cheaper to mass-produce concentrated solar photovoltaic systems. Such systems can dramatically increase the efficiency of solar cells by using lenses to concentrate and focus the sunlight onto small cells.

 

Google Maps Update is Giving Uber Competition
But in North America, it’s still just Uber
16 March 2016 | Fortune
by Kirsten Korosec

Smaller competitors to Google’s navigation app are also vying to become one-stop platforms for how people get around. Xerox, better known for making copies than cars, has developed software designed to make travel in and around Los Angeles, easier, cheaper, and faster.

Xerox’s platform powers an Android and iOS app called GoLA, which was introduced in January by the city of Los Angeles. The app includes shows users every transportation option, including local taxi cab companies, ride-hailing services Lyft and Uber, car-sharing service Zipcar, city and county mass transit, smart parking app ParkWhiz, and an online-pre-booking travel service Flitways,. It also shows users how many calories are burned using the various combinations of transportation. But unlike the new Google Maps tab, users of the Go LA app can’t compare fares between ride-sharing competitors.

 

L.A.’s Testing Ground for Transportation Efficiency
The city is at the forefront of the emerging concept of mobility management
16 March 2016 | Governing
by Stephen Goldsmith

Los Angeles is anticipating a big population increase, with an accompanying surge in road use and demand for transit, over the next decade. The city is responding by taking on a new posture for transportation according to Ashley Hand, transportation technology strategist fellow at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. "We are looking to make the role of the city that of a balancer, the facilitator of transit services, that ensures there will be equitable distribution and affordable options for community members," she says. ...the city just announced a partnership with Xerox for the creation of "Go LA," an app that will collate both public and private transit options.

 

5 Things You Need to Know About the State of Energy Innovation
Highlights from the 2016 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit
15 March 2016 | City of Fremont, California
by Christina Briggs

The IoT “revolution" is making energy democracy a reality. Kicking off the Summit, Xerox CTO Dr. Sophie Vandebroek gave an impassioned speech about the importance of democratizing energy — increasing competition and providing people with greater choice for energy sources. Through its Silicon Valley research institute, PARC, Xerox is working toward commercial applications in gas monitoring systems (preventing methane leaks), sensor technologies to improve battery stability, and mobility marketplace tools.

 

PARC Stays Close to the Future
25 February 2016 | Forbes/Leadership
by Jonathan Salem Baskin, Contributor

Xerox founded its PARC research center during the sales heyday of its eponymous paper copiers, and tasked it with inventing “the office of the future.” Its location in Palo Alto, far away from corporate headquarters in an Internet-less era of expensive toll calls, is often cited as a mistake that kept it from commercializing every discovery.

“No, we went where the people were,” answered Steve Hoover, PARC’s CEO, noting that physical and psychological distance meant its innovators weren’t bound to big company thinking or definitions of success, too.

“PARC was about how digital would change the nature of work, and those skills were emergent on the West Coast.”

 

Last Year’s Holiday Data Can Help Retailers in 2016
23 February 2016 | Total Retail
by Peter Paul, PARC Principal Scientist

Many lessons can be gleaned from analyzing data collected at the register as well as using new tools such as video analytics. Combining different types of data can provide a more holistic view of brick-and-mortar shopping, as well as offer actionable insights on how retailers can create shopping experiences that earn new customers and preserve existing ones.

 

Los Angeles Has Invented the Multimodal Navigation App of My Dreams
1 February 2016 | Gizmodo
by Alissa Walker

For years now, I have very publicly wished for an app that would list all my possible transportation alternatives in the palm of my hand, then guide me to my destination once I’d made the decision of how to get there. Well, I’m here to tell you: Sometimes wishes come true.
 
I tried the app a few times over the last week and it works great—I’ll probably replace my hodgepodge of other apps for this one. Not only did it function just as well as the native Metro Los Angeles app I use for real-time arrivals when I ride the bus or train, or the Google Maps app I use for biking and walking, it gave me some ideas for different routes to take, which I always appreciate. And the turn-by-turn directions with maps that show you exactly how to walk from the light-rail station to the bus stop, for example, were infinitely valuable when I was crunched for time during connections.

 

This App Hopes to Help You Outsmart L.A. Traffic Jams
GoLA links all your transit options together and tells you which one works best
1 February 2016 | The Atlantic's City Lab
by Natalie Delgadillo

GoLA, a recently-launched mobile app that aims to reduce the number of cars on the street and shift the way L.A. residents think about commuting. The app links various transportation options, including biking, public transit, ride-hailing, and driving, and then allows users to compare each method to see which is the fastest, cheapest, or greenest.

“We’re trying to make [commuters] aware of things like tracking their carbon footprint and calories burned,” David Cummins, the senior vice president for mobility solutions at Xerox, says. “We want to help people see that maybe getting around town isn’t all about getting from Point A to Point B in the quickest way possible. Mobility can be fun. It can be a good way to get a workout; it can have a social aspect if you want it to.”

 

Self-destructing, Vanishing Electronics on the Way
1 February 2016 | Military Embedded Systems
by Sally Cole

One of the partners publicly working with DARPA to develop and demonstrate a “disappearing electronics” platform as part of VAPR is PARC, a Xerox company. Their approach is called DUST, a.k.a., Disintegration Upon Stress Release Trigger, which has obvious implications for the military.
 
Not surprisingly, PARC’s technology is intended to be compatible with commercial-off-the-shelf electronic devices and fabrication processes, which should lead to a wide range of complex transient functionality.
 
And because the company specializes in developing sophisticated electronics with a focus on novel form factors and manufacturing approaches, as well as reduced size and cost, DUST is a natural fit for PARC. Expect to see transient devices used for applications such as objects embedded with sensors to support the fast-growing Internet of Things (IoT) or as a destructive option to enhance data security.

 

Xerox Built the Ultimate Transportation App for Los Angeles
28 January 2016 | Fortune
by Kirsten Karosec

Commuters looking to get around Los Angeles typically have two unappealing choices: endure a soul-sucking drive in stop-and-go traffic, or traverse a convoluted mix of public transit, taxis, and ride-hailing services. The second largest metro area in the U.S. has some of the worst traffic congestion in the country, a problem that is magnified by its sprawling footprint.

But of all the companies that could have broken the city’s epic gridlock, Xerox—better known for making copies than counting cars—has developed a software platform designed to make travel in and around Los Angeles, easier, cheaper, and faster. Xerox’s new platform powers an Android and iOS app called Go LA, which was launched this week by the city of Los Angeles.

 

Xerox PARC Pioneer Among Tech Folk Recogised on Australia Day
IT figures honored
27 January 2016 | CRN
by June Ramli

CSIRO research fellow Craig Mudge received the Officer for the Order of Australia (AO) for his work in science, particularly through pioneering initiatives in the information technology sector as a researcher, author and a mentor of young scientists.

Mudge was founder and CEO of Austek Microsystems, which was spun out of CSIRO’s microelectronics research group. The company's signal processing chips formed the basis of CSIRO’s wireless LAN patent.

He also worked in Silicon Valley as director of the famous Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC) computer science lab.

 

Today Every Company Must be a Service Provider and a Software Company
12 January 2016 | Innovation Excellence
by Paul Sloane

The Internet of Things (IOT) will have a dramatic impact on product and service innovation. Gartner group forecast that the number of wirelessly connected products will increase from 5 billion today to 21 billion by 2020 (not including smartphones or computers). Everyday objects from kettles to T-shirts will have sensors that can detect when, where and how they are used.

Stephen Hoover, CEO of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) puts it this way, "I can instrument and understand what my customers are doing with my products across the world. I can understand if those devices starting to fail. I can understand the environment they’re in and adapt their behavior to be responsive to the local environment."

 

Stanford Researchers Create Artificial Skin That Senses Touch (video)
11 January 2016 | abc7news.com
by Tim Didion

Biochemistry professor Zhenan Bao, Ph. D., leads the project. She said what’s new is a system developed by Xerox, which allowed her team to print flexible circuits evenly across a large area and mimic the nerve pathways in the skin.

 

Xerox PARC, NRI Enter Data Analytics, Info Security R&D Partnership
11 January 2016 | ExecutiveBiz
by Jane Edwards

Xerox’s PARC subsidiary and consulting firm Nomura Research Institute have teamed up to develop new technological platforms for medium-size and large corporate organizations through research and development collaboration. 
 
The companies will work to explore project opportunities in the areas of data analytics, information technology systems, information security and consulting services.

 

DARPA Picks 10 to Build Nano-based Products
7 January 2016 | Defense Systems
by George Leopold

Ten research organizations have been tapped by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop technologies and processes for assembling nano-scale building blocks for materials and millimeter-scale components.

DARPA announced the awards at the end of December under its "Atoms to Products" (A2P) initiative designed to leverage unique "atomic-scale" characteristics like much lower melting points and greater heat resistance.

Boston University, Notre Dame, HRL and PARC form a working group on optical meta-material assembly. One initiative calls for Boston University researchers to develop a technique to "spray paint" atoms with nano-scale precision to build tunable optical meta-materials for the "photonic battlefield."

 

FEDC and PARC Develop World’s Largest Flexible X-ray Detector
The prototype uses a-Si technologies on a flexible substrate and the flexible x-ray sensor was coupled to a tablet device for control and image viewing
7 January 2016 | The OSA DIRECT Newsletter
by Editor

The Flexible Electronics and Display Center (FEDC) and PARC recently announced that they have successfully manufactured what they claim to be the world's largest flexible x-ray detector prototypes using advanced thin film transistors (TFTs) - based on a-Si technology.

 

World’s Largest Flexible X-ray Detector
31 December 2015 | Printed Electronics WORLD

The Flexible Electronics and Display Center (FEDC) at Arizona State University and PARC, a Xerox company, announced that they have successfully manufactured the world's largest flexible X-ray detector prototypes using advanced thin film transistors.
 
Measuring 10 diagonal inches, the device has been jointly developed at the ASU center and PARC in conjunction with the Army Research Lab and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The device will be used to advance the development of flexible X-ray detectors for use in thin, lightweight, conformable and highly rugged devices.
 
“This success came from a rewarding collaboration that combines FEDC’s flexible array fabrication technology and PARC’s experience with digital x-ray systems,” said Bob Street, PARC Senior Research Fellow.

 

The Death of American Research and Development
21 December 2015 | Fortune
by Chris Matthews

Americans are still fascinated by the centralized research programs of yore, like AT&T’s Bell Labs or the Xerox PARC laboratory, whose scientists’ work won Nobel Prizes and led to revolutionary inventions such as the transistor and the computer mouse.  … With America’s economic rivals—in particular, China—showing no letup in their willingness to boost research and development, it may just be time to stop listening to investors betting on the short term and reignite the American love affair with corporate science. “If we don’t do the basic research,” says Marc Kastner, president of the Science Philanthropy Alliance, “other countries will.”

 

Innovation and Technology at Xerox PARC, with Stephen Hoover, CEO
47 minute video
8 December 2015 | CXO Talk
by Michael Krigsman, interviewer

Some of the topics in this conversation include PARC’s history creating “the office of the future,” its open innovation business model as a wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox, current innovation areas and commercial offerings, the future of work, and embracing risk.

 

Panic button: How wearable tech and VR are tackling the problem of panic attacks
Experiments in bringing anxiety apps and breathing techniques closer to the action
3 December 2015 | Wareable
by Andrew Williams

There's a definite trend for panic attack relief wearables which all seem to exploit the most common technique for dealing with the issue as it occurs: slow, measured breathing.

There's also research being done on identifying panic attacks before they set in. We talked to Jonathan Rubin of PARC, a research company based in Palo Alto, that published a white paper in September on precisely that: a panic attack-identification wearable. The crux: Rubin says that while panic attacks appear to come from nowhere, there are early warning signals beforehand. Rubin talked us though the idea.

 

3 Myths Dispelled About GPU & Machine Learning
19 November 2015 | AlwaysOn Blogs
by Rong Zhou, PARC

This article was originally featured in CIO Review.

With open-source big data frameworks such as Apache Hadoop and Spark in the spotlight, most people are probably unfamiliar with the concept of using GPUs (graphics processing units) in either big data or analytics-rich applications. 9 out of 10 cases, the acronym is mentioned in the context of display hardware, video games, or how supercomputers can be built these days. For serious IT managers or data scientists, GPUs may seem too exotic to be the hardware of choice for big data infrastructure.

 

The President of Xerox Innovation Group Discusses Her Methods and Workplace Diversity
16 November 2015 | Forbes.com
by Peter High, Contributor

Sophie Vandebroek, Xerox CTO and President of Xerox Innovation Group, describes Xerox’s vision for healthcare, transportation and more, research methods (including dreaming sessions and ethnographic studies), PARC’s business model, and the importance of building an inclusive environment where innovators can thrive.

 

Immigration Rx for Women: Maximum Strength
11 November 2015 | Huffington Post
by Fiona Citkin

Hoda Eldardiry, from Egypt: Resilience in Action

At age 15, this passionate poetry paramour dreamed about going into the sciences for a career--but she happened to be born in the wrong country where such dreams seldom come true for women. Today, Hoda Eldardiry, Ph.D., s a research scientist at Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), a Xerox Company, in artificial intelligence, machine learning, data mining and knowledge discovery. She also serves on the Xerox Innovation Group Women's Council and is active in the US high-tech community.

 

Teaching Machines to Learn on Their Own
Stephen Hoover, CEO of Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, talks with Scientific American tech editor Larry Greenemeier about the revolution underway in machine learning, in which the machine eventually programs itself
10 November 2015 | Scientific American
by Larry Greenemeier

Over the next decade or so, machines will more easily mimic inherently human abilities. And they’ll learn to do it much the same way we do — through experience.

“Experience” in this case means computers will be fed data patterns over and over again until they’re able to automatically identify a particular sound or image on their own. This process is called machine learning.

To better understand the dawn of intelligent machines and what it means for our daily lives, I spoke with Stephen Hoover, CEO of Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, at a recent Intelligent Assistants conference in New York City.

 

Hyperspectral Cameras See Better Than You Can
If PARC comes through, your cell phone will see things as humans never could
6 November 2015 | INVERSE
by Ian Stark

Imagine a phone that can tell which apple of a bunch is the ripest, or if that steak being sold at a discount is so cheap because it’s not so fresh — hyperspectral cameras can see these kinds of things, realities of the physical world but only visible in wavelengths of light invisible to the naked human eye.

The PARC plan is to make such cameras happen by adding a tiny layer of liquid crystal (about the thickness of a human hair) to image sensors already at work in current devices, providing hyperspectral ability. If all goes as planned, the phone in your pocket may soon have the capability to receive new truths about your personal world that had previously flourished right in front of you, unnoticed.

 

Democratization and Disintermediation (Feature Article)
Disruptive Technologies and the Future of Making Things
6 November 2015 | Research-Technology Management
by Steve Hoover and Lawrence Lee, PARC

The forces of democratization and disintermediation, largely unleashed by the software revolution, have already remade several major industries, among them computing, publishing, and retail. Democratization and disintermediation are related forces; disintermediation removes traditional barriers to accessing tools and markets, and democratization encourages one-time consumers to also become producers, sharing their ideas and innovations freely. 3D printing and related technologies are rapidly bringing these forces to manufacturing, forever changing how we make things.

 

MDeC Americas Inks IP Deal With PARC
Research & Development partnership to facilitate global expansion of MSC Malaysia
6 November 2015 | PR Newswire

MDeC Americas Inc, an entity under the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) tasked with spearheading MDeC's presence in the Americas, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with PARC, a Xerox company, to enable MSC Malaysia companies to leverage Silicon Valley's innovative ecosystem to create new or enhanced Intellectual Property (IP).
 
"We believe SE Asian markets have a hunger for technology innovation, fast growing economies, and a business friendly environment," said Aki Ohashi, PARC's Director of Business Development. "We're excited about this partnership with MDeC to bring cutting-edge PARC technologies to Malaysia, and help MSC Malaysia companies expand globally.”

 

Dialects of the IoT
How intimately we talk to our stuff depends on what it’s done for us lately
3 November 2015 | O’Reilly Radar
by Kyle Dent, PARC

In the first post in this series, I mentioned that we’re getting used to talking to technology. We talk to our cell phones, our cars; some of us talk to our TVs, and a lot of us talk to customer support systems. The field has yet to settle into a state of equilibrium, but I thought I would take a stab at defining some categories of conversational interfaces.

 

Big Data
3 November 2015 | CIO Review
by Rong Zhou, PARC (contributed article)

It’s true that GPUs are not as easy to program as their CPU counterparts, due to their unconventional processor designs, says Rong Zhou, senior researcher and Manager of the High-Performance Analytics area of the Interaction and Analytics Laboratory at PARC.

At PARC, we are researching ways to automatically generate optimized GPU code from high-level specifications of the algorithm with little knowledge about the underlying hardware. Once completed, it will enable fast GPU programming and real-time big data analytics running on top of a wide array of GPUs, each of which can have different hardware characteristics such as their compute capabilities, the number of streaming multiprocessors (SMs), the number of registers per SM and etc. In the long run, we would like to support other forms of accelerator-based big data analytics besides GPU, including those based on Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors.

 

Speedy Samples
New tool identifies alloys in the field, making sorting, re-use more efficient
3 November 2015 | ModernMetals
by Gretchen Salois

PARC, a Xerox company, received its “plus up” award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) after completing its original $1 million contract as part of ARPA-E’s Modern Electro/Thermochemical Advancements for Light-Metal Systems (METALS) program, geared toward developing cost-effective and energy efficient manufacturing techniques to process and recycle light metals.

Aside from beverage cans, aluminum recycling remains low among many industries. The effect of that rate up and down the supply chain is worth considering. Why the low recycling rate for aluminum? Jessy Rivest, who manages the energy materials and systems group in the Hardware Systems Laboratory at PARC, says the difficulty and expense of sorting one aluminum alloy from another is the main reason. 

“For example, an aluminum alloy with 15 percent silicon has high fluidity for casting while an aluminum alloy with 6 percent zinc has very high strength,” explains Rivest. “If these two alloys are mixed together, the result is a blend that is neither castable nor strong.”

 

The Future of Work Show, Episode 7: Inside PARC (video)
28 October 2015 | Forbes.com
by Jacob Morgan, Contributor

In this episode of "The Future of Work Show," Jacob Morgan sits down with PARC CEO Stephen Hoover and some other PARC  employees to talk about everything from robots and artificial intelligence to batteries and fuel cells, to water and lasers, to printed/large area electronics and optics, to the freelancer economy, millennials and, of course, innovation.

 

PARC Develops Hyperspectral Imager
27 October 2015 | Image Sensors World
by Vladimir Koifman

PARC has prototyped its HSI technology by integrating a liquid crystal cell inside a commercial monochrome CMOS camera. The prototype offers the following performance:

  • 640 x 480 spatial resolution
  • Up to 80 degree field of view
  • Acquires 30 independent spectral bands in 0.4 seconds
  • Wavelength range 400 nm to 1100 nm
  • F/1.8 max aperture

An open-access PARC paper "Hyperspectral imaging with a liquid crystal polarization interferometer" by Alex Hegyi and Joerg Martini is published in Optics Express, Issue 22, Vol 23.

 

Prosthetics of the Future Could Provide a Sense of Touch
Researchers have developed an artificial “skin” that can be added to prosthetics to re-create a sense of touch.
16 October 2015 | Newsweek.com
by Jessica Firger

When it comes to prostheses, the days of metal-hook hands and wooden legs are long over. But while robotic limbs have changed the lives of millions of amputees, the high-tech appendages still don’t compare with the real thing, mainly because prosthetics are purely functional. They allow a person to walk, pick up items and carry out other daily tasks—but without a sense of touch.   

A team of scientists at Stanford University and the Palo Alto Research Center are working to change this. The group has developed a special “skin” that can be added to artificial limbs that may allow a person with a prosthetic hand to actually feel a handshake.

 

Artificial Skin Transmits Signals to Neurons
Materials Science: Interfacing pressure sensors and organic circuits with nerve cells could give prosthetics a sense of touch
15 October 2015 | Chemical and Engineering News
by Celia Henry Arnaud

Prosthetic limbs can restore an amputee’s ability to walk or grip objects, but they haven’t yet been able to restore a person’s sense of touch. Researchers at Stanford University have taken a step closer to this type of prosthetic by creating an electronic skin that responds to pressure changes and transmits signals via nerve cells, much as human skin does.
 
Zhenan Bao and coworkers made the artificial skin by connecting three components: microstructured resistive pressure sensors, flexible printed organic electronic circuits, and nerve cells containing light-activated ion channels.
 
Each sensor is connected to an organic circuit printed with the help of researchers at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). The circuit converts the pressure signal into a series of electrical pulses and increases pulse frequency in response to increasing pressure.

 

PARC’s Latest Invention: Circuits That “Explode” on Demand (video)
Robert Scoble Learns About Transient Electronics
8 October 2015
by Robert Scoble

Greg Whiting, material scientist and Manager of PARC's Novel Electronics Area, gives an overview of PARC’s work in novel electronics, and describes and demonstrates one example of it: turning stable electronics into triggerable transient electronics.

 

The Building That Changed the World (video)
Robert Scoble’s Tour of PARC's Lobby Exhibit
8 October 2015
by Robert Scoble

Anna Enerio, PARC Director of Marketing, gives a tour of five areas of PARC’s past, present and future:
Personalized Computing, Making Things, Connecting You, Optimizing Our World, and Powering Your Clean Future.

 

Fiber-Optic Sensors Enable Smart Battery Charge Management
7 October 2015 | Electronic Design
by James Morra

In the pursuit of more efficient and low-cost designs, a growing number of battery storage devices are turning to embedded fiber-optic sensors and machine learning to optimize the main battery charge. PARC is partnering with LG Chem Power Inc. to develop such a battery management system, with an initial focus on lithium-ion battery packs used in hybrid and electric (xEV) vehicles.
 
The Smart Embedded Network of Sensors with Optical Readout (SENSOR) is capable of monitoring cell degradation and health information (SoX), in addition to predicting remaining battery life. During initial validation, the system demonstrated “2.5% or better SOX accuracy across various xEV use-cases” at both the cell and module levels, explains Ajay Raghavan, research area manager at PARC and the principal investigator of the technology.

 

This Computer Chip Will Self-Destruct in 5 Seconds
6 October 2015 | Live Science
by Tia Ghose, Senior Writer

PARC materials scientist Greg Whiting said his team was initially inspired to make self-destructing electronics that could be built with off-the-shelf products. The researchers considered a number of methods of destruction, from vaporization to dissolving, but "we approached this from the idea of, 'Could we take an off-the-shelf chip, if you like, and, without doing too much to it, could we make it become transient?'" 

 

Open Innovation: What Organizations Should be Doing About and Thinking About
27 September 2015 | Forbes / Leadership
by Jacob Morgan, Contributor

PARC CEO Steve Hoover offers his perspectives about open innovation on this episode of "The Future of Work" podcast. He discusses the whats and whys of open innovation and what forward-thinking companies need to be doing. He also describes what PARC’s “Business of Breakthroughs” encompasses, some of its current research and how it envisions the future, and how to create partnerships to accomplish open innovation. The conversation offers Hoover’s personal approach as well as his business approach.

 

Fiber Sensor Systems for Automotive Applications (video)
An optically based smart monitoring system prototype for battery packs promises better range and greater efficiency for electric vehicles.
23 September 2015 | SPIE.TV

PARC Principal Scientist Peter Kiesel describes fiber sensor systems for automotive applications.
 
Under the ARPA-E Advanced Management and Protection of Energy-Storage Devices (AMPED) program for advanced battery management systems, PARC, a Xerox company, and LG Chem Power (LGCPI) are developing SENSOR (Smart Embedded Network of Sensors with an Optical Readout), an optically based smart monitoring system prototype for battery packs. The system will use fiber optic sensors embedded inside Lithium-ion battery cells to measure parameters indicative of cell state online, such as state-of-charge (SOC) and state-of-health (SOH).
 
The team has already presented exciting results achieved over the project's first half focused on cell-level state features detectable, initial SOX algorithm development, low-cost optical readout development, and early validation test results at SPIE DSS 2015 and elsewhere.

 

We’re on the Brink of a Revolution in Crazy-Smart Digital Assistants
16 September 2015 | Wired
by David Pierce

At the time of Steve Jobs’ visit [to Xerox PARC in 1979], a separate team at PARC was working on a completely different model of human-computer interaction, today called the conversational user interface. These scientists envisioned a world, probably decades away, in which computers would be so powerful that requiring users to memorize a special set of commands or workflows for each action and device would be impractical. They imagined that we would instead work collaboratively with our computers, engaging in a running back-and-forth dialog to get things done. The interface would be ordinary human language.
 
... Nearly every major tech company—from Amazon to Intel to Microsoft to Google—is chasing the sort of conversational user interface that Kaplan and his colleagues at PARC imagined decades ago.

 

Talking to the IoT
When our stuff speaks to us, we exchange more than ideas.
16 September 2015 | O’Reilly Radar
by Kyle Dent

People are really good at talking to each other. That shouldn’t be too surprising. Conversation among human beings has evolved over a very long period of time — and now we’re starting to talk to our stuff, and in some cases, it’s talking back.

 

DARPA’s VAPR Program: 'Like Snapchat for Hardware’
14 September 2015 | FedScoop
by Greg Otto

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Vanishing Programmable Resources Program — known as VAPR — aims to give people the ability to destroy hardware in information systems once they reach their end of life.
 
Teams from the Palo Alto Research Center, which is working on the project, demonstrated how they could smash chips with lasers. Greg Whiting with PARC told FedScoop the laser did not provide the energy to break the glass, but served as a logical signal to tell the glass to shatter. “We separate the trigger from the actual method of triggering. You can pick any method of trigger signaling that should be possible. The energy to trigger is coming from a resistive heater on the device. The signal to tell that resistive heater to heat up can come from anything. It could be a coil, a chip, an RF signal that could be connected to anything from a chemical sensor or a Web application.”

 

Why We Should Design Our Computer Chips to Self-Destruct
Scientists at Xerox PARC have developed a computer chip that can self-destruct on command.
13 September 2015 | Christian Science Monitor
by Jessica Mendoza

You can’t steal what isn’t there.

That’s the idea behind superspy Ethan Hunt’s legendary self-destructing tapes in the “Mission: Impossible” movies, and now the concept is coming to life: Engineers at Xerox PARC have developed a chip that explodes into tiny, irreparable pieces upon command.

As digital technology evolves and grows dependent on increasingly accessible data, privacy advocates have raised the question of how to protect personal information and maintain obscurity. The result has been a growing interest in self-destructing or transient technology, which some experts say could play a key role in securing sensitive data in the future.

 

Palo Alto Research Center’s Scott Elrod: Patents, Quakers and Elephant Seals (pdf)
Scott Elrod of PARC discusses science, spirituality and wildlife
11 September 2015 | Silicon Valley Business Journal
by Leia Parker, Managing Editor

Elrod is a deep thinker, interested in the physical world as well as philosophy and spirituality. While at Stanford, he and a colleague hosted seminars with guest speakers who discussed the “alignment or misalignment of science and religion, and how they interrelated."
 
At PARC, Elrod is working on developing co-extrusion printing for batteries after delivering that technology to SolarWorld for solar cells, he said. He’s optimistic that the technology could enable longer range for electric vehicles and possibly better storage for the electricity grid.

 

You Can’t Steal Data From a Chip That’s Self-Destructed
11 September 2015 | Gizmodo
by Andrew Liszewski

Losing a flash drive full of family photos is unfortunate; losing an encryption key that gives access to sensitive data could be a catastrophe. So researchers at Xerox's PARC have developed chips that can self-destruct on command, making them completely unusable once they shatter.

 

Xerox PARC’s New Chip Will Self Destruct in 10 Seconds
The chip breaks apart on command and was developed under DARPA
10 September 2015 | PCWorld
by Martyn Williams

The chip, developed as part of DARPA’s vanishing programmable resources project, could be used to store data such as encryption keys and, on command, shatter into thousands of pieces so small, reconstruction is impossible.
 
It was demonstrated at DARPA’s Wait, What? event in St. Louis.
 

“The applications we are interested in are data security and things like that,” said Gregory Whiting, a senior scientist at PARC in Palo Alto, California. “We really wanted to come up with a system that was very rapid and compatible with commercial electronics.”

 

CASE 2015 Announces Award Recipients
PARC Scientists Win the Best Application Paper Award at the 2015 IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering
31 August 2015 | IEEE Robotics & Information Society

The paper, titled “Automatic Spatial Planning for Machining Operations,” summarizes the latest integrated implementation of uFab by PARC. The award is in recognition of a paper for the best applied advances in engineering science towards high-impact application.

 

DOE Attempts to Jump-Start Concentrated Solar
Researchers seek breakthroughs for a technology designed to make solar more efficient
26 August 2015 | Technology Review
by Richard Martin

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced new funding for concentrated solar photovoltaic projects.
 
Awarded under ARPA-E’s Micro-scale Optimized Solar-cell Arrays with Integrated Concentration (MOSAID) program, the money will go to 11 projects at 10 organizations, including MIT, Xerox PARC, Texas A&M, and the solar manufacturer Semprius.

 

Trying to Break the U.S. Energy System for Its Own Good
ARPA-E is trying to shake up the 100-year-old U.S. energy system
19 August 2015 | Bloomberg
by Eric Roston

Lithium-ion batteries, which power computers and electric vehicles, are too heavy, expensive, and wasteful. That's a particularly big problem when it comes to packing many batteries into something small like a car. The units are pressed together, cell by cell, which makes individual components difficult to monitor and manage...
 
PARC is embedding fiber optic sensors into batteries to measure their temperatures and the strains that come as they expand and contract during use.

 

Printing Flexible Lithium-Ion Batteries
Materials: A solid, printable electrolyte enables lithium-ion batteries to take many shapes
12 August 2015 | Chemical & Engineering News
by Katherine Bourzac

Solid-state batteries that use solid electrolytes could be printed to fit a particular device shape and would give designers more room to play. So far, though, there aren’t any solid-state lithium-ion batteries on the market, says Corie Cobb of PARC, a research company owned by Xerox, in Palo Alto, Calif., who is not involved in the new work.

 

A Scientific Smartphone Tool for Personalized Health
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and PARC use predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to develop tailored, health interventions for personalized wellness
24 July 2015 | National Science Foundation

With support from the National Science Foundation’s Smart and Connected Health program, researchers from CMU and PARC are using artificial intelligence and predictive models to develop mobile health tools to maximize engagement in personalized, healthy lifestyles. The mobile platform the researchers have developed, called Fittle, integrates sensor technology, cognitive tutoring, and evidence-based social design for interventions that promote health.

 

PARC and LG Chem Power Advance Development of SENSOR to Improve Battery Performance
14 July 2015 | The Battery Show News

PARC, a Xerox company, has announced the final stages of development with LG Chem Power, having successfully transitioned to module-level testing of SENSOR, a next-generation fiber-optic sensing battery management system, with specific initial focus on hybrid and electric vehicles (xEVs).

The SENSOR system uses PARC’s compact wavelength-shift detection technology, along with its machine learning and sensor network expertise for effective real-time performance management and optimized battery design to enable cheaper, lighter and more reliable battery packs. Capabilities range from accurately inferring cell state and health information to predicting remaining life. The resulting commercial xEV-grade battery module with embedded optical sensors and readout unit will undergo industry-standard validation.

 

PARC to Supply Plastic Electronic Methane Sensors for BP
A project for developing low-cost printed electronic gas sensors to monitor the presence of methane has been announced by Xerox’s California-based future technologies division PARC
2 July 2015 | +Plastic Electronics
by John Nelson

The System of Printed Hybrid Intelligent Nano-Chemical Sensors (SPHINCS) is receiving public funding from the US Department of Energy (DoE). The DoE is keen to evolve the technology as methane is a potent greenhouse gas.

2013 senate report estimated that in 2011, 69 billion cubic feet (2 million cubic metres) of natural gas were being lost annually from the US’s aging pipeline network. The cost of this was calculated to be over $20 billion.

 

PARC Materials Scientists Print Two Thirds of a Battery in 1 Go
The method squeezes out multiple parts at once—like striped toothpaste from the tube
15 June 2015 | Scientific American
by Katherine Bourzac

Printing batteries is the future of sustainable energy, according to engineers at PARC, the renowned California-based research and development company owned by Xerox. They recently debuted a cost-saving manufacturing process that could someday squeeze out all the parts of a battery at once—like striped toothpaste from the tube.

 

Designing for Ecosystems: Making Meaningful IoT Products and Services
Mike Kuniavsky on PARC’s work on IoT and the mindset shift the IoT will require
19 May 2015 | O’Reilly Radar
by Mary Treseler

"The Innovation Services Group is essentially PARC’s consulting arm. ... We mostly work with Fortune 50 companies. A lot of what we do is essentially reduce the risk of adopting novel technologies through the use of user experience design and ethnography, and an innovation strategy. These days, a lot of that is in the form of looking at things that are broadly in the Internet of Things."

 

Stephen Hoover, CEO OF PARC, says manufacturing is being radically disrupted
Opportunity for New Types of Jobs to be Created Due to Innovations in Additive Manufacturing, Design and Funding
28 April 2015 | Industrial Research Institute

Seattle, WA (April 28, 2015)—The democratization of manufacturing is well underway. Strong early indicators, including new funding models, 3D printing, and manufacturing software tools, will radically change the way people and companies manufacture (e.g. “make”) goods. Products can be made—with a very customizable and personal approach—without the need for teams of human experts in the immediate area, and with little to no manufacturing expertise, says Stephen Hoover, CEO of PARC. In his keynote address at this morning’s Industrial Research Institute’s (IRI) 2015 Annual Meeting, Hoover explained how these important shifts in the way things are made carry significant potential to alter the way manufacturing is handled worldwide. The democratizing trend, he claims, will create new types of jobs in the manufacturing sector, ultimately shifting the global manufacturing economy.

 

How the "Internet of Everyday Things" could turn any product into a service
7 February 2015 | Venture Beat
by Lawrence Lee

"Imagine a near future where there will be a wireless sensor on the bottom of every shampoo, detergent, and medication container. It will tell you how much product is left and trigger a replacement order once it gets to 10% full or approaches its expiration date.

Now imagine a future laundry detergent dispenser that is connected wirelessly to sensors in the washing machine and can mix multiple channels of active ingredients dynamically to suit the conditions of the wash and optimize the cleaning process."

 

Mobility as a Service: Turning Transportation to a Software Industry
13 December 2014 | Venture Beat
by Christian Fritz

"It’s the future. You have just bought your first fully autonomous car and let it drive you to work this morning. It was a little scary at first, but you forgot about the lack of a driver quickly, and now you are at your office.

What is the car doing right now? Right, it is sitting in the parking lot, doing nothing other than perhaps charging. What a waste! So you decide to let your car act as a cab when you are not using it. You don’t want to run a cab business, you just want to reduce the cost of car ownership, so your outsource the job to a cab service. Only, you’re not the only one thinking like this. Everyone’s got their car moonlighting as a cab. There is an over-supply, and no one’s making much money."

 

Chips off the Old Block
Borrowing from photocopier technology, researchers find a way to make an electronics printer
6 December 2014 | The Economist
by Paul Markillie

"PRINTING has come a long way since Johannes Gutenberg perfected the commerical use of the printing press around 1439.  Since then, movable type has given way to other processes, such as lithography and screen printing.  In the digital era, laser, and inkjet printers arrived.  Then 3D printers emerged to make solid objects by building up layers of material.  What would be nice is a machine that could also print the electronics that go into devices.  Now one group of researchers has succeeded in demonstrating how just such a machine might work."

 

Printer bandaids will pump meds and keep tabs on your health
Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) foresees a future in which printed tech could improve healthcare
3 October 2014 | Stuff
by Erna Mahyuni

"Imagine this scenario:  instead of IV drips, you could just stick on a patch to have meds delivered into your system.  That's the kind of future PARC (Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center) envisions.

Printed tech is something that PARC's team is workign on right now, with small smart patches that will work to both monitor health parameters and deliver medications.  It would help in monitoring patients, along with treament and diagnostics, and definitely be a more comfortable option for patients.  The less needles the better, we say."

 

Printed Tech Envisions Personalized Monitoring and Treatment Devices
PARC’s printable tech department shares plans to make a patch that measures health or delivers medication that can be applied to the skin like a BandAid
1 October 2014 | PSFK
by Leo Lutero

"PARC recently discussed its vision of the future with printalbe tech and it intends to lead the way by creating small smart patches.  These miniature wearable devices will either monitor health parameters or deliver medication in controlled doses to the user.

The patch should be able to help in the diagnostics, monitoring and treatment for a patient."

 

The Future Smart City Will Be Built Around You and the Internet of You
22 September 2014 | Forbes.com
by Mike Steep

Pssshhhhhtttt.  Like a shot of steam in your morning latte, the sound of train doors opening injects vitality into any urban commute.  But imagine that at 7:18am on Monday in the London Underground the red doors stay opena dn quiet, and stay, and stay...

 

How to Create Innovation Cultures That Keep Working
3 September 2014 | Forbes Leadership
by Mike Steep

This article is by Mike Steep, senior vice president of global business operations at PARC and distinguished visiting scholar at Stanford University.

"Americans are innovative almost by nature. We grow up with lemonade stands, Shark Tank, and Kickstarter projects. Our national identity is built in part on bootstrapping and experimentation. We’re indoctrinated early with the twin beliefs that each of us holds the seeds of invention and that a good idea can come from anywhere.

And that’s a big problem for corporate culture. Because innovation is the water we swim in, we tend to believe that once we’ve created a functioning culture of innovation, it will sustain itself naturally.

It won’t. Like every other part of a successful business, a culture has to be continually managed, refreshed, and refocused."

 

Micro Chiplets
PARC's technique of mincing chips into printer ink could revolutionize the way electronics are made
8 August 2014 | MIT Technology Review
by David Talbot

"In the same research lab where the ethernet, laser printer, and graphical user interface were born, engineers are forging an entirely new way to assemble electronic devices—a technique that could be faster, cheaper, and more versatile. 

Typically, chips are made in bulk on semiconductor wafers and then cut into individual units and placed on motherboards inside computers and other devices. But researchers at PARC, in Palo Alto, California, envision doing something different with the wafers: chopping them up into hairs-width “chiplets,” mixing them into an ink, and guiding the tiny pieces electrostatically to just the right spot and orientation on a substrate, from which a roller could pick them up and print them."

 

Study: Smart Robots are coming for (some of) our jobs
How robots and artificial intelligence will shape our future
6 August 2014 | Fast Company
by Chris Gayomali

A new study by Pew Internet Research takes a hard look at how innovations in robotics and artificial intelligence will impact the future of work. To reach their conclusions, Pew researchers invited 12,000 experts (academics, researchers, technologists, and the like) to answer two basic questions:

  • Will networked, automated, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and robotic devices have displaced more jobs than they have created by 2025?
  • To what degree will AI and robotics be parts of the ordinary landscape of the general population by 2025?

Close to 1,900 experts responded. About half (48%) of the people queried envision a future in which machines have displaced both blue- and white-collar jobs. It won't be so dissimilar from the fundamental shift we saw in manufacturing, in which fewer (human) bosses oversaw automated assembly lines. What careers are most in danger? X-ray technicians, legal clerks, and news writer jobs were among those mentioned--essentially anything that requires routine decision-making is in danger of becoming automated. (The Associated Press, for example, is already experimenting with having machines write short business stories.) Careers requiring creativity, empathy, critical thinking, and judgment calls, on the other hand, were thought to be safer from being taken by machines.

 

ARPA-E Announces 13 New Projects at New York Energy Week
Agency's $33 Million "REBELS" Program to Develop Innovative Technologies for Distributed Generation
19 June 2014 | ARPA E

New York, NY – Today at New York Energy Week, ARPA-E Acting Director Dr. Cheryl Martin announced $33 million in funding for 13 new projects aimed at developing transformational fuel cell technologies for low-cost distributed power generation. The projects, which are funded through ARPA-E’s new Reliable Electricity Based on ELectrochemical Systems (REBELS) program, are focused on improving grid stability, balancing intermittent renewable technologies, and reducing CO2 emissions using electrochemical distributed power generation systems.

“These 13 REBELS projects are an excellent example of how ARPA-E is developing innovative technology options to transform and modernize America’s evolving electric grid,” said Acting Director Martin. “Distributed generation technologies like these could fundamentally change the way America generates and stores energy.”

Find information on all 13 projects HERE.

 

New Technology could Identify and Sort Aluminum Scrap
15 June 2014 | Scrap

Did you ever wish there were a fast, easy, and cost-effective way to sort high-grade aluminum from lower grades in mixed scrap? Well so does the U.S. Department of Energy (Washington, D.C.), which gave PARC, a research subsidiary of Xerox Corp. in Palo Alto, Calif., a $1 million grant to develop new technology to identify aluminum types—along with magnesium and titanium—in metal scrap in a high-speed, reliable way that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

The Energy Department devised the grant program because it thinks too much post-consumer scrap aluminum is being exported when it could be used in the United States for manufacturing lighter vehicles that save fuel and reduce carbon emissions, for example. In 2013, 3,480,000 mt of aluminum was recovered in the United States, and 1,872,000 mt was exported, according to estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey (Reston, Va.), the U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington, D.C.), and ISRI. But the problem, as many recyclers know, is that it can be challenging to identify and remove aluminum when it’s mixed with lower grades of scrap. Enter PARC, which was already working on such technology and is eager to apply it to the scrap recycling industry.

 

Turning the Corner to Manufacturing's Wide Open Future in Wearable Electronics
12 June 2014 | Advanced Manufacturing Insight
by Ryan Brinks

High-tech challenges and opportunities await. And while manufacturers are a step ahead of the public, they too are wrestling with what exactly that near future will look like.

On the heels of pioneering electronic wearables like the Google Glass eyewear, Fitbit physical activity bands and Pebble smartwatches are legions of ideas hoping to discover the market’s sweet spot.

One company at the center of industry collaboration envisions smart bandages that monitor people’s health, diagnose their issues and even treat their illnesses.

 

 

Menlo Park vs. Xerox PARC
A Century may divide the two, but these powerhouse innovation factories have lots in common
10 June 2014 | The Henry Ford
by Jeffrey Philips

History, Mark Twain said, doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.  Where innovation is concerned, it seems we constantly rediscover what has worked in the past and return to those models to innovate for the future.  That's why it's not a stretch to compare Xerox PARC (where the personal computer was born and Bob Metcalfe invented Ethernet in the 1970s) and the Menlo Park laboratory from almost a century before (where Thomas Edison "toyed" with this notion of electricity and hundreds of other ideas).

 

FlexTech Project to Print Functional Devices Completed
3 June 2014 | PCB Design

Among the principal challenges facing developers is transitioning printed electronics research conducted in a laboratory to meet the demands of large-scale production. To better understand and address these issues, Clemson University and PARC, a Xerox company, collaborated and recently completed a FlexTech Alliance-funded project to investigate the scaling up and printing of functional devices on a commercial printing press. This project focused on the gravure printing process. 

 

PARC Partners With Seattle B2B Startup Accelerator 9Mile Labs
2 April 2014 | Xconomy
by Benjamin Romano

Nine Seattle-based startup companies will have access to mentoring, technology, intellectual property, and other assistance from the storied Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in Silicon Valley through a partnership between the Xerox subsidiary and business-to-business startup accelerator 9Mile Labs.

 

You'll hardly notice the next generation of wearable tech
11 March 2014 | The Conversation
by Nick Dalton

On a trip to Germany, David Cameron has announced £45 million to prompt a “new industrial revolution” based on the internet of things. This marks the beginning of a new era for computing and for wearable technologies. We are entering the age of calm computing and devices that truly help us live. And they’ll be a lot more subtle than a computer stuck to your glasses.

Wearable technology has been the main feature of every technology trade show this year. Google has led the pack with Google Glass and Samsung is already on its second generation smartwatch in competition with smaller startups such as Pebble.

All of these technologies were predicted back in the 1990s by a researcher called Mark Weiser, then chief technology officer at Xerox Palo Alto research centre. And it’s to Weiser we can look when we think about what is going to happen next.

Xerox PARC originally came up with the interface we use on most computers that combines mouse, window and menu, as well as Ethernet, the thick cable your desktop computer might be still attached to today. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, under then-director Alan Kay, PARC developed a vision of Dynabook, which is a good blueprint for today’s iPad and Android tablets.

 

Just the Ticket
Smart labels: The 40-year-old barcode has a new, more intelligent rival that can store information, display and transmit it
8 March 2014 | The Economist

IN JUNE 1974 history was made at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio, with a ten-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum. It was the first time a commercial item bearing a Universal Product Code (UPC) was scanned by a cashier at the checkout. Forty years on, what became known as a barcode has transformed the world of commerce by providing reliable product identification, tracking and pricing. Nearly everything now comes with a barcode.

As revolutionary as it was, the barcode has limited abilities. It can impart only the information it was printed with, represented by a series of horizontal stripes or a matrix pattern that can be read by an optical device, like a laser. The next generation of labelling will be more adept, containing tiny printable electronics able to generate, store and share information. These smart labels are about to become a big part of “the internet of things”.

 

PARC Sees Opportunities for Printed Electronics
27 February 2014 | Printed Electronics Now
by David Savastano

Since it was founded in 1970 by Xerox Corporation, the Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC, has played a key role in changing the way people live. Considering the everyday items that PARC had a hand in inventing - laser printing, liquid crystal displays (LCD), graphical user interface and the Ethernet to name but a few – PARC is in a unique position to develop new innovations.

The fact that PARC is heavily interested in the field of printed electronics (PE) is of note, as the independent institute - it spun out of Xerox in 2002 - has a history of success. The company has been interested in the potential of thin film electronics, developing printed thin-film transistors utilizing amorphous silicon on flexible substrates as early as 1983, and created some of the first plastic semiconductors in 2003.

Leon Wong, PARC director, market strategy, noted that PARC has formed partnerships in a number of markets where PE can play a role.

 

How Big Data Could Help the U.S. Predict the Next Snowden?
12 February 2014 | DefenseOne
by Patrick Tucker

"National Intelligence Director James Clapper, at Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, asserted (again) that malevolent insiders with access to top secret material, like Edward Snowden, constituted a top threat to our nation’s national security. The lawmakers agreed and pressed Clapper to explain how he was changing the practices within his office and across the intelligence community to prevent another Snowden-scale data breach. One key step that Clapper outlined: our nation’s top intelligence folks will become subject to much more surveillance in the future.

Oliver Brdiczka, a researcher at PARC, and several of his colleagues have set up a number of experiments to observe potential insider threat behavior in closed online environments. In the first of these [PDF], Brdiczka looked at the massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft. The game, which allows users to build characters, join large organizations called guilds, and go on missions and assignments, has been in the news a bit recently after the Snowden leaks revealed that the NSA had been listening in on chat room conversations between World of Warcraft players in the hopes of catching potential terrorists."

 

US Military Funds Mission Impossible "vanishing" tech
The US military is funding a project to develop electronics that can self-destruct like the secret messages in the Mission Impossible TV show.
7 February 2014 | BBC News Technology

Darpa, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has awarded computing giant IBM a $3.5m (£2.1m) contract to work on its Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR) project.

It is looking to develop a class of "transient" electronics that can be destroyed by remote control.

The kit could be used in combat zones.

IBM's proposal involves the use of a radio frequency trigger that could shatter a glass coating on a silicon chip and turn it into powder.

"A trigger, such as a fuse or a reactive metal layer will be used to initiate shattering, in at least one location, on the glass substrate," the US government said in its grant award notice.

Darpa wants to develop large distributed networks of sensors that can collect and transmit data for a limited period and then be destroyed instantly to prevent them falling into enemy hands.

VAPR tech could also have applications in medical diagnosis and treatment, Darpa believes, if sensors can be developed that the body can reabsorb.

The Pentagon's research arm also granted $2.1m to Xerox company, Palo Alto Research Center (Parc) - a specialist in bioinformatics and large-area electronics.

 

3 Ways 3-D Printing Could Transform Your Office
2 February 2014 | Real Business
by Giovanna Fabiano

Is the 3-D printer the unofficial symbol of the new Industrial Revolution? That’s what scientists and tech experts have been proselytizing to anyone who will listen.

In some sectors, such as healthcare, the gadget does indeed have the potential to revolutionize medicine.

Surgical instruments, hearing aids, prosthetics and umbilical cord clamps are being crafted by 3-D printers.

Tech companies are able to fine-tune their latest electronic devices in the design phase by making hundreds of 3-D prototypes. And industrial-sized 3-D printers are transforming aviation, with companies like GE using them to create jet engine parts.

But is there any palpable utility for the rest of us? Aside from its exciting ability to spit out burritos, deep fried scallops shaped like space shuttles and bobbleheads in our likeness?

Leon Wong, director of PARC Inc., A Xerox Company, in Palo Alto, Calif., focusing on technological innovation, said additive manufacturing, which extends to both 3-D printing and printed electronics will indeed change the world — it’s just “going to take some time.”

“Much of the applications are prototyping at this point, but the enormous potential for 3-D printing is everywhere —a lot of it just depends on what your business is.”

 

The Future of Making: How Innovation Disrupted Itself in 2013
19 December 2013 | Bloomberg
by Marcus Chan

"It's only fitting that among the many things disrupted by technology in 2013, innovation itself couldn't resist change. Specifically, the process of how new products are made.

We're not talking solely about manufacturing technologies such as 3-D printing, which seems to generate endless headlines because of the cool, sometimes scary and often odd things (fetus paperweights?) you can now create with these machines.

"3-D printing gets all the hype, but even perhaps more profound is this larger change," said Steve Hoover, CEO of PARC, Xerox's storied research-and-development company, where Steve Jobs drew inspiration for the Mac."

 

Realising the benefits of a totally connected world
9 December 2013 | ComputerWeekly.com
by Cliff Saran

"The internet of things will transform everyday life, from managing airports’ passenger flow to heating buildings and caring for the elderly.

 The ability to network electronics in a standard way is set to revolutionise intelligent device control. It represents the world defined by the so-called internet of things (IoT), where electronic equipment transmits data into the cloud over the internet using TCP/IP.

 As Computer Weekly reported earlier this year, GE is developing a sensor network based on the principals of IoT to monitor turbines constantly in order to reduce downtime.

 In the home, internet-based home automation is now possible thanks to low cost computing devices – such as the Raspberry Pi – RF networks and infrared-to-IP interfaces. British Gas’s Connected Home business, for example, sells a £200 internet-connected central heating controller.

IoT scales up to city-wide initiatives. For instance, Xerox Parc has developed a system for managing traffic flow in Los Angeles with dynamic pricing at parking meters. The company deployed 7,000 sensors around the city to detect if a parking meter was occupied and adjusted pricing dynamically to ensure 20% of parking spaces were always available."

 

 

About Face: Companies That Reinvented Themselves
Against long odds, these companies survived near-death experiences.
26 November 2013 | Success.com
by Jim Motavalli

"In reinventing itself to stay ahead of the curve, Xerox has an ace in the hole—PARC (or Palo Alto Research Center Inc.), which was founded in 1970 as a branch of Xerox and in 2002 was spun into an independently operated subsidiary that provides R&D for Xerox as well as outside companies and the government.

PARC was a pioneer of ubiquitous computing and communications technology, and its current research is right on the edge of what technology will allow in the near future; the organization identifies itself as being “in the business of breakthroughs,” and some of its applications sound like science fiction. PARC is currently working on tiny, dirt-cheap smart tags that will make up-to-the-second readings to provide all kinds of useful information when attached to a product, or to form bandages that can sense whether you’re healing or not. “We will be able to make microprocessors using standard printing methods,” says PARC CEO Stephen Hoover, “without high-temperature processing or nasty chemicals.” The Xerox branch envisions a new age of ultra-low-cost electronic “chiplets,” each no bigger than a grain of sand, the technology that will enable the world of stuff around us humans to have its own autonomous connectivity and intelligence—The Internet of Things."

 

Automated Manufacturing for 3-D Printers
Drawing on artificial-intelligence capabilities, PARC researchers are developing software meant to help make manufacturing accessible to people without manufacturing expertise.
31 October 2013 | MIT Technology Review
by Mike Orcutt

"In theory, 3-D printing gives consumers the ability to conceive of and make various products. But designing many objects requires specialized knowledge of geometry, materials, and manufacturing processes. Researchers at PARC are now building software tools meant to automate that kind of judgment. The goal, says PARC CEO Stephen Hoover, is to build programs that enable non-experts to “kind of think their way through a design space” before sending any instructions to the printer.

Participants in a growing online community of enthusiasts have already uploaded hundreds of thousands of designs for 3-D-printed objects. The problem is that in conventional production settings, manufacturing engineers who are well versed in the design constraints imposed by specific materials and manufacturing methods “eliminate a whole set of choices at the beginning because they know what can cause problems down the road,” says Hoover (see “The Difference Between Makers and Manufacturers). That doesn’t necessarily happen in the world of 3-D printing."

 

What Are your Ideas Trying to Tell You?
30 October 2013 | Forbes.com
by Jeremy Clark

"The Nobel Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling has been credited with saying: “If you want to have good ideas you must have many ideas.”  Companies of all sizes have embraced that advice, investing considerable time and energy into innovation projects, amassing vast storehouses of ideas along the way.  If we take Pauling’s definition of ‘good’ to mean ‘breakthrough’—having the potential to create dramatically higher level of value than current solutions—then these vast databases seem to be a positive sign.

It’s a shame, then, that the second part of Pauling’s advice tends to be overlooked: “Most of (your ideas) will be wrong, and what you have to learn is which ones to throw away.”  It’s certainly true that most ideas written on a Post-It note or submitted to an online system never get used, but the reason has more to do with a bias toward short-term payback in most innovation processes than informed filtration.

Most innovation campaigns involve a discovery phase (developing insights about the challenge) followed by an ideation phase (brainstorming solutions).  For most companies, built for efficient replication, this “divergent” activity is uncomfortable.  When the brainstorming is complete, there tends to be a relieved resurgence of reflexive execution-bias, a comforting sense of making choices and assigning development actions.   This “convergent” activity is often known as the selection phase."

 

How tech redefines us
Time
28 October 2013 | San Jose Mercury News
by Katy Murphy

"Today, in the first of eight installments, we are exploring a difficult-to-describe, everybody’s-experiencing, everywhere-we-look story: how technology is transforming everything about the way we interact with each other and the world around us.

It seems so obvious by now that technology has redefined us — especially here, in Silicon Valley’s sphere of influence.

We no longer marvel that there’s a library of knowledge in every pocket, or that we can do just about anything from anywhere at anytime, from deposit checks to topple dictators. We grimace at our ... shorter ... attention ... spans ... and grapple with the lost art of conversation: #hashtagfree.

But since we’re all characters in the middle of this story, we’re only beginning to understand the scope of the changes that historians will see when they look back on this time and this place, on whatever wonderful wearable device they are using.

“What they will see,’’ said Stephen Hoover, CEO of PARC, Xerox’s legendary research center in Palo Alto, and who is featured in today’s first installment on time, “is that our very existence became dependent upon easy and constant access to computing and networking in both our work and personal lives."

 

A major challenge for marketing the internet of things? Explaining why it has value
Experts at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference estimated the internet of things will gain mainstream acceptance in about five years.
16 October 2013 | GigaOM
by Signe Brewster

Smoke detectors are nearly omnipresent in American homes, where they are only noticed during emergency situations or the more common false alarm. It’s a simple relationship that works well enough for most people. So why do we need a product like Nest’s new Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector?

Answering that question will be a necessary challenge for the Internet of Things industry as it enters the consumer space, a panel of experts said Wednesday at the GigaOM Mobilize conference. While it’s easier to describe in the business sector how connected devices can save companies money, convincing a consumer to pay more for a connected version of something they use every day won’t come as simply.

 

Soaring Growth Projected for Printed Electronics Market
9 October 2013 | Thomasnet News
by Faye Rivkin

"The total market for printed, organic, and flexible electronics is projected to grow from more than $16 billion this year to $76.8 billion in the next 10 years, according to a new report from IDTechEx. Printed electronics will allow manufacturers to replace some components with cheaper, higher performing alternatives or even completely replace a conventionally-manufactured device.

Printed and flexible sensors are already a $6.3 billion business. The largest market is biosensors, used in disposable glucose test strips which are helping diabetics monitor their health.

Developers of printed electronics had to overcome significant technological hurdles."

 

The Ars Frontrunners: 15 companies that led and still lead tech innovation
From Google (15 years old) to Corning (162): Companies that change our world.
7 October 2013 | Ars Technica
by Sean Gallagher

"As quickly as you may associate Xerox PARC with photocopiers (and whatever jokes immediately pop into your head), that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the company’s contributions to tech innovation. At this very moment, I am navigating my laptop because of a GUI, while connected to the Internet via Ethernet, in order to create content on Ars Technica. And, whether my editors cringe or not, I often do so using the WSYWYG editing capabilities of our CMS. My current workflow is impossible without the contributions of Xerox PARC. And the work of many major companies—VMware, Fujitsu, and Samsung to name three—would also suffer without Xerox PARC’s work and partnership.

Many of the Ars Frontrunners are relatively modern companies, but Xerox PARC is slowly creeping towards age 50. It started as a west coast affiliate of Xerox’s Rochester, NY base in the late 1960s, but over time this office (PARC, being Palo Alto Research Center) began defining the company. In addition to the highlights above, entities like LCD technology and IPv6 were also created or majorly advanced by work at Xerox PARC."

 

The future of consumer 3D printing: What’s real, what’s coming, and what’s hype
3D printers have been all over the news for their potential to change our lives.
2 October 2013 | Gigaom
by Signe Brewster

"Oskar van Deventer used to dream up Rubik’s Cube-like puzzles so complex that they were physically impossible to make. The ones that were possible, he painstakingly crafted out of wood or plastic or spent weeks waiting for a manufacturing facility to get back to him with a prototype.

Then he came across 3D printing and discovered he could print any design himself; even the previously impossible ones. Today, his 3D printed puzzles can sell for hundreds of dollars on sites like Shapeways.

It’s an often-told story regarding the future of consumer 3D printing. Just dream up something — anything — and then you’ll be able to print it. That reality hasn’t materialized yet, but the technology is developing fast. People are printing home goods, experimenting with printing food and developing next-generation printers that will embed advanced materials like electronics within printed objects.

“People are using it today,” said Stratasys CIO Scott Crump at the recent Inside 3D Printing conference in San Jose. “Hobbyists are using it, makers are using it. The use in the home is probably going to start more. …”

So 3D printers will undoubtedly play a larger role in our future, but to what extent?"

 

Making the Internet Safe for Gadgets
2 October 2013 | Communications of the ACM
by Tom Geller

"People have predicted the Internet's death by traffic since its origin. Small protocol changes have prevented congestive collapse throughout the years, even as the Internet's fundamental host-to-host structure has remained unchallenged. But that may need to change soon, as an increasing number of sensors, phones, and other mobile devices connecting to the Internet threaten the network's security and reliability."

"One family of emerging solutions focuses on the purpose and content of data, rather than on where it lives. The approach is known as information-centric networking (ICN), a topic in which "there are easily two or three dozen projects going on," according to Glenn Edens, research director in the Computer Science Laboratory at PARC. His group has developed a protocol specification of ICN named Content-Centric Networking (CCN), and with it an open-source reference implementation, CCNx. "That codebase is used by a couple of hundred institutions," said Edens. "It's been ported to around three dozen architectures that we know of. Today, it is running on everything from Raspberry Pis and BeagleBoards and tiny home routers, all the way up to really large cloud switches."

 

Does 3D Printing Work with Wiring?
Additive manufacturing can be used to produce connectors and terminals
1 October 2013 | Assembly Magazine
by Austin Weber

According to many experts, 3D printing promises to revolutionize the way numerous products are designed and mass-produced. Among other things, the technology can be used to create connectors, terminals and other wiring harness components. And, some day not too far down the road, 3D-printed parts may even eliminate the need for traditional wire and cable assemblies.

Additive manufacturing “prints” an object from a digital file by depositing one layer of material on top of another. It allows companies to more easily manufacture complex shapes and structures that have been traditionally been difficult to make with plastic-injection molding and other old-school processes.

While 3D printing holds tremendous promise, it’s not about to be used in mass-production any time soon. That’s because electrical wiring systems are different than other types of products where the technology is being used, such as creating custom jigs and fixtures.

 

How to build for a world where you’re connected to hundreds of devices
We asked experts how 50 billion connected devices and 6 billion people change their industry. In this essay PARC’s Mike Kuniavsky tackles the topic of programming.
1 October 2013 | Gigaom
by Mike Kuniavsky

"Over the next decade or two, everything that can have connected digital technology injected into it, will. Today’s smart watches and smart shirts, such as adidas’ miCoach Elite, will become ubiquitous as will adaptive technology such as connected cutlery like Lift Labs’ spoon for measuring and correcting Parkinson’s tremors. The trajectory is clear each person will have hundreds of connected devices in their life.

That’s the good news. But we can also see enough of this future to see that managing a multi-device, software, and behavior world will require rethinking how we design, perhaps from scratch."

 

ARPA-E Awards $130 Million for 66 Transformational Energy Technology Projects
33 Technologies Will Help Secure America’s Energy Future in Advanced Manufacturing & Natural Gas
19 September 2013 | announcement

"Deputy Director Cheryl Martin today announced that 33 breakthrough energy projects will receive approximately $66 million from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) under two new programs that provide options for a more sustainable and secure American future."

Modern Electro/Thermochemical Advancements for Light-metal Systems (METALS) - $32 Million

METALS will develop innovative technologies for cost-effective processing, as well as recycling, of Aluminum, Magnesium, and Titanium, which are ideal for creating lighter vehicles that can save fuel and reduce carbon emissions. For example, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) located in Palo Alto, California will develop a new electrochemical diagnostic probe that can identify the composition of light metal scrap for efficient sorting, which could reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions, and costs by enabling recycling of typically discarded light metal scrap.

 

Meet the 9 startups from B2B incubator 9Mile Labs
10 September 2013 | GeekWire
by John Cook

PARC helps one of the startups featured at 9Mile Labs:

"Comr.seComr.se increases eCommerce revenue by powering native transactions anywhere brands connect with their consumers.

Notes: This startup is pronounced 'commerce' — and the company is led by CEO Kyle Schei. It brings transaction-based images that companies can post directly into Facebook 'without ever leaving the social stream.' Basically, it is a shopping cart technology, which may sound like a a 90s-era innovation. But it looks cool. The service syncs with existing e-commerce infrastructure, and they 'capture transactions in new environments.' By doing so, Schei said they are expanding e-commerce around the Web, noting that they offer a 'tangible big data offering.' The company is working with Palo Alto Research Center to show how products sell throughout the Web, also helping match products with specific customers. He said the partnership with PARC is shaving a year off of development."

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