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Matt’s Favorites: Big API Order, Big MSU Gift, ‘Lasers,’ And Much More

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So here we are at the end of another week. And what’s on the other side? BASEBALL! AND FIFTY DEGREES! And it just keeps getting better, both in the tech world and everywhere. Enjoy the latest news!

* Ann Arbor-based Advanced Photonix Inc. (NYSE: API) said that a European supplier of process control equipment has placed an order for API’s T-Gauge terahertz system. The systems will provide thickness measurement in a scanning configuration for process control. The T-Gauge system allows non-contact measurement of multilayer thicknesses in a package designed for industrial use. This multi-system order by a major player in the process control market confirms the increasing acceptance of terahertz as a superior gauging alternative and solidifies the position of Advanced Photonix as the leader in industrial terahertz deployment. The volume order, three units to be delivered over the next few months, is an immediate follow-on to the system that was purchased by the same company for application development in the first quarter of this calendar year. The additional units will be used as reference systems at customer accounts. Terahertz radiation occupies a space on the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and infrared light. It can see through or into some materials, but without packing the damaging, ionizing punch of X-rays. That makes it ideal for some inspection and security applications. The T-Gauge sensor can measure subsurface physical properties, like multi-layers thicknesses, density, moisture content, anomaly detection and some chemical features, online and in real time. More at http://www.advancedphotonix.com.

* The Michigan State University College of Engineering will use a $2.5 million gift from Dave and Denise Lamp of Dallas to support STEM scholarships and research in its Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. The college will use $2 million to establish the David L. and Denise M. Lamp Endowed Chair in Chemical Engineering and direct the remaining $500,000 to enhance a scholarship fund previously created by the Lamp family. Lamp earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from MSU in 1980. In addition to the creation of the Lamp Endowed Chair, the gift from the Lamps also increases financial aid for chemical engineering students. In 2007, they established the David L. and Denise M. Lamp Engineers of Tomorrow Endowed Scholarship Fund for undergraduates. Lamp has 34 years of experience in the petroleum refining industry, including technical, operations, commercial and senior management endeavors. In March 2014, he was appointed CEO and president of Northern Tier Energy. He previously served as the senior vice president and COO for HollyFrontier Corp., and held a variety of senior management positions with HollyFrontier since 2004.

* Nearly 400 metro-Detroit girls from grades four through 12 explored the many facets of information technology at the inaugural Girls Are IT! event last week. Participants weaved in and out of 16 workshops, such as ANX’s session on cyber security, Microsoft’s 3D printing demonstration and the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s lesson on simple coding. The event was a collaboration among the Michigan Council of Women in Technology, UM-Dearborn, Lawrence Technological University, and University of Detroit Mercy. The event showed girls the possibilities in developing software and applications as well as creating video games and building robots. Entrepreneurship was also part of the mix. A photo essay detailing the day’s activities is available at http://www.mcwt.org.

* Detroit’s Compuware Corp. (Nasdaq: CPWR) said that the tech analyst firm Ovum has named Compuware a market leader in application performance management in a report titled “Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting an Application Performance Management Solution, 2014-15. Compuware is the only APM vendor to be consistently recognized by the world’s leading analyst firms as an APM market leader. Download a free copy of Ovum’s SWOT assessment of Compuware APM at this link. The report evaluated 10 vendors on technology, market execution and market impact. Compuware achieved the highest ratings in 12 out of 14 categories for APM capabilities — solution scope, development and QA orientation, operations orientation, cloud services, business transaction management, end-user experience monitoring, mobile application performance monitoring, server performance monitoring, databases and storage performance management, mainframe performance management, alerts, reporting and dashboards and performance analytics. The report said: “Ovum is impressed by the breadth and depth of capabilities, and Compuware has addressed the needs of the Internet generation with a SaaS APM offering, as well as the mobile generation with full native to web and hybrid mobile monitoring capabilities. It has deep-dive capabilities suitable for developers, testers, database administrators, IT infrastructure operators and business transaction management administrators. The solution portfolio’s breadth makes Compuware an excellent APM vendor for organizations adopting DevOps across the IT department.”

AimWest, the association for technology professionals in the Grand Rapids area, will hold its Spring 5:01 event Wednesday, April 16, starting with networking at 5:01 p.m., at the Grand Woods Lounge, 77 Grandville Ave. SW in downtown Grand Rapids. The aimWest 5:01 events are always a great, relaxed time filled with good conversation, networking with old friends, and making new contacts. Take a break, grab a drink and some tasty food, get reconnected, and celebrate with us at this free informal event. RSVP at https://aimwest.wildapricot.org for this event.

* Ann Arbor-based NanoBio Corp. announced a licensing agreement with a subsidiary of Merck & Co. Inc., known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, for the use of its nanoemulsion adjuvant technology. Under the agreement, Merck receives exclusive rights to NanoBio’s NE adjuvant for use in an intranasal respiratory syncytial virus vaccine and non-exclusive rights for use in an intranasal seasonal influenza or universal seasonal influenza vaccine. NanoBio receives an upfront payment and is eligible to receive milestone payments based on Merck RSV and flu vaccine candidates’ development and regulatory approvals, as well as royalties on sales of any Merck RSV or flu vaccines that use the NanoBio technology. NanoBio’s NanoStat technology platform employs an oil-in-water nanoemulsion that improves the effectiveness of vaccines, whether administered via intranasal, intramuscular or subcutaneous means. In recent studies, NanoBio has demonstrated that intranasal vaccination elicits robust systemic and mucosal immunity, offering enhanced protection against respiratory infections and sexually transmitted diseases compared to intramuscular vaccination. NanoBio CEO David Peralta said NanoBio has been collaborating with Merck on vaccine research since 2011. RSV is a highly contagious viral disease and is one of the most common causes of bronchiolitis and pneumonia. It is the No. 1 cause of childhood hospitalization both in the U.S. and around the world. The disease is particularly dangerous for premature babies, children with other health conditions, and the elderly. Currently, there are no approved vaccines for RSV. NanoBio is a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing vaccines and anti-infective treatments derived from its patented NanoStat technology platform. More at http://www.nanobio.com.

SunTel Servicesa provider of services for unified communication networks to businesses across the country, has named Gary Mortonas vice president of sales. Morton will be based at the company’s headquarters in Troy. With a wealth of knowledge and experience in the healthcare, manufacturing, legal, retail and hospitality markets pertaining to telephony, unified communications, and wireless and advanced networking, Morton comes to SunTel with an impressive background. He has more than 30 years of sales and major account management experience and spent the last nine years serving various roles at Spectralink Polycom wireless solutions, including Vice President of Sales, North America. Previously, Morton held roles with a wide variety of companies over the course of his career, including Xerox, Rolm, IBM and Siemens. Fouded in 1986, SunTel has more than 1,000 customers and more than 2,500 installations.

* The Ann Arbor customer satisfaction measurement and anlaytics provider CFI Group announced it had been awarded U.S. Patent No. 8,666,515. This patent adds new analytic capabilities to the statistical modeling engine used by the internationally recognized American Customer Satisfaction Index research organization. With this patent, the mathematics and modeling supporting the ACSI have been enhanced to reflect the latest in statistical modeling techniques. The original ACSI modeling engine was developed at CFI Group in cooperation with University of Michigan. CFI Group also announces that it is now the exclusive partner of the ACSI. Companies wishing to apply the power and insights of the ACSI methodology for customized measurements can contract directly with CFI Group to design and implement customer satisfaction research projects. Leveraging the science of the ACSI, CFI Group serves a variety of clients in industries including retail, financial services, the government sector, professional services, transportation, healthcare, and others. The ACSI methodology is used by over 500 companies and organizations worldwide. CFI Group offers a variety of solutions and tools to help businesses track performance and make informed decisions to positively impact business performance. To learn more visit http://www.cfigroup.com or http://www.theacsi.org.

* The Altair Partner Alliance today announced that New York based Multiscale Design Systems LLC has enabled its software, MDS, on the Altair license manager. MDS focuses on composite materials and structures at multiple spatial and temporal scales. It offers a seamless blend of modeling, simulation and testing, while allowing users to quantify uncertainty and optimize composites. Outfitted with methodical model-reduction technology, MDS reduces complex unit cells from hundreds of thousands of finite elements to a manageable number of deformation modes and state variables. It also is equipped with an extensible library of parametric unit cell models that are generated automatically using the built-in CAD and meshing tools. One benefit of MDS is that it has extremely thorough mathematical processes. It is also versatile for users by offering such advanced capabilities as microstructural optimization, multiscale fatigue and multiphysics analyses. Two versions of MDS are available: MDS-Standard and MDS-Professional. MDS-Standard consists of the Multiscale Design System for Continuum module. This module resolves microscale fields at a computational cost comparable to that of macromechanical modeling. MDS-Professional includes three modules in addition to MDS-C: Multiscale Stochastic Design System, Multiscale Multiphysics Design System and Multiscale Fatigue Design System. The MDS-UQ module is a nonintrusive multiscale solver with stochastic forward and inverse capabilities. MDS-MP couples many physical processes at multiple scales. These can include oxygen and/or moisture diffusion along with reaction and deformation. Finally, MDS-FT uses the two-scale asymptotic homogenization approach for time and reduced order homogenization for space. Both can be effectively applied to any material architecture and any constitutive equations of microphases. The APA will include both versions of the software. Available for the past 13 years, Altair’s innovative unit-based licensing system allows HyperWorks users customizable access to a growing portfolio of applications, optimizing their return on investment by making more than 20 in-house-developed applications available by use of a single pool of recyclable HyperWorks units. Altair also has offered the opportunity for third-party companies to run their own applications under this unit-based system, a collaboration now known as the Altair Partner Alliance. The overall flexibility of these HWUs empowers users via access to the largest, most complete suite of CAE applications available. The ROI increases for users each time a new application is added to the offering, since any of the partner programs can be accessed using the same leased HWUs they are already using to run HyperWorks. This makes more than 50 additional applications available at no incremental cost or long-term commitment. The introductory webinar for MDS is taking place on April 9 at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern time. HyperWorks users can learn more about the company and download the software at http://www.altairalliance.com/mds.

* Henry Ford Community College will host four information sessions for the college’s power and building engineering program. These sessions take place in Room T-197 of the Technical Building on the main campus at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 29; Saturday, April 5; Saturday, April 12; and Saturday, April 26. HFCC is a partner in the Center for Energy Workforce Development. The HFCC power and building engbineering program is working on efforts to educate and train qualified graduates to fill gaps in the power generation and energy workforce. The CEWD has predicted that approximately 46 percent of the workforce (roughly 200,000 highly skilled workers) may need to be replaced soon due to retirement or attrition. There will be sessions on how to prepare for power plant operator positions; how to prepare for licenses; HFCC’s power building and engineer programs; and tours of of the HFCC co-generation, hands-on power plant. Admission sessions may be set up by appointment with HFCC counselors at (313) 845-9611 or set up with Power/Building Engineering faculty while attending one of the information sessions. Although these information sessions are free and open to the public, pre-registration is required to attend. To register, please contact James Martini at (313) 845-6453 or jmartini@hfcc.edu.

And here’s the national and global stuff, from CBS News, CNet’s News.com and a whole bunch of other tubes…

* A few months ago, I did a story on a Farmington Hills company with a new machine designed to rescue water-damaged phones. That works most of the time, but here’s another alternative — a News.com set of tips on rescuing your phone if it should ever happen to go for a swim. 

* On a Florida highway, a man is tailgating a driver ahead of him in the left lane of a four-lane highway in his very large truck. The driver he was tailgating was going a few mph over the speed limit (58 in a 55, it would appear) and passing traffic in the right lane. Finally, a space opens up. And rather than simply passing on the right, the tailgating driver passes, speeds up, then slows down, and offers the left-lane driver he had been following his middle finger. Then he tries to take off quickly and make a quick lane change — in his huge tippy truck. And then the gods offer divine retribution. No one was hurt, but enjoy the latest YouTube sensation.

* For months, Amazon has been rumored to have a video set-top box in the works to rival that of Google Chromecast, Roku and Apple TV. Well, we may finally get to see it on April 2, as the company has sent out a press invite for an event in New York, where it will discuss “an update to its video business.”

* And this will take care of some distraction — you won’t be looking down or across at the navigation screen if you have a pair of augmented reality glasses with the navigation superimposed on the landscape. Now if they can only warn you of dangers approaching ahead…

* Facebook is taking frictionless sharing to the sky. The company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that a team at Facebook is working on bringing Internet service to remote areas — using drones, satellites and lasers. (Yes, I’m doing the Dr. Evil air quotes.)

* Although a federal official recently declared college athletes to be employees of their universities, just like the rest of us, they have to abide by social media policies that sometimes seem downright silly. Here’s a look.  And no pictures of hickeys!

* A snowy owl that was injured in Washington, D.C., is recovering after a unique procedure to give it new wings, according to CBS Minneapolis, WCCO.

* The entertainment news and lifestyle service DailyCandy will close April 4 after 14 years, parent NBCUniversal said Thursday. With handy alerts and tips across digital sites, DailyCandy covers a broad range of interest areas, including fashion, beauty, celebrities, food, parenting, and home design and decor. It was “no longer viable,” according to a company statement. DailyCandy was founded in 2000 by a New York writer, Dany Levy, and sold about eight years later.

* Think you can design an out-of-this-world fashion statement? Well then, NASA needs you. The space agency is asking the public to vote on the style of its next spacesuit. The interior of the suit was designed using 3D human laser scans and features 3D-printed hardware. It is more impact-resistant than previous suits. Now, it’s time to decide what the outer layer will look like.

* Turkish authorities were moving to block access to YouTube on Thursday following similar action against Twitter, the country’s state-run news agency said. While the Anadolu Agency said the national telecommunications authorities had instituted the block, the website was still widely accessible following the announcement. The block against YouTube is likely to provoke further outrage in Turkey, where social media is widely used.

* If you’re not backing up your computer files on a daily basis, now may be the time. The National Consumer’s League is warning about a pernicious and growing malware scam that infects users computers with something called “cryptolocker.” Spread via email, bogus websites and Facebook videos, the malware encrypts the contents of your hard-drive, making it impossible for you to retrieve your files. The moment the virus infects your computer, it tells you with a ransom note that demands hundreds of dollars in untraceable payments to “decrypt” your system. But according to the FBI, decryption is not possible.

* The Secretary General of the United Nations toured Greenland on Wednesday for an up-close look at the impacts of climate change. Greenland is home to more than 10 percent of the world’s freshwater reserves, stored in the ice sheet. As global sea levels and temperatures rise, the ice sheet has been losing more than 10 billion tons of ice each year since 2003. The Secretary-General joined Greenland Premier Aleqa Hammond and the Prime Minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, on a tour of the town of Uummannaq before joining locals on a dog-sled outing and visiting a church. Locals told the officials that the nearby ice fjord used to stay frozen for six months each year. Now, it’s frozen for four.

* The U.S. Supreme Court got an earful from Aereo in its response brief filed to the court on Wednesday. In the 100-page brief (pdf), Aereo, which streams over-the-air television programming with antenna/DVR technology, basically said it is not violating copyright law and major broadcasters should not be paid for the programming that it is facilitating.

* Peering into the far reaches of the solar system, astronomers have spied a pink frozen world 7.5 billion miles from the sun. It’s the second such object to be discovered in a region of space beyond Pluto long considered a celestial wasteland. Until now, the lone known resident in this part of the solar system was an oddball dwarf planet spotted in 2003 named Sedna after the mythological Inuit goddess who created the sea creatures of the Arctic. The latest discovery shows “Sedna is not a freak. We can have confidence that there is a new population to explore,” Yale University senior research scientist David Rabinowitz said in an email. He was one of Sedna’s discoverers, but had no role in the new find detailed in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.

* There are smart phones and smart watches, and now there’s a smart basketball. The 94Fifty Smart Basketball by InfoMotion Sports Technologies, Inc. aims to improve how players shoot and handle the ball. Even though it looks and feels like a regular basketball, it has sophisticated sensors hidden inside.

* Attention, writers of post-apocalyptic sci-fi: The forests in a post nuclear war will be dead, but will not decompose. That’s the finding from a study around Chernobyl 30 years after the world’s second worst nuclear power disaster. What’s going on? The radiation apparently killed microorganisms that eat dead trees and recycle them to the ecosystem.

* It’s been a long battle, but Microsoft seems to have conceded the fight to keep Apple’s hands off proceeds from its mobile software. Thursday marked the announcement of Office for iPad, Microsoft’s core productivity suite that, slightly different than on iPhone, exists on tablets as standalone “freemium” apps. In doing so, Microsoft has pulled the most asked-for platform into its Office 365 umbrella, tying its effectiveness to that $99 annual subscription service, but choosing not to lock out Apple from the 30 percent cut as it has attempted to in years past.

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