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Required fields are marked * Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadena Make a comment First Heatwave Expected Next Week 12 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California, Los Angeles, have developed a technology that could reduce the power needed to send information from wearable devices. Credit: NASA/JPL-CaltechWhether you’re tracking your steps, monitoring your health or sending photos from a smart watch, you want the battery life of your wearable device to last as long as possible. If the power necessary to transmit and receive information from a wearable to a computer, cellular or Wi-Fi network were reduced, you could get a lot more mileage out of the technology you’re wearing before having to recharge it.Adrian Tang of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is working on a technology to do just that. He and M.C. Frank Chang at the University of California, Los Angeles, have been working on microchips for wearable devices that reflect wireless signals instead of using regular transmitters and receivers. Their solution transmits information up to three times faster than regular Wi-Fi.“The idea is if the wearable device only needs to reflect the Wi-Fi signal from a router or cell tower, instead of generate it, the power consumption can go way down (and the battery life can go way up),” Tang said.Information transmitted to and from a wearable device is encoded as 1s and 0s, just like data on a computer. This needs to be represented somehow in the system the wearable device uses to communicate. When incoming energy is absorbed by the circuit, that’s a “0,” and if the chip reflects that energy, that’s a “1.” This simple switch mechanism uses very little power and allows for the fast transfer of information between a wearable device and a computer, smart phone, tablet or other technology capable of receiving the data.The challenge for Tang and his colleagues is that the wearable device isn’t the only object in a room that reflects signals – so do walls, floors, ceilings, furniture and whatever other objects happen to be around. The chip in the wearable device needs to differentiate between the real Wi-Fi signal and the reflection from the background.To overcome background reflections, Tang and Chang developed a wireless silicon chip that constantly senses and suppresses background reflections, enabling the Wi-Fi signal to be transmitted without interference from surrounding objects.The technologists have tested the system at distances of up to 20 feet (6 meters). At about 8 feet (2.5 meters), they achieved a data transfer rate of 330 megabits per second, which is about three times the current Wi-Fi rate, using about a thousand times less power than a regular Wi-Fi link.“You can send a video in a couple of seconds, but you don’t consume the energy of the wearable device. The transmitter externally is expending energy – not the watch or other wearable,” Chang said.A base station and Wi-Fi service are still required for the system to work. To compensate for the low power drain on the wearable device, the computer or other technology it’s communicating with must have a long battery life or else be plugged in. The router will experience more power usage, too. The next challenge for the engineers will be to examine this problem, so it doesn’t hike up the user’s power bill.There are a multitude of potential applications for this technology, including in space. For example, astronauts and robotic spacecraft could potentially use this technology to transmit images at a lower cost to their precious power supplies. This might also allow more images to be sent at a time.Wearable devices are a hot topic in medicine, too. Some doctors envision that wearables will become essential for monitoring vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rhythm. Such innovations could detect problems early, save lives, and avoid costly hospital admissions.The patent application for this technology is jointly owned by the California Institute of Technology, which manages JPL for NASA, and UCLA. There are agreements in place for the commercialization of the technology. Top of the News Business News Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. 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A Dutch MEP has suggested the revised IORP Directive should be used to encourage the growth of occupational pensions rather than simply focus on matters of governance and risk management.A draft report by Jeroen Lenaers, acting as rapporteur for the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL), recommends changes that emphasise that the “introduction of occupational retirement schemes in more member states [sic] remains crucial”.The change was proposed to replace the European Commission’s emphasis on an internal market for occupational pensions that would help foster growth and boost employment.The report by Lenaers, a member of the European People’s Party, also suggested the Commission take account of the need to grow the second-pillar system by providing “significant added value at Union level” by helping coordinate cooperation with individual social partners. It was suggested this would be made possible by a high-level group of experts to “investigate the most important questions concerning pensions policy”, with proposals being put forward on how second-pillar savings rates could be boosted.The proposal is not dissimilar to the Commission’s earlier work on the White Paper on Pensions, which, among other things, proposes various methods by which member states can boost the number of workers contributing towards occupational schemes.The Dutch MEP’s suggestions largely mirror the changes proposed last year during Council of the EU discussions between member states – stripping out the more onerous aspects of the Pension Benefit Statement, for example. In the preamble preceding the amendments, Lenaers said: “The rapporteur has tabled this opinion with the aim to strike the right balance between, on the one hand, the need to have high European standards with regard to governance, supervision, information and transparency, while on the other hand taking into full consideration the much-needed flexibility for member states to efficiently and successfully adapt these standards to suit their specific national situations.”The report was presented to the other members of EMPL at its most recent meeting on 5 March, with the MEPs asked to propose changes to the Lenaers document by 19 March.A second, more crucial report is currently being drafted by Irish MEP Brian Hayes on behalf of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee.Hayes was appointed alongside Lenaers and a number of shadow rapporteurs in early January.
Rumpel saved 64 of 66 shots on goal for a .970 save percentage in a weekend series against No. 14 Minnesota-Duluth, as Wisconsin registered a win and a tie.[/media-credit]For many sports, having a good goaltender can sometimes be the vital X-factor that separates a good team from a great team.After earning its first shutout of the season Friday in a 2-0 win in the first game of a series against No. 14 Minnesota-Duluth, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team may have found just such a player in sophomore goaltender Joel Rumpel.Even though there are plenty of games left in the WCHA season, a shutout victory in the first game certainly bodes well for both Rumpel and the Badgers as they look to get back on track after a disappointing season – by Wisconsin hockey standards – in 2011.While Rumpel had his fair share of highs during his freshman campaign, earning three shutouts over the course of the season – the most by a freshman netminder in UW hockey history – on a young, inexperienced team, Rumpel would only finish the season with a 12-12-2 record.Just a season ago, head coach Mike Eaves had used both Rumpel and fellow sophomore Landon Peterson between the pipes for the Badgers, with Rumpel playing in 26 games and Peterson in 13.In the first series of the 2012-13 season, this trend seemed to continue against Northern Michigan, as Rumpel started in the first game before Peterson took over for game two.But after Rumpel’s performance against UMD – a performance that would earn him WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors – Eaves was the first to admit the goaltender competition may not be as close as it once was.“There’s a little space now,” Eaves said at his Monday press conference. “It would be silly to say anything less of the young man who’s got a 95 save percentage and a low goals against. … [Rumpel has] separated that a bit, yes.”Originally growing up in Saskatchewan, Rumpel was influenced by his uncle – former All-American UW goaltender Roy Schultz – when it came to choosing where he wanted to play college hockey.And by the time it was his turn to make a decision, Rumpel said he couldn’t imagine playing anywhere else.“There was never really a question in my mind. Wisconsin, I had always heard about growing up,” Rumpel said. “Everything about this place, we sometimes have to pinch ourselves in the dressing room. I can’t believe anyone would choose to go play anywhere else.”Now with his first shutout of the season under his belt, Rumpel said it is important he continue his improvement throughout the season, and as a result he has learned to treat every practice as though it were a real game scenario.“My uncle always told me, ‘You go into practice and you try to get a shutout,’ Rumpel said. “You don’t want anyone to score on you; you don’t want to make any bad plays on the puck. If you treat [practice] like a game it just makes game situations that much easier.”While Rumpel is certainly more confident after his strong performance Friday and Saturday against UMD, he isn’t the only one to share those sentiments. The whole team has gained confidence from his strong play early in the season, especially the defensemen.“He’s a guy back there that if something does fail, if our systems do fail, … we know Joel is going to make that save 99 out of 100 times,” said Rumpel’s roommate, sophomore defenseman Jake McCabe. “It just gives us a confidence back there that we do have a darn good goalie and he is going to back us up.”McCabe also said that Rumpel’s calm, relaxed demeanor is different from many other goaltenders who play the game.Goaltenders can be an odd breed as they don’t just tolerate, but actually embrace the idea of having hockey pucks shot at them from all directions – some of them flying as fast as 85 to 95 mph.Following that mentality, they also tend to have a stereotype for being more superstitious – especially if they get on hot streaks – as many have certain traditions they must follow before every game.While McCabe said he hasn’t noticed too many weird superstitions in his roommate’s preparation, with the Badgers now undefeated in their last two games with Rumpel in front of the net, only time will tell if Rumpel will get more superstitious as the season wears on.“I don’t think I am too quirky [yet],” Rumpel joked. “I like to keep my normal routine. I usually get to the rink a little early, tape my stick up. … Always before the game I have to have a cold shower or jump in a cold tub for a bit to wake me up a little bit. That’s about all I’ve got though.”Follow Nick on Twitter.