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Together, We Can Do This

Illinois has a lot going for it:  The state has the most diverse economy in the U.S. and ranks fifth in economic output. We’re here to act as an accelerant. Our mission is to bring together universities, federal labs, and private-sector businesses in partnerships that turn breakthrough technology into real-life solutions. Key sectors include agribusiness and food, health and life sciences, manufacturing, and transportation and logistics, but we’re open to venturing wherever a promising proposal takes us.

 

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Our R&D Science Teams

Wastewater

Raw sewage is good for something — really

A team of scientists and engineers has proven they can track the ups and downs of COVID-19 by testing samples of wastewater for evidence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Next up: plumbing these same depths to monitor the presence of other pathogens or illness-markers, and sharing the results with public health agencies to help them better protect our citizenry.

Learn More About Wastewater Epidemiology

LeadsRachel Poretsky of University of Illinois Chicago’s Department of Biological Sciences and Laura Clements of Discovery Partners Institute
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, Northwestern University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Discovery Partners Institute
Corn Field Close Up

Eyes in the sky and food on the table

Most of Illinois is cropland. Increasingly, however, these fields face threats including climate change. A partnership dubbed ASAI seeks to sustain farming by combining the powers of satellite and aircraft surveillance and artificial intelligence to monitor the shifting conditions of crops and soil to maximize yields while minimizing environmental impacts.

LeadKaiyu Guan of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Argonne National Laboratory, University of Chicago, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and private industry
Medical 110001524 011314int

Creating music and community with help from AI

During the pandemic, we learned that videoconferencing and social media can help people maintain much-needed connections. Social co-creation platforms amped up by artificial intelligence could take us a step further: They could enable individuals, including those in often excluded groups, to collaborate in music production, and boost their wellbeing in the process.

LeadLav Varshney of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Chicago, Kocree, Musical Arts Institute, House of Miles, Hip Hop Xpress
Ibrain

Putting our heads together

Brain disorders and diseases afflict one in six people, with epilepsy alone affecting an estimated 3.4 million Americans. To help medical researchers find new treatments across multiple diseases, the Illinois Brain Analytics Institute hopes to build on the University of Illinois NeuroRepository on epilepsy to create a massive database.

LeadJeffrey Loeb of University of Illinois Chicago’s Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, and private industry
Steel Bridge

Picture this: A talking bridge

What if bridge decks could actually tell us if they’re starting to fail before it’s obvious? Equipped with a network of wireless devices known as high-sensitivity, low-frequency accelerometers, they might be able to. How? These embedded devices, which measure vibrations, would relay their findings through augmented reality app on a smartphone.

LeadAnn Sychterz of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois Chicago
AIRobots

AI that is brainy and brawny — and trustworthy

Machines that learn from mammoth amounts of data can mimic human intelligence in more and more situations, but these AI-based systems are inherently fragile. The team’s mission is to build robust and trustworthy AI applications in areas such as autonomous vehicles and drones, robots in manufacturing and assisted living, robotic surgery, and finance.

LeadMadhusudan Parthasarathy of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Computer Science
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois Chicago, University of Chicago, Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University
AI Construction

A new building tool

A blueprint or even a to-scale architectural model is a useful tool in construction, but they are nothing compared to seeing a structure in augmented reality, inside and out, in 3D and — better yet — 4D, which enables a viewer to see images over time. This visualization technology could lower costs, speed up construction, and improve safety.

LeadMani Golparvar-Fard of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Datainhealthcare

They have a mind to fix medicine’s wickedest problems

Healthcare is hobbled by problems so knotty that they’ve been essentially impossible to solve, resulting often in poorer outcomes for patients. A team called Create Wisdom is trying to solve at least one of them. In a pilot project, they’re using artificial intelligence to find telltale patterns in chest X-rays that could help doctors more effectively treat patients.

LeadKarl Kochendorfer of University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Rush University Medical Center, DuPage Medical Group, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
AI Farming

The next field hand could be an ‘agbot’

Robots have transformed manufacturing, mining and logistics, boosting productivity and relieving people of repetitive and hazardous tasks. A team working under the Center for Digital Agriculture wants to make sure farming is next. To make that happen, researchers are developing low-cost “agbots” that could monitor, weed, spray, and harvest crops.

LeadGirish Chowdhary of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory
AI Farming

A how-to center for autonomous technology

Transformation to an autonomous economy can happen organically, but it might happen more thoroughly and quickly if there are support resources. This team’s ambition is to create an innovation center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign dedicated to advanced technology in construction, agriculture, and manufacturing.

LeadBob Norris of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
VRKidney

Living with chronic kidney disease

An estimated 37 million American adults — or more than one in seven — have chronic kidney disease. The Kidney Wellness Institute of Illinois hopes to improve their quality of life and medical treatment by, among other things, using virtual reality devices to increase patient adherence to exercise regimens and dietary instructions.

Lead Ken Wilund of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s College of Applied Health Sciences
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois Chicago, Loyola University Chicago
Senior Woman Wearing A Hearing Aid

We hear you

A team of engineers wants to build a state-of-the-art acoustic-generation space that would rival those available only to the large companies that dominate the hearing-aid industry today.  It would be available to everyone through a web-portal interface, encouraging collaboration and helping to establish Illinois as a hub of innovation for audio technology.

LeadAndrew Singer of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Tel Aviv University, Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago
Diabetes Patient Measuring Glucose Level Blood Test

Detecting diabetes before it’s too late

More than 30 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, but it’s estimated that one in five of them don’t even know it. By using artificial intelligence to sift through electronic health records for relevant markers, a team proposes to develop a prototype enabling medical professionals to more easily detect the disease and identify effective treatments.

LeadBrian Layden of University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System’s Diabetes Center and Endocrinology Clinic
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology
Silhouette Of Hovering Drone Taking Pictures Of Nature At Dusk

Never a bridge too far

The U.S. has more than 600,000 bridges, and many of them are in need of repair or even replacement. To avoid catastrophe, crews must be dispatched to inspect them all, a time-consuming and sometimes dangerous job. A DPI team is investigating how to outfit drones with multiple sensors to do these tasks more efficiently and safely.

LeadDanilo Erricolo of University of Illinois Chicago’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Chicago, National Research Council of Italy, University of Toronto, Tel Aviv University, startup Droneasure
Weather Copy

Your very, very extended weather forecast

Meteorologists have become more accurate with weather forecasting, thanks largely to exponential growth in computing power. A team of atmospheric scientists and mathematicians wants to be better. By harnessing machine learning, they aim to be able to predict weather patterns up to six months from now.

LeadRyan Sriver of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Illinois State Water Survey
Motion Blur In City Street At Night

Putting Uber to the test

Could regulators change ride-hailing for the better? The Mobility on Demand Lab hopes to guide them. The team is working with Uber and other companies to conduct real-world experiments to test the impact of policy interventions, measuring, for instance, the effect lower fares have on usage.

LeadPeter Christensen of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Economics
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Uber Technologies
City Transportation

Avoiding a crash in electric transportation

To combat climate change, the world is turning increasingly to electric vehicles, which depend on an expanded and reliable energy infrastructure. This shift raises a new concern — how to make sure the digital network isn’t disrupted by hackers or weather. This team is investigating ways to build in that resiliency.

LeadFarhad Ansari of University of Illinois Chicago’s Department of Civil, Materials and Environmental Engineering
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Chicago
Sound2

Hear today and hear tomorrow

More than 40 million American adults have some hearing loss. This team proposes the creation of a Hearing Health Institute to develop new approaches to treatment The effort would leverage artificial intelligence to analyze a rich repository of varied data sources including neuroimaging, genetic, and clinical profiles.

LeadFatima Husain of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Neuroscience Program
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, Washington University
Bigdata

Internet privacy needn’t be an oxymoron

Software designers typically focus on functionality and performance, adding security only as an afterthought or ignoring privacy altogether. This team will draw from cryptography, machine learning, software engineering, and trustworthy computing to produce practical, scalable systems to provide consumers with the privacy they want.

LeadLenore Zuck of University of Illinois Chicago’s Department of Computer Science
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
THAILAND SEPTEMBER 03, 2014: All Of Popular Social Media Icons

Believe us, we’re doing something about misinformation

Social media misinformation — and its corrosive power to alter everything from elections to friendships — is one of the biggest scourges of our time. This team, in collaboration with industry partners, hopes to build easy-to-use software that could identify and tag misinformation on social media.

LeadKevin Leicht of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Sociology
PartnersUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory
Applied Research

Matching Capabilities to Industries

Farm robots and Prof. Girish Chowdhary’s startup EarthSense

“In a research field off Highway 54 last autumn, corn stalks shimmered in rows 40-feet deep. Girish Chowdhary, an agricultural engineer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, bent to place a small white robot at the edge of a row marked 103. The robot, named TerraSentia, resembled a souped up version of a lawn mower, with all-terrain wheels and a high-resolution camera on each side. …

The robot is designed to generate the most detailed portrait possible of a field, from the size and health of the plants, to the number and quality of ears each corn plant will produce by the end of the season, so that agronomists can breed even better crops in the future.”

Continue reading more in the New York Times