R&D: Sleep Headband, Graphene, & Nanosatellites

Michael C. Larson, Ph.D. (LA B ’84), is the founder and president of Mind Rocket, Inc., which has already raised 18 times its original Kickstarter campaign goal. Dr. Larson, who is also professor and chair of engineering and innovation at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, has had to place an order for 5,000 of his sleep-inducing headbands due to larger than expected demand.

The product is called the Sleep Shepherd Blue and is the “second edition of the device, which includes a free smartphone application that provides users (with) information about the quality of sleep and time spent in various sleeping positions.” He developed the device as a drug-free way to combat his daughter’s sleep disorder in 2012. Click here to read the article for more information on Dr. Larson and the Sleep Shepherd.


A study published in the (February) journal Small, describes how a team of researchers “used a modified 3-D printer and frozen water to create lattice-shaped cubes and a three-dimensional truss with overhangs using graphene oxide.” The hope is that this could be an important step in making graphene commercially viable in electronics, medical diagnostic devices and other industries. Read more from the ScienceDaily.

One of the study’s corresponding authors Dong Lin, Ph.D. (NE A ’09), an assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering at Kansas State University said: “By keeping the graphene in a cold environment, we were able to ensure that it retained the shape we designed. This is an important step toward making graphene a commercially viable material.”


“In space, there are very limited power sources. You either have to carry your batteries with you – which is in most cases impractical – or by and large in space, you would rely on light, on sun,” said Robi Polikar, Ph.D. (IA A ’95), head of the electrical and computer engineering department at Rowan University (NJ).

According to an article in the Philadelphia Media Network, a group of Rowan engineers is hoping a new type of memory technology, memristors, can address concerns related to dying batteries in space, providing stability, speed, and energy efficiency compared with current memory systems. Last month, the Rowan professors learned they had been accepted by a NASA program that sends softball-size nanosatellites into space for educational and research purposes. The Rowan professors will also enlist the assistance of Rowan engineering students in designing and building the 4×4-inch nanosatellite, which is scheduled for a March 2018 launch.


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