(Nov. 6, 2013) -- UTSA chemistry professor Carlos Garcia, UTSA physics professor Arturo Ayon and HJ Science & Technology Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., have been awarded more than $300,000 in NASA funding to build the fourth prototype of a "lab-on-a-robot" (LOAR). The Rover-like prototype will be designed to conduct on-site planetary compositional analysis.
Utilizing wireless technology, the current LOAR is able to navigate to a global position location, acquire an air sample, perform the analysis and send the data to a remote station without exposing the analyst to the testing environment.
Additionally it's equipped with a chemical sensor that sits atop a highly integrated mobile platform. The chemical sensor contains a microchip with the capacity to determine the composition of a sample in a few minutes.
"This lab-on-a-robot could lay the groundwork for the next generation of NASA robotic missions by allowing for the analysis of air samples or biological compounds without the threat of danger to a human operator," said Garcia.
Additionally, the LOAR also could be used commercially to monitor environmental pollutants that could pose a threat to human health or the environment. Evaluation of samples on-site would provide real-time data analysis and reduce the time and costs associated with conventional laboratory techniques.
The original prototype built in 2008 was a collaboration between UTSA chemistry professor Carlos Garcia and UTSA physics professor Arturo Ayon in the Micro-ElectroMechanical systems (MEMS) Laboratory. Subsequent prototypes were joint efforts with the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. A member of that team, Eric Tavares da Costa, will join Garcia's lab to work on the latest LOAR prototype.
The NASA funding will be directed to build the fourth upgraded prototype, using the experience collected during the development of previous versions that were funded through UTSA and the Department of Defense Office of Naval Research.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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