NSF invests $13 million in smart, human-centered service systems
November 9, 2016
[Originally published September 7, 2016, and updated to correct broken link]
From healthcare to transportation to advanced manufacturing, service systems make our lives safer, easier and more productive on a daily basis.
New technologies that sense surroundings and learn from data are bringing intelligence to service systems, allowing them to center on people by incorporating individuals’ feedback and input. These systems create more value through adaptive and individualized interactions.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has invested $13 million in such systems, supporting innovative new partnership projects to create service systems that are not only smart, but human-centric. By definition, a human-centered service system interacts with people -- end users, recipients, beneficiaries, providers and/or decision makers -- as it operates.
The interdisciplinary NSF Partnerships for Innovation projects will engage academia and the private sector -- for example, IBM Research, SolarCity, Microsoft Research, AVANGRID Inc. -- in highly interactive collaborations. Partners will advance, adapt and integrate novel smart technologies in service systems in ways that dramatically improve performance.
“The National Science Foundation fosters innovation and partnerships between academic researchers and industry, catalyzing interdisciplinary projects to understand and design smart systems and technologies of the future,” said Grace Wang, acting assistant director, NSF Directorate for Engineering. “These 13 projects are at the forefront of the human-technology frontier, driving innovation to solve problems to benefit society and improve life as we know it.”
“We use the word ‘service’ as a metaphor for value-added interactions of humans with technology,” said NSF Program Director Alexandra Medina-Borja. “These 13 smart service-system projects are actively using human factors research to inform the design of an engineered system by considering the potential interaction of the technology with humans to add unique value, helping or augmenting people’s capabilities, not replacing them.”
Several of these three-year, $1-million projects tie into NSF's investments in smart, connected communities, whether through transportation, cybermanufacturing, energy, healthcare, emergency response or other services.
For example, three of these projects will address challenges in advanced manufacturing technologies at different scales. Two of them will tackle challenges in the maker movement: the first project integrates state-of-the-art 3D mixed and augmented reality technologies with the cloud to bring easy to use and accessible design capabilities to the public; the second is a manufacturing service system based on the principles of the sharing economy that will enable relationships between consumers and producers, enabling the public to manufacture complex designs during machine idle time at the factory. Another project will research novel methods to improve human-robot workflow and productivity in assembly manufacturing.
The 13 new Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC) projects for smart, human-centered service systems will develop a variety of technologies, integrating them in eight different service application areas:
- Next Generation Real-Time Distributed Manufacturing Service Systems Using Digital Process Planning and GPU-Accelerated Parallel Computing: Thomas Kurfess of Georgia Tech Research Corporation, principal investigator.
- MAKERPAD: Cognitively Intuitive Shape-Modeling and Design Interface enabling a Distributed Personalized Fabrication Network: Karthik Ramani of Purdue University, principal investigator.
- Smart Factories - An Intelligent Material Delivery System to Improve Human-Robot Workflow and Productivity in Assembly Manufacturing: Laurel Riek of the University of Notre Dame, principal investigator.
Intelligent spaces/ambient intelligence
- Multimodal-Sensor-Enabled Environments with Advanced Cognitive Computing Enabling Smart Group Meeting Facilitation Services: Richard Radke of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, principal investigator.
Smart emergency warning systems
- CityWarn - A Smart, Hyperlocal, Context-Aware Hazard Notification Service System: Brenda Philips of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, principal investigator.
Smart energy services
- Energy Smart Community - Leveraging Virtual Storage to Turn Advanced Metering Infrastructure into a Smart Service System: Edwin Cowen of Cornell University, principal investigator.
Smart environmental services
- A Smart, Flexible, Large-Scale Sensing and Response Service System (LASSaRESS) for Monitoring and Management of Ground, Air and Waterborne Contaminants: Jesko Von Windheim of Duke University, principal investigator.
Smart health services
- Smart Laser-Based Imaging and Optical Spectroscopy System: Optical quantification of bacterial load, oral health surveillance, and caries prediction: Eric Seibel of the University of Washington, principal investigator.
- iSee - Intelligent Mobile Behavior Monitoring and Depression Analytics Service for College Counseling Decision Support: Mi Zhang of Michigan State University, principal investigator.
- RouteMe2 - A Cloud-Integrated Sensor Infrastructure for Assisted Public Transportation Services: Roberto Manduchi of the University of California-Santa Cruz, principal investigator.
- Smart Human-Centered Collision Warning System: sensors, intelligent algorithms and human-computer interfaces for safe and minimally intrusive car-bicycle interactions: Rajesh Rajamani of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, principal investigator.
- A Smart Service System for Traffic Incident Management Enabled by Large-data Innovations (TIMELI): Anuj Sharma of Iowa State University, principal investigator.
Smart water reclamation systems
- Self-Correcting Energy-Efficient Water Reclamation Systems for Tailored Water Reuse at Decentralized Facilities: Tzahi Cath of the Colorado School of Mines, principal investigator.
NSF's fiscal year 2016 investment in PFI:BIC is a collaboration among the directorates for Engineering (ENG) and Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE). In previous years, NSF funded 21 PFI:BIC projects for smart service systems, including 10 PFI:BIC projects in fiscal year 2015.
Sarah Bates, NSF (703) 292-7738, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexandra Medina-Borja, NSF (703) 292-7557, email@example.com
Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity: http://www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/pfi/bic.jsp
The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.