Archive for June, 2012

U.Va. Architecture’s “Breathe House” Erected in Haiti

Breathe House

Photo courtesy of Sara Harper

Breathe House

Photo courtesy of Sara Harper

We checked in with U.Va.’s Initiative reCOVER this week, following the build of its innovative “Breathe House” in the Haitian community of Bois l’Etat, near St. Marc.So named for its natural ventilation strategy, the Breathe House was designed by students in the U.Va. School of Architecture. Led by Anselmo Canfora, the team took first place in an international competition that sought disaster-recovery solutions for Haiti’s displaced population following a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in January 2010. (Read more about the Breathe House here.)

Coming in first gave the team the opportunity to fulfill their vision, which was erected this week.

“Working in Haiti has many challenges,” said Initiative reCOVER research fellow Sara Harper, “but with the team that traveled to Saint-Marc, Haiti, we were able to overcome those difficulties and produce a safe and healthy building that will serve the FEBS (Fondation Esther Boucicault Stanislas) community for many years to come.”

The Breathe House was made possible by the generous support of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission — which awarded U.Va. a grant for the Partnership for Affordable, Energy Efficient Housing Systems — and that of several other local partners, said Phil Parrish, U.Va. associate vice president for research.

“Based upon that grant, the team manufactured the Breathe House structural panels in Southside, Va., which were subsequently shipped to Haiti and assembled,” Parrish said. “Manufacture of this first prototype of the Breathe House was a joint effort between U.Va.; SIPS of America Inc. (Blairs, Va.); and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, the Riverstone Energy CenterAWFI and Kyoger (all located in South Boston, Va.).”

The build team, pictured at left, included Harper; Parrish; Kenny Stevenson from AWFI; Trace Steffen from Kyoger; and Mary Butcher, John Diven, Mike Gallahue and Ethan Tate from the Building Goodness Foundation.

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U.Va. to Co-sponsor Translational Research Forum at BIO

Expect the University of Virginia to make a splash at this year’s BIO International Convention, held in Boston.

In addition to being an exhibitor at the conference, the University is co-sponsoring the Translational Research Forum: From Bench to Bedside in a Bioeconomy – Government, Industry and the University Models to Catalyze Economic Growth and Patient Access, an opportunity to “explore how universities and their funding partners can move early stage research forward in order to make them attractive to developers.”

Our own W. Mark Crowell, executive director of U.Va. Innovation and associate vice president for research, will moderate the forum, which will feature remarks from Boston University President Robert A. Brown, Ph.D. on the role of universities in translational medicine and Bahija Jallal from MedImmune, who will discuss details of the multi-year collaboration between AstraZeneca and U.Va.

The forum will be held on Monday, June 18, from 1:30 p.m. in the Boston Exhibution and Convention Center, Room 205 BC, and will be co-sponsored by U.Va., Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company and Investissment Quebec.

Be sure to also drop by the U.Va. booth in BIO’s ginormous exhibit hall: The University will exhibit as part of the Virginia Pavilion (Booth 2105, Pavilion Hall A).

U.Va. Student Innovator Named to Canada’s “Top 20 Under 20″

Joseph Linzon

Undergraduate student inventor–entrepreneur Joseph Linzon pitches "PowerSole" at the University of Virginia's 2011 Entrepreneurship Cup. Photo by Cole Geddy.

Rising second-year Joseph Linzon, of Toronto — whom you may recognize as the “face of U.Va. Innovation,” above — has been named to Canada’s “Top 20 Under 20.” The annual program recognizes Canadian youth whose “leadership and innovation has led to the betterment of [their] school, community, province and/or country.”

Inventor of the PowerSole, a shoe that converts kinetic energy into electrical energy with each step its wearer takes, Linzon is seeking to “empower the powerless” in developing countries. The PowerSole concept came in second overall in last year’s U.Va. Entrepreneurship Cup, for which Linzon was awarded $10,000. [Read the full story.]

Congratulations, Joe!

CNBC Features Local App Developer

Tobias A. Dengel, CEO of WillowTree Apps Inc.

Tobias A. Dengel, CEO of WillowTree Apps Inc., discusses the future of mobile technology. Image credit: CNBC.

Charlottesville-based app developer WillowTree Apps Inc. was featured on CNBC this week when CEO Tobias A. Dengel gave his take on the future of mobile tech outside Apple’s 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. [Watch the video clip here.]

The company has built more than 100 apps for iPhone and iPad, Android, Windows Phone 7, Blackberry and Web, including “The Good Old App,” U.Va.’s official mobile application and Apple’s #1 “New and Noteworthy” education app. Among the free app’s lead features are interactive maps that allow users to search for and identify buildings on Grounds using GPS as well as push notifications for U.Va. athletics scores. [Download "The Good Old App" on iTunes and Android Market.]

Dengel, a former vice president at AOL, says WillowTree’s relationship with U.Va. extends far beyond the typical client–provider relationship. “Through our relationship with U.Va. and Darden we’ve been able to build a local tech business, have hired over 10 recent U.Va. grads, [and] have had over 15 U.Va. interns, all of which makes Charlottesville, U.Va. and WillowTree better.

“To us, this shows that U.Va. and Charlottesville can successfully take a page out of what Stanford, Harvard and others have been doing for years, and how U.Va. and Darden will hopefully continue to place a great premium on sourcing technology locally.”