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Published: April 17, 2017

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When pondering the challenge of how to make astronauts’ lives better on the International Space Station, the winners of the “Life in Space” Challenge went back to basics.

The winning team of five students from Carnegie Mellon University looked at how astronauts working on the International Space Station (ISS) spent their days.

It turns out, they spend nearly two hours of their 12-hour shifts exercising – not only for good health, but to prevent muscle degeneration and mobility loss that would otherwise happen over time in an atmosphere with little-to-no gravity.

In fact, astronauts lose almost 20 percent of their muscle mass due to prolonged exposure to microgravity conditions, which can be a serious health threat when missions on the ISS average about six months.

“We wanted to tackle the problem by figuring out how the astronauts could do something throughout the day that A CAD rendering of the "Muscle Maximus" exoskeleton.A CAD rendering of the "Muscle Maximus" exoskeleton.could benefit their bodies but wouldn’t be too obtrusive,” said Kevin Yu, a member of the winning team and a mechanical engineering student at Carnegie Mellon.

The “Muscle Maximus,” the Carnegie Mellon team’s winning product, was designed using HP ZBook Studio Mobile Workstations, powered by Intel® Core i7® processors. They won the challenge for proposing an innovative design for an “exoskeleton” (it looks a bit like human armor) that would apply resistance to an astronaut’s joints and muscles as he or she moved throughout their day on the ISS. 

The contest kicked off in February with HP and Intel engaging with teams of engineering students from Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, University of Texas, Oregon State University, Arizona State University, Virginia Tech University and Clemson University.

Their mission: Develop a manufacturable product that can help improve the lives of astronauts in space.

The finalist teams delivered a range of creative ideas, from a retractable-blade tape dispenser (these simple devices are too sharp to be safely used on the ISS and are currently banned) to a kind of mobile workbench so all of an astronaut’s tools can be tethered safely but also remain at hand.

 

See the winning team’s video pitch:

In addition to reducing exercise time, Carnegie Mellon’s Muscle Maximus is self-sustaining and doesn’t require any outside power source. Because it targets four major muscle groups, the device would also reduce the number of machines needed for exercise, freeing up more space in the ISS.

The Carnegie Mellon team attributes their success to the diversity of thought and variety of science disciplines among their ranks, which included biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering and computational design students.WTH194454_ahr_aur_66039u.jpg

Diane Turnshek, department of physics faculty advisor who lead the team, said that their concept beat out the competition because it not only could have immediate, measurable impact on the lives of astronauts on the ISS, but it could also be used by the Earth-bound who need help maintaining mobility.

“One of the best parts of the competition is that NASA joined HP and Intel on the judging panel, and that they will continue to research and carry forward this idea so that it might become a reality.”

    Awards + Recognition Education
Published: January 26, 2017

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No matter a person’s age, gender, location or income level, education is the key to something better.

For HP, an investment in education and the learning process goes beyond devices and features in cutting edge products. It’s the tools used in learning institutions around the world and the efforts to educate under-served regions that go to the heart of making the world a better place.

In that spirit, HP made two education-related announcements this week as part of the Education World Forum and BETT education shows in London.

The first is an expansion of learning centers in the Middle East that are intended to help refugees and families that are displaced within their own borders. The second is a new tool that analyzes regional data to determine how investments in education will translate into economic growth for a particular region. 

“HP believes that a high-quality education is a modern education, which is why we are putting cutting-edge technology in the hands of teachers and students in every corner of the planet,” said Gus Schmedlen, VP of Worldwide Education at HP. “Our announcements this week are part of a larger, ongoing campaign to bring learning into the Digital Age, no matter where students are and irrespective of their circumstances.”

 New Learning Studios

Last year, during President Barack Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, HP said it would work with Digital Promise Global, the Global Business Coalition for Education, Microsoft and Intel to give refugee students access to modern technology as well as the opportunity to learn essential business and IT skills. HP has already deployed 60 similar Learning Studios in 15 countries.

But during this week’s BETT Show in London, the company announced plans to open three HP Learning Studios in Jordan and three more in Lebanon, specifically to help refugees acquire more knowledge and skills.

RELATED STORY Learning Studios_HP Story_Global Citizen.jpg HP expands commitment to Refugees at White House summit Read more

Each will come fully equipped with a suite of  technology, including: Sprout Pro, an all-in-one, touch-driven 3D computing, scanning and project platform; ProBook x360 Education Edition convertible computers powered by Windows 10; and a Dremel 3D printer. 

The core curriculum at each of these facilities will be built around HP LIFE e-Learning courses, which include 25 online modules on essential business and IT skills in seven languages.

 

Tools for driving investment in education

HP is also extending its commitment to education with the HP Education Data Command Center, a new  software tool that can crunch massive amounts of socioeconomic data and apply predictive analysis algorithms to determine how education spending can have a direct impact on a nation’s GDP, or gross domestic product.

It applies a scientific forecast so that the tool can offer region-specific analysis of data from a variety of sources, such as the World Bank and United Nations. It takes into consideration a wide range of variables about students, such as their age, gender, location, income level and family status, so that the results are more refined.

The data is critical to the understanding of educational investment.

Recognizing that, HP will also release this week its Global Learning Economic and Social Index 2016 report, with support from Microsoft and Intel. The extensive study ranks every UN member state against various learning, economic and social criteria. 

 BETT continues through January 28 in London. 

Published: January 24, 2017

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 In Tunisia, where some 40 percent of youth are unemployed and jobs of any kind are hard to come by, the HP Foundation is working to make a difference.

For the past three years, the foundation has been working with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), USAID, the Italian Development Cooperation and other partners on a job-creation project, called “Mashrou3i,” (which in Arabic means, "my project") that fosters a spirit of entrepreneurialism and offers tools that can support fledgling business owners.

Today, the program launched into its second phase, a five-year mission to create some 6,000 jobs and reach more than 25,000 aspiring and existing entrepreneurs in Tunisia.

“Every job created out of this initiative makes a positive impact on the individual’s life and helps support the local community,” said Markus Schwertel, Lead Government Relations Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at HP. “It truly empowers people to be successful.”infographic_EN_Phase 2-01.png

 In addition to mentoring and technical skills training, participants also have access to HP LIFE, a free, online program of the HP Foundation, which features 27 interactive modules covering business and IT skills training in seven languages, including Arabic and French. It has been used by more than 640,000 people in over 200 countries and territories.Imen Saadaoui - SAC.jpg

During the first phase of the project, about 1,250 jobs and 160 startup companies were created. In addition, more than 12,000 Tunisians took online courses through HP LIFE and nearly 1,400 aspiring entrepreneurs – more than half of whom were women – were coached to help develop, improve or finalize business plans.

Technical Assistance to SMEs.jpgThe new influx of support, which includes a contribution of nearly $1 million cash and in-kind technology from HP and the HP Foundation, will help to expand reach, add staff and grow the project geographically into farther-flung governorates in Tunisia. It will also support the ongoing development of  HP LIFE, where aspiring entrepreneurs can learn—for free—everything from nuts-and-bolts online classes in finance and sales forecasting to social media marketing and presentation skills.

“The Mashrou3i project is a scalable social innovation model with proven results,” said Jihed Jahdour, Managing Director, Tunisia, at HP. “There is an urgent need for innovative solutions that provide access to quality education and enable economic opportunity for everyone everywhere, wherever they are in the world. The second phase of the project signals the continuation of our successful partnership to foster employment opportunities for young men and women in Tunisia.”

HP, as a brand with a deep history in the “ed tech” sector is uniquely positioned to deploy its HP LIFE programming and technology into a region where there’s nearly immediate results.

“This has big implications for the future of learning all over the world, as technology continues to disrupt the existing models of education in the so called developed world as well,” HP’s Schwertel said.

“Instead of discussing how many and what kind of devices are needed in the classrooms, the question is, ‘What are the learning outcomes we want to achieve?” he said. “Engaging learning content for personalized learning like HP LIFE, coupled with technology, enables emerging market countries to leapfrog and to get access to top content of the same quality as anywhere else in the world.”Mashrou3i logo.png

Learn more about Mashrou3i by following the program on Facebook and Twitter and at the #Mashrou3i hashtag. 

 

Published: January 04, 2017

 

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Every so often, a new product comes along and offers a new experience, something that goes beyond our imaginations. For HP, that was Sprout, a device that’s part PC, part scanner and part projector, built around the idea that the physical and digital worlds can be blended to open the door to new possibilities.

Admittedly, the concept of merging the two worlds – a process we refer to as Immersive Computing – can be tough for users to comprehend, forcing them to think about real-life applications where the experience could have an impact. Even the inventors themselves don’t always know what to make of their creations. They often imagine one purpose, then quickly discover the market envisions something else. So, they listen, adapt and sometimes reinvent the recently invented. 

“The first product always has to be somewhat of an experiment,” said Brad Short, HP technologist and inventor of the original Sprout by HP. “We do as much as we can in user testing before releasing a product. But until it goes out in the wild and you get user data and real-life feedback, you don't know exactly where it's going or what features will be picked-up and what will resonate with customers."

This week, ahead of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, HP unveiled a refreshed Sprout - called Sprout Pro by HP G2 – just two years after it was introduced as a consumer blended reality device and one year after its launch as a commercial unit. The new model sports a more attractive industrial design and a host of enticing features. 

Sprout_Pro_by_HP_Forward_Facing_HR_tcm245_2385103_tcm245_2385012_tcm245-2385103.jpgBut more importantly, it comes with an intensified focus on commercial applications – primarily based on the real-life feedback that gave the inventors some insight about the product’s sweet spot.   

What Short and HP heard was that, while consumers were interested in the idea of blending and manipulating 2D and 3D content with Sprout, educators and businesses saw a much bigger upside for the product.

Teachers told us they wanted to use Sprout’s overhead cameras, scanners and projectors to present a blend of physical and digital content to students while enabling more cross-school collaboration. Retailers were interested in embedding Sprout in self-service kiosks that could be used to personalize customer experiences. And manufacturers imagined using Sprout to manage operations and maintain quality control on factory floors.

The feedback helped us to understand the commercial possibilities for Sprout, inspiring us to go back to the drawing board to tackle Sprout’s reinvention. Education, in particular, has huge potential, Short said.

“It introduces students to the notion of 3D, he said. “To be able to scan something quickly and generate custom 3D content that they can manipulate is so immersive and instantaneous that it allows the learning process to be more immediate, to understand why that would be of value. Whole curriculums are now being created around that.”

Sprout Pro G2 is a full redesign of Sprout, intended to appeal to schools and businesses. It’s now sleeker and smaller to fit on most desktops. Resolution on its two monitors – a standard upright and a horizontal Touch Mat – has been aligned with both at near-1080p specs. And the old passive stylus has been replaced with an Active Pen, allowing pressure sensitive digital inking for annotation and design. HP also added several software improvements, including tighter Windows 10 integration and Workspace tools for capturing 2D and 3D content and sharing it with third-party apps.

Short said much of the work on Sprout Pro G2 happened on the back end – with technical tweaks to make operating systems and applications work better together to improve user experience. In the end, all the improvements are about removing obstacles and enabling schools and businesses to work with digital and physical content as part of their core activities.

And of course, as they do that, HP will watch, learn and take guidance from these innovators.

“The first generation of Sprout served the purpose of painting a picture or vision of what this step function in computing might look like where you are blending physical and digital content,” said Short. “With Sprout by HP G2, we’re taking that vision to the next level as part of a re-invention journey that is never-ending.”CES_CTA_Combo_Logo_1.jpg

 

Get all of HP's news during CES by reading the blog and following the HP Newsroom on Twitter.

Published: December 13, 2016

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Some 75 years ago, when Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard launched a future Silicon Valley icon from a Palo Alto garage, they used workbench tools that allowed them to tinker with electrical engineering.

Today, the tools of the trade for a would-be tech entrepreneur are different. They need a foundation in computer programming and computer science to innovate in a 21st Century world.

Yet, qualified teachers of computer science and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects are in short supply. In fact, fewer schools teach computer science today than 10 years ago, according to data compiled by Code.org.

At HP, there’s a global effort to change this – one student at a time.

HP has partnered again this year with Code.org to sponsor Hour of Code, a learning event that aims to deliver computer science education to students worldwide, with a focus on girls and underrepresented groups. 

HourOfCode_logo_RGB.jpg“Reversing the under-representation of women and minorities in technology is a priority for HP,” said Lesley Slaton Brown, HP’s Chief Diversity Officer. “Giving students access to computer science education and getting them excited about potential careers in STEM fields is critical to fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.”

For many students, the path to STEM proficiency could start with exposure to computer science basics. That’s the main idea behind an Hour of Code session, which aims to demystify computer programming and build students’ confidence.  HP volunteers helped run classroom sessions built around an Hour of Code tutorial, where students can learn to use programming languages to manipulate a game, create a picture, complete an interactive music project, or learn to animate their name on screen. 

More than 1,000 HP volunteers from offices around the globe participated in Hour of Code – one of the largest learning events in history – by lending their skills, time and support to teachers and students in the neighborhood schools where they live and work. 

“All of the children I supported learned something new about how to make simple code instructions in a really fun setting.” said HP volunteer Zoe McMahon, Director, Compliance Intake & Programs, Ethics and Compliance Office.

HP counts participating Hour of Code events at 16 sites around the globe, from San Diego to Singapore to South Africa.

The HP site in Boise, Idaho, had 120 volunteers reach some 3,000 students over the course of 66 sessions at local schools. 

“The students LOVED it, they didn’t want to stop,” said HP volunteer Antonina Robles, Customer Experience Program Manager, Office Printing Solutions Quality.

Globally, HP’s efforts reached some 15,000 students last year and is expanding the program this year. The hope is that these students will be intrigued by the technology and motivated by the idea that they have the potential to develop a future technology that we cannot yet even imagine.

“The best part about volunteering is seeing each child smile and feel satisfied as they successfully completed a part of their lesson,” said HP volunteer Anju Sharma, Social Media Capabilities Manager.HOC Ranjith Madhavan.jpg

With the right support and the right cheering, these students may be able to point to the first “garages” of their own.

For some, that garage just might be their very first Hour of Code session.

Learn more about the mission of Hour of Code and the “superpower” of learning how to program computers: