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Fall 2017



Maybe instead of sniffing dogs we should use sniffing moths? The U.S. Air Force is so interested in understanding the intense sensitivity that moths have to smells that it is investing $1.4 million into research conducted by neuroscience professor Kevin Daly and assistant professor Andrew Dacks in the Department of Biology. What they’re finding is that moths can go long distances and locate a scent that consists of a few molecules. “Tell me a technology that we have that can detect chemicals from that kind of distance with that kind of efficiency and sensitivity,” Dacks said. This fundamental research has the potential to reveal principles of sensory motor coordination and guide the development of a wide array of technologies ranging from sensor systems for drones to prosthetic limbs.


One out of every five Android apps is malware, which means your Android phone could get infected, you could be locked out or your information could be compromised. Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Yanfang “Fanny” Ye and doctoral student Shifu Hou led the effort to develop HinDroid, a more resilient security system that has a 98.6 percent rate of identifying malware before it affects an Android phone. Other malware-detecting techniques have had a recognition rate of somewhere between 88 percent and 95 percent. The research is funded by the National Science Foundation and New Jersey-based security vendor Comodo Group.


When the next rover makes it to Mars, its brain could have been shaped in part by researchers in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Remember Cataglyphis, the robot that won multiple NASA robot competitions? The algorithms that engineers used to help Cataglyphis find objects will be a starting point to improve onboard autonomy of planetary rovers. NASA has awarded $750,000 for the project to a team of researchers, who include Majid Jaridi, professor of industrial and management systems engineering; Yu Gu, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; and assistant professors Jason Gross and Victor Fragoso.


If the next generation of computers is going to be faster, we have to start now. Robert L. Carroll Professor of Physics Lian Li and Assistant Professor Cheng Cen — two condensed matter physicists in the Department of Physics and Astronomy — are attempting to disrupt the conventional design of computers by recruiting photons as data carriers and making them as “tamed” as electrons. One of the biggest challenges of their research is finding a way to work around a physical reality that requires when photons travel one path that they have to return on that same path. Their research is funded by a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation.


One researcher is working to better predict greenhouse gases and carbon storage under rising temperatures and changing environments. Omar Abdul-Aziz, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will help formulate accurate models that can robustly predict greenhouse gas and energy fluxes at various times and places. He intends to use his research findings in two new courses, an undergraduate ecohydrological engineering course and a graduate ecological engineering course. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Innovation at Work Archive

Fall 2014

Catch up with sneak peeks and snapshots of some of the creative research, ideas and products incubating 24/7 across WVU.

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Fall 2015

This year international headlines proclaimed the news that a WVU report led to the discovery that Volkswagen had installed defeat devices in potentially millions of diesel vehicles. Catch that developing story and more here.

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Fall 2016

Our people are working on one of the seven Wonders of the World, renewing the nation's dams and creating wireless networks.

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Fall 2017

Sniffing moths and fighting malware make up this edition of Innovation at Work.

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Spring 2015

From securing your selfies, to creating mobile PET scanners, WVU is making inventions that affect your life.

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Summer 2016

Our people are preparing for working on asteroids, predicting how many fish will be in your local stream and designing tomorrow's fuel cell.

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Summer 2017

A doctor created a new way to repair hearts that leads to better health outcomes and engineers came up with a composite system that could prevent damage from earthquakes and hurricanes.

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Summer 2018

One WVU Tech computer science student is developing a way to use mushrooms to combat the global plastic trash glut.

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