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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Carnegie Robotics Institute to Showcase ChargeCar

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute have converted a 2001 Scion xB into an electric commuter vehicle that will serve as a test bed for a new community-based approach to electric vehicle design, conversion and operations.

The vehicle is part of a new research project, ChargeCar, headed by Illah Nourbakhsh, associate professor of robotics. The project is exploring how electric vehicles can be customized to cost-effectively meet an individual’s specific commuting needs and how an electric vehicle’s efficiency can be boosted and its battery life extended by using artificial intelligence to manage power.

“Most electric cars today are being designed with top-down engineering to match the performance of gas-powered cars,” Nourbakhsh said. “Our goal is to revolutionize urban commuting by taking a different approach — by first analyzing the needs, conditions and habits of the daily commutes of actual people and then using this ‘commute ecology’ to develop electric vehicles suited to each unique commute.” The researchers calculate that a typical Pittsburgh commuter might save 80 percent of energy costs by switching from a gas car to an electric car."

The ChargeCar team also includes Gregg Podnar, co-principal investigator with Nourbakhsh; research engineer Josh Schapiro; senior research programmer Chris Bartley; project scientist Ben Brown; Intel Labs Pittsburgh senior researcher Jason Campbell; and students Vibhav Sreekanti, Paul Dille and Matt Duescher.

Meet the people...see the car at GAGI Fest!

photo by Alan Guisewite.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fashion Show Fun Begins Now! + GAGI Welcomes Rebellious Nature

The GAGI Fashion Division recently met to discuss strategy for their not-to-be-missed extravaganza! The team, led by Kristin Barker of Jonano, a fashion company whose sleek, eco-chic clothing will also headline the show, met at Neighborhood Academy to see the first of a series of pieces being designed by high school students. The dresses, skirts and other clothing are made of discards from the school as well as items from nearby business neighbors like Trader Joes. Amanda Gross, a well-known local fiber artist is their instructor. The dress shown here is by Briana, one of her young designers; it's a representation from a group that just pops and fizzles with color and imagination. We can't wait to see what else they recycle!

The fashion show will also highlight vintage clothing, LED enhanced clothing from Webelow Wear, and nature inspired robotics wear designed by Amisha Gadani. GAGI's Team is also looking at other fashion partners.

"This combination of high end, high tech, and recycled couture is exciting and fresh! " said Team GAGI during recent discussions. Adding another element of great collaboration, The fashion show will take place in the "Hot Shop" of the Pittsburgh Glass Center, one of the world's top glass facilities, which received a LEED Gold Certificate for its environmental design.

Also new to GAGI: Rebellious Nature. Rebellious is a hip, new gallery and clothing boutique with a rebellious soul and a environmental message. They'll will be doing T-shirt design and silkscreen for GAGI, from their home base at 401 N. Graham St., just a stones throw from the Quiet Storm cafe. (And they are rebellious if your think organic, U.S. made, fair trade, fair labor, and sweat-shop-free thinking is a bad thing.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lots more in the works for GAGI!

We've been so busy, we haven't had a minute to post on our blog! So many wonderful things are happening with GAGI Festival! Our schedule of events is exciting and expanding. Our team is nailing down media sponsors, we're talking to amazing technology people...We've found a group to hoola-hoop and we're designing glow-in-the dark T-shirts that may "show up" on our fashion runway! We can't give away all the details yet, but suffice it say the GAGI Team is working hard to present far and away the most amazing and delightful springtime event in the city!