Speaking of Japan

In the aftermath of the Japan earthquake and resulting tsunamis, many are doing whatever they can to help.

For the creators of Jibbigo Voice Translation, that means making the speech-to-speech translation application available to relief organizations deployed in Japan. For free.

Developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon, the Jibbigo app is a powerful offline voice translation application that functions without Internet or phone connections. Perfect for situations – such as the relief efforts in Japan – where network access is limited or non-existent.

The Jibbigo app was designed as a general translator, though it is particularly attuned to the needs of international travelers and medical doctors. It’s compatible with iPhone and Android devices, as well as tablets such as the iPad. Users simply speak a sentence or two at a time into their device and it will respond with an audible translation.

In addition to translating full sentences, the Jibbigo app includes a robust medical vocabulary in both Japanese and English, ideal for assisting the foreign aid worker.

Jibbigo LLC is a startup company launched by Alex Waibel, professor of computer science and language technologies at Carnegie Mellon University. A professor at both CMU and the University of Karlsruhe in Germany, Waibel also directs the International Center for Advanced Communication Technologies.

The specially designed version of the English-Japanese voice translation app will remain free to relief workers in Japan until March 31, 2011. For more information, email info@jibbigo.com.

Image from Jibbigo's Facebook page.


Thanks to DSF Charitable Foundation…

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon’s Center for Nucleic Acids Science and Technology (CNAST) are advancing their work aimed at better understanding and treating disease.

The DSF Charitable Foundation gave a $3.9 million grant to further the development of novel biomedical tools targeted at monitoring and manipulating gene expression.

Simply put, DNA contains instructions for making proteins. RNA then uses those instructions to make functional proteins. That process is known as gene expression.

But if something goes awry during the gene expression process, too much or too little protein can be made. At times, this can have devastating results – even increasing the risk of certain types of cancer for some.

“At CNAST we are creating tools that will help us to answer fundamental scientific questions and lead to the development of practical applications for treating genetic and infectious diseases,” said John Woolford, professor of biological sciences.

Bruce Armitage, professor of chemistry, is also co-director of CNAST. CNAST is comprised of an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon’s chemistry and biological sciences departments.

Find out more >>


Pothole Patrol

Potholes go hand-in-hand with springtime in Pittsburgh. But thanks to a new project at Carnegie Mellon, you can do something about it. And we’re not suggesting you fill it yourself.

Simply snap a photo of a pothole and upload it to Facebook.

Thanks to the Road Damage Assessment System (RODAS) Project, the photos are linked to their location on a map. It’s a way for community members to monitor potholes and alert government agencies of their existence.

The RODAS Project is headed by Robert Strauss, professor of economics and public policy in CMU's Heinz College and Takeo Kanade, professor of robotics and computer science.

Read more on cmu.edu.


Tweeting Appreciation

“Thanks @CarnegieMellon for my science scholarship honoring alum/astronaut Judith Resnik…” Dinah Winnick posted to her Twitter account on the 25th anniversary of the Challenger disaster.

The Carnegie Mellon Judith Resnik Challenger Scholarship for Women in Science is named in honor of Judith Resnik (E’70) who was an engineering major at Carnegie Mellon before becoming only the second woman in space.

For Winnick (SHS’05), the scholarship was an instrumental part of her Carnegie Mellon experience – and top of mind that day.

Read more about how Winnick’s scholarship made her Carnegie Mellon experience possible.