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Systems and Methods for Sound-Enhanced Meeting Platforms

Computer-based, internet-connected, audio/video meeting platforms have become pervasive worldwide, especially since the 2020 emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. These meeting platforms include Cisco Webex, Google Meet, GoTo, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom. However, those popular platforms are optimized for meetings in which all the participants are attending the meeting online, individually. Accordingly, those platforms have shortcomings when used for hybrid meetings in which some participants are attending together in-person and others attending online. Also, the existing platforms are problematic for large meetings in big rooms (e.g. classrooms) in which most or all of the participants are in-person. To address those suboptimal meet platform situations, researchers at UC Berkeley conceived systems, methods, algorithms and other software for a meeting platform that's optimized for hybrid meetings and large in-person meetings. The Berkeley meeting platform offers a user experience that's familiar to users of the conventional meeting platforms. Also, the Berkeley platform doesn't require any specialized participant hardware or specialized physical room infrastructure (beyond standard internet connectivity).

Multi-Phase Hybrid Power Converter Architecture With Large Conversion Ratios

The power demands on data centers are large and increasing rapidly. This is straining data center economic and environment impacts, and in turn driving improvements in data center power efficiencies. Data centers have been widely adopting 48 V intermediate bus architectures due to higher efficiency, good flexibility, and reduced cost. However, a major challenge in such systems is the conversion from the 48 V bus to the extreme low voltage and high current operating levels of server CPUs and GPUs.To address this challenge, UC Berkeley researchers developed a multi-phase hybrid power converter architecture. The Berkeley design uses hybrid converter topologies. A switched-capacitor network is smartly merged with a switched-inductor network, resulting in circuit component number reduction and soft-charging operation of the capacitors. Furthermore, the Berkeley architecture integrates a multi-phase control technique to achieve a higher conversion ratio of the switched-capacitor network, which can further improve the overall system efficiency without increasing the circuit size.  

Cascaded Resonant Switched-Capacitor For Power Converter Architecture

Data center power demands are growing fast. To address this situation, next-generation data centers are moving to 48 V bus architectures to reduce distribution loss on the bus bar of server racks. One important research topic regarding this architecture is stepping down from 48 V to the point-of-load voltage, which is usually implemented by an intermediate bus converter followed by a voltage regulator, with the benefits of high efficiency and reutilization of 12 V legacy systems.Many topologies have been explored for the 48-to-12 V intermediate bus applications, such as inductor-based converters. However, since capacitors have higher energy densities compared with inductors, switched-capacitor based converters have the potential to achieve higher power density and have gained increasing attention in performance-driven applications. Integrating resonant conductors into cascaded switch-capacitor converters further improves performance.To address this potential, researchers at UC Berkeley developed a novel resonant switched-capacitor based converter. The Berkeley converter uses a simple structure and operation principle, and has the potential to achieve dramatic efficiency and power density improvement over existing leading alternatives.

Smart Suction Cup for Adaptive Gripping and Haptic Exploration

Vacuum grippers are widely used in industry to handle objects via suction pressure. Unicontact suction cups are commonly used for gripping because they are simple to operate and can handle a variety of items, including those that are delicate, large, or inaccessible to jaw grippers. However, suction cup grippers have challenges such as planning a contact location and inertial force-induced grasping failure. To address these challenges, UC Berkeley researchers developed a tactile sensing technology for smart suction cups. This Berkeley sensing technology can detect suction contact and prevent suction cup grasp failures. It can perform tactile sensing of object properties such as roughness or porosity that might lead to grasping failures before they happen. If a grasp failure does happen, the technology gains additional information about why and how the failure occurred to prevent similar failures in future attempts. Sensing occurs quickly, such that robot behavior can remain fast while increasing performance, efficiency and reliability.  As compared with other robotic grasping sensing technologies, this smart suction cup technology is affordable, resilient and easy to service. The cup is manufactured using the same process as other suction cups, and electronics are simple and located away from the point-of-contact and protected from damage or hazardous exposure.

Klrk1-/- (NKG2D-deficient) Mouse Strain

Gene targeted B6 strain mice in which the Klrk1 gene, which encodes the NKG2D immunoreceptor, is inactivated. On the C57Bl/6J genetic background.  Strain name: B6.Cg-Klrk1tm1Dhr  The inventors provided the first characterization of NKG2D-deficient mice, including evidence that NKG2D was not necessary for NK cell development but was critical for immunosurveillance of epithelial and lymphoid malignancies in two transgenic models of de novo tumorigenesis. In both models, the inventors detected NKG2D ligands on the tumor cell surface ex vivo, providing needed evidence for ligand expression by primary tumors.  Ligands for the NKG2D stimulatory receptor are frequently upregulated on tumor lines, rendering them sensitive to natural killer (NK) cells, but this mouse represents the first spontaneous cancer model addressing the role of NKG2D in tumor surveillance. 

Protein Inhibitor of Type II-A CRISPR-Cas System

The inventors have discovered three protein inhibitors of the type II-A CRISPR-Cas system that specifically inhibit Cas9 from staphylococcus aureus. This finding is of potential importance to many companies in the CRISPR space. 

Protein Inhibitor of Type VI-B CRISPR-Cas System

The inventors have discovered the first protein inhibitor of the type VI-B CRISPR-Cas system. By controlling this CRISPR system, one could possibly ameliorate the toxicity and off-target cleavage activity observed with the use of the type VI CRISPR system. Moreover, these proteins can also serve as an antidote for instances where the use of CRISPR-Cas technology poses a safety risk. Additionally, this technology can also be used for engineering genetic circuits in mammalian cells. This finding is of potential importance to many companies in the CRISPR space. 

Synergistic Enzyme Mixtures to Realize Near-Complete Depolymerization in Blends

In this technology, the inventors introduce additives to purposely change the morphology of polycaprolactone (PCL) by increasing the bending and twisting of crystalline lamellae. These morphological changes immobilize chain-ends preferentially at the crystalline/amorphous interfaces and limit chain-end accessibility by the embedded processive enzyme. This chain end redistribution reduces the polymer-to-monomer conversion from >95% to less than 50%, causing formation of highly crystalline plastic pieces including microplastics. By synergizing both random chain scission and processive depolymerization, it is feasible to navigate morphological changes in polymer/additive blends and to achieve near complete depolymerization. The random scission enzymes in the amorphous domains create new chain ends that are subsequently bound and depolymerized by processive enzymes. Present studies further highlight the importance to consider host polymer morphological effects on the reactions catalyzed by embedded catalytic species.This is part of a patent family in compostable plastics.