Daily Business Report-Feb. 9, 2018
4-D goggles developed at UC San Diego. (Photo by Ching-fu Chen)
Researchers Develop 4-D Goggles that
Deliver Multisensory Effects to Wearers
A team of researchers at UC San Diego and San Diego State University has developed a pair of “4-D goggles” that allows wearers to be physically “touched” by a movie when they see a looming object on the screen, such as an approaching spacecraft.
The device was developed based on a study conducted by the neuroscientists to map brain areas that integrate the sight and touch of a looming object and aid in their understanding of the perceptual and neural mechanisms of multisensory integration.
But for the rest of us, the researchers said, it has a more practical purpose: The device can be synchronized with entertainment content, such as movies, music, games and virtual reality, to deliver immersive multisensory effects near the face and enhance the sense of presence.
The advance is described in a paper published online February 6 in the journal Human Brain Mapping by Ruey-Song Huang and Ching-fu Chen, neuroscientists at UC San Diego’s Institute for Neural Computation, and Martin Sereno, the former chair of neuroimaging at University College London and a former professor at UC San Diego, now at San Diego State University.
“We perceive and interact with the world around us through multiple senses in daily life,” said Huang, the first author of the paper. “Though an approaching object may generate visual, auditory, and tactile signals in an observer, these must be picked apart from the rest of world, originally colorfully described by William James as a ‘blooming buzzing confusion.’ To detect and avoid impending threats, it is essential to integrate and analyze multisensory looming signals across space and time and to determine whether they originate from the same sources.”
In the researchers’ experiments, subjects assessed the subjective synchrony between a looming ball (simulated in virtual reality) and an air puff delivered to the same side of the face. When the onset of ball movement and the onset of an air puff were nearly simultaneous (with a delay of 100 milliseconds), the air puff was perceived as completely out of sync with the looming ball. With a delay between 800 to 1,000 milliseconds, the two stimuli were perceived as one (in sync), as if an object had passed near the face generating a little wind.
In experiments using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or fMRI, the scientists delivered tactile-only, visual-only, tactile-visual out-of-sync, and tactile-visual in-sync stimuli to either side of the subject’s face in randomized events. More than a dozen of brain areas were found to respond more strongly to lateralized multisensory stimuli than to lateralized unisensory stimuli, the scientists reported in their paper, and the response was further enhanced when the multisensory stimuli are in perceptual sync.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (R01 MH081990), a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (UK), Wellcome Trust (UK), and a UC San Diego Frontiers of Innovation
City Finds 343 Water Customers
Overcharged on Their Water Bills
The city’s Public Utilities Department reported Thursday that an internal review of higher-than-normal water bills reported by some customers revealed “an isolated incident of misread water meters” that resulted in more than 300 customers being incorrectly overcharged for their water usage.
The department said it is implementing several new accountability measures to ensure the accuracy of future bills and affected customers will receive a letter from the department within the next week informing them of a correction for the November-December billing period. In addition, every water meter in the city will be read with those new oversight procedures over the next 60 days to ensure the accuracy of customers’ bills.
The department review found a pattern of misread water meters in parts of the following neighborhoods: Carmel Valley, Mira Mesa, Rancho Bernardo and Rancho Peñasquitos. A review of more than 3,000 meters in those areas identified 343 had been misread. The average overcharge for affected single-family residential customers was $303, with some higher or lower depending on water usage during the billing period.
Mariel Hemingway, Actress and Author
Renaissance woman Mariel Hemingway is not only an iconic Academy Award-nominated actor from a celebrated family, she’s a prolific author, mother of two successful models, documentary producer, and renowned healthy lifestyle brand founder. In a high-tech world, Mariel is considered an expert in high-touch solutions that facilitate the greatest sense of personal power, life balance, joy, fitness, authenticity, peace of mind and meaning.
She is one of the speakers at the Leadership Conference on March 23 — part of San Diego Women’s Week 2018 sponsored by the North San Diego Chamber of Commerce. The Leadership Conference is 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center in Mission Valley.
Women’s Week runs March 19-21-23.
Qualcomm Board Rejects Broadcom’s
New Offer, But Agrees to Meet
Times of San Diego
Qualcomm’s board of directors unanimously rejected Broadcom’s sweetened purchase offer on Thursday, saying it “materially undervalues” the San Diego wireless pioneer.
With Qualcomm’s crucial shareholder’s meeting less than a month away, Broadcom is waging a proxy battle for control of the company.
On Monday Broadcom increased its offer by $12 per share to $60 in cash and $22 in Broadcom stock. The new offer values Qualcomm at $120 billion.
“The Qualcomm board, assisted by its financial and legal advisors, determined that the Broadcom proposal materially undervalues Qualcomm and falls well short of the firm regulatory commitment the board would demand given the significant downside risk of a failed transaction,” the company said.
However, Qualcomm offered to meet with Broadcom executives “to see if it can address the serious deficiencies in value and certainty in its proposal.”
Qualcomm stock was trading at $63.10 shortly after the market closed, up slightly amid a general decline on Wall Street.
College District to Pay Student Financial
Aid in Event of Government Shutdown
The San Diego Community College District is informing students at City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges that in the event of a federal government shutdown, the district will step in and provide them with their financial aid.
Approximately 15,000 district students receive about $50 million in federal aid annually. The next disbursement is scheduled for Feb. 15 and could be interrupted if there’s a prolonged federal government shutdown.
Regardless, the district is sending emails telling students at its colleges that a shutdown will have minimal or no impact on them. Instead, the district will use its reserves to provide about 9,000 students close to $9 million in financial aid. The district will ultimately be reimbursed by the federal government.
Clean Vehicle Rebate Project
Launches ‘Rebate Now’ in San Diego
The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project has launched “Rebate Now,” a preapproved rebate program that makes it easier and faster for California residents to lease or purchase electric vehicles. A press conference announcing the program was held at the Automotive Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park on Tuesday featuring county Supervisor Ron Roberts, a member of the California Air Resources Board.
CVRP Rebate Now will take place first in San Diego County and, if successful, be applied statewide. Car shoppers now will be able to apply online and use Rebate Now at participating dealerships. This preapproved rebate provides a discount on the sale or lease of an eligible model.
Complete program details and rebate applications are available online at CleanVehicleRebate.org/rebatenow.
Viasat Contributes $1.5 Million in Support
of Cal State San Marcos Engineering Program
Cal State San Marcos President Karen Haynes announced Thursday that Carlsbad-based global communications company Viasat, together with several employees, has invested $1.5 million to become the founding partner of the university’s engineering program.
“Their visionary support will create the future Viasat Engineering Pavilion with funding to renovate classroom and lab space, purchase new equipment and instrumentation, and support the work of our faculty and students — quite literally creating pathways to educate the next generation of talented engineers,” said Haynes at her annual Report to the Community address.
The university will begin its Bachelor of Science in software engineering this fall with a degree in electrical engineering anticipated to begin in fall 2019.
Other private-sector partners are also investing in engineering at CSUSM. San Marcos-based Hunter Industries has made a $100,000 gift to fund a design lab that will be a hub of collaboration, hands-on design and innovation.
The gifts from Viasat and Hunter Industries are part of CSUSM’s $50 million campaign, Forward Together.
San Diego Workforce Partnership Wins
National WIOA Trailblazer Award
San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) has won the 2018 WIOA Trailblazer Award, a prize given to a board that has been a leader in adopting changes envisioned in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and in expanding its ability to develop comprehensive workplace solutions for its community. SDWP serves 3.4 million residents in a county whose economy is driven by innovation and expansion in the life sciences, technology, manufacturing, defense and tourism industries.
SDWP will be recognized at The Forum 2018, presented by the National Association of Workforce Boards in Washington, D.C. March 24–27.
San Diego’s Largest Real Estate Conference Returns
to the San Diego Convention Center on April 27
The largest real estate trade show in San Diego comes to the San Diego Convention Center on Friday, April 27. The Elevate Real Estate Conference and Expo brings together more than 2,500 agents, brokers and other industry professionals. f
The Greater San Diego Association of Realtors announced that the General Session will feature Egypt Sherrod, best known as host of HGTV’s “Property Virgins,” which ran for 16 seasons, and the network’s new show, “Flipping Virgins.” Sherrod’s keynote topic will be: “Seven Smart Business Practices of a Successful Real Estate Agent.”
CEO of the Atlanta-based Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group, Sherrod has made recurring appearances on television broadcasts and also founded a noprofit organization that provides free workshops on home ownership and its benefits, credit management and credit restoration classes, as well as wealth building and management classes to hundreds of families.
TSRI Scientists Take Big Step
Toward Stopping Cancer Metastasis
New research from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) may give scientists a chance to target tumors before they metastasize. The study, published recently in the Nature research journal Oncogene, shows that a protein called LTBP3 fuels a chain reaction that leads some early developing tumors to grow new blood vessels. These vessels then act like highways to spread cancer cells throughout the body, seeding metastatic tumors very early on.
“Lower LTBP3 levels appear to be associated with better prognosis in patients with certain types of cancer,” says Elena Deryugina, an assistant professor at TSRI and first author of the new study. Deryugina led the collaborative study with senior authors James P. Quigley, a TSRI professor, and Daniel Rifkin, a professor at NYU School of Medicine.
HL Welding Recruiting for 2 High-Profile Projects
HL Welding of National City, General Dynamics NASSCO’slargest contractor, is recruiting up to 400 new employees for two high-profile projects: two natural gas (LNG)-capable containerships for Matson Navigation Company and six cargo ships for the U.S. Navy. The company is also recruiting another 300 employees for other projects across the U.S. In addition to hiring, the team at HL Welding also runs background checks for high-level security clearance and specific to each position and also manages payroll, health care and workers’ compensation.
For more information, call (619) 336-9231
Daniel Scholz Named Partner in Finch, Thornton & Baird LLP
The construction industry law firm of Finch, Thornton & Baird LLP announced the admission of Daniel P. Scholz as partner. Scholz practices primarily in areas of construction law including federal procurement and claims; local agency, municipal, and state contracts; labor and employment; claims and disputes; collections; and as project counsel. Scholz has broad construction industry experience and works with construction company owners and management of general contractors and subcontractors. General business and commercial litigation, and transactions, and general labor and employment matters round out Scholz’s practice.
Scholz has been a lawyer with the firm since earning his juris doctor, with cum laude distinction and honors, from University of San Diego School of Law in 2009. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in political science from University of Arizona, from which he graduated summa cum laude.