New smart home tech | The world’s whitest paint | Robotics at U of Mich.

Meet the inhabitants of a smart home

CHAMPAIGN/URBANA, IL—The University of Illinois is testing smart home technologies at the McKechnie LIFE home. So far, they have introduced Stretch, a contraption with a prehensile grabber that can glide around the living room floor and pick up objects. Another is Misty II, which issues verbal welcomes to guests.

The world’s whitest paint

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN—When you think of the Guinness World Records, you might picture the world’s tallest man or the world’s largest ball of human hair. Here’s one honor that might not come to mind: The whitest white paint in the world. That was the designation bestowed on researchers at Purdue University for creating a paint seen as a breakthrough in sustainability. The paint can reflect almost all incoming sunlight and, therefore, does not consume energy. Such paints are considered to be a potential technology for keeping cities cooler and reducing electricity use; buildings with a coating of this would need to rely far less on energy-hungry air conditioning.

New robotics department at University of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, MI—The University of Michigan Board of Regents has approved the creation of a new Department of Robotics for the university, a first among the nation’s top 10 engineering schools. According to a university press release, the “department will define robotics as a discipline, teaching students the skills needed to help drive a rapidly expanding field.”

OpenGov to add jobs in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE, WI—California-based OpenGov plans to add 65 full-time employees to their operations in Milwaukee, with a goal of having a total of 100 employees in the city in the next three years. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. authorized $350,000 in tax credits for OpenGov if the company meets the hiring goal within the next three years.