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Auburn University holds grand opening for its new RFID Lab; announces joint project with Amazon

Auburn University’s new RFID Lab held its grand opening Wednesday, during which Amazon announced a joint project with Auburn to explore the business case for the implementation of RFID within the Amazon supply chain.

At the event, Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said, “RFID is a fascinating technology. As part of this joint project, we are excited to invent new processes and technology using RFID to enhance the experience for customers through better inventory predictability, faster delivery and, ultimately, lower cost. The collaboration presents a unique opportunity for students, faculty and industry to come together in a hands-on and fast-moving real world environment.”

Auburn University’s RFID Lab specializes in the business case and technical implementation of radio frequency identification technology in retail, supply chain and manufacturing settings. The lab draws on the expertise of faculty in Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, College of Human Sciences and College of Agriculture. In moving to Auburn University in 2014, the lab was reunited with its founder, Harbert College of Business Dean Bill Hardgrave. Hardgrave helped launch the lab at the University of Arkansas in 2005.

Even though its location has changed, the lab has continued to work with leading retail, supply chain, manufacturing and technology companies.

“As the RFID industry expands, it’s important to have as many users engaged in the lab as possible as lessons from one industry often hold true for others,” Auburn University RFID Lab Director Justin Patton said. “Having unique retail partners like Amazon engaged in the lab allows us to focus on the research questions that are most crucial to many different users, and add the academic validation that helps bring maturity to the evolving market.”

Amazon has utilized RFID technology in its fulfillment centers, the massive facilities where customer orders are picked from shelves, moved on conveyers and loaded onto trucks for rapid shipping and delivery. Founded in 1994 and based in Seattle, the company’s footprint includes more than 100 fulfillment centers worldwide.

Located in a former supermarket, the 13,000-square foot Auburn University RFID Lab offers simulated retail, grocery and convenience store space, as well as warehouse and distribution center environments. The Auburn University RFID Lab established the first RFID “tagged item certification program” to assist retail product manufacturers. RFID technology utilizes computer chips smaller than a grain of sand to aid in the wireless tracking of items.

By Troy Johnson

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Auburn University’s Ronald L. Burgess Jr. receives honorary doctorate from LaGrange College, delivers commencement address

GRAD2On May 16, 2015,  Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess, Jr. (US Army, Retired), Senior Counsel for National Security Programs, Cyber Programs and Military Affairs was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, from LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia.

Burgess delivered brief remarks during LaGrange College’s commencement ceremonies along with Ricky Wolfe, former County Commission chairman and founder of DASH for LaGrange.

For full the article, visit: http://www.lagrange.edu/news/commencement-recap.html


 

Listeria and Traceability: Auburn Speaks to the Importance of Tracking Food

lab testingOn Friday, April 24, 2015, Inventure Foods, Inc. in Jefferson, Georgia announced a recall of many food items due to listeria, including some found regularly in our freezers such as fresh frozen vegetables and Jamba home smoothie kits. http://www.inventurefoods.com/information/frozenrecall  This announcement adds to the growing list of foods found to contain listeria recently, including Blue Bell Ice Cream and Sabra Classic Hummus.

Listeria is a form of bacteria that causes listeriosis, an infection that can potentially harm newborns, pregnant woman, the elderly, and others whose immune systems are already compromised. Common symptoms include fever, body aches, and gastrointestinal distress. These conditions can be serious for those already in poor health and can lead to life-threatening conditions for the fetuses of pregnant women.

Recent listeria recalls point to the importance of tracking food from its origins to the table. In the 2014 edition of Auburn Speaks, entitled Food Systems, Brian Gibson, Joe Hanna, and Mark Clark overview ways that technology can track foods through supply chain management principles and technological applications. The authors argue that prompt traceability (which they define as the “ability to follow a food product through the processes of production, processing, and distribution”) helps to ensure food safety while allowing farmers, wholesalers, and retailers to track their stocks and improve supply and efficiency.

To limit the impact of contamination like that of listeria, Gibson, Hanna, and Clark recommend implementation of better data gathering techniques that will help authorities quickly identify cases of food similar to those they find to be contaminated. They suggest that two current methods, barcoding and RFID chips, may offer the most immediate solution. Both of these technologies involve placing a marker of some sort on each case of product. This marker can then be scanned to reveal information about the product’s history and handling, including who produced the product, the lot number from which it came, and the packing date.

More consistent and precise data will help authorities trace potentially damaged stock back to its original source. In addition, this information allows authorities to identify all of the produce linked to a source of contamination and eliminate it from supermarket shelves. The authors stress that information is one major method for minimizing the potential dangers of food-borne pathogens like listeria.

To learn more, and to get the stories behind the headlines, check Auburn Speaks: On Food Systems.

To purchase issues from the award-winning Auburn Speaks visit the Auburn Speaks Store.

Because This Is Auburn: A $1 Billion Capital Campaign for Auburn University

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With the public kickoff of an ambitious $1 billion comprehensive campaign Saturday, April 18, 2015, (including announcement of the largest single gift in school history) Auburn University is delivering a renewed commitment to its students and faculty, a continued promise to the state of Alabama and a shared responsibility to the world.

Auburn also announced it has raised more than $775 million to date in support of the “Because This is Auburn” campaign, the largest in Auburn’s history and one of the largest fundraising campaigns to date in the state.

“Today, we show the world why we believe in Auburn University,” said Auburn President Jay Gogue. “This effort is unprecedented in Auburn’s 160-year history. This campaign will add new chapters to Auburn’s story and will make Auburn stronger for all the generations that follow.”

Before Saturday’s kickoff celebration at the A-Day football game, John and Rosemary Brown, both 1957 Auburn graduates, committed to Auburn $57 million, the largest gift in school history. The gift will fund two major new facilities: a new performing arts center and a student achievement center in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

“We are very happy to give back to Auburn,” said John Brown. “Auburn was a transformative educational experience for us, preparing Rosemary for her career in teaching and laying the foundation for my various roles in industry.”

“We wanted to do something that not only impacted Auburn students, but also something that would impact the entire community,” said Rosemary Brown. “That is why we decided to do both the student center and the performing arts center.”

John W. Brown was CEO and chairman of the board of Stryker Corporation, a leading medical device company with annual revenue exceeding $9 billion. Rosemary K. Brown retired after serving as a mathematics teacher for almost 30 years. She has served on many community boards, including the Freed Hardeman University and Kalamazoo College Board of Directors, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Board, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Board and currently the Atlanta Opera Board. John serves on the boards of St. Jude Medical, the American Business Conference and the Auburn University Foundation. He is an inductee in the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame, a recipient of the Auburn Alumni Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, a recipient of an honorary law degree from both Freed Hardeman University and Kalamazoo College, the inaugural recipient of the AdvaMed Lifetime Achievement Award and will be the inaugural inductee into Auburn University’s Entrepreneur Hall of Fame hosted by the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business.

Auburn has named seven co-chairs for the campaign:

  • Joe and Gayle Forehand, residents of Dallas, Texas, are members of Auburn’s 1856 Society and Petrie Society, as well as the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering’s Ginn Society and Eagle Society. Gayle is a 1970 business administration graduate of Auburn’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business and served previously as chief accountant at Emory University and assistant controller at Emory University Clinic in Atlanta. Joe, who earned a degree in industrial engineering from Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering in 1971, is the former chair and CEO of Accenture and currently serves as a director on the Auburn University Foundation Board of Directors.
  • Raymond and Kathryn Harbert, residents of Birmingham, are members of Auburn’s 1856 Society, James E. Foy Loyalty Society and Heisman Society. Kathryn is a 1981 public administration graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and currently serves on the boards of directors of the Alabama Department of Archives and History and several community nonprofit organizations. Raymond, who earned a degree in 1982 from the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, is chairman and CEO of Harbert Management Corporation, as well as a current member and immediate past president pro tem of the Auburn University Board of Trustees.
  • Wayne and Cheryl Smith, residents of Nashville, Tennessee, are members of Auburn’s 1856 Society and James E. Foy Loyalty Society, as well as the College of Education’s 1915 Society and Patrons of the Kesytone/Dean’s Circle. Both College of Education graduates, Cheryl earned a degree in education in 1968. Wayne, who earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1968 and a master’s degree in school administration in 1969, is chairman, president and CEO of Community Health Systems, as well as a member of the Auburn University Board of Trustees.
  • Beth Thorne Stukes, who resides in Jasper, Alabama, is a member of Auburn’s 1856 Society and James E. Foy Loyalty Society, as well as the Woodlands and Wildlife Society in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. After attending Auburn University in the 1980s, she completed a bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1988. She chairs the College of Human Sciences’ Campaign Committee and serves as an Executive Committee member of its Women’s Philanthropy Board.

The “Because This is Auburn” campaign will support four major areas across the university. Auburn’s goal is to create thousands of new scholarships for students, to endow more than 100 new chairs and professorships for educators and researchers, to develop programs that will allow the Auburn Family to connect with people everywhere, and to build new facilities and re-imagine existing campus facilities.

“This campaign will inspire all of us to take action and show support through philanthropic investments in our university,” said Jane DiFolco Parker, vice president for development and president of the Auburn Foundation. “At the conclusion of the campaign, the world will see a strengthened Auburn—an institution with enhanced abilities to shape our world, serve our communities, equip our students and build a better future.”

Opportunities to support research include the LAUNCH Fund for Research Innovation at Auburn University.   LAUNCH is designed to accelerate the best research and ideas into real products in the marketplace. LAUNCH is for innovative research projects that are likely to impact the regional economy and workforce development. It’s for projects that hold promise for generating additional sources of revenue for Auburn, with the goal of reinvesting those revenues to expand additional research efforts, year after year.

To learn more, visit: http://auburneconomicdevelopment.org/support-auburn-research.php

Or contact Mary Shirley-Howell at: mas0052@auburn.edu or at (334) 844-6438