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Dynamics protects credit card information with innovative security features

In 2014, data breaches at major retailers such as Target, Home Depot and Neiman Marcus compromised credit card information belonging to millions of customers. As companies work to prevent future attacks, one local innovator has partnered with MasterCard to help protect cardholders from being victimized no matter where they shop.

Cheswick-based Dynamics Inc. specializes in designing and manufacturing intelligent battery-powered payment devices and advanced payment platforms. Recently, the company -- which was founded in 2007 by Carnegie Mellon University graduate Jeff Mullen -- introduced security-enhanced interactive payment cards to global MasterCard customers at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The card technology is the first of its kind to offer data protection through three interactive functionalities.

Flor Estevez, a leader of Worldwide Communications at MasterCard, believes there are multiple advantages that come with the Dynamics card.

"Dynamics is at the forefront of interactive payment card manufacturing, and their technology has both functional benefits, like adding an extra layer of security, and strategic benefits, like helping consumers understand the benefits of using an electronic device for payments," Estevez said.

The Dynamics interactive features include an unlock function that enables customers to turn cards on or off with secret pass codes, which prevents lost or stolen cards from being used. The card also offers two distinct dynamic code generators that safeguard each in-store or online purchase with random security codes. These unique codes ensure that a cardholder's account data will stay protected even in the event of a merchant breech.

In addition to its security features, the Dynamics card design boasts a thin computer circuit board enclosed within the plastic, as well as customizable buttons, displays and LEDs. Dynamics also pairs its interactive card technology with mobile applications for consumers to better manage their accounts in real time.

MasterCard is currently working with a number of issuers in the United States and worldwide to bring Dynamics technology to the market. Issuers will then determine whether the extra security features will come at an additional cost.

Who's hiring in PGH? Venture Outdoors, Allegheny CleanWays and more

Each week, Pop City scours the web to bring you exciting job opportunities in Pittsburgh. Employers, if you have a career opportunity you would like to promote, please email innovationnews@popcitymedia.com with "Hiring" in the subject line. Hit us up on Twitter @popcitypgh if our job listings put you on the path to success.

The Allegheny County Parks Department is hiring a senior park ranger. Duties include training newly hired park rangers and providing customer service to county parks visitors. Requires current first aid and CPR certification and a valid Class C driver's license.

Community Care Behavioral Health is hiring a full-time web operations analyst to maintain and update the organization's website and secure web portal.

The Neighborhood Learning Alliance is hiring part-time high school tutors to provide instruction on a variety of subjects.

4moms, a company that develops innovative juvenile products, is hiring a full-time international marketing manager and a full-time eCommerce manager

Daedalus, an established Pittsburgh consulting firm, is looking for a software engineer to join the team. Must have experience in embedded software development for micro-controllers in C and C++, knowledge of app development for both iOS and Android, and familiarity with PC, Linux, and web development. The firm is also looking for a business development manager and sales representative.

The Innovation Works/CMU/Alpha Lab Gear robotics startup BistroBot needs a full-time entry-level mechanical engineer and a full-time senior mechanical engineer. Both positions require degrees in mechanical engineering or a related field, and experience in designing, building and testing robots or mechatronic systems. BistroBot also has an available software engineering internship. Please send all application materials to jobs@bistrobot.com.

Venture Outdoors, a nonprofit that promotes outdoor recreation, is hiring for multiple positions, including a youth program coordinator and a program administrator.

Allegheny CleanWays, a nonprofit organization committed to to eliminating illegal dumping and littering in Allegheny County, is hiring a full-time programs director. Applications materials must be received by Feb. 11, 2015.

Check out last week's listings for more opportunities.

Diamond Kinetics goes to bat with motion-sensor sports technology

Athletes of all ages and skill levels have one thing in common -- the drive to excel in a chosen sport. When it comes to batters looking to add a little oomph to their swings, Diamond Kinetics has found a way to monitor and improve performance using a new motion-sensor technology.

The Pittsburgh-based company recently joined with SportsBoard to streamline the way coaches evaluate various aspects of a player's performance. The partnership will integrate the newly launched Diamond Kinetics SwingTracker device and app into SportsBoard's mobile player assessment tool. SwingTracker -- which combines a sensor with mobile and web tools to provide science-based motion analysis -- was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where it was selected as a 2015 Bluetooth Breakthrough Awards Program finalist in the Product category.

Built upon intellectual property developed at the University of Michigan and the University of Pittsburgh, SwingTracker works to simplify the process of gathering, assembling, analyzing and distributing swing metrics. To collect data, players mount the small, knob-like SwingTracker sensor onto the bat. With each swing, the sensor collects and sends data to the SwingTracker app via Bluetooth. The data then syncs with the player's profile on SportsBoard, where it's evaluated for 15 different swing metrics, including power, speed efficiency, and distance the bat travels in the hitting zone.

Diamond Kinetics Co-founder and CEO CJ Handron and his team spent two years developing SwingTracker, which, with the addition of SportsBoard, will act as a comprehensive resource for baseball and softball players and their coaches.

"SportsBoard provides a unique and valuable platform for coaches and organizations to better manage their recruiting and scouting efforts, including tracking objective and measurable data," says Handron. "Incorporating our motion data into their platform in a completely seamless manner provides another piece of valuable information to coaches with no effort on their part. For Diamond Kinetics, the partnership will provide new opportunities to introduce our technology within an important segment of the amateur baseball and softball market."

To ensure its efficacy, SwingTracker -- now available for purchase at $149.99 -- was tested by hundreds of players and coaches ranging from youth to professional. Some of the test subjects included Pittsburgh-area amateur baseball and softball organizations, who, as Handron explains, now utilize the technology on a regular basis.

With SwingTracker established in the SportsBoard platform, Handron hopes to expand the product's reach when winter winds down.

Says Handron, "We'll look forward to adding additional teams and programs as baseball season approaches this spring."

Carnegie Mellon University makes robots easier to use with customizable system

With a name like Snake Monster, the latest success story from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute sounds more like an urban legend than a technological advancement. But the six-legged invention from CMU Professor Howie Choset marks a big step -- or, at least, a big spider-like crawl -- toward changing the way people build robots.

Completed in just six months, the Snake Monster, which was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), represents the kind of robot that can be created using a reconfigurable modular system. As opposed to traditional industrial robots, modular architecture allows users to easily customize the system to suit their needs, an ability Choset believes will make robots more accessible.

“We want to make it so that you don’t need a specialized industrial engineer with years of experience to go install and program this robot,” said Choset. “We want to have people who are just really good programmers installing robots.”

Previously, Choset and his lab spent years developing snake-like robots -- or snakebots -- that moved according to a careful coordination of repeated component joints. Due to their specific design, the robots were able to mimic natural movement, primarily the smooth undulation of snakes. They were agile enough to shimmy through pipes, which made them ideal for a number of applications, including urban search and rescue, archaeological exploration, and the inspection of power plants, refineries and sewers.

By taking that research and combining it with innovative new software and technology -- including a series elastic actuator, which uses sensors that help the robot feel and react to its environment -- they were able to envision the Snake Monster as a small, powerful robot that can navigate its surroundings. The system runs on Ethernet technology, making it easier to use by allowing designers to focus on modifying the robot without having to worry about using the right computer. Currently, Choset and his lab are building on the project's potential by working on modules such as force-sensing feet, wheels and tank-like treads, which could be used in the assembly of totally different robots.

Want to see more of this amazing robot? The Snake Monster will make its official debut this June at the DARPA Robotics Challenge in Pomona, Calif.
 

Who's hiring in PGH? Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Deeplocal and more

Each week, Pop City scours the web to bring you exciting job opportunities in Pittsburgh. Employers, if you have a career opportunity you would like to promote, please email innovationnews@popcitymedia.com with "Hiring" in the subject line. Hit us up on Twitter @popcitypgh if our job listings put you on the path to success.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership has an immediate opening for a full-time Director of Planning. The chosen candidate will work closely with senior leaders of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, the City of Pittsburgh, funders and Downtown stakeholders to carry out projects that support the creation of a vibrant and accessible Downtown for everyone. All application materials must be sent by Jan. 28, 2015.

The Western PA regional chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a national construction industry trade association, is seeking a full-time Director of Education and Workforce Development. The qualified candidate will oversee all workforce development programs, including apprenticeship, craft training, management training, and green technologies. Interested candidates must submit a cover letter, resume, salary history and expectations, and three references to President, Associated Builders and Contractors of Western PA, 2360 Venture Drive, Gibsonia, PA 15044 or to orpgum@abcwpa.org before 4 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2015.

Quantum Theatre is hiring a full-time technical director to serve as the primary team member responsible for each show’s maintenance in performance. 

The innovation studio Deeplocal has openings for multiple full-time positions, including a UX/interaction designer, a creative designer, a software engineer/web developer, and a technical producer/project manager.

Industrial Scientific, a leading provider of gas detection products and services, is hiring a full-time marketing communications specialist. Qualifications include a BS in marketing, public relations, journalism, communications or related field and a minimum three years of experience in business-to-business communications or marketing, including social media.

The Heinz History Center is hiring a Director for its Rauh Jewish History Program. Duties include collecting and preserving records, artifacts, and other collections of historical value that document the Jewish experience in western Pennsylvania. Requires a graduate degree in history or a related field, as well as knowledge of Jewish history. Please send resumes to Renee Falbo, Director of Human Resources, Senator John Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

Check out last week's listings for more opportunities.

Phipps simplifies grocery shopping with Green Light Foods app

Obesity has become one of the country's most dire health concerns, especially among children. To help curb the epidemic throughout the region, Let’s Move Pittsburgh has launched a new mobile application to help consumers make healthier choices at the grocery store.

Developed in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University students, Red House Communications and Wahila Creative, the Green Light Foods app works to quickly identify packaged food and beverages with the best nutritional profiles. Users can determine fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugar levels in products by scanning barcodes and pulling information from a database. An easy-to-understand traffic light color system then indicates whether the amounts fall into the low (green light), moderate (yellow light) or high (red light) range.

Let’s Move Pittsburgh is a program of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens modeled after First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to curb childhood obesity.

Phipps Executive Director Richard V. Piacentini believes that, unlike many wellness aids, Green Light Foods will streamline the buying process for busy parents and other consumers unable to spend time scrutinizing nutrition facts.

"There are a lot of green apps out there, and some of them might be cumbersome to use, or they might try to give you so much information that it's overwhelming," said Piacentini. "The goal for this app was to make it very quick and simple for people to make healthy choices while they're in the store."

A major advantage of the app is its ability to make sense of confusing food labels. As Piacentini explains, if one box of cereal contains five grams of sugar per one cup serving size, and another box contains four grams of sugar per half cup serving size, shoppers may make the incorrect assumption that the latter has less sugar. The app helps prevent this common mistake by automatically converting and comparing the equal weights of different products.

The app fits into Phipps' continued commitment to both environmental and human well-being. Through Let’s Move Pittsburgh, Phipps created Homegrown, a program that installs vegetable gardens at households throughout the underserved Homewood neighborhood. Phipps also promotes healthy living by refusing to sell soda and junk food at the Conservatory's eatery, Cafe Phipps.

Smartphone users can download the Green Lights Food app for free through iTunes and Google Play.

Who's hiring in PGH? IKM, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and more

Each week, Pop City scours the web to bring you select career opportunities in Pittsburgh. Employers, if you have a job opening or internship you would like to promote, please email innovationnews@popcitymedia.com with "Hiring" in the subject line. Hit us up on Twitter @popcitypgh if our job listings put you on the path to success.

IKM, an established architecture, planning and interior design firm, is looking to fill two to three architect positions to work on mid-sized to large projects. Main qualifications include a professional degree in architecture, completion of all IDP and ARE requirements, and registration in Pennsylvania. The firm is also looking for a full-time architectural intern. 

Medical Science Associates (MSA), a diversified information management company, is hiring a senior level user experience designer for the research, development and production of an innovative medical application. Requires a relevant four-year degree or equivalent experience, and a minimum of four years' related experience with user interface design, application analysis or related position. 

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has an immediate opening for a part-time community outreach coordinator. Requirements include a bachelor’s degree in a related field or equivalent experience and a minimum of two years of outreach, issue or fundraising campaign management, or similar professional organizing experience. 

The Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID), a public organization that works to strengthen and enhance the Central Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, is seeking a full-time marketing and communications coordinator. Requires a bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, or a related field with two to four years of relevant experience. Candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, two writing samples, and three references by Feb. 4, 2015, to Executive Director Georgia Petropoulos at georgia@oaklandbid.org. 

Boyd Community Center, a nonprofit cultural, educational, and recreational space in O'Hara Township, needs a full-time marketing and development director for their Lauri Ann West Community Center, a new facility scheduled to open this year. The position requires a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of five years' leading marketing and development efforts for a nonprofit, membership-driven organization. Interested candidates should send resumes and cover letters to topmccomb@boydcommunitycenter.org. 

Direct Energy, a major energy and energy-related services provider, is seeking a full-time senior content strategist to manage content for the company website, blog, and social media channels. Qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communication, or related field and four years of experience in a digital content role. 

Carnegie Museum of Natural History is hiring a full-time director of marketing. Candidate must have a bachelor’s degree and at least seven years of increasingly responsible marketing experience, including supervising staff and budgets. 

Check out last week's listings for more opportunities.  

Project Eviive brings clean water and hope to Kenya

In Machakos County, a region located east of Nairobi, Kenya, unpredictable rainfall and drought leaves much of the rural population without clean water. Now one local nonprofit will work to provide access to the precious resource with the help of crowd-funding.

Project Eviive seeks to bring clean water solutions to people throughout the developing world, especially in Africa. The organization recently launched a Tilt campaign to raise $15,000 for their first effort, a program that will assist three Machakos County communities in the construction of earthen dams. The dams, which will create reservoirs to collect and store water throughout the long dry seasons, are expected to improve the lives of around 2,000 people by preventing the onset of famine and the spread of water-borne diseases.

“Crowd-funding works really well because it will get some start-up money for the nonprofit and allow us to actually start the Kenya project,” said Project Eviive Managing Director David Tye. “It’ll be the first step in a long series of steps.”

Tye -- who lived and worked in Africa for five years and maintains contacts in Nairobi -- believes that organizations should focus not on just completing projects, but finding ways to make them sustainable. To achieve this, Project Eviive will coordinate construction of the dams by enlisting the help of Machakos County residents and area technicians who can oversee the project directly on a day-to-day basis. Once established, the dams are expected to give the communities control over their own environment, as opposed to depending on outside assistance.

In their continuing mission to provide sustainable clean water solutions, Project Eviive plans to partner with Epiphany Solar Water Systems, a Pittsburgh-based company that develops solar water purification technology, for future projects. Tye hopes that Project Kenya will enable the organization to expand and serve other communities throughout Africa, and in places such as Haiti and the Middle East.

First Insight offers better way to predict fashion trends

Students at SUNY's Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) will gain valuable professional experience thanks to one local startup. First Insight, a technology company based in Sewickley, recently brought its cloud-based predictive analytics platform to the school, where it will serve as part of FIT’s Fashion Merchandising Management curriculum.

Chief Marketing Officer at First Insight, Jim Shea, believes that the partnership will enable students to compete in today's retail environment.

"Merchants, designers, and planners use our predictive analytic solution to make better decisions on new products," said Shea. "FIT students are the future leaders of the retail industry and will be making these types of decisions soon after they graduate. It was natural to partner with FIT to ensure the students are familiar with the First Insight solution so they are ready to hit the ground running once they enter the real world."

First Insight -- whose clients include such big-name brands as Abercrombie & Fitch and The Limited -- enables companies to determine customer demand faster and more easily by collecting data through online consumer engagement and using it to choose, price and correctly market the best new products. As opposed to in-store testing, which can usually take weeks or months to gather data, First Insight's approach only takes one to three days, and costs much less to perform. It also provides more accurate data that can help companies boost profits: In 2013, Vera Bradley credited First Insight for an overall four percent sales increase, which was due to using predictive analytics in developing a market strategy for their line of baby accessories.

So far, FIT students have garnered some success from using data and analytics. Last September, First Insight sponsored a team of four students from the Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology who competed in and won the Future Retail Challenge at the annual World Retail Congress in Paris. Challenged to create a new retail concept for the Samsung Life Store, the team used data-backed insights to develop and present an extensive proposal for their original concept, The Smart Apartment.

While the connection to fashion has proven a natural fit, Shea believes that First Insight could benefit other academic programs.

"First Insight’s platform has applications in many industries, including consumer goods, automotive, and consumer electronics," said Shea. "As such, it would make sense to incorporate the First Insight platform into a general business or marketing curriculum."

UPMC and Pitt make strides in robot arm study

In 1996, Jan Scheuermann was a healthy 36-year-old woman running a small business and raising two children in California. Everything changed, however, when she suddenly came down with a mysterious illness. Soon her arms and legs weakened to the point where she became confined to a wheelchair, and could no longer feed, dress or bathe herself. When she relocated to Pittsburgh in 1998, she was diagnosed with spinocerebellar degeneration, a condition that progressively deteriorates connections between the brain and muscles.

But over the past few years, Scheuermann, who now resides in Whitehall Borough, worked with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC to help develop a technology that could make a huge difference to those living with quadriplegia. In 2012, she was outfitted with a human-like robot arm that could interpret signals sent from electrodes implanted in her brain. Before long, Scheuermann was giving out high fives and feeding herself chocolate thanks to the mind-controlled appendage she nicknamed Hector.

Since then, Scheuermann has achieved a wider range of motion. At first, the arm demonstrated 3-degree control, meaning she could reach it in and out, move it left and right, and up and down. Within three months, she graduated to what scientists call 7-degree control, which includes flexing the wrist back and forth, moving it from side to side, and rotating it clockwise and counter-clockwise, as well as gripping objects. Recently, the Pitt School of Medicine published its latest findings detailing how Scheuermann used Hector to reach, grasp, and place a variety of objects, making it the first-ever instance of 10-degree brain control of a prosthetic device.

Senior investigator Jennifer Collinger credits the study’s success partly to Scheuermann’s dedication.

“We asked her to come in a couple times a week initially for a year,” said Collinger. “And she ended up coming into the lab for more than two and half years, and was extremely motivated and committed.”

The groundbreaking development means that, with the device, paralyzed individuals will not only regain an arm, but one that mimics natural movement involving more coordinated use of the individual fingers and thumb. Though Scheuermann ended her participation in the study last October, tests to improve the brain-computer interface technology will continue with other subjects, preferably outside of a lab setting.

“We’d like to be able to demonstrate this level of control with multiple individuals and have it work in a home environment,” said Collinger. “That requires not only making sure the system is more robust so that it works outside of the laboratory, but that the equipment itself is wireless and more portable.”
 

Who's hiring in PGH? MAYA Design, Point Park University and more!

The holidays are over, and for those looking for a new job, that means it's time to get back to business. Each week, Pop City brings you exciting job opportunities in Pittsburgh. If you have a career opportunity to list, email innovationnews@popcitymedia.com with "hiring" in the subject line. Let us know on Twitter @popcitypgh if we've helped you achieve your New Year's resolution of finding a new job.

The Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center (ENEC), an organization that helps East End community residents compete in today’s job market, is hiring a full-time employment coordinator. The multi-faceted position requires the ability to work in a fast-paced environment while maintaining organization and open communication with staff and the community. Areas of emphasis include youth ages 14 to 21, foster care youth, veterans, and community members with criminal backgrounds. Candidates must possess a Bachelor’s degree or at least three years of program management experience, a valid PA drivers license, proficiency in Microsoft office and database management, and security clearances. Please email resume and cover letter to employmentworks1@aol.com.

The Conservatory of Performing Arts at Point Park University is looking for an assistant professor of dance. The tenure-track position starts Aug. 15, 2015, and requires an artist with expertise and experience teaching at the university level with a demonstrated commitment toward training young dancers for a diverse marketplace. Qualifications include a Master of Fine Arts in dance, choreography or a related terminal degree, a minimum of three years of university teaching experience and five years of professional dance experience. Interested candidates should submit a letter of application, CV, statement of teaching philosophy, list of three professional references with contact information, and samples of creative work via DVD or URL to: Rubén Graciani, Chair – Department of Dance, Conservatory of Performing Arts, Point Park University, 201 Wood Street, Suite 625 LH, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 or by e-mail to conservatory@pointpark.edu. If submitting your application by e-mail, please note that the subject line must state the position for which you are applying. Review of applications began on Jan. 5, 2015 and will continue until the position is filled.

MAYA Design, a leading design consultancy and innovation lab, is looking to fill two full-time positions. The lead designer demands someone who can collaboratively lead interdisciplinary teams, projects and client relationships, and feel at ease strategically advising clients and building relationships that foster change for individuals and organizations. The Downtown firm is also looking for a systems administrator to participate in strategy for application, desktop, network, and server support. Requirements include a Bachelor's degree in a computer-related field or equivalent experience, five years of experience supporting IT systems and users in a production environment, and strong Linux/UNIX administration and support experience.

Louis Plung & Company, a well-established regional public accounting firm in downtown Pittsburgh, is seeking a full-time marketing coordinator. The role requires a dynamic, creative professional who will assist in the development and execution of marketing-related projects and initiatives. Responsibilities include maintaining and updating the firm's blog, e-newsletter, website, and social media presence. Candidates must have a Bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, or a related field, and two to four years of related professional experience in a similar setting.

RMU engineers take 3-D printing in new direction

For nearly a decade, the Leetsdale-based manufacturer Schroeder Industries has worked with the engineering department at Robert Morris University (RMU) to produce hydraulic filter prototypes through 3-D printing. Now the project will enter a new phase thanks to some generous funding.

RMU and Schroeder have announced plans to utilize 3-D printing in the production of actual filter components after receiving a $112,000 grant from America Makes, an organization focused on helping the United States grow capabilities and strength in 3-D printing, or, as it's also referred to, additive manufacturing. The money will go toward purchasing additional printers to create filters and other Schroeder products, which are used in machinery for a wide range of purposes, including refuse processing, steel making, oil and gas drilling, mining, defense, and forestry.

The prototypes, which are created using a plastic and ceramic nanoparticle mixture, are an essential part of the design process leading up to production. Recently, students in RMU’s Integrated Engineering Design class printed filter components for Schroeder and, through flow simulations, tested their ability to efficiently remove contaminants. Arif Sirinterlikci, the university's head of the engineering department and an engineering professor, leads the project. Sirinterlikci explains that advancements in the technology could enable manufacturers like Schroeder to save time through faster printing.

"The area used to be called rapid prototyping, and early rapid prototyping took a few weeks," said Sirinterlikci. "Now we could print in a few hours to a few days."

Currently, RMU has nine printers that fulfill various capacities. As Sirinterlikci explains, the goal is not to invest in expensive, specialized machines, but to purchase low-cost machines -- ranging in price from $3 to $20,000 -- and modify them to suit the needs of the project. The move is not only economical, but practical.

"If you bring in a printer that costs $200 to $300,000, it's hard to make modifications, and you're not going to be able to try different materials," said Sirinterlikci. "Low-cost machines allow us to experiment easily without the risks. So you don't need millions of dollars to accomplish this project or any project like this."

The ability to print real, working filters will not only benefit Schroeder, but the RMU engineering students who gain hands-on experience by designing, printing, and testing products in the classroom. If successful, the development will also make the school a pioneer in the area of 3-D printing manufacturing.

Spand-Ice offers wearable back pain relief

After years of suffering back pain due to a hyper-mobile spine, business professional and Stanton Heights resident Helen Behn decided it was time to do something about it. She used her eclectic background in retail and Internet business, e-commerce production, marketing and design to found Spand-Ice, a Pittsburgh-based startup specializing in clothing to manage back pain on the go. Now the company is ready to launch its first product, an invention inspired by Behn's trouble finding effective therapy.

"I struggled with that balance, especially having a very busy lifestyle, so I would often suffer through the pain,” said Behn. “Since I couldn’t find anything in the marketplace that could fit my needs, I decided to make a garment encompassing the best of current therapy products into a mobile and flexible design.”

After two years of research and development, Spand-Ice will soon introduce the Revive Tank, a full-zip, workout-inspired tank top that uses hot and cold therapy packs to address low- and mid-back pain. Made from a special combination of Spandex, mesh, powermesh and neoprene, the garment fits snugly to help reduce discomfort and inflammation, while still allowing freedom of movement. Research has already shown that the product works: According to an Oswestry Back Index scoring system, which gauges the effectiveness of treatment over time, 82 percent of Spand-Ice testers experienced a decrease in pain after two weeks of wearing the Revive Tank garment. 

In order to increase the company's exposure, and raise the $30,000 needed to produce factory minimums - 700 units - Spand-Ice will launch a Kickstarter for the Revive Tank on January 13, 2015. The campaign will also offer customers a chance to buy the Revive Tank at a special pre-sale price.

Behn believes that the Kickstarter platform will enable Spand-Ice to reach more people who either suffer from back pain or work closely with back pain sufferers.

“It is our plan to go after chiropractors, physical therapists and specialty back retail stores, and then potentially cross into the athletic sector,” said Behn. “By doing this campaign, it will help us learn more about our target demographic.”

Who's hiring in PGH? RAND, Veterans Leadership Program and more

If you're ready to stop shopping for presents and start shopping for a new job, here are some possibilities for you. Each week, Pop City brings you exciting job opportunities in Pittsburgh. If you have a career opportunity to list, email innovationnews@popcitymedia.com with "hiring" in the subject line. Let us know on Twitter @popcitypgh if we've helped you snag the job of your dreams.

The Rand Corporation, a think tank with offices in Pittsburgh, is looking to fill a variety of positions where Ph.D.'s are usually a pre-requisite. The group is currently looking for one or more Radar Experts, who know everything about radar theory and applications, electronic warfare, and signal processing.These engineers will apply their skills to emerging problems at the cutting edge of their fields and apply their insights to critical policy issues. RAND studies often pose novel challenges in analysis, modeling, design, and computing. Examples include space technology, robust communications, modeling and simulation, mathematical programming, game theory, systems analysis, and transportation problems (to name just a few). The ideal candidates would have a Ph.D. in radar-relevant engineering fields or be at the dissertation stage. The group is also looking for Public Health ResearchersCriminologistsEducation Policy Specialists and more. 

The Veterans Leadership Program, an organization that provides social services to veterans, is looking for an intake specialist responsible for providing an initial assessment of client needs, briefing clients on pertinent programs within the organization and throughout the region’s social service support network, and referring clients to other VLP staff and/or additional support agencies. This position may require occasional travel by personal automobile to meet with clients within our service delivery area, including Allegheny and the immediate surrounding counties. Hire should have at least one year of related experience and a degree in a related field. The organization is also looking to hire an office administrator.

The International Society for Bipolar Disorders, a not-for-profit professional membership organization for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, is looking to hire a program coordinator with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Project Management preferred or 5 years consecutive experience. The coordinator would work with committee chairs to ensure projects are on target to meet deadlines; collaborate with other ISBD staff to create and manage program budgets; schedule and take minutes for project-related teleconferences; support ISBD Awards, Education, and Research Committee initiatives; and perform office tasks. The society is also looking for a part-time bookkeeper.

Paid internship:

Neighborhood Allies, a community organization funding group, is searching for a photography and graphic design intern to work 15 hours per week for $10 per hour. The ideal candidate will be a college senior or junior with a 3.0 GPA currently majoring in photography, graphic design, journalism, fine arts, communications, or a media-related program. More details can be found here.

And if these jobs aren't enough, check out last week's listings for more opportunities.        

Lily&Strum website can predict the perfect gift

Some people are natural-born gift givers. But for the rest of us, there's Lily&Strum, a new website from a Pittsburgh-based startup. 

Visitors to the site can log on for free via Facebook and swiftly find the perfect gift by answering a few simple questions. The site works with visitors to deliver a variety of gift options based upon the occasion and the personal preferences of the gift recipient. Lily&Strum Director of Curation Lauren Urbschat said that every item suggested for purchase has been personally selected by one of the company's curators who comb the web looking for and categorizing unique and interesting items so that you don't have to search the endless Amazon rabbit hole on your own. The site provides recommendations to various online retailers so that all gifts can be purchased at the click of a button.

Despite her various discoveries while curating, Urbschat said she has managed to avoid amassing tons of cool stuff. Instead she passes on her one-of-a-kind finds to grateful friends and family members. 

Lily&Strum functions kind of like the popular music personalization site Pandora, but Urbschat said it was difficult to fine-tune the company's recommendations to make them most useful. After all, how does one categorize a hat or a book about gardening? "We did an event where we brought people together and had them shop with us so we could understand their thought process," Urbschat said, adding that the company is always working to fine-tune its suggestions.

So, whether you're struggling to come up with the perfect gift for an office mate for secret Santa or if you just don't know what questions to ask when shopping for your sister, Lily&Strum can at least point you in the right direction. What you do with their suggestions is up to you.
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