News Releases from 2019

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Thermodynamics could be the future of computing, researchers say

As Moore’s Law reaches its limits, thermodynamic computing might prove to be the future of the field, says a new report from an international team of 38 researchers led by UC San Diego professor of practice Todd Hylton, released this month.  Full Story


UC San Diego Alumni Power San Diego Robotics Ecosystem

From companies worth billions of dollars to startups employing a small number of people, UC San Diego engineering alumni are at the core of the robotics ecosystem here in San Diego County.This was clearly evident at the sixth annual robotics forum organized by the UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute Nov. 7. The forum focused exclusively on local companies this year and was dubbed the San Diego Robotics Forum for the occasion. The goal was to showcase the breadth and depth of the region’s robotics strengths, and solidify San Diego’s reputation as Robot Beach. Full Story


Self-Driving Mail Delivery Begins on Campus

Harry Potter had his magical owl, Hedwig, to bring him mail. UC San Diego has driverless cars. If you’ve seen carts that look like they’re driving themselves on the road around Warren and Sixth College this quarter, you have not been imagining things. Two self-driving vehicles have been delivering mail to the two colleges since September. Full Story


The Race to Stay Ahead of Wildfires

As if to keep up with the growing frequency and intensity of wildfires throughout California, a network of wildfire-spotting cameras grew from 35 stations last year to more than 300 as of late October. The ALERTWildfire system co-developed by UC San Diego is one of several products created by the university that are improving the technological capability of western states to deal with wildfires now that the once-rare catastrophic events are becoming commonplace. Jacobs School researchers are also working on this effort, developing drones to spot wildfires before they get out of control. Full Story


Researchers receive $2.3M in NSF grants to investigate how robots can be used to provide personalized healthcare

Computer science professor Laurel Riek is the lead researcher on $2.3 million in new grants from the National Science Foundation to investigate how intelligent, personalized robots can be used to support neurorehabilitation for adults with mild cognitive impairment and adults recuperating from a stroke.   Full Story


UC San Diego Scientists Awarded Nearly $5 Million to Study Triggers of Deadly, Toxic Algal Blooms

Researchers from the University of California San Diego want to know what causes an oceanic algal bloom to turn deadly. To find out, researchers are gearing up to hunt for blooms along California’s coast using a suite of technologies that can target and sample ocean microbes and sift through genetic code in real time. All of this is made possible by a new $4.9 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The multidimensional effort will build upon recent discoveries about these temperamental microscopic algae under a project funded by NOAA’s Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB), a nationally competitive research funding program. Full Story


Robotics Forum will showcase San Diego region's expertise

The UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute is organizing its sixth annual robotics forum on Thursday, November 7, showcasing the breadth and depth of the San Diego region’s expertise in robotics. Full Story


Clingfish biology inspires better suction cup

A team of engineers and marine biologists built a better suction cup inspired by the mechanism that allows the clingfish to adhere to both smooth and rough surfaces, such as rocks in the area where the tide comes and goes. Researchers reverse engineered the clingfish’s suction disk and developed devices that cling well to wet and dry objects both in an out of water. The devices can hold up to hundreds of times their own weight. They could be used in a wide range of applications from handling and packaging for produce, to robotic grippers in manufacturing, to the recovery of archaeological artifacts. Full Story


Get up and go bots getting closer, study says

Robotics researchers at the University of California San Diego have for the first time used a commercial 3D printer to embed complex sensors inside robotic limbs and grippers. But they found that materials commercially available for 3D printing still need to be improved before the robots can be fully functional. Full Story


ICRA 2019 preview: bots, drones and neural nets

From ways to improve long-distance surgery techniques to better ways to get robots to work with humans in manufacturing settings and to a testing platform for UAVs, engineers at the University of California San Diego will make strong showing at the 2019 International Conference on Robotics and Automation May 20 to 24 in Montreal, Canada.  Full Story


Robots to the Rhino Rescue

Researchers at UC San Diego and San Diego Zoo Global have joined forces to save the critically endangered northern white rhino from extinction. They are developing flexible robotic catheters that could aid in artificial insemination and embryo transfer on rhinos.  Full Story


Unearthing Mysteries of the Maya

UC San Diego computer science students are venturing into Maya tunnels in Guatemala, and at home in San Diego, to bring these ancient buried sites to virtual life. Part of the Engineers for Exploration (E4E) group, the students are guided by Computer Science and Engineering Professor Ryan Kastner and Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Curt Schurgers.  Full Story


Engineering touch

 A tool to help the visually impaired navigate crowded spaces; an interface to assist surgeons during a complex procedure; and a display that can change shape when heat is applied. These were all projects developed by students in the first-ever haptic interfaces class to be offered at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego. Full Story


The robots that dementia caregivers want: robots for joy, robots for sorrow

Building robots that can help people with dementia has been a longtime goal for roboticists. Yet until now, no one has sought to survey informal caregivers, such as family members, about what characteristics and roles these robots should have. A team of scientists at the University of California San Diego sought to address this by spending six months co-designing robots with family members, social workers, and other caregivers who care for people with dementia. They are presenting their findings at the Human Robot Interaction conference March 11 to 14 in South Korea. Full Story


Overcoming Delays in Long-Distance Surgery

An engineering-surgery team at UC San Diego is working to extend the reach of surgeons by allowing them to operate remotely on patients located across a city, country, or even the globe. They are developing predictive augmented reality systems that could help make telesurgery a reality. Full Story


See, Think, Predict: Engineers build a soft robotics perception system inspired by humans

An international team of researchers has developed a perception system for soft robots inspired by the way humans process information about their own bodies in space and in relation to other objects and people. They describe the system, which includes a motion capture system, soft sensors, a neural network, and a soft robotic finger, in the Jan. 30 issue of Science Robotics. Full Story


The Top 10 robotics technologies of 2018, according to Science Robotics

Henrik Christensen, director of the Contextual Robotics Institute at the Jacobs School is one of 10 of the world’s foremost robotics researchers to weigh in on the top 10 robotics technologies of 2018 in the Jan. 16 issue of Science Robotics. Full Story


New Robot Can Sense Plankton Optically and Acoustically

Oceanographers and engineers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego collaborated to modify a common physical oceanography instrument to be able to image zooplankton as it glides through the ocean. Full Story