News Releases from 2015

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UC San Diego Engineering Dean to Give Keynote at RoboUniverse San Diego

Albert P. Pisano, dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, will give a keynote address — “Building a Robotics Hub in San Diego” — at the RoboUniverse San Diego conference on Dec. 16 at the San Diego Convention Center. The talk is one component of broad UC San Diego engagement at this robotics conference that comes on the heels of the launch of the Contextual Robotics Institute at UC San Diego in October.   Full Story

Contextual Robotics Forum 2015: the Future of Robotics

Robotics leaders from industry, academia and the public sector met at the University of California, San Diego to discuss the future of robotics at the second annual Contextual Robotics Forum on Oct. 30, 2015 at the University of California, San Diego.   Full Story

Learning how to program boats for autonomous movement

Small toy-sized boats were zooming around Canyonview Pool here on campus On a recent Thursday afternoon. The boats accelerated and took tight turns around each other, then slowed to an almost-crawl and traced precise patterns in the pool. It was all part of the MAE 198 class led by Teaching Professor Mark Anderson. Students learn how to program modified off-the-shelf boats to autonomously follow a route.  Full Story

UC San Diego Launches Robotics Institute

The Jacobs School of Engineering and Division of Social Sciences at UC San Diego have launched the Contextual Robotics Institute to develop safe and useful robotics systems. These robotics systems will function in the real world based on the contextual information they perceive, in real time. Elder care and assisted living, disaster response, medicine, transportation and environmental sensing are just some of the helpful applications that will emerge from tomorrow’s human-friendly robots.The Contextual Robotics Institute will leverage UC San Diego’s research strengths in engineering, computer science and cognitive science and work collaboratively across the campus and the region to establish San Diego as a leader in the research, development and production of human-friendly robotics systems. Full Story

A tensegrity robot to clean and explore ducts

Researchers in the UCSD Robotics lab have developed a duct-exploring robot based on the principles of tensegrity, an engineering technique which uses tension to keep a structure together. Ph.D. student Jeffrey Friesen talked about the robot in an interview with the communications team at the Jacobs School of Engineering here at the University of California, San Diego.He works with mechanical engineering professor Thomas Bewley, one of the lead robotics researchers here at the Jacobs School.  Full Story

New electrical engineering professor brings flexible and surgical robotics to UC San Diego

A future in which robots can maneuver with high agility, dexterity and precision is not too far away. Flexible robots from electrical engineering professor Michael Yip's lab could one day assist with surgeries, lead to prosthetics capable of natural movement, and navigate through tight, complex environments with ease.   Full Story

Robots in the Operating Room

University of California, San Diego bioengineering alumnus Jonathan Sorger, Director of Medical Research at Intuitive Surgical in Sunnyvale, California, is one of the ten keynote speakers at the UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Forum on Oct. 30, 2015. Sorger will offer a vision of the future of medical robotics, including how technologies will continue to augment the surgical experience.  Full Story

Babies time their smiles to make their moms smile in return

Why do babies smile when they interact with their parents? Could their smiles have a purpose? In the Sept. 23 issue of PLOS ONE, a team of computer scientists, roboticists and developmental psychologists confirm what most parents already suspect: when babies smile, they do so with a purpose—to make the person they interact with smile in return. To verify their findings, researchers programmed a toddler-like robot to behave like the babies they studied and had the robot interact with undergraduate students. They obtained the same results: the robot got the undergraduates to smile as much as possible, while smiling as little as possible. Full Story

UC San Diego to Host Robotics Leaders at Forum Focused on Future of Robotic Systems

On October 30, 2015, the University of California, San Diego will host a one-day event focused on the future of robotics for medicine, autonomous vehicles, first-response scenarios, consumer applications and more. Full Story

Undergraduates find a future in robotics lab over summer

Gerardo Gonzalez had never seriously considered going to graduate school before his summer internship in mechanical and aerospace engineering professors Jorge Cortes’ and Sonia Martinez's Multi-Robot (MURO) lab. “The sense of satisfaction I had after we got our robot to work helped change my perspective and gain an understanding of control theory,” said Gonzalez. “At one point, the formula that enabled our success was someone's research; now, it is being used all over the world! To answer questions that will have an impact in the real world – that is what motivates me to go to graduate school. The summer research program has helped me see that.” Full Story

Qualcomm Institute Convenes Conference on Future of Virtual Reality

Experts from academia and industry will share their insights into the future of virtual reality technology and content at the first annual Future of Virtual Reality conference. The 2015 event takes place Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 8-9 at Calit2’s Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego. Full Story

These microscopic fish are 3D-printed to do more than swim

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego used an innovative 3D printing technology they developed to manufacture multipurpose fish-shaped microrobots — called microfish — that swim around efficiently in liquids, are chemically powered by hydrogen peroxide and magnetically controlled. These proof-of-concept synthetic microfish will inspire a new generation of “smart” microrobots that have diverse capabilities such as detoxification, sensing and directed drug delivery, researchers said. Full Story

IEEE Online Magazine for Teens Features UC San Diego Professor and Smart Vehicles

The online publication of IEEE intended to inspire students ages 14 through 18 to learn more about engineering, technology and computing has placed its current focus on the field of “intelligent vehicles”, and to highlight careers in the field, IEEE Spark put the spotlight on UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering electrical and computer engineering distinguished professor Mohan Trivedi. Trivedi is also the past leader of Calit2’s Intelligent Transportation and Telematics research at UC San Diego. Full Story

3D Printing Debuts at Robot Competition for Mechanical Engineering Undergraduates

In the Spring of 2015, the students in Introduction to Engineering Graphics and Design (MAE3), taught by mechanical and aerospace engineering professors Nate Delson and Mike Tolley, were tasked with designing a robot that can “recycle” – or rather, move items from a small staging area representing their dorm room into the correct recycling bin a few feet away. Full Story

3D-printed robot is hard at heart, soft on the outside

Engineers at Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego, have created the first robot with a 3D-printed body that transitions from a rigid core to a soft exterior. The robot is capable of more than 30 untethered jumps and is powered by a mix of butane and oxygen. Researchers describe the robot’s design, manufacturing and testing in the July 10 issue of Science magazine. Full Story

Jacobs School alumnus helps engineering team win $1 million in DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals

When the Running Man robot won second place at this year’s DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, the Jacobs School of Engineering had reason to celebrate. One of the engineers behind the robot’s controls was Chris Schmidt-Wetekam, who earned his Ph.D. in the research group of mechanical engineering professor Thomas Bewley in 2010 here at the University of California, San Diego.  Full Story

Why the seahorse's tail is square and how it could be an inspiration for robots and medical devices

Why is the seahorse’s tail square? An international team of researchers has found the answer and it could lead to building better robots and medical devices. In a nutshell, a tail made of square, overlapping segments makes for better armor than a cylindrical tail. It’s also better at gripping and grasping. Researchers describe their findings in the July 3 issue of Science. Full Story

Computer scientists combine computer vision and brain computer interface for faster mine detection

Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have combined sophisticated computer vision algorithms and a brain-computer interface to find mines in sonar images of the ocean floor. The study shows that the new method speeds detection up considerably, when compared to existing methods—mainly visual inspection by a mine detection expert.  Full Story

Robot solves Rubik's Cube, teaches kids about STEM

Their robot won’t break the world record for solving Rubik’s Cube, but Daryl Stimm and William Mutterspaugh have an even more ambitious goal: using it to get thousands of girls and boys interested in science and technology. The two recent graduates from the University of California, San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering are already building Ruku Robot, a kit that students in middle school or high school can assemble to get hands-on experience with the fundamentals of robotics, computer science and engineering.  Full Story