News Releases from 2016

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Control algorithms could keep sensor-laden balloons afloat in hurricanes for a week

Controls engineers at UC San Diego have developed practical strategies for building and coordinating scores of sensor-laden balloons within hurricanes. Using onboard GPS and cellphone-grade sensors, each drifting balloon becomes part of a ``swarm’’ of robotic vehicles, which can periodically report, via satellite uplink, their position, the local temperature, pressure, humidity and wind velocity. This new, comparatively low-cost sensing strategy promises to provide much-needed in situ sampling of environmental conditions for a longer range of time and from many vantage points within developing hurricanes. This has the potential to greatly improve efforts to estimate and forecast the intensity and track of future hurricanes in real time. Full Story

Israel's Journey to the Moon

In 2010, Yonatan Winetraub, a citizen of Israel, sat down with two friends at a bar and said, “I have a crazy idea. Why don’t we be the first Israelis to land a spacecraft on the moon?” Six years later, the company they founded, SpaceIL, is making history as part of the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition aimed at placing an unmanned spacecraft on the moon's surface before the mission deadline of December 31, 2017.  Full Story

Scientist, Entrepreneur, Robotics Expert Will Speak to Downtown Collaboratory 'Game Changers'

The fourth presentation in the Game Changers Series features Todd Hylton, a professor of practice at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and executive director of the UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute.The presentation, free and open to the public, will be held 5-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the Downtown San Diego Partnership offices at 401 B St., Suite 100.The field of robotics is poised to change all aspects of modern life, from driving to housekeeping to our jobs. Hylton -- who has worked at Brain Corporation and DARPA, cofounded 4Wave, and is an inventor and entrepreneur who has earned 19 patents throughout his career -- is well-positioned to explain what is fueling the increased interest and investment into robotics and how this emerging field will affect not only our region but also the global economy. Full Story

Tackling Changes and Challenges With Robotics

 An aging, and sometimes ailing, population. An increasing number of self-driving cars and delivery drones. More complex and automated factories. These are just some of the coming changes discussed at the UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute’s third annual forum. The overarching topic, “Shared Autonomy: New Directions in Human-Machine Interaction,” will be important for defining the future of human health and well-being at the level of individuals, communities and societies.       Full Story

New U.S. Robotics Roadmap calls for regulation, research and education

A new U.S. Robotics Roadmap released Oct. 31 calls for better policy frameworks to safely integrate new technologies, such as self-driving cars and commercial drones, into everyday life. The document also advocates for increased research efforts in the field of human-robot interaction to develop intelligent machines that will empower people to stay in their homes as they age.  It calls for increased education efforts in the STEM fields from elementary school to adult learners. The roadmap’s authors, more than 150 researchers from around the nation, also call for research to create more flexible robotics systems to accommodate the need for increased customization in manufacturing, for everything from cars to consumer electronics Full Story

Robotics for Exploration at the Contextual Robotics Forum on Oct. 28

Underwater camera traps used to photograph the rare vaquita porpoise in Mexico and drones used to conduct radio collar tracking missions in the Cayman Islands are just two of the technologies that will be presented at the technology showcase for the UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Forum on Oct. 28, 2016. Full Story

Contextual Robotics Institute Shines at International Robotics Conference

With talks about manufacturing, robots and health care, as well as robot competitions, the Contextual Robotics Institute at UC San Diego made a significant contribution to the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems this week in Daejeon, South Korea. Full Story

New Robotics Hires at UC San Diego

UC San Diego is strengthening its robotics expertise through the Contextual Robotics Institute, which launched in October 2015 as a partnership between the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Division of Social Sciences. The 2016-17 hires include computer science professor Henrik Christensen, a world-renowned roboticist who most recently led Georgia Tech’s high profile Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines. Christensen will serve as the Contextual Robotics Institute’s first director and some of his research will be done in UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute.   Full Story

UC San Diego Names Computer Engineer to Fratamico Endowed Chair

Tajana Rosing has been named the John J. and Susan M. Fratamico Endowed Chair in the Jacobs School of Engineering. Her wide-ranging work includes use of drones to detect areas of higher air pollution collaboratively and dynamically, and to provide this feedback in real time in emergencies (e.g., forest fires), and in normal daily life (such as air pollution due to recent fertilization of nearby fields, or due to higher than normal and localized smog conditions). Full Story

New faculty focus on robotics, data and cybersecurity and more

Thirteen new faculty are joining the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California San Diego this fall. The hires are part of a plan to grow the school’s faculty to 280 by 2020. Six of the hires were focused on robotics, including Henrik Christensen, the director of the Contextual Robotics Institute at UC San Diego and Todd Hylton, the institute’s executive director. Other hires focused on engineering and clinical medicine, data and cyber security, and materials and energy as well as networks, structures and extreme events and signal processing.Below are short summaries of their research work.  Full Story

Engineers receive $1 million grant to improve the way robots interact with people in U.S. factories

Laurel Riek, a roboticist at UC San Diego, will lead a three-year NSF grant aimed at making it easier for machines to work alongside people. This work has long term implications for how individuals, communities and societies deal with aging.   Full Story

UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Forum, on October 28, 2016, will focus on Shared Autonomy

On October 28, 2016, the University of California San Diego will host the annual Contextual Robotics Forum, a one-day event featuring talks by world leaders and local researchers developing robotics for the benefit of society. This year’s theme is “Shared Autonomy: New Directions in Human-Machine Interaction”. Full Story

Todd Hylton, well-known San Diego scientist and entrepreneur, joins UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute

Todd Hylton, a well-known San Diego scientist and entrepreneur, is joining the University of California San Diego to become the executive director of the UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute. Since 2012, Hylton served as executive vice president of strategy and research at Brain Corporation, a San Diego-based robotics startup. Prior to Brain Corp., Hylton launched a series of successful projects as a program manager at DARPA, including a multi-million dollar effort to develop a chip inspired by the function of biological nervous systems.  Full Story

Big ideas that solve problems

On June 2, Daniel Kaufman spoke about Google ATAP at the launch event for the UC San Diego Institute for the Global Entrepreneur, a collaboration between the Jacobs School of Engineering and Rady School of Management. Full Story

UC San Diego hires top robotics expert to lead Contextual Robotics Institute

Henrik Christensen, one of the most influential robotics researchers in the world, is joining the University of California San Diego. He will direct the UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute and serve as a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering. Christensen is leaving his post as executive director of the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines at the Georgia Institute of Technology to come to UC San Diego. Full Story

Engineering students compete for first place in Robolympics

The Olympics may be in Rio de Janeiro this summer, but students in mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Nate Delson’s Introduction to Engineering Graphics and Design (MAE3) course competed in their very own version of them right here at the University of California San Diego – the Robot Olympics – with robots that they designed and built themselves. Full Story

Interdisciplinary Calit2 Institute to Use Groundbreaking Neural Computing Technology

The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) will become an early partner and user of a new computing architecture from KnuEdge, a “startup” that has spent a decade under the radar while developing its first two major technologies announced by the company on June 6.   Full Story

Rallying Around Robots at the Inaugural Southern California Robotics Symposium

The Southern California Robotics Symposium (SCR) – held at the University of California San Diego – was whirring, whirling proof that even robots can be a cause to rally around. Full Story

From the deep sea to deep space: sea urchin's teeth inspire new design for space exploration device

The sea urchin’s intricate mouth and teeth are the model for a claw-like device developed by a team of engineers and marine biologists at the University of California, San Diego to sample sediments on other planets, such as Mars. The researchers detail their work in a recent issue of the Journal of Visualized Experiments. Full Story

UC San Diego Researchers Demonstrate Automotive SafeShield with Qualcomm

For the second time in three years, researchers from the Laboratory for Intelligent and Safe Automobiles (LISA) at the University of California San Diego were invited to showcase their computer vision-based technologies in connection with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). In 2014, German automaker Audi followed up its presence at CES with a demonstration on the streets of San Francisco with a model equipped with some of UC San Diego’s safety applications for city driving. Then earlier this year, the LISA team was at CES itself in Las Vegas, giving attendees a sneak peek of its latest ‘intelligent transportation’ features as part of Qualcomm’s expansive new automotive pavilion at the show.Qualcomm’s exhibit included a late-model Maserati Quattroporte outfitted with next-generation infotainment and driver-assistance safety features in collaboration with the UC San Diego lab and private technology companies. Full Story

Electrical Engineering Undergrads Build and Race Robots

The EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio at UC San Diego teemed with excitement on the day of the final in an electrical engineering class called Making, Breaking and Hacking Stuff. Instead of a typical test, the class culminated in a cumulative final project – teams of two or three students used the knowledge and some of the parts they had acquired during the class’s previous projects to build a line-following robot. The teams competed to see who programmed their robot to follow a line most closely, and at the fastest speed. Full Story

New algorithm improves speed and accuracy of pedestrian detection

What if computers could recognize objects as well as the human brain could? Electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego have taken an important step toward that goal by developing a pedestrian detection system that performs in near real-time (2–4 frames per second) and with higher accuracy (close to half the error) compared to existing systems. The technology, which incorporates deep learning models, could be used in “smart” vehicles, robotics and image and video search systems. Full Story

Laboratory for Intelligent and Safe Automobiles receives award from IEEE Society

The Laboratory for Intelligent and Safe Automobiles (LISA) at the University of California, San Diego, led by electrical engineering professor Mohan Trivedi, received the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Institutional Lead Award for 2015.  Full Story

The robotic Force awakens at UC San Diego

The movie premiere was still more than a week away, but Star Wars fever was already peaking at UC San Diego Dec. 9 during the campus’ semi-annual robotics competition. This year, the event was themed after the movie—of course—with teaching assistants dressing up as Jedi Knights and professor Michael Tolley donning a Star Wars rebel helmet. A total of 45 teams and 165 students vied for the big win. Full Story

Move Over, Droids

Meet the real-life robots of UC San Diego, leading the way for a world of robot helpers, teachers, maybe even friends.  Full Story

Gadgetron Robot Factory allows students to create and learn

Students unleashed “robot mayhem” during the last day of CSE 91 at UC San Diego. Robots with funny monikers, such as “Bash Ketchum,” ran loose in a miniature arena, where they spun around, played music and generally created creative chaos. It was all part of a class designed to teach students how to design and program robot. All student teams used the Gadgetron Robot Factory, a tool developed at UC San Diego to design the robots.    Full Story