News Releases from 2017

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Driving Robotic Rehab

Rehabilitation robotics, although still an emerging field, is getting a shot of adrenaline because of sheer necessity. University researchers are developing novel approaches for using robotics to help our wounded veterans live more active lifestyles. Dr. Michael Yip, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Director of the Advanced Robotics and Controls Lab (ARCLab), at the University of California San Diego is working with the U.S. Navy to create robotic orthotics and prosthetics that adjust to the wearer's activities. Full Story

Controls expert Miroslav Krstic holds record seven fellowships in technical and scientific societies

2017 is turning out to be a banner year for Miroslav Krstic, a controls expert at the University of California San Diego who also serves as the senior associate vice chancellor for research here on campus.  Full Story

Speedy collision detector could make robots better human assistants

A faster collision detection algorithm could enable robots to work more fluidly in the operating room or at home for assisted living. The algorithm, dubbed “Fastron,” runs up to 8 times faster than existing collision detection algorithms. It uses machine learning to help robots avoid moving objects and weave through complex, rapidly changing environments in real time. Full Story

UC San Diego Takes the Driver's Seat for Intelligent Vehicles

The Contextual Robotics Forum brought the leading intelligent vehicle companies and researchers together on campus Oct. 27 to take stock of the developments and challenges in the space, highlight the university’s plans to roll out autonomous vehicle testing, and align research efforts. Full Story

UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute Director Receives Qualcomm Chancellor's Endowed Chair in Robotic Systems

Henrik Christensen, an internationally renowned expert in robotics, has been appointed as the inaugural holder of the Qualcomm Chancellor’s Endowed Chair in Robotic Systems at the University of California San Diego. The chair was made possible by a generous $1 million gift from Qualcomm Incorporated and a $500,000 match from the campus Chancellor’s Chair Challenge, a program created to support the recruitment and retention of quality tenured faculty. Christensen leads the Contextual Robotics Institute at UC San Diego and serves as a professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department  at the Jacobs School of Engineering. This gift contributes to the Campaign for UC San Diego. Full Story

Self-driving carts to make their debut on UC San Diego roads in January

The University of California San Diego will turn its campus into a test bed for self-driving vehicles starting in January 2018. The project will be implemented in stages. The first will be to put self-driving mail delivery carts on the road. The carts will run on algorithms developed by UC San Diego researchers who are part of the Contextual Robotics Institute. Back-up drivers will initially ride in the carts as a safety measure. Full Story

Contextual Robotics Forum 2017: designing the intelligent vehicles of 2025

The University’s Contextual Robotics Institute is convening world experts on autonomy, robotics, user experience and computer vision for its fourth annual Contextual Robotics Forum on Oct. 27. The theme this year is “Intelligent Vehicles 2025” in preparation for that date. Register to attend the Forum here. Full Story

This soft robotic gripper can screw in your light bulbs for you

How many robots does it take to screw in a light bulb? The answer: just one, assuming you’re talking about a new robotic gripper developed by engineers at the University of California San Diego. The engineering team has designed and built a gripper that can pick up and manipulate objects without needing to see them and needing to be trained.  The gripper is unique because it brings together three different capabilities. It can twist objects; it can sense objects; and it can build models of the objects it’s manipulating. This allows the gripper to operate in low light and low visibility conditions, for example. Full Story

Using Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living

“UC San Diego is a community of changemakers and innovators,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla Sept. 28 as he welcomed a crowd in Atkinson Hall at the IBM-UC San Diego signing ceremony celebration. “It is not an exaggeration to say that at this campus, which in its short time of 57 years is the top ten in the country and top 15 in the world, we must have done something right. And I think what we did right was really understand how to solve problems that impact humanity on a day-to-day basis. This partnership that we are putting in place right now, and we are here to celebrate, is actually addressing one of those problems.” Full Story

IBM Research and UC San Diego Collaborate to Advance the Use of Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the University of California San Diego have announced a multi-year project to enhance quality of life and independence for aging populations through the new Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living Center (AIHL), located on the campus of UC San Diego. The groundbreaking center will bring together the technology, artificial intelligence and life sciences knowledge of IBM and UC San Diego to promote critical research and applications in two thematic areas: Healthy Aging and the Human Microbiome. Full Story

From self-folding robots to computer vision: UC San Diego makes strong showing at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems

From self-folding robots, to robotic endoscopes, to better methods for computer vision and object detection, researchers at the University of California San Diego have a wide range of papers and workshop presentations at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (or IROS) which takes place from Sept. 24 to 28 in Vancouver, Canada. UC San Diego researchers also are organizing workshops on a range of themes during the event. Full Story

Computer Scientists Receive NSF Grant to Model Human-Robot Teamwork in Uncertain Environments

Laurel Riek, associate professor of computer science at the University of California San Diego, will lead a three-year National Science Foundation project on new methods for coordinating teams of robots and people in complex, uncertain environments.The $750,000 award* is shared by UC San Diego and Northeastern University, where Riek’s collaborator, Christopher Amato, is a professor in the College of Computer and Information Science.  Full Story

Drone Truthing

A team of researchers from across UC San Diego is developing a new approach for detecting damage to buildings during earthquakes and other extreme events. They came together at the Geisel Library recently to use lasers and drones to create a digital record of the structure that will serve as a baseline health assessment. In the event that a sizeable earthquake hits nearby, the team will reconvene to retake the digital measurements and assess any damage to the building such as tilting or cracks. (View photo gallery.)  Full Story

A $100K gift from Cognex to UC San Diego Supports Research at Intersection of Deep Learning and 3-D Image Reconstruction

The University of California San Diego has received a $100K gift from Cognex Corporation, a leader in machine vision. The gift will allow teams of professors and graduate students at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering to explore research at the intersection of deep learning and 3-D image reconstruction.  Full Story

Drug-delivering micromotors treat their first bacterial infection in the stomach

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego have demonstrated for the first time using micromotors to treat a bacterial infection in the stomach. These tiny vehicles, each about half the width of a human hair, swim rapidly throughout the stomach while neutralizing gastric acid and then release their cargo of antibiotics at the desired pH.  Full Story

UC San Diego Teams with Toyota on Autonomous, Connected Vehicle Safety Technologies

After five years of working with Toyota on automotive safety technologies, the Laboratory for Intelligent and Safe Automobiles (LISA) at the University of California San Diego is launching a new research effort with the automaker’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC).On July 26, Toyota’s CSRC announced a sweeping set of new research programs to study the opportunities and address the challenges of emerging vehicle technologies. The 11 projects, launched in partnership with eight leading research universities in North America and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, are the first launched under CSRC Next, a five-year program begun last January to support “a safer transition to the future of mobility.” Full Story

4D camera could improve robot vision, virtual reality and self-driving cars

Engineers at Stanford University and the University of California San Diego have developed a camera that generates four-dimensional images and can capture 138 degrees of information. The new camera — the first-ever single-lens, wide field of view, light field camera — could generate information-rich images and video frames that will enable robots to better navigate the world and understand certain aspects of their environment, such as object distance and surface texture.  Full Story

UC San Diego takes part in RoboCup competition for the first time

A team of computer scientists from the University of California San Diego are taking part for the first time in the international RoboCup @ Home competition, which this year takes place July 27 to 31 in Nagoya, Japan. Full Story

Mechanical Engineering at UC San Diego Ranks First in USA, according to New Ranking from ARWU

University of California San Diego ranks first in the nation and second in the world for Mechanical Engineering, according to a new subject area ranking from Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) from ShanghaiRanking. The new rankings, which are based on five hard-data metrics, place the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering among the top programs in the nation and the world in a wide range of areas.  Full Story

Computer Science Professor Honored for Cognitive Science Contributions

Computer Science Professor Gary Cottrell is being honored for his work in cognitive science, including the 12 years he has been director of the UC San Diego-based Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center (TDLC), a National Science Foundation-funded Science of learning center that he heads with Professor Andrea Chiba in the Department of Cognitive Science.  Full Story

Robots do some heaving lifting at annual robotics competition

She was about to drop out of an engineering design class that culminates in a robotics competition. But Shushoma Sravostee’s classmates stepped in to help, offering support and reassurance. On June 13, she and her three teammates won the overall competition, taking home intricate 3D-printed trophies—and bragging rights.  Full Story

A glove powered by soft robotics to interact with virtual reality environments

Engineers at UC San Diego are using soft robotics technology to make light, flexible gloves that allow users to feel tactile feedback when they interact with virtual reality environments.  The researchers used the gloves to realistically simulate the tactile feeling of playing a virtual piano keyboard. Full Story

3D-printed soft four legged robot can walk on sand and stone

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed the first soft robot that is capable of walking on rough surfaces, such as sand and pebbles. The 3D-printed, four-legged robot can climb over obstacles and walk on different terrains.  Full Story

Sensor-filled glove could help doctors take guesswork out of physical exams

Researchers have developed a sensor-filled glove that doctors could use to accurately measure muscle stiffness in patients suffering from stroke, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and other muscle control disorders. The level of muscle stiffness, known as spasticity, is typically rated based on a doctor's touch and feel. However, these ratings are subjective and often vary from one doctor to another. As a result, patients receive doses of medication that are too low or too high for their actual level of muscle stiffness. The new glove will enable doctors to come up with objective, accurate and consistent number ratings when evaluating spasticity in patients undergoing treatment. Full Story

American Academy of Arts and Sciences Elects UC San Diego Chancellor and Three Professors

Three faculty members of the University of California San Diego and Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the country’s most esteemed honorary societies and independent policy research centers.  Full Story

UC San Diego Nanorobots highlighted in Science Robotics

The Tiny Robots Will See You Now. That’s the headline for a recent news story in IEEE Spectrum by Megan Scudellari that highlights a review paper written by UC San Diego researchers in the journal Science Robotics. This new journal is published by AAAS, the publisher of Science magazine. Full Story

Visualizing the Future of Surgery

Before Dr. Sonia Ramamoorthy, chief of colon and rectal surgery at UC San Diego Health, took a scalpel to Larry Smarr, director of Calit2, she first took a virtual tour of his large intestine. It encompassed an entire room.Then Smarr, Harry E. Gruber Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego, shared a more modest, life-sized 3D-printed model of his suspect organ. With sometimes chagrined colleagues watching, surgeon and patient scrutinized its colonic curves and convolutions, revealing previously undetected complexities and, perhaps, the future of surgery. Full Story

UC San Diego Electrical Engineer Accepts Alumni Award for Alma Mater in India

University of California San Diego Distinguished Professor Mohan Trivedi in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has accepted the Maheshwari Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The award is presented every other year by the LK Maheshwari Foundation to an alum of the university working in the areas of Electrical and Electronics Engineering and Instrumentation. The foundation was established in 2010 to promote education and research in engineering. Full Story

Engineers developing advanced robotic systems that will become surgeon's right hand

In the operating room of the future, robots will be an integral part of the surgical team, working alongside human surgeons to make surgeries safer, faster, more precise and more automated. In the lab of electrical engineering professor Michael Yip at the University of California San Diego, engineers are developing advanced robotic systems that could make this vision a reality. Full Story

Microscopic submarines for your stomach

Tiny "submarines" that speed independently through the stomach, use gastric acid for fuel (while rapidly neutralizing it), and release their cargo precisely at the desired pH -- though it may sound like science fiction, this is a new method for treating stomach diseases with acid-sensitive drugs introduced by nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego.  Full Story

Swarm of Underwater Robots Mimics Ocean Life

Underwater robots developed by researchers at the University of California San Diego offer scientists an extraordinary new tool to study ocean currents and the tiny creatures they transport. Swarms of these underwater robots helped answer some basic questions about the most abundant life forms in the ocean—plankton.  Full Story