Press Clips from 2020


September 9, 2020

OpenBot: an open-source 3D-printed robot by Intel

Based in Silicon Valley, California, Intel is an American multinational corporation and one of the leading companies on the global tech arena. Its research division, Intel Labs, recently put online the 3D files of its new 3D printable robot: available open-source, this device functions with a smartphone and is available for less than $50! Oftentimes, the goal of incorporating the 3D printing technology is to lower the cost of the robot components, which is otherwise rather high; we have seen it in the projects like Flexoskeleton from UC San Diego and Solo 8 robot dog. Full Story


September 9, 2020

Could Facebook?s 3D-printed virtual reality gloves be announced for Oculus at Connect?

With Facebook Connect 2020 scheduled to take place next week, the firm?s Reality Labs team has announced the development of 3D printed Virtual Reality (VR) gloves. Scientists from the University of California San Diego have used 3D printing to create flexible, walking ?insect-like? robots. The team?s budget-minded production technique is designed to lower the cost of entry to fabricating soft robotics. Full Story


June 25, 2020

Covid-19 could accelerate the robot takeover of human jobs

Machines were supposed to take over tasks too dangerous for humans. Now humans are the danger, and robots might be the solution. Inside a Schnucks grocery store in St. Louis, Missouri, the toilet paper and baking ingredients are mostly cleared out. A rolling robot turns a corner and heads down an aisle stocked with salsa and taco shells. It comes up against a masked customer wearing shorts and sneakers; he's pushing a shopping cart carrying bread. The robot looks something like a tower speaker on top of an autonomous home vacuum cleaner-tall and thin, with orb-like screen eyes Full Story


June 19, 2020

Rethinking the Hospital for the Next Pandemic

Hospitals are rethinking how they operate in light of the Covid-19 pandemic?and preparing for a future where such crises may become a grim fact of life. With the potential for resurgences of the coronavirus, and some scientists warning about outbreaks of other infectious diseases, hospitals don?t want to be caught flat-footed again. So, more of them are turning to new protocols and new technology to overhaul standard operating procedure, from the time patients show up at an emergency room through admission, treatment and discharge. Full Story


June 19, 2020

Covid-19 could accelerate the robot takeover of human jobs

Inside a Schnucks grocery store in St. Louis, Missouri, the toilet paper and baking ingredients are mostly cleared out. A rolling robot turns a corner and heads down an aisle stocked with salsa and taco shells. It comes up against a masked customer wearing shorts and sneakers; he's pushing a shopping cart carrying bread. The robot looks something like a tower speaker on top of an autonomous home vacuum cleaner-tall and thin, with orb-like screen eyes halfway up that shift left and right. A red sign on its long head makes the introductions. "Hi, I'm Tally! I check shelf inventory!" Full Story


June 19, 2020

Robots Walk Faster With Newly Developed Flexible Feet

Roboticists at the University of California San Diego have developed flexible feet for robots. The new technology can result in robots walking 40 percent faster on uneven terrains like pebbles and wood chips. The new development is important for a variety of different applications, especially search-and-rescue missions. The research will be presented at the RoboSoft conference, which will be virtual and take place between May 15 and July 15, 2020. Emily Lathrop is a Ph.D. student at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego and the first author of the paper. Full Story


June 19, 2020

Electronics 3D Printing Part 4: Research Toward the Future

What gets developed in university and corporate labs often defines the next generation of a given technology. While we have covered two of the most established methods for 3D printing electronics, direct writing and inkjetting, researchers are currently paving the future for fabricating 3D-printed electronic parts. One of the areas with the greatest interest is flexible circuits, given the potential to incorporate electronic devices into clothing and other non-flat objects. Full Story


June 19, 2020

Cheap, Fast Fabrication of Insect-Like Robots

Developing soft robots is of great interest to scientists because they can be useful for many tasks that rigid robots or humans find challenging to perform. These include surgeries, working alongside humans in factory settings, and navigating disaster or war zones. Now engineers at the University of California San Diego have used 3D printing to create soft and flexible robots called "flexoskeletons" that they said can be applied to make it easy for anyone to fabricate soft robots. Full Story


June 19, 2020

ENGINEERED HUMAN CELLS COULD PROPEL DRUGS THROUGH THE BODY

Recently, several research teams have proposed injecting medical patients with nanobots that could transport medicine throughout their bodies. But one group has a simpler idea: engineer cells already present in the bloodstream to carry the drugs instead.Scientists from the University of California, San Diego and the University of Science and Technology Beijing found a way to engineer platelets - the thin, flat cells that form clots and stop you from bleeding - such that they can propel themselves throughout the body, according to Tech Xplore. Full Story


June 19, 2020

Drug-carrying platelets engineered to propel themselves through biofluids

A team of researchers from the University of California San Diego and the University of Science and Technology Beijing has developed a way to engineer platelets to propel themselves through biofluids as a means of delivering drugs to targeted parts of the body. In their paper published in the journal Science Robotics, the group outlines their method and how well it worked when tested in the lab. In the same issue, Jinjun Shi with Brigham and Women's Hospital has published a Focus piece outlining ongoing research into the development of natural drug delivery systems Full Story


June 3, 2020

University lab develops disinfecting drone with UV-C lights

As America gradually starts to reopen its economy after COVID-19 lockdowns, the need to continually disinfect public spaces is growing. Researchers at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have a suggestion: build disinfecting drones with germ-killing UV-C lights. This is just the latest in a series of efforts to employ drones for disinfection work. Most focus on liquid disinfectants and require large drones to cover large areas, such as sporting arenas. Omni Environmental Solutions, for instance, makes a drone that carries 10 liters of disinfectant solution... Full Story


June 3, 2020

Wearable tech can spot coronavirus symptoms before you even realize you're sick

Data from a wearable device can reveal coronavirus symptoms days before you even realize you're sick, researchers have found in preliminary studies. That means fitness trackers could be on their way to becoming sickness trackers. The initial findings from two academic studies are a small step in the fight against the coronavirus, and a giant leap for wearable tech. If Fitbits, Apple Watches and Oura smart rings prove to be an effective early-warning system, they could help reopen communities and workplaces -- and evolve from consumer tech novelties into health essentials. Full Story


June 3, 2020

Video Friday: This Robot Wants to Talk to You

[Video] Roboticists at the University of California, San Diego have developed an affordable, easy to use system to track the location of flexible surgical robots inside the human body. The system performs as well as current state of the art methods, but is much less expensive. Many current methods also require exposure to radiation, while this system does not. Full Story


June 3, 2020

Flexible medical robots get low-cost, highly accurate guidance at UC San Diego

Current methods of guiding flexible surgical robots within the human body are often expensive and require exposure to radiation. Engineers at the University of California San Diego said they have developed an easy-to-use system to track the location of flexible medical robots that performs as well as current state-of-the-art methods but is much less costly and does not involve radiation. The system was developed by Tania Morimoto, a professor of mechanical engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, and mechanical engineering Ph.D. student Connor Watson. Full Story


June 3, 2020

The feet of this robot are filled with what substance?

As it turns out, coffee doesn't just make humans work better -- it can also improve efficiency for our artificial counterparts. A team of scientists at the University of California San Diego found that they could make it easier for a robot to walk on uneven ground if they gave it soft feet filled with coffee grounds. On each foot of their robot, they attached a flexible latex sphere filled with dry coffee grounds and reinforced with an internal support structure designed like the roots of a plant. When the robot takes a step, the coffee grounds are jammed together around the shape... Full Story


June 3, 2020

Coffee-filled feet help off-road robots walk faster

One of the main proposed uses for legged robots is the exploration of disaster sites. In order to walk across all that rubble, though, they would definitely need to be sure-footed - which is where new coffee-filled robot feet are designed to come in. Being developed by scientists at the University of California San Diego, the feet each consist of a flexible latex sphere packed with loose, dry coffee grounds. Along with that coffee, each foot also contains a plant-root-inspired internal support structure.When moving through the air, the feet remain soft and squishy. Full Story


June 3, 2020

Flexi-footed robot races across uneven ground

Researchers from the University of California-San Diego envisage the feet being in applications for search-and-rescue missions or even space exploration. "Robots need to be able to walk fast and efficiently on natural, uneven terrain so they can go everywhere humans can go, but maybe shouldn't," said Emily Lathrop, the paper's first author. "Usually, robots are only able to control motion at specific joints," said professor Michael T. Tolley. "In this work, we showed that a robot that can control the stiffness, and hence the shape, of its feet outperforms traditional designs..." Full Story


May 14, 2020

Many of us thought we'd be riding around in AI-driven cars by now -- so what happened?

Car manufacturers know: There?s a huge amount of interest in AI-driven cars. Many people would love to automate the task of driving, because they find it tedious or at times impossible. A competent AI driver would have lightning-fast reflexes, would never weave or drift in its lane, and would never drive aggressively. An AI driver would never get tired and could take the wheel for endless hours while we humans nap or party. While AI does need huge volumes of data to program and guide it, that shouldn?t be a problem. Full Story


May 14, 2020

Robots that can sniff out chemical weapons and pollution are comming soon --study

Whether it's old gym clothes, a wet dog, or strong body odor -- our brains are remarkably good ignoring pervasive smells. It's a quirk of our olfactory system that's called habituation, which increases focus on new and threatening smells. Beyond uses in our brain, scientists believe a form of habituation can be used by A.I. to process massive amounts of data. Borrowing neural circuitry from a fruit fly, scientists have designed an algorithm to mimic this neurobiological phenomenon, hoping to learn more about habituation. Full Story


May 14, 2020

Are We Building AI systems that Learned to Lie to Us?

I have been hearing about concerns over deepfakes in recent years. Facebook is teaming up with Microsoft, the Partnership on AI coalition and academics from several universities to launch a contest (from late 2019 to spring of 2020) to better detect deepfakes. The social media giant spends $10 million on this contest. The term deepfakes - a combination of the terms "deep learning" and "fake", a form of artificial intelligence and originated around the end of 2017 from a Reddit user named "deepfakes". Full Story


May 8, 2020

How Can Robots Help in a Pandemic?

While epidemiologists search for a vaccine for the novel COVID-19 virus, researchers at the University of California - San Diego are championing robots as an effective tool for managing the pandemic. In a medical setting, the team say robots can carry out critical clinical care tasks such as sanitisation and handling of contaminated waste. They also say robots can be used to monitor quarantine compliance within the community and help enforce social distancing rules. Henrik Christensen, director of the Contextual Robotics Institute says robots are already being used for these tasks Full Story


May 1, 2020

How robots can dramatically improve your hospital's management of COVID-19

Whether you work as a physician or in administration, your attention is now squarely focused on reducing COVID-19 risk to your patients and caregivers in any way you can. One emerging solution that can help you achieve this goal is robotics. New research from the University of California San Diego found that mobile robots in a hospital setting can provide excellent results when it comes to key care areas such as: Clinical Care. Full Story


May 1, 2020

Flying Insects and Their Robot Imitators

Despite its meager appearance, the fruit fly is a first-class flying machine. It can generate lift with tiny wings that defy simple aerodynamic rules. Its wing muscles cycle at 200 times per second, making them some of the fastest muscles on the planet. And it has a rapid response to predators (and annoyed humans) that would be the envy of any fighter pilot. For years, biologists have investigated the flight secrets of fruit flies, as well as those of bees, mosquitos, and moths. Insect flight attracts so much interest because it shows nature's triumph over a highly complicated problem. Full Story


April 23, 2020

5 Rules for Sheltering in Place With Cockroaches, Spiders and Turtles

Glenna Clifton, a postdoctoral research in the lab of Nicholas Gravish in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego, talks about what it's like to shelter in place with one of her experiments, which involves nine cockroaches. Subscription required Full Story


April 23, 2020

Governor taps Tom Steyer to help lead CA's economic recovery

Former presidential candidate and businessman Tom Steyer will help chart California's path toward economic recovery as co-chair of Gov. Gavin Newsom's new economic task force, Newsom announced Friday, a week after the resignation of his chief economic advisor, Lenny Mendonca. The 80-member task force includes big-name business leaders like former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Walt Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger and Gap CEO Sonia Syngal -- as well as the four living former California governors and leaders of 10 labor unions. Full Story


April 16, 2020

Robots are Changing the Fight Against Coronavirus

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on and stay-at-home measures stay in place, it's safe to say that pretty much everyone's life has been upended by this point. But a silver lining is emerging in the form of highly advanced robots being thrust into new roles to combat the disease. And instead of being viewed as evil or job-stealing, these robots are seen as solution providers, and even essential to supporting the government's frontline endeavors. Full Story


April 16, 2020

COVID-19 robotics resources: ideas for roboticists, users, and educators

Robots could have a role to play in COVID-19, whether it's automating laboratory research, helping with logistics, disinfecting hospitals, education, or allowing carers, colleagues or loved ones to connect using telepresence. Yet many of these solutions are still in development or early deployment. The hope is that accelerating these translations could make a difference. This page aims to compile some resources for roboticists who are able to help, users who need robots for COVID-19 applications, and people who want to learn about robotics while on lockdown. Full Story


April 16, 2020

Scientists can 3D print insect-like robots in minutes

It might soon be relatively trivial to make soft robots -- at least, if you have a 3D printer handy. UC San Diego researchers have devised a way to 3D-print insect-like flexible robots cheaply, quickly and without using exotic equipment. The trick was to print "flexoskeletons," or rigid materials 3D-printed on to flexible and thin polycarbonate sheets. Much like insects, there are features that increase rigidity only in specific areas -- a contrast with conventional soft robots that often have soft features tacked on to solid bodies. Full Story


April 16, 2020

Semi-soft "flexoskeleton" robots inspired by insects

Developed by scientists at the University of California San Diego, the technique is inspired by the exoskeletons of insects. Although we may think of those exoskeletons as being like unyielding suites of armor, they are in fact rigid in some places (for structural support) while being flexible in others (for resilience and mobility). The UC San Diego system likewise produces so-called "flexoskeletons," that combine rigidity and flexibility. This is achieved by 3D-printing a polymer layer onto a thin, flexible sheet of polycarbonate. Full Story


April 16, 2020

Scientists can 3D print insect-like robots in minutes

It might soon be relatively trivial to make soft robots--at least, if you have a 3D printer handy. UC San Diego researchers have devised a way to 3D-print insect-like flexible robots cheaply, quickly and without using exotic equipment. The trick was to print "flexoskeletons," or rigid materials 3D-printed on to flexible and thin polycarbonate sheets. Much like insects, there are features that increase rigidity only in specific areas--a contrast with conventional soft robots that often have soft features tacked on to solid bodies. Each flexoskeleton component takes about 10 minutes to print, Full Story


April 16, 2020

Researchers create "Flexoskeletons" for insect-inspired robots that are cheap to make

Engineers from the University of California San Diego have created a new way to make soft, flexible 3D-printed robots that don't require special equipment and only take minutes to build. The innovation the researchers have come up with comes to a rethinking of the way soft robots are built. Rather than figuring out how to add soft materials to a rigid robot body, the researcher started with a soft body and attached rigid features to critical components. Full Story


March 30, 2020

Covid-19 health-care crisis could drive new developments in robotics, editorial says

The covid-19 pandemic is pushing human bodies--and human ingenuity--to their limits. As patients flood emergency departments and health-care workers struggle to respond, an international group of robotic experts is making a case for some electronic intervention. In an editorial in the journal Science Robotics, they argue that covid-19 could drive new developments in robotics--and that the devices could help with more effective diagnosis, screening and patient care. If the thought of robotic assistants sounds futuristic, it isn't:Robots already have been enlisted in the fight against the virus Full Story


March 25, 2020

These Ants Have a Revolutionary Escape Strategy

Ants are bristling with defense weaponry. Different species might sting their enemies, bite them with powerful jaws or shoot them with jets of formic acid. Some even explode. But Myrmecina graminicola -- an ant about the size of a sesame seed -- doesn't want to get into all that. According to research published last week in Scientific Reports, if one of these ants encounters danger while it's on a slope, it makes a practical choice: It tucks itself into a little ball and rolls away. Full Story


March 25, 2020

The Covid-19 Pandemic Is a Crisis That Robots Were Built For

We humans weren't ready for the novel coronavirus--and neither were the machines. The pandemic has come at an awkward time, technologically speaking. Ever more sophisticated robots and AI are augmenting human workers, rather than replacing them entirely. While it would be nice if we could protect doctors and nurses by turning more tasks over to robots, medicine is particularly hard to automate. It's fundamentally human, requiring fine motor skills, compassion, and quick life-and-death decision-making we wouldn't want to leave to machines. But this pandemic is a unique opportunity Full Story


March 25, 2020

Roboticists: We've missed the mark for pandemic busting robots ... yet again

We've missed the mark when it comes to funding robotics development to meet critical demands during the COVID-19 pandemic. That's the takeaway from an editorial in the journal Science Robotics today, which was signed by leading academic researchers in the field. According to the authors of the editorial, robots could easily be doing some of the "dull, dirty and dangerous" jobs associated with combating the COVID-19 pandemic, but funding and development has not been directed at the capabilities that would be most helpful. Full Story


March 25, 2020

Coronavirus Pandemic Could Prove 'Tipping Point' For Robots Looking After Humans, Scientists and Experts Say

The development of robots to save lives and reduce human exposure to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak could lead to a new era of robotic human helpers, researchers have said. Robotics professor Henrik Christensen from the University of California San Diego, was among a group of leading experts who outlined how robots could be used to combat the coronavirus pandemic by doing the "dull, dirty and dangerous" jobs. Full Story


March 25, 2020

Could Robots Be Deployed to Front Line in Fighting COVID-19?

Robots can provide significant help in the fight against coronavirus, experts say. Their uses include: patient care such as telemedicine and decontamination; logistics such as delivery and handling contaminated waste; monitoring compliance with voluntary quarantines, and helping people maintain social connections, according to a paper published March 25 in the journal Science Robotics. Henrik Christensen, director of the Contextual Robotics Institute at the University of California, San Diego, is the lead author. Full Story


March 25, 2020

Could Robots Be Deployed to Front Line in Fighting COVID-19

Robots can provide significant help in the fight against coronavirus, experts say. Uses include: patient care such as telemedicine and decontamination; logistics such as delivery and handling contaminated waste; monitoring compliance with voluntary quarantines, etc., according to a paper published March 25 in the journal Science Robotics. "Already, we have seen robots being deployed for disinfection, delivering medications and food, measuring vital signs, and assisting border controls," the authors wrote. Henrik Christensen, Director, Contextual Robotics Inst. at UCSD, is the lead author. Full Story


February 26, 2020

10 robotics startups to watch in 2020

Running a robotics startup is no easy task. Yet, we are always amazed by the number of robotics startups working on innovative technologies. Here, in alphabetical order, are 10 robotics startups The Robot Report will be watching in 2020. The companies are working on a variety of products, including autonomous vehicles, mobile robots for construction, toy robots, and software to give robots common sense and make them easier to use. It's hard to narrow this list down to just 10 robotics startups, so please share in the comments some robotics startups you will be watching in 2020. Full Story


February 5, 2020

A Bionic Jellyfish Swims With Manic Speed (for a Jellyfish)

No disrespect, but roboticists have got nothing on the animal kingdom. Birds cut through the air with ease, while our drones plummet out of the sky. Humans balance elegantly on two legs, while humanoid robots fall on their faces. It takes roboticists a whole lot of work to even begin to approach the wonders of evolution. But maybe if you can?t beat ?em, hack ?em. Writing today in the journal Science Advances, researchers from Caltech and Stanford describe how they?ve equipped jellyfish with microchips and electrodes to turbocharge their swimming pace, Full Story


January 9, 2020

Study Finds TuSimple Trucks At Least 10% More Fuel Efficient Than Traditional Trucks

Autonomous trucking companies have long argued that self-driving technology will not only make trucking safer and more cost efficient but that it will also help reduce the amount of pollution commercial vehicles emit. Now a University of California San Diego study has substantiated some of those claims, with findings showing that autonomous trucks operated by self-driving startup TuSimple reduce fuel consumption of heavy-duty trucks by at least 10% and up to 20%. "We were surprised by the data," Henrik Christensen, director of the UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute Full Story


January 9, 2020

UC San Diego Rolls Out Self-Driving Mail Delivery Cars

These days, getting your snail mail at the University of California San Diego is pretty high-tech. For months, UC San Diego has been using self-driving cars to deliver mail on campus. Here's how it works: each morning, the car -- which has seating for four -- is loaded up with mail. The car's computer is programmed with the information that tells it where to go. Then - as a safety precaution - a driver hops on board, just in case anything goes wrong. Full Story


January 9, 2020

Hand-Tracking Tech Watches Riders in Self-Driving Cars to See If They're Ready to Take the Wheel

Researchers have developed a new technique for tracking the hand movements of a non-attentive driver, to calculate how long it would take the driver to assume control of a self-driving car in an emergency. If manufacturers can overcome the final legal hurdles, cars with Level 3 autonomous vehicle technology will one day be chauffeuring people from A to B. These cars allow a driver to have his or her eyes off the road and the freedom to do minor tasks (such as texting or watching a movie). However, these cars need a way of knowing how quickly--or slowly-- Full Story


January 9, 2020

Expect faster cell phones, better weather forecasts and cashier-less stores in 2020

Better weather forecasts. Faster cellular service. Quicker wildfire detection. Easier ways to buy MTS passes. And speedy, cashier-free convenience stores. They're all coming in 2020, brought along by advances in science and technology, including many innovations that were made or shaped in San Diego, a mecca for research. The focal point is UC San Diego, which recently began using self-driving carts to deliver mail. It's also improving weather forecasting. And early next year, the school will open a retail store that doesn't need or use cashiers. Full Story