News Releases from 2017


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


ECE Professor Elected ACM Fellow in Class of 2017

A faculty member affiliated with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Professor Alexander Vardy, is one of three UC San Diego faculty elected Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) announced on December 11.  Full Story


Three UC San Diego Computer Scientists Elevated to Be ACM Fellows in Class of 2017

Three computer scientists from the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California San Diego have been elected Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). ACM is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society.  Full Story


Smartphone case offers blood glucose monitoring on the go

Engineers at the UC San Diego Center for Wearable Sensors have developed a smartphone case and app that could make it easier for patients to record and track their blood glucose readings, whether they’re at home or on the go. Full Story


Roberto and Colleen Padovani establish scholarship for electrical engineers at UC San Diego

Roberto and Colleen Padovani are establishing a $1 million endowed scholarship focused on exceptional undergraduates with financial need in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at the Jacobs School of Engineering. Full Story


Self-Described School False Starter Aims to Pay It Forward in EdTech

What if we could use artificial intelligence to dramatically reduce the number of students who drop out of STEM-related majors? That's the question Monal Parmar, a first-generation UC San Diego alumnus, who is currently working on a master's at the Jacobs School of Engineering, asked himself. Parmar developed a device to that could help answer this question in the affirmative. He has received advice from the Jacobs School's Institute for the Global Entrepreneur. His efforts were rewarded when he was invited recently to compete in the Entrepreneurs' Organization's (EO) Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) competition, held on Nov. 14. 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 Scientists Create Device for Ultra-Accurate Genome Sequencing of Single Human Cells

An interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of California San Diego has developed a technology for very accurate sequencing and haplotyping of genomes from single human cells. Their findings were published online in advance of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)* print edition.“Accurate sequencing of single cells will enable the identification of mutations that cause cancer and genetic disease,” said senior author Kun Zhang, a professor of bioengineering in the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. “At the same time, precise haplotyping will allow for the genotyping of haplotypes, combinations of different genes or alleles as a group from either parent.” Full Story


Can Organisms Sense via Radio Frequency? A Team of UC San Diego Researchers Awarded Grant to Find Out

Can organisms use radio frequencies to sense surroundings? A new project by researchers at the University of California San Diego will investigate this biological mystery. 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


11 UC San Diego Faculty Members Honored with Hellman Fellowships

Husband and wife Warren and Chris Hellman established the Hellman Fellows Program at UC San Diego in 1995 to support and encourage junior faculty to pursue research projects and creative endeavors with the goal of enhancing their candidacy for tenure. This year, 11 faculty members representing a variety of academic disciplines have been awarded a total of approximately $500,000.The UC San Diego Hellman Fellowship Program was launched by the Hellman Family Foundation with an initial gift of $2.5 million. The program proved so successful that it has since been rolled out at all 10 University of California campuses. At UC San Diego, the foundation has committed a total of $7.5 million to date for the program. The Hellmans have stated that “creating the Hellman Fellows Program is one of the best things our family has ever done with our giving.” Full Story


Machine Learning Detects Marketing and Sale of Opioids on Twitter

Using advanced machine learning, a cross disciplinary team of University of California San Diego researchers developed technology that mined Twitter to identify entities illegally selling prescription opioids online.  The findings, published online in the American Journal of Public Health in October, detected 1,778 posts that were marketing the sale of controlled substances, 90 percent included hyperlinks to online sites for purchase. Full Story


Laser cavities take on new shapes and functionalities

Bending laser light around sharp turns and corners—without scattering—is now possible thanks to a new laser cavity developed by electrical engineers at UC San Diego. This is the first laser cavity that can fully confine and propagate light in any shape imaginable: triangle, square, loop with jagged edges. The work could lead to faster computers and optical fibers that perform well even when they’re bent in different directions. Full Story


Researchers receive NSF award to build nanolabs on a chip

Engineers at the University of California San Diego are leading a project to develop high-density nanowire arrays that can be used to measure and control multiple individual cells in large networks. Researchers envision that these nanodevices, combined with a patient’s own cells, could create low-cost, predictive drug-screening platforms to accelerate drug discovery and personalized treatments for neurological and cardiac diseases.  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


Squeezing light into infinitesimally thin lines

Researchers have demonstrated a new mode of electromagnetic wave, called a "line wave," which travels along an infinitesimally thin line along the interface between two adjacent surfaces with different electromagnetic properties. The scientists expect that line waves will be useful for the efficient routing and concentration of electromagnetic energy, such as light, with potential applications in areas ranging from integrated photonics, sensing and quantum processes to future vacuum electronics. Full Story


When Artificial Intelligence is Funny

What do you do if you’re an animal shelter and have to name a big litter of guinea pigs that suddenly become available for adoption and need to be named? Why, contact Janelle Shane, who earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering at UC San Diego, of course. Shane works on lasers in her day job, but her hobby is using neural networks to create paint color names, band names and much more.Her efforts have received an onslaught of media coverage, from Gizmodo, to Wired, to The Atlantic Online. When the Morris Animal Refuge in Portland, Ore., came to her, Shane agreed. Full Story


Four Physician-Engineer Teams Funded by UC San Diego

Four physician-engineer teams from UC San Diego have been selected to receive the 2017 Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) awards. This is an initiative of UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) and UC San Diego Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM). It brings engineers and clinicians together to develop innovative technologies that can be applied to solving challenging problems in medical care. This year’s projects address challenges in the areas of cardiology, ophthalmology, radiology, and reproductive medicine. Full Story


Stretchable biofuel cells extract energy from sweat to power wearable devices

A team of engineers has developed stretchable fuel cells that extract energy from sweat and are capable of powering electronics, such as LEDs and Bluetooth radios. The biofuel cells generate 10 times more power per surface area than any existing wearable biofuel cells. The devices could be used to power a range of wearable devices.  Full Story


Gallium Nitride 'Tangoes' with Silicon to Overcome Nature's Material Limitations

Researchers at the Integrated Electronics and Biointerfaces Group at UC San Diego led by electrical engineering professor Shadi Dayeh have demonstrated a method to grow crack-free 19-micron-thick layers of GaN on Si. Full Story


Researchers receive an NSF award to develop new neural mapping technologies of the brain

Researchers at the University of California San Diego have developed a new way to record neural activity in the brain by combining macro-scale electrophysiology with micro-scale optical imaging. The combination of the two recording modalities will provide temporal and spatial resolution previously unattained. The new imaging capability could lead to new discoveries on information processing in the brain and circuit dysfunctions for neurological disorders such as epilepsy, depression and memory disorders.  Full Story


Qualcomm Institute's CARI Therapeutics Awarded NIH Grant for Opioid Sensor

Researchers at the University of California San Diego, in collaboration with CARI Therapeutics of the University's Qualcomm Institute Innovation Space, have begun development of a biosensor that will detect the presence of opioids in patients in recovery and might ultimately transform the way opioid use disorders are diagnosed, monitored, and treated. The sensor also relies on research by Drew Hall, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.   Full Story


Nature Names UC San Diego a Top 15 Research Institution Worldwide

The University of California San Diego is the world’s 14th best university for developing research that is used to create products or services that benefit society and spur economic growth. The new rankings by Nature, one of the world’s leading academic journals, also praise the campus for its research output: nearly half of UC San Diego’s natural science papers appear in the Nature index, which measures research productivity in the globe’s top science journals.  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


Students Developing Low-Cost Device for Monitoring HIV Levels in Blood Win National Competition

A team of UC San Diego students is working to help curb the HIV epidemic by developing a low-cost device for people in low-resource areas to monitor the amount of HIV virus in their bloodstream. They recently took first place in the National Academy of Engineering 2017 Global Grand Challenges Summit (GGCS) business plan competition. The team will use the $25,000 in prize money to help them translate their research to the clinic as part of a public benefit corporation they recently created called Worldcare Technologies. 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


From Theory to Microgrid: New Ideas from the Sustainable Power and Energy Center Research Summit

Software that can design new materials for energy storage. X-ray visualization techniques to “see” inside batteries and solar cells. Green processes for making batteries. These were some of the projects presented at the Sustainable Power and Energy Center (SPEC) Research Summit at the University of California San Diego on July 18. Full Story


Center for Visual Computing Has Major Presence at Upcoming Computer Vision Conference

Computer vision researchers from the University of California San Diego will have a major presence at the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR 2017), with 20 papers on the agenda featuring at least one co-author from UC San Diego. Considered the premier forum for computer vision researchers, the conference will take place July 21-26 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Full Story


UC San Diego part of international team to develop wireless implantable microdevices for the brain

Engineers at the University of California San Diego are part of an international collaboration led by Brown University to develop a wireless neural prosthetic system that could record and stimulate neural activity with unprecedented detail and precision and lead to new medical therapies for people who have lost sensory function due to injury or illness. Full Story


'Near-zero-power' temperature sensor could make wearables, smart home devices less power-hungry

Electrical engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a temperature sensor that runs on only 113 picowatts of power — 628 times lower power than the state of the art and about 10 billion times smaller than a watt. This "near-zero-power" temperature sensor could extend the battery life of wearable or implantable devices that monitor body temperature, smart home monitoring systems, Internet of Things devices and environmental monitoring systems. Full Story


High-Tech Baby Monitor Company Co-Founded by UC San Diego Computer Science Alumnus Raises $4 Million

Cocoon Cam, a computer-vision-based baby monitor company co-founded by University of California San Diego computer science alumnus Pavan Kumar (M.S. Computer Science 2015), recently announced that it closed a $4 million Series A funding round. Cocoon Cam is a baby monitor that relies on computer vision technologies to track breathing and other vital signs. It offers instant alerts and sleep analytics that can be accessed by parents anytime through a smartphone app.  Full Story


5G Wireless and Beyond: From Evolution to Revolution

From a technical standpoint, fifth generation mobile wireless – or 5G, as it’s commonly known – is more about “evolution” than “revolution.” In many ways 5G simply builds upon the mobile infrastructure established by the current wireless standard, 4G LTE. From the standpoint of the imagination, however, 5G is poised to reshape the technological world as we know it. Full Story


Transistor Contacts in the Making: Live Atomic Scale Dynamics

Nanoscale transistors have entered into an age of relentless shrinking of dimensions to a few atomic layers in both length and cross-sectional width and their performance have been greatly hindered with the increase of their electrical contact series resistance. Researchers at the University of California San Diego have developed strategies to control the atomic ordering at these contact interfaces to improve performance as they shrink. Full Story


Six Times Around the World: UC San Diego Researchers Send a Balloon Around the Globe

Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, just above commercial air traffic, a small, hydrogen-filled balloon is reporting on its whereabouts to researchers in a UC San Diego lab who are listening intently. The balloon—called a super pressure balloon—was launched by a group of UC San Diego students and researchers about 100 days ago from campus and is on its sixth lap around the globe. This is the first time a balloon from UC San Diego has made it across the country—let alone the world. The Feb. 12 launch is part of a unique program headed by structural engineering professor John Kosmatka and supported by NASA’s California Space Grant Consortium. Full Story


Keysight Technologies, UC San Diego Demonstrate the World's Fastest 28 GHz 5G Band, Bidirectional Phased-Array

Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS) and the University of California San Diego today announced the world’s fastest bidirectional phased-array link in the 28 GHz 5G band. The achievement is an important milestone for delivering future applications in 5G, aerospace and defense. Full Story


New brain mapping tool produces higher resolution data during brain surgery

Researchers have developed a new device to map the brain during surgery and distinguish between healthy and diseased tissues. The device provides higher resolution neural readings than existing tools used in the clinic and could enable doctors to perform safer, more precise brain surgeries. Full Story


New UC San Diego Technology Accelerator Selects Five Teams for Its Inaugural Cohort

Today the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur (IGE) at the University of California San Diego announced team selections for its new technology accelerator. Five UC San Diego research teams, with innovations ranging from advanced healthcare diagnostics and medical device technologies to next generation LIDAR for autonomous-vehicle navigation, have been selected to join the new campus program. Full Story


Mitsubishi Electric, Nokia Bell Labs, UCSD develop first ultra-fast GaN envelope-tracking power amplifier for next-gen wireless base stations

Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Electric Corp, Nokia Bell Labs and the Center for Wireless Communications at University California San Diego (UCSD) have announced their joint development of what is claimed to be the first ultra-fast gallium nitride (GaN) envelope-tracking power amplifier, which supports modulation bandwidth up to 80MHz and is expected to reduce energy consumption in next-generation wireless base stations. Technical details will be presented during the IEEE MTT International Microwave Symposium (IMS) 2017 in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA (4-9 June). Full Story


UC San Diego Electrical Engineering Professor Pam Cosman Wins Pinnacle Award

Pamela Cosman, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, is being honored for her exemplary leadership among women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Cosman was one of just seven recipients of the 2017 Pinnacle Awards, announced May 5, 2017.   Full Story


UC San Diego Engineer Talks Tech with Congressional Staff in Washington, D.C.

UC San Diego electrical engineering professor Patrick Mercier met with staff members working for representatives for San Diego County and for California Senator Dianne Feinstein at an event on Capitol Hill, where he showcased wearable technologies that have the potential to revolutionize access to health care.  Full Story


Triton Entrepreneur Night: Pitch Perfect

Sensors that tell you if Chinese food from last weekend is still safe to eat. An app to let your professor know you have no idea what he’s talking about. A grocery store guide to find the exact aisle and shelf location of your favorite cereal. These aren’t just crazy ideas — they’re actual startups currently in development in The Basement, UC San Diego’s two-year-old incubator and accelerator program managed by the UC San Diego Alumni Office.  Full Story


Nanoparticles for treating bacterial infections take top prize at Research Expo 2017

B.J. (Byungji) Kim, a materials science and engineering graduate student at the University of California San Diego, won the grand prize at Research Expo 2017 for her work on nanoparticles that help the body’s immune system fight infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria—without the use of antibiotics. Kim received the Lee Rudee Outstanding Poster Award and a $1,000 cash prize, as well as the Katie Osterday Best Poster in mechanical engineering, which came with a $500 cash prize.  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


UCSD Celebrates ECE Day 2017

April 12th marked the third annual ECE Day at the University of California San Diego. The event was organized by UC San Diego’s Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) and IEEE chapters, and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Undergraduate Student Council. They provided entertainment, local cuisine, a bevy of panelists from industry, and keynote speaker, Dr. Gilbert Strang. The day was chock full of opportunity to network, to create, to focus on depth sequences and to ponder career choices.  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


'Neuron-reading' nanowires could accelerate development of drugs to treat neurological diseases

A team led by engineers at the University of California San Diego has developed nanowires that can record the electrical activity of neurons in fine detail. The new nanowire technology could one day serve as a platform to screen drugs for neurological diseases and could enable researchers to better understand how single cells communicate in large neuronal networks. Full Story



UC San Diego Electrical Engineering Professor Pam Cosman Wins Diversity Award

Pamela Cosman, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, has been named a UC San Diego 2016 Diversity Champion. Full Story


New nano-implant could one day help restore sight

A team of engineers at the University of California San Diego and La Jolla-based startup Nanovision Biosciences Inc. have developed the nanotechnology and wireless electronics for a new type of retinal prosthesis that brings research a step closer to restoring the ability of neurons in the retina to respond to light. The researchers demonstrated this response to light in a rat retina interfacing with a prototype of the device in vitro.  Full Story