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News Releases from 2020


Veterans Day 2020 at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Veterans Day 2020 at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

In recognition of Veterans Day, the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering is sharing the stories of two student veterans (electrical engineer Jack Bae and aerospace engineer Jeffrey Sei), while building for the future.  Full Story


IROS 2020: Autonomous mail delivery, robots practicing bartending, and more

IROS 2020: Autonomous mail delivery, robots practicing bartending, and more

From autonomous vehicles to robots practicing bartending and insect-like robots, engineers at the University of California San Diego are showcasing a broad range of pacers at IROS 2020, which is being held virtually from Oct. 25 to Nov. 25.    Full Story


$39 Million to better integrate renewables into power grid

$39 Million to better integrate renewables into power grid

The National Science Foundation has awarded $39 million to a team of engineers and computer scientists at the University of California San Diego to build a first-of-its-kind testbed to better understand how to integrate distributed energy sources such as solar panels, wind turbines, smart buildings and electric vehicle batteries into the power grid. The goal is to make the testbed available to outside research teams and industry by 2025.    Full Story


This 'squidbot' jets around and takes pics of coral and fish

This 'squidbot' jets around and takes pics of coral and fish

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have built a squid-like robot that can swim untethered, propelling itself by generating jets of water. The robot carries its own power source inside its body. It can also carry a sensor, such as a camera, for underwater exploration. Full Story


Material scientists learn how to make liquid crystal shape-shift

Material scientists learn how to make liquid crystal shape-shift

A new 3D-printing method will make it easier to manufacture and control the shape of soft robots, artificial muscles and wearable devices. Researchers at UC San Diego show that by controlling the printing temperature of liquid crystal elastomer, or LCE, they can control the material’s degree of stiffness and ability to contract--also known as degree of actuation.  What’s more, they are able to change the stiffness of different areas in the same material by exposing it to heat. Full Story


Engineering graduate students honored as Siebel Scholars

Engineering graduate students honored as Siebel Scholars

Five Jacobs School of Engineering graduate students pioneering tools to treat rare genetic disorders, studying microbes in cancer, developing noninvasive wearable biosensors, studying the physical principles underlying cell membrane deformation, and developing noninvasive methods for evaluating cardiovascular function, have been named 2021 Siebel Scholars. Full Story


Making space weather forecasts faster and better

Making space weather forecasts faster and better

 To improve the ability to forecast space weather, a multidisciplinary team of researchers, including Professor Boris Kramer at the University of California San Diego, received $3.1 million from the National Science Foundation. The researchers, led by Professor Richard Linares at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will also work on speeding up the forecasting abilities that are currently available. Full Story


Eight teams of engineers and physicians work to tackle COVID-19 related challenges

Eight teams of engineers and physicians work to tackle COVID-19 related challenges

The Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine program at UC San Diego is supporting eight COVID-19 related projects in early stages with microgrants. The program is a collaboration between the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute and the Institute of Engineering in Medicine launched in 2013 to bring engineers and clinicians together to develop innovative technologies and solve challenging problems in medical care.  Full Story


UC San Diego named 4th best public research university in prestigious global rankings

UC San Diego named 4th best public research university in prestigious global rankings

Shanghai rankings celebrate campus as a world-renowned research powerhouse. Full Story


Engineer Earns Presidential Award for Improving Underrepresented Student Access to STEM Experiences

Engineer Earns Presidential Award for Improving Underrepresented Student Access to STEM Experiences

Olivia Graeve, a UC San Diego professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from the White House. The award was created in 1995 to honor extraordinary individuals whose efforts have helped provide underrepresented groups with access to opportunities in STEM. Full Story


A Prototype for Help in the Fight Against COVID-19

A Prototype for Help in the Fight Against COVID-19

In the midst of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic that had UC San Diego researchers racing to understand the complexities around the virus’s spread and to find ways to combat it, engineers and fabrication specialists at the Qualcomm Institute’s Prototyping Lab leapt into action. Vacuum exhaused isolation lockers, or VEILs, produced in the Prototyping Lab are ready to be delivered to local hospitals. Full Story


Engineer and mathematician receive Newton Award for Transformative Ideas during COVID-19 pandemic

Engineer and mathematician receive Newton Award for Transformative Ideas during COVID-19 pandemic

Two UC San Diego professors—Melvin Leok from the Department of Mathematics (Division of Physical Sciences) and Boris Kramer from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (Jacobs School of Engineering) are among the 13 award recipients of the Newton Award for Transformative Ideas during the COVID-19 Pandemic from the Department of Defense.  Full Story


New model connects respiratory droplet physics with spread of Covid-19

New model connects respiratory droplet physics with spread of Covid-19

Respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze travel farther and last longer in humid, cold climates than in hot, dry ones, according to a study on droplet physics by an international team of engineers. The researchers incorporated this understanding of the impact of environmental factors on droplet spread into a new mathematical model that can be used to predict the early spread of respiratory viruses including COVID-19, and the role of respiratory droplets in that spread.  Full Story


$18M Boost to Materials Science Research at UC San Diego

$18M Boost to Materials Science Research at UC San Diego

The National Science Foundation has awarded University of California San Diego researchers a six-year $18 million grant to fund a new Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).These research centers are transformative for the schools that earn them, putting their materials science research efforts into the global spotlight. In addition to research and facilities funding, MRSEC centers provide sustained research opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students, and resources to focus on diversifying the pool of students studying materials science.The UC San Diego labs funded by this new MRSEC will focus on two important, emerging approaches to build new materials aimed at improving human lives. Full Story


UC San Diego NanoEngineers to lead MRSEC research thrust on Predictive Assembly

UC San Diego NanoEngineers to lead MRSEC research thrust on Predictive Assembly

In some ways, the field of materials science is where the pharmaceutical sciences were twenty years ago. A team of University of California San Diego researchers is working to change that. The team makes up the "predictive assembly" research thrust of the new $18M Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  Today, computational and predictive tools are used in the pharmaceutical industry in order to design "small molecule" drugs with particular properties and behaviors. The challenge is that the design-before-you-synthesize approach hasn't worked for the larger-scale materials that are critical for many applications beyond small-molecule drugs. That's the work that will be done by the team led by nanoengineering professors Andrea Tao and Tod Pascal from the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Full Story


Creating an engineering senior design project...at home

Creating an engineering senior design project...at home

Curbside delivery of 3D-printed parts, the cooperation of roommates, weekend build sessions in Riverside and communication, communication, communication. This is what it took for graduating engineering students, staff and faculty at UC San Diego to transition the hands-on, team-based capstone mechanical engineering design course to remote instruction in the age of COVID-19. Full Story


Researchers develop low-cost, easy-to-use emergency ventilator for COVID-19 patients

Researchers develop low-cost, easy-to-use emergency ventilator for COVID-19 patients

A team of engineers and physicians at the University of California San Diego has developed a low-cost, easy-to-use emergency ventilator for COVID-19 patients that is built around a ventilator bag usually found in ambulances.  The team built an automated system around the bag and brought down the cost of an emergency ventilator to just $500 per unit--state of the art models cost at least $50,000. The device's components can be rapidly fabricated  and the ventilator can be assembled in just 15 minutes. The device’s electronics and sensors rely on a robust supply chain from fields not related to healthcare that are unlikely to be affected by shortages.   Full Story


Using LEGO to test children's ability to visualize and rotate 3D shapes in space

Using LEGO to test children's ability to visualize and rotate 3D shapes in space

Researchers at the University of California San Diego have developed a test that uses children’s ability to assemble LEGO pieces to assess their spatial visualization ability. Spatial visualization is the ability to visualize 3D shapes in one’s mind, which is tied to increased GPAs and graduation rates in STEM college students.  Full Story


How Stimulus Dollars are Spent will Affect Emissions for Decades

How Stimulus Dollars are Spent will Affect Emissions for Decades

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have led to a record crash in emissions. But it will be emission levels during the recovery—in the months and years after the pandemic recedes—that matter most for how global warming plays out, according to a new Nature commentary from researchers at the University of California San Diego. While the skies have been noticeably cleaner, countries like the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and others have recently relaxed laws controlling pollution and vehicle energy efficiency standards. Full Story


Graduating students honored with engineering Awards of Excellence

Graduating students honored with engineering Awards of Excellence

Six students were selected from among their peers to receive an Award of Excellence for their outstanding academic, leadership and community contributions.  Full Story


These flexible feet help robots walk faster

These flexible feet help robots walk faster

Roboticists at the University of California San Diego have developed flexible feet that can help robots walk up to 40 percent faster on uneven terrain such as pebbles and wood chips. The work has applications for search-and-rescue missions as well as space exploration. Full Story


Making matter out of light: high-power laser simulations point the way

Making matter out of light: high-power laser simulations point the way

A few minutes into the life of the universe, colliding emissions of light energy created the first particles of matter and antimatter. We are familiar with the reverse process—matter generating energy—which occurs in an atomic bomb, for example, but it has been difficult to recreate that critical transformation of light into matter. Now, a new set of simulations by a research team led by UC San Diego’s Alexey Arefiev point the way toward making matter from light. Full Story


Engineers develop low-cost, high-accuracy GPS-like system for flexible medical robots

Engineers develop low-cost, high-accuracy GPS-like system for flexible medical robots

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. 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. Their findings are published in the April 2020 issue of IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters.   Full Story


Undergraduate engineers design neonatal ECMO simulation

Undergraduate engineers design neonatal ECMO simulation

In collaboration with physicians and surgeons at Rady Children’s Hospital, a team of undergraduate mechanical engineering students developed a neonatal simulation system for a critical and rare surgical procedure called ECMO. They developed this realistic simulation system- believed to be the first for neonatal patients—for their senior design project.  Full Story


Students harness their knowledge for ventilator challenge

Students harness their knowledge for ventilator challenge

Two groups of engineering students at UC San Diego spent their spring break harnessing their knowledge to contribute to the ventilator shortage the world is facing with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Full Story


Undergraduates simplify intubation tool for senior design project

Undergraduates simplify intubation tool for senior design project

A team of UC San Diego undergraduate engineers helped design a simple, all-in-one tool to perform endotracheal intubations, which could simplify the steps clinicians need to take when performing the time-sensitive, complex procedure. The mechanical engineering students took on the challenge as their senior design project, with direction from project sponsor Dr. Taylor Graber of the Department of Anesthesiology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine.  Full Story


Economic Impact of COVID-19 will Make the Fight Against Climate Change Harder

Economic Impact of COVID-19 will Make the Fight Against Climate Change Harder

Measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus have reduced the demand for fuel and slashed oil prices. Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the chief long-term cause of climate warming, have slid perhaps by one-fifth and pollution is down, but can we expect COVID-19 to create lasting change in reversing global warming?“I doubt it,” said David Victor, professor of international relations at the University of California San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy. “While the pandemic might alter societies permanently, the same market forces that drive our dependence on fossil fuels are still in play and may even be reinforced with the economic fallout of COVID-19.” Full Story


Thanks to 'flexoskeletons,' these insect-inspired robots are faster and cheaper to make

Thanks to 'flexoskeletons,' these insect-inspired robots are faster and cheaper to make

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a new method that doesn’t require any special equipment and works in just minutes to create soft, flexible, 3D-printed robots. The structures were inspired by insect exoskeletons, which have both soft and rigid parts--the researchers called their creations “flexoskeletons.”    Full Story


Company founded by engineering alumni advances 1-hour COVID test

Company founded by engineering alumni advances 1-hour COVID test

Medical diagnostic company Fluxergy, founded by UC San Diego engineering alumni, submitted an Emergency Use Authorization to the FDA for their quick, point-of-care COVID-19 test. Full Story


UC San Diego Engineers and Doctors Team Up to Retrofit and Build Ventilators

UC San Diego Engineers and Doctors Team Up to Retrofit and Build Ventilators

Even as university campuses close across the nation in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, a team of engineers and physicians at the University of California San Diego is rapidly developing simple, ready-to-use ventilators to be deployed if the need arises.The project kick-started several weeks ago when news started to trickle in that communities in Northern Italy with widespread COVID-19 were in dire straits.“One of the biggest things we heard was that there weren’t enough ventilators to treat all of the patients coming into the hospitals,” said James Friend, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego. “It’s clear that if we’re not careful, we might end up in the same situation.” Full Story


This wearable device camouflages its wearer no matter the weather

This wearable device camouflages its wearer no matter the weather

Researchers at the University of California San Diego developed a wearable technology that can hide its wearer from heat-detecting sensors such as night vision goggles, even when the ambient temperature changes--a feat that current state of the art technology cannot match.  The technology can adapt to temperature changes in just a few minutes, while keeping the wearer comfortable.  Full Story


Ultrasound device improves charge time and run time in lithium batteries

Ultrasound device improves charge time and run time in lithium batteries

Researchers at the University of California San Diego developed an ultrasound-emitting device that brings lithium metal batteries, or LMBs, one step closer to commercial viability. Although the research team focused on LMBs, the device can be used in any battery, regardless of chemistry.   Full Story


Lim(b)itless in India: UC San Diego Students Travel Abroad to Empower Amputees

Lim(b)itless in India: UC San Diego Students Travel Abroad to Empower Amputees

In November, 2019, 10 UC San Diego students filed into a bustling amputee clinic in Jaipur, India. On one side of the room, men and women, some bearing crutches, watched as their new limbs took shape under the staff’s careful hands. For many of them, a prosthetic limb represented the chance to regain their mobility, independence and livelihoods. The students’ visit to the Jaipur Foot clinic—a non-profit known around the world for providing affordable, prosthetic limbs and other mobility aids to those in need—marked more than a year of painstaking work to develop technology connecting amputees directly to prosthetists. The work is part of Project Lim(b)itless, an initiative founded by Albert Lin, a recent amputee and researcher at the Qualcomm Institute (QI) at UC San Diego. Full Story


Passion drives True Tritons to service

Passion drives True Tritons to service

From creating scholarships and providing leadership, to student mentoring and preserving the arts, four shining examples of Triton passion and commitment will be honored Feb. 7 at UC San Diego’s True Triton Celebration to be held in the Great Hall on campus. Full Story


Mechanical engineering student awarded Brooke Owens Fellowship

Mechanical engineering student awarded Brooke Owens Fellowship

Surya Vohra, a mechanical engineering student at UC San Diego, has been selected as a 2020 Brooke Owens Fellow. The Fellowship is awarded to exceptional undergraduate women in aerospace. This marks the fourth year—since the beginning of the Brooke Owens Fellow program—that a UC San Diego engineering student has been awarded a fellowship.  Full Story


Engineering professor Graeve inducted into Mexican Academy of Sciences

Engineering professor Graeve inducted into Mexican Academy of Sciences

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Olivia Graeve has been inducted into the Academia Mexicana de Ciencias (Mexican Academy of Sciences or AMC). The AMC, established in 1959, is a non-profit non-governmental association of distinguished members of the Mexican scientific community. Graeve, a Tijuana native and UC San Diego alumna, is one of only three corresponding members inducted in 2019. Corresponding members are researchers who reside outside of Mexico but have made significant contributions to the development of science in Mexico.  Full Story


The Epic Lives of Albert Lin

The Epic Lives of Albert Lin

UC San Diego engineering alumnus Albert Yu-Min Lin can be described in many ways: explorer, engineer, scientist, artist, surfer, humanist, traveler, philosopher, father. It’s a challenge to capture Lin, whether in a few words or just for a quick phone call. He seems to have an endless supply of momentum—an energy, curiosity and optimism as big as the world he is continually exploring. Full Story