Press Clips from 2017


December 18, 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


November 30, 2017

Xploration Nature Knows Best_Transportation

Danni Washington experiences amazing new modes of transportation, all inspired by nature. There?s a robot on wheels, patterned after sea urchins, that may someday roll on Mars. And a motorcycle inspired by shark skin. Full Story


November 30, 2017

Engineers get the feeling for robotic fingers

All hands are on deck at this lab at the University of California San Diego, where researcher Michael Tolley's team are working on a human-like robotic gripper. Its three fingers are made of three flexible pneumatic chambers that move when air pressure is applied, allowing each digit to manipulate the object it's holding. Full Story


November 30, 2017

With cash and perks, China woos the brightest tech minds

For decades, the U.S. has attracted the best and the brightest from all over the world. Is it possible that one day soon China can credibly make that claim? Some U.S. experts think so. They point to initiatives like China's "Thousand Talents" program, which is meant to bring the sharpest scientific minds to China. Patrick Sinko, a Rutgers University distinguished professor, described Thousand Talents as a "cherry-picking brain drain." Such outreach programs come as the U.S. has been steadily cutting the budgets of organizations Full Story


November 27, 2017

Xploration Nature Knows Best- Transportation

Host Danni Washington experiences amazing new modes of transportation, all inspired by nature. There's a robot on wheels, patterned after sea urchins, that may someday roll on Mars. And a motorcycle inspired by shark skin. Full Story


October 30, 2017

Technologists: Public won't accept driverless cars unless they're more skilled than humans

A compelling question came up Friday at UC San Diego, where engineers are discussing the near future of driverless cars: Will the public accept driverless cars if their operating systems don't match the driving skills of a human? The question was fielded by Xiaodi Hou is correct spelling, chief technology officer at TuSimple, who told a gathering at the Contextual Robotics Institute: "We need (driverless cars) that are much better (at driving) than humans to convince (the public) that autonomous driving is a good thing ... We're having a hard time with this." Full Story


October 30, 2017

UC San Diego creating aerodrome where it can fly experimental drones

UC San Diego is creating an outdoor site where it can test fly unmanned aerial vehicles, which are rapidly coming into common use by everyone from police investigating crime scenes to scientists looking for archaeological remains. The aerodrome will be a net cage that will be 30 feet high and roughly 50 feet long and wide, making it similar to a facility that's being built at the University of Michigan, a leader in drone research. San Diego chipmaker Qualcomm gave UC San Diego $200,000 to create the flight center Full Story


October 30, 2017

San Diego Positions Itself as Autonomous Technology Proving Ground

UC San Diego is becoming a test bed for self-driving vehicle technology. With a campus that encompasses more than 3.3 square miles and a daytime population of roughly 65,000, "It's a small city," said Henrik Christensen, who is leading the new project as director of the university's Institute for Contextual Robotics. Christensen, who announced the move Friday at a robotics forum entitled "Intelligent Vehicles 2025," said the effort would enable UC San Diego scientists to help solve the kind of problems autonomous vehicles will likely encounter along crowded streets. Full Story


October 30, 2017

Daily Business Report-Oct. 27, 2017

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. "We are trying to solve the 'last mile' problem, when autonomous vehicles get off the freeway and onto crowded neighborhood streets," said Henrik Christensen Full Story


October 30, 2017

New RoboBee flies, dives, swims, and explodes out the of water

We've seen RoboBees that can fly, stick to walls, and dive into water. Now, get ready for a hybrid RoboBee that can fly, dive into water, swim, propel itself back out of water, and safely land. New floating devices allow this multipurpose air-water microrobot to stabilize on the water's surface before an internal combustion system ignites to propel it back into the air. Full Story


October 30, 2017

Robotic gripper has a feel for the shape of things

When you reach into your pocket and grab your keys, you can tell how they're oriented, without actually seeing them. Well, an engineering team at the University of California San Diego has created a soft robotic gripper that works in much the same way. It can build virtual 3D models of objects simply by touching them, and then proceed to manipulate those items accordingly. Ordinarily, robots need to see objects that they're gripping via a camera, and/or they initially need to be trained to grip them. Full Story


October 30, 2017

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 newly created robotic gripper. 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. Full Story


October 16, 2017

This robot can take sunset walks on the beach--seriously.

This robot can take sunset walks on the beach--seriously. Full Story


October 16, 2017

Video Friday: Robotic Creatures, ROS-Industrial, and Machine Knitting

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. Full Story


October 16, 2017

Robotic gripper has a feel for the shape of things

When you reach into your pocket and grab your keys, you can tell how they're oriented, without actually seeing them. Well, an engineering team at the University of California San Diego has created a soft robotic gripper that works in much the same way. It can build virtual 3D models of objects simply by touching them, and then proceed to manipulate those items accordingly. Ordinarily, robots need to see objects that they're gripping via a camera, and/or they initially need to be trained to grip them. This means that low-light situations can be challenging, Full Story


October 16, 2017

UC San Diego engineers developing smart & soft 3D printed gripper that can figure out what it's holding

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a partially 3D printed soft robotic gripper capable of 3D scanning the object it is gripping. 3D printing was used to make the gripper's actuators. Sometimes when you're scrambling around in the dark for a light switch, a pair of glasses, or--let's go out on a limb here--a 3D printer, you might wish that your sense of touch was a little better. Overall, however, we as humans are pretty good at knowing what's in our hands--even when we can't see anything. Full Story


October 16, 2017

New soft robotic gripper can screw in light bulbs

Scientists have built a new robotic gripper with soft fingers that can pick up and manipulate a range of objects and perform tasks such as screwing in a light bulb. The team from University of California (UC) San Diego in the US built the gripper that can pick up and manipulate objects without seeing 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 is manipulating. Full Story


October 6, 2017

IBM, UC San Diego launch aging-based AI center

IBM and the University of California San Diego have launched an artificial intelligence project aimed at boosting the quality of life and independence for aging populations. The partners have opened an Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living Center on the campus of UC San Diego to bring together the technology, AI and life sciences knowledge for research into healthy aging. Full Story


October 6, 2017

IBM and University of California partnering to understand ageing through AI

IBM is working on a project to improve quality of life through artificial intelligence (AI), in conjunction with UC San Diego. The multi-year undertaking will work to help elderly citizens gain independence and improve their standard of living through the application of AI technology and life sciences to two themes: healthy ageing and the human microbiome. An international group of leading universities working with IBM forms the IBM Cognitive Horizons Network, of which this project is a part. The aim of the network is to work on technologies which fulfil the potential of AI. Full Story


October 6, 2017

IBM, University Partnership Brings Artifical Intelligence to Senior Living

Big data and artificial intelligence are beginning to appear just about everywhere. And now, research and technology powerhouses IBM and University of California, San Diego are joining forces through a new partnership that will work to provide big data and AI solutions even more readily to the aging population--bringing with them some major senior living implications. The multi-year partnership, officially signed Thursday at the university's campus in La Jolla, California, is aimed toward enhancing quality of life and independence of aging populations through the establishment of a new center Full Story


October 6, 2017

Scientists at UC San Diego partner with IBM for research project on healthy aging

Leaders from UC San Diego will sign a deal with IBM Thursday to launch a 5 year project studying the possibilities of using Artificial Intelligence to help senior citizens live longer, healthier lives. A $10 Million dollar grant, and another $6 million from the school will create the Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living Center on campus. It will focus research on two main areas, healthy aging and the human microbiome. "Our goal is to try to make sure older adults can remain in their homes as long as possible," says Tajana Rosing, the Center's director and professor in the Jacobs School Full Story


October 2, 2017

San Diego's Driverless Car Tests Get People Thinking

A parking lot near the center of the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar is surrounded by barracks which are home to some of the 3,000 marines who live on base. It will soon be a stop for a driverless shuttle bus. "The initial route starts at the barracks, where we're standing now. And it goes along the flight line where most of the work is happening," said Major Brandon Newell, chairman of mobility transformation for the Marine Corps. Full Story


October 2, 2017

Origami 'Clothes' Make the Robot

When unadorned, the robot is but a tiny, tumbling, magnetic cube. But wrap it in a self-folding polymer and Mylar sheet, and it transforms. Donning this origami exoskeleton, the 1/8-inch robot becomes bigger and more powerful, now smoothly scooting around. Layering on another exoskeleton gives it wheels. A different one turns it into a boat. Yet another one gives it wings that carry it through the air. "Robots are generally pretty inflexible, since most of the time, each of their parts has a fixed structure and a single defined purpose," said Shuhei Miyashita, a roboticist at York University Full Story


September 28, 2017

Photo of the day: UC San Diego Shows off Self Folding Robotics

Researchers from the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering will have a chance to demonstrate their robotic advancements at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. The conference will be taking place from September 24 to 28 in Vancouver, Canada. Some of the robotic systems will include robotic endoscopes and systems for computers. This year's conference theme is "friendly people, friendly robots," due to their integration within the past year and how much they are expected to integrate more in the future. Full Story


September 28, 2017

UC San Diego to test self-driving cars on campus roads

UC San Diego is going to begin testing self-driving vehicles on campus roads and lanes early next year, taking advantage of the fact that it doesn't need state permission to carry out such studies. The research will be run by the school's Contextual Robotics Institute, which will customize a variety of vehicles to slowly navigate the roads without the use of a driver. Full Story


August 17, 2017

UC San Diego scientists are building tiny nanobots to swim through your stomach

The idea of treating disease or carrying out surgery using swarms of tiny robots injected into the human body may sound like science fiction, but it is one that is proving increasingly popular. In a new research project, nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have demonstrated the use of tiny "micromotor" nanobots, capable of treating a bacterial infection in the stomach. The lab's tiny vehicles, each one around half the width of a human hair, are able to swim rapidly through the stomach, neutralizing gastric acid and releasing a cargo of drugs at the desired pH level. Full Story


August 17, 2017

Tiny Robots Help Cure Stomach Infections In Mice

In the not-so-distant future, drug treatments could be delivered straight to the problem area with the help of some very tiny robots. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego successfully treated bacterial gastric infections in mice using micromotors. The use of nanotechnology in medicine is nothing new but this is the first time chemical treatments have been administered in vivo with this kind of technology. Full Story


August 17, 2017

Ulcer-fighting Robots Swim Through Stomachs to Deliver a Cure

Tiny robots powered by bubbles have successfully treated an infection in mice. The achievement is another step forward in a field that has long shown promise, and is only now beginning to deliver. The therapeutic robots in this case were tiny spheres of magnesium and titanium coated with an antibacterial agent and about the width of a human hair. They were released into the stomach, where they swam around and delivered a drug to the target before dissolving. Full Story


August 17, 2017

Tiny Motors Deliver Ulcer Medication in Mouse Stomachs

Researchers have built drug-delivery capsules that neutralize stomach acid and use the resulting hydrogen peroxide bubbles to propel themselves and deliver an antibiotic. When tested in mice, the micromotors proved slightly more effective than the same dose of antibiotic delivered orally along with an acidity-lowering proton pump inhibitor, researchers report yesterday (August 16) in Nature Communications. Full Story


August 16, 2017

Acid-Powered Micromotors Treat Bacterial Stomach Infection in Mice

Scientists have for the first time used tiny self-propelling, drug-loaded micromotors to treat a bacterial gastric infection in experimental mice, without the use of acid-blocking proton pump inhibitors. Developed by researchers at the University of California San Diego, the biodegradeable micromotors are less than half the width of a human hair in size and constructed around a magnesium core that reacts with protons in stomach acid to propel the vehicles to the stomach wall, where they attach and release their antibiotic cargo. Full Story


August 16, 2017

Nano-sized machines swimming in stomachs can now treat infections

In the near future, nano-sized micromotors swimming in your stomach could be used to treat a variety of different infections, having been demonstrated for the first time, according to a paper recently published in Nature Communications. Developed by a team of nano-engineers from the University of California San Diego, the specially built micromotors offer a promising new method for treating stomach and gastrointestinal tract diseases with acid-sensitive drugs. Full Story


August 16, 2017

'Micromotors' alter your gut's chemistry to safely deliver medicine

There's a reason diabetics can't take their insulin orally (for the time being): stomach acid is super effective at dissolving it and similar large proteins, like antibiotics. But rather than force patients to pound pints of Maalox or chew a tub of Tums before taking their medicine, a team of researchers at UC San Diego have developed a novel method of getting your medication past the acid by using nearly microscopic drug delivery vehicles which increase the pH as they swim through your stomach. Full Story


August 16, 2017

Robots the size of a human hair cure sick mice -- with bubbles

Scientists are breaking out the bubbles to celebrate a new breakthrough -- and we're not talking about champagne. Tiny robots the size of a human hair, known as micromotors, have been used to cure bacterial infections in mice using bubbles. A team from the University of California, San Diego used the micromotors to administer a daily dose of antibiotics in the stomachs of mice and found improved results compared with more conventional methods. Full Story


August 16, 2017

Scientists Create A New Way To Deliver Medicine Through Your Stomach

The acids in our stomachs are great for helping to break down food to digest them, but when it comes to medication, there are some instances where consuming medicine orally might not be the most effective way around it. A team of researchers at UC San Diego might have come up with an interesting method of delivering medicine through your stomach and ensuring that it does not get destroyed by your stomach acids, and that is through the use of micromotors that will change your stomach's pH levels so that the medicine can be delivered safely. Full Story


August 16, 2017

Tiny robots crawl through mouse's stomach to heal ulcers

Tiny robotic drug deliveries could soon be treating diseases inside your body. For the first time, micromotors -- autonomous vehicles the width of a human hair -- have cured bacterial infections in the stomachs of mice, using bubbles to power the transport of antibiotics. In mice with bacterial stomach infections, the team used the micromotors to administer a dose of antibiotics daily for five days. At the end of the treatment, they found their approach was more effective than regular doses of medicine. Full Story


August 16, 2017

Micromotors neutralize stomach acid, deliver antibiotic

Micromotors thinner than a human hair delivered an antibiotic in the stomachs of mice while neutralizing excess acid, in a study by University of California San Diego scientists. The micromotor-delivered antibiotic reduced populations of H.pylori bacteria, which can cause stomach ulcers. The proof of principle could lead to a safer acid-neutralizing alternative for drug-taking patients than treating them with proton pump inhibitors, which have been linked to various undesirable side effects. Full Story


August 3, 2017

Video: UC San Diego Robotics Team Enters Japan's RoboCup Competition

Scientists from the University of California, San Diego, are for the first time taking part in the international RoboCup @ Home competition. During the past three months, the team has been testing algorithms to train a Toyota Human Support Robot (HSR) to complete two tasks: Picking up and putting away groceries; and helping someone to carry groceries from their car to their home. The goal of the RoboCup @ Home competition is to test a robot's ability to perform everyday tasks, help people around the house and establish robot-human communication and interaction. Full Story


August 3, 2017

Your Roomba May Be Mapping Your Home and Collecting Data It Could Sell

Roombas and iRobots are modern gadgets to help clean your house, but are they collecting data that could be sold to major companies? Many iRobots collect data about your house as they work, like where furniture and walls are located in the building. This is to help the Roomba learn the best ways to clean your house without bumping into the couch, for example. "Over time the robot becomes smarter and knows which places it needs to clean up more around your home," said Henrik Christensen, director of the Contextual Robotics Institute and a professor of computer science at UC San Diego. Full Story


June 12, 2017

New VR Glove Uses Muscle-Like Chambers To Simulate Touch

New VR gloves designed by engineers at UC San Diego employ "soft robotics" to deliver tactile feedback to the wearer as they touch and interact with virtual objects. The system is designed to mimic the movement and sensation of muscle with a a component called a McKibben Muscle. The glove is structured in a layer of latex chambers, surrounded on the surface by braided muscles. The entire glove -- including the muscles -- is connected to a circuit board, and as you interact with virtual objects, the gloves inflate and deflate to replicate pressure. Full Story


June 12, 2017

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. Engineers recently presented their research, which is still at the prototype stage, at the Electronic Imaging, Engineering Reality for Virtual Reality conference in Burlingame, Calif. Full Story


June 5, 2017

Soft 3D-Printed Robot Is Agile Even on Sand and Rocks

As a headless robot crawls over a pile of pebbles, its jointless, rubbery legs carefully but confidently sample the terrain in steady, yet unrushed movements that resemble a turtle's. The robot's ability to reliably walk across different types of surfaces is unique, and so is the fact that its elaborately shaped legs were created with a 3D printer, according to the engineers who developed the bio-inspired creature. "With soft robots, you can do a lot of things that are difficult for a hard robot," said Mike Tolley, a mechanical engineering professor at the UC San Diego, who led the research. Full Story


May 31, 2017

Muscle-equipped gloves give VR users a sense of touch

Typically, when people want to experience real-world tactile feedback while exploring virtual reality environments, they use hand-held devices that vibrate in response to the touching of virtual surfaces. Researchers at UC San Diego, however, are developing something that reportedly provides a much more life-like experience. They're making lightweight flexible gloves that simulate the resistance you would feel upon touching a real object. In the current experimental setup, in which a virtual piano keyboard is being played, a Leap Motion sensor is used to detect movements of the user's hands Full Story


May 31, 2017

New 3D-printed robot can walk on sand and rocks

A robot can now navigate rough terrain, marching happily over rocks and sand. A team from the University of California San Diego has developed the first soft robot that can walk on rough surfaces like pebble-covered ground. The 3D-printed, four-legged robot can also climb over obstacles and could assist humans in situations like search-and-rescue missions. The robot will be presented at a conference in Singapore on May 29. To build the robot, researchers used a high-end printer that prints soft and rigid materials together. Full Story


May 31, 2017

New 3D-printed robot walks on sand, rocks

A robot can now navigate rough terrain, marching happily over rocks and sand. A team from the University of California San Diego has developed the first soft robot that can walk on rough surfaces, such as pebble-covered ground. The 3D-printed, four-legged robot can also climb over obstacles and could assist humans in search-and-rescue missions. The robot will be presented at a conference in Singapore on May 29. To build the robot, researchers used a high-end printer that prints soft and rigid materials together. Full Story


May 31, 2017

New 3D-printed robot can walk on sand and rocks

A robot can now navigate rough terrain, marching happily over rocks and sand. A team from the University of California San Diego has developed the first soft robot that can walk on rough surfaces like pebble-covered ground. The 3D-printed, four-legged robot can also climb over obstacles and could assist humans in situations like search-and-rescue missions. The robot will be presented at a conference in Singapore on May 29. To build the robot, researchers used a high-end printer that prints soft and rigid materials together. Full Story


May 31, 2017

New 3D-printed robot walks on sand, rocks

A robot can now navigate rough terrain, marching happily over rocks and sand. A team from the University of California San Diego has developed the first soft robot that can walk on rough surfaces, such as pebble-covered ground. The 3D-printed, four-legged robot can also climb over obstacles and could assist humans in search-and-rescue missions. The robot will be presented at a conference in Singapore on May 29. To build the robot, researchers used a high-end printer that prints soft and rigid materials together. Full Story


May 26, 2017

3D-Printed Pneumatic Quadruped Robot Adapts to Rough Terrain

At IROS in Chicago a few years back, then Harvard grad student Michael Tolley introduced us to a robot that used explosions to jump. It was soft, it was pink, it had three wiggly legs that it used to position itself, and it was kinda freaky looking. As it turns out, Tolley now has his own robotics lab at UC San Diego, and they've been working on ways of efficiently fabricating useful soft robots. Their latest paper, which will be presented at ICRA in Singapore next week, throws a fourth wiggly leg into the mix to make a soft quadruped robot that can walk. Full Story


May 26, 2017

Soft 3D-Printed Robot Is Agile Even on Sand and Rocks

As a headless robot crawls over a pile of pebbles, its jointless, rubbery legs carefully but confidently sample the terrain in steady, yet unrushed movements that resemble a turtle's. The robot's ability to reliably walk across different types of surfaces is unique, and so is the fact that its elaborately shaped legs were created with a 3D printer, according to the engineers who developed the bio-inspired creature. Full Story


May 26, 2017

New 3D-printed robot can walk on sand and rocks

A robot can now navigate rough terrain, marching happily over rocks and sand. A team from the University of California San Diego has developed the first soft robot that can walk on rough surfaces like pebble-covered ground. The 3D-printed, four-legged robot can also climb over obstacles and could assist humans in situations like search-and-rescue missions. The robot will be presented at a conference in Singapore on May 29. Full Story


May 19, 2017

3D printing soft legs can help a robot walk across rough and rocky terrain

A team of engineers at the University of California San Diego have applied the biologically inspired principles of soft robotics in order to develop a robot capable of navigating uneven terrain like rocks and sand. The soft and pliable materials mean the robot's four legs are capable of conforming to their surrounds, so its on-board sensors don't need a precise picture of the ground in traverse it. If the system encounters an uneven spot, it can simply adapt its gait. Full Story

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