students

Microrobots fly, walk and jump into the future

EE alumnus and Prof. Kris Pister (M.S.’89, Ph.D.’92), his grad student Daniel Drew, and research being done in the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center (BSAC), are featured in a Berkeley Engineering articled titled "Microrobots fly, walk and jump into the future."  Roughly the size and weight of a postage stamp, micro-robots consist of a mechanical structure, propulsion system, motion-tracking sensor and multiple wires that supply power and communication signals.  They evolved from Pister’s invention of “smart dust,” tiny chips roughly the size of rice grains packed with sensors, microprocessors, wireless radios and batteries. Pister likes to refer to his microrobots as “smart dust with legs.”  “We’re pushing back the boundaries of knowledge in the field of miniaturization, robotic actuators, micro-motors, wireless communication and many other areas,” says Pister. “Where these results will lead us is difficult to predict.”

Study shows playing high school football changes the teenage brain

A research study led by EE Prof. Chunlei Liu (senior author) and postdoc Nan-Ji Gong (first author), which is the cover story of the November issue of Neurobiology of Disease, found that a single season of high school football may be enough to cause microscopic changes in the structure of the brain.  The team (which included researchers from Duke and UNC Chapel Hill) used a new type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to take brain scans of 16 high school players, ages 15 to 17, before and after a season of football. They found significant changes in the structure of the grey matter in the front and rear of the brain, where impacts are most likely to occur, as well as changes to structures deep inside the brain.  This is one of the first studies to look at how impact sports affect the brains of children at this critical age.

Skin-like sensor maps blood-oxygen levels anywhere in the body

A new flexible sensor developed by Berkeley EE researchers can map blood-oxygen levels over large areas of skin, tissue and organs, potentially giving doctors a new way to monitor healing wounds in real time.  The research group, which includes Prof. Ana Claudia Arias, Yasser Khan, Donggeon Han, Adrien Pierre, Jonathan Ting, Xingchun Wang and Claire Lochner (plus researchers from Cambridge Display Technology Ltd), have created a lightweight, thin, and flexible oximeter made of organic electronics printed on bendable plastic that molds to the contours of the body.  The sensor, which is described in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is made of an alternating array of printed light-emitting diodes and photodetectors and can detect blood-oxygen levels anywhere it is placed. The sensor shines red and infrared light into the skin and detects the ratio of light that is reflected back.

In the Age of A.I., Is Seeing Still Believing?

EE Profs. Hany Farid and Alyosha Efros, the class CS 194-26—Image Manipulation and Computational Photography, and grad students Shiry Ginosar, Deepak Pathak, Angjoo Kanazawa, Richard Zhang, Jacob Huh and Tinghui Zhou are profiled in a New Yorker article titled "In the Age of A.I., Is Seeing Still Believing?" about how advances in digital imagery could deepen the fake-news crisis—or help us get out of it.  Farid is an expert in photo-forensics who "trained" a neural network to pick out numbers in the pixels of a degraded image of a license plate.  Efros pioneered a method for intelligently sampling bits of an image and probabilistically recombining them so that a texture could be indefinitely and organically extended (known in Photoshop as "content-aware fill").   True realism, Efros said, requires “data, data, data” about “the gunk, the dirt, the complexity of the world,” which is best gathered by accident, through the recording of ordinary life.

EECS grad students, faculty, and alumni to participate in 2018 Rising Stars

CS graduate students Sarah Chasins (advisor: Ras Bodik), Orianna DeMasi (BIDS), Sandy Huang (advisors: Anca Dragan/Pieter Abbeel), and postdoc Angjoo Kanazawa (advisors: Jitendra Malik/Alyosha Efros/Trevor Darrell) will be participating in the Rising Stars career-building workshop for women in EECS, which will be held from Oct. 28-30, 2018 at MIT in Cambridge, Massachussetts.    Chasin's topic is “Helena: A Web Automation Language for End Users,” DeMasi's is " Developing a Dialog System to Augment SMS Helpline Counselor Training,” Huang's is “Enabling Robot Transparency with Informative Actions,” and Kanazawa's is “Perceiving Deformable Shapes: Humans, Animals, and Birds.”  Speakers include EECS Profs. Laura Waller and Katherine Yelick, as well as postdoc Farnaz Niroui and alumnus Anantha Chandrakasan (B.S. '89/M.S. '90/Ph.D. '94).

Berkeley is #1 university open source contributor

UC Berkeley is the top ranked university in the third annual Octoverse Report list of "Open source contributions made by employees of different organizations," with 2700 contributions.  Berkeley is the fourth ranked organization overall--after Microsoft, Google, and Red Hat.  The Octoverse Report is a roundup of GitHub data across global repositories from the last 12 months.  Four other universities made the top ten:  the University of Washington  (6th place with 1800 contributions), MIT (8th place with 1700), UMich and Stanford (tied 9th with 1600 contributions each) .  

New controller means fancier footwork for Salto-IP

Salto-IP, UC Berkeley's one-legged jumping robot, has been outfitted with an upgraded controller which improves precision on landing.  The robot is featured in a TechXplore article titled "UC Berkeley team gives jumping robot higher goals than bouncy-bouncy."   It describes a paper presented earlier this month at IROS 2018 in Madrid by Prof. Ronald Fearing and graduate researcher Justin Yim titled "Precision Jumping Limits from Flight-phase Control in Salto-1P."  The researchers have come up with a new control algorithm "that can land Salto-1P's foot at particular spots on the ground like jumping on stepping stones or playing one-leg hopscotch."  

Undergraduates working to create smallest maneuverable satellite to fly into space

EECS undergraduates Aviral Pandey (EE lead), Olivia Hsu (board design/firmware), Kevin Zheng (board design/software/radio) and Malhar Patel (external/software), as well as Travis Brashears (Eng. Physics/EECS minor, tech lead) and Daniel Shen (MechE, software/mechanical) comprise  a team of Berkeley seniors who are creating what they hope will be the smallest maneuverable satellite to fly into space. They plan to launch seven of their "SpinorSats," which weigh less than 10 grams each and are about the size of an Apple Watch, with KickSat aboard a CubeSat Deployer.   With an advanced power management system, radio, and maneuverability system, they hope to push what is possible from cellular technology to eventually build connectivity between large networks of satellites.

Urmila Mahadev Solves Quantum Verification Problem

CS postdoctoral researcher Urmila Mahadev (advisor: Umesh Vazirani) has come up with an interactive protocol by which users with no quantum powers of their own can employ cryptography to put a harness on a quantum computer and drive it wherever they want, with the certainty that the quantum computer is following their orders.  Her work, which addressed the question "How do you know whether a quantum computer has done anything quantum at all?" was awarded the “best paper” and “best student paper” prizes when it was presented at the Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science this month.  CIT computer scientistThomas Vidick calls her result “one of the most outstanding ideas to have emerged at the interface of quantum computing and theoretical computer science in recent years.”

Elizaveta Tremsina places first in Tapia 2018 poster session

Undergraduate Elizaveta Tremsina, a member of the EECS Honors Program who is triple-majoring in CS, Physics and Applied Math, took first place in the Microsoft-sponsored student research poster competition at the 2018 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing.  Her project, titled "Your Story Recorded in a Magnet: Micromagnetic Simulations of Spin-Orbit Torque in Multi-layer Structures," was overseen by Prof. Sayeef Salahuddin.  She was part of one of the largest delegations of EECS students, staff, and faculty ever to participate in the Tapia conference,  known as the premier venue to acknowledge, promote and celebrate diversity in computing.   This year's conference, which was held last week in Orlando, Florida, promoted the theme "Diversity: Roots of Innovation."