Press Clips from 2018

July 24, 2018


Robots to the Rescue: Racing Through our Blood to Cure Disease

Since the turn of the century, scientists have eyed implantable medical devices or particles, sometimes as tiny as ingestible pills, as a long-awaited solution that could allow them to monitor body functions from the outside while avoiding painful, and at times costly, surgeries. But now, researchers are instead developing minuscule robots that are emerging as the next frontier in medical science. Scientists at the University of California San Diego have built nanobots that are able to swim in the blood and fight superbugs like MRSA that attack both red blood cells and platelets. Full Story

July 20, 2018


Asking The Experts What They See In 2001: A Space Odyssey (On 4K)

On October 30, the great 2001: A Space Odyssey will make its way to ultra-high definition 4K disc, based on the recent restoration by Christopher Nolan. But instead of just focusing on the details of the disc, the Comic-Con panel promoting the release featured stars Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood (both still going strong 50 years on) along with a long table full of writers and science experts, delving into what they see, and always have seen, in the film itself. Full Story

June 30, 2018


A Robotics Roadmap for Australia 2018

Robots as a tool to unlock human potential, modernise the economy, and build national health, well-being and sustainability. Australia has released its first Robotics Roadmap following the example of many other countries. The roadmap, launched at Australia's Parliament House on June 18, is a guide to how Australia can harness the benefits of a new robot economy. Building on Australia's strengths in robot talent and technologies in niche application areas, the roadmap acts a guide to how Australia can support a vibrant robotics industry that supports automation Full Story

June 4, 2018

Physics World

Cell-like nanobots fight bacterial infection

Gold nanowire nanorobots coated with a combination of two kinds of natural cell membranes might be used to fight bacterial infection, according to new work by researchers at the University of California San Diego. The nanobots can move through whole blood and, thanks to their natural coatings, which "cloak" the devices from the body's defence mechanisms, can absorb and neutralize both pathogenic bacteria as well as the toxins they produce. Full Story

June 4, 2018

New Atlas

Membrane-coated gold "robots" designed to detoxify blood

It's never a good thing when donated human blood -- or even the blood in our bodies -- is infected with bacteria. Scientists at the University of California San Diego, however, are developing a means of removing such blood-borne microbes using tiny ultrasound-powered robots. The base "nanorobots" are made of microscopic lengths of gold nanowire. Via the external application of ultrasound, they can be propelled through liquids including blood, causing them to get thoroughly mixed with it. These nanorobots were coated in a hybrid of platelet and red blood cell membranes. Full Story

May 30, 2018

IEEE Spectrum

Tiny Robots in Disguise Combat Bacteria in the Blood

Researchers have come up with all sorts of ways to propel tiny robots deep into the human body to perform tasks, such as delivering drugs and taking biopsies. Now, there's a nanorobot that can clean up infections in blood. Directed by ultrasound, the tiny robots, made of gold nanowires with a biological coating, dart around blood, attach to bacteria, and neutralize toxins produced by the bacteria. It's like injecting millions of miniature decoys into blood to distract an infection from attacking the real human cells. Full Story

May 1, 2018

Asharq Al-Awsat

Snake-Like Robot to Monitor Creatures Living Underwater

An innovative, snake-like robot can swim silently in salt water without an electric motor. The robot, developed by engineers and marine biologists at the University of California, uses artificial muscles filled with water to propel itself, the German News Agency reported. The team, which includes researchers from UC San Diego and UC Berkeley, say the bot is an important step toward a future when soft robots can swim in the ocean alongside fish and invertebrate without disturbing or harming them. Today, most underwater vehicles designed to observe marine life are rigid and submarine-like Full Story

April 27, 2018

The Irish Times

This robot uses artificial muscles to move like an eel underwater

A translucent robot shaped like an eel that can swim silently underwater could help scientists understand more about marine life. The bot, which was developed by engineers and marine biologists at the University of California, uses artificial muscles filled with water to propel itself rather than a noisy electric motor. The 12in robot is connected to an almost-transparent electronics board that remains on the surface. The team says the the bot is a key step toward a future where soft robots can swim in the ocean alongside marine life without disturbing or harming them. Full Story

April 27, 2018


This robot eel is transparent, flexible, nearly silent, and glows in the ocean

There?s something in the water at the University of California, San Diego?a glowing robot inspired by the movement of eel larvae.Researchers at the school's Bioinspired Robotics and Design Lab have created one of the world's softest underwater robots by taking an innovative approach to its conductive components. Instead of having electricity travel through wires to metal electrodes, voltage travels through silicone tubes to internal water chambers. As voltage builds up in the water chambers, the robot's modular components bend in a specific sequence so the robot moves. Full Story

April 26, 2018

Electronics 360

Video: Watch a Soft Robotic Eel Silently Swim

A number of projects are working with soft robotics to build a worm-like device for search and rescue. One swims with real fish to study aquatic life; a snake uses kirigami to move; and another uses origami, for example. Now, researchers at University of California at San Diego have developed an eel-like soft robot that swims silently in salt water without an electric motor using artificial muscles filled with water to propel itself. The foot-long robot is also virtually transparent and is connected to an electronics board that remains on the surface. Full Story

April 26, 2018


This robot eel glides through saltwater without making a sound

Even before Gore Verbinski's disappointing recent horror movie A Cure for Wellness, we were pretty creeped out by eels. As if the real thing wasn't unnerving enough, however, engineers and marine biologists from the University of California, San Diego, have created an eel robot that's designed to swim silently through saltwater -- using the same rhythmic, ribbon-like motions as its natural counterpart. "The robot is powered by artificial muscles that contract and expand when stimulated with electricity," Caleb Christianson, a Ph.D. student at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego Full Story

April 25, 2018


Soft and silent eel-like robot can sneak around underwater

"It's really hard to sneak up on a fish, especially if you're a robot," says nanoengineering student Caleb Christianson, one of the developers of a soft eel-like robot that can swim underwater in stealthy silence. Christianson, a doctoral student at the University of California San Diego, is part of an eel-bot team that includes engineers and marine biologists. Their eel-like creation could one day become a preferred way to study marine life since it's not as big and loud as the motor-driven remote-operated underwater vehicles used today. Full Story

April 12, 2018

Canadian Homesteading

Robotic Grippers to Receive Gecko Toes

Scientists from the University of California from San Diego, have consolidated the adhesive attributes of gecko toes with air-controlled robots which appear to be soft, to give robot fingers a superior use. Fit for lifting objects up to 45 pounds, the gripper could be utilized wherever: from the floor to the International Space Station. Full Story

April 11, 2018

Slash Gear

Soft, flexible gripper uses Gekco-inspired adhesives

Soft robotics is something that researchers around the world are working on. The idea is to create robotic devices that can grip strangely sized object like the rock in the image. The challenge is to design robotic implements that can flex enough to grip the irregularly shaped objects, but still have the strength to lift them. Researchers from UC San Diego have created a soft robotic gripper that can lift up to 45 pounds. The new gripper could be used in a variety of situations from factory floors to the ISS. The soft gripper is coated with an adhesive inspired by the Gecko Full Story

April 10, 2018

New Atlas

Soft robotic fingers use gecko-inspired coating for some heavy lifting

One particularly active area of robotics research involves the exploration of soft parts. Be they legs, artificial muscles or the grippers used to grasp objects, these more malleable components are opening up new possibilities and making machines safer for humans to work around. Now they're gaining a helping hand from the amazing adhesive properties of the gecko, combining to form robotic fingers that punch well above their weight. Adhesives that can be switched on and off, grippers that latch onto space debris and anchors that can be used by astronauts Full Story

April 10, 2018

Business Standard

Gecko-inspired adhesives help soft robotic fingers get better grip

Scientists have developed a robotic gripper that combines the adhesive properties of gecko toes and the adaptability of air-powered soft robots to grasp a wide variety of objects. The gripper can lift up to 20 kilogrammes of weight and could be used to grasp objects in a wide range of settings, from factory floors to the International Space Station (ISS), according to researchers at the University of California San Diego in the US. Geckos are known as nature's best climbers because of a sophisticated gripping mechanism on their toes. Full Story

March 5, 2018

the San Diego Union Tribune

UC San Diego may lose Qualcomm as a key benefactor if company is sold

No one's panicking. But these are anxious days at "UC Qualcomm," which is how many people refer to the science mecca that is UC San Diego. The university could be on the verge of losing its close partnership with Qualcomm, the San Diego chip maker that helped the campus create the largest engineering school on the West Coast and become a national leader in medicine. Full Story

February 26, 2018

Efficient Gov

Testing Swarms of Search and Rescue Drones

Imagine a world where public safety professionals can enter a computerized three-dimensional model -- think Star Trek's Holodeck -- to look for damage and people. It would be created with data collected by search and rescue drones. According to the University of California (UC) San Diego, researchers across various engineering and science disciplines are doing just that. Several teams are testing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in a new aerodrome made of a 30-foot-tall mesh cage over a 2,500-square-foot outdoor area, and there are plans to expand the test bed to a 100-foot-tall area indoors. Full Story

February 23, 2018

Coronado Eagle & Journal

Coronado Community Read For Futuristic Nove, Ready Player One, Kicks Off This Week

Programming for the 2018 Coronado Community Read launches this week, with the first major event being a concert and dance at the John D. Spreckels Center. The kick-off event will feature the 1980s musical stylings of Betamaxx and is set for Thursday, Feb. 22, starting at 6:30 p.m. Or as Coronado Cultural Arts Literary Arts Commissioner Lei Udell likes to say, "The 80s never go out of style." The dance costs $25 per person, if the tickets are purchased in advance. That charge includes a free first drink and light snacks during the program. Full Story

February 23, 2018


Robots in Depth with Henrik Christensen

In this episode of Robots in Depth, Per Sjöborg speaks with Henrik Christensen, the Qualcomm Chancellor's Chair of Robot Systems and a Professor of Computer Science at Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering UC San Diego. He is also the director of the Institute for Contextual Robotics. Prior to UC San Diego he was the founding director of Institute for Robotics and Intelligent machines (IRIM) at Georgia Institute of Technology (2006-2016). Christensen shares stories from his life in European robotics research, his views on the robot revolution, and experience developing robotics roadmaps. Full Story

February 8, 2018


Will Humans Still Be Driving Cars in 2040?

More and more experts feel that the advent of the autonomous vehicles will mean zero driver's licenses in the near future. Some are more optimistic than others, but Henrik Christensen, director for the UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute, is the most pessimistic of them all. According to Futurism, Christensen feels that the kids born today will never drive a car in their lives. That means that in the course of just 16 to 18 years, by 2040, that is, autonomous vehicles will no longer be weird to look at, but popular to ride in. Full Story

January 26, 2018

Campus Technology

UC San Diego Opens Outdoor Drone Test Facility

The University of California San Diego (UCSD) has opened a new aerodrome for research into unmanned aerial vehicles. The outdoor facility is designed "to create a living laboratory for unmanned aerial vehicles by bringing together researchers from across campus, including computer scientists, structural, mechanical, aerospace, electrical and computer engineers and scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography," according to a UCSD news release. Full Story

January 23, 2018

Digital Trends

This tiny, self-folding robot could one day be part of a large ant-like swarm

Call it a misspent youth playing with Optimus Prime and Megatron toys if you want, but there's just something about transforming robots that always captures our imagination. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, recently appealed to this part of our nature by developing a miniature, centimeter-scale self-folding robot, which can assemble itself from out of a flat sheet and then shimmy along the ground by vibrating. Oh, yes, and it's designed to work in a swarm, too. Full Story

January 22, 2018

Fresh Plaza

California Fresh Fruit Association announces speakers for annual meeting

The California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) today announced the speakers for their upcoming 82nd Annual Meeting, March 25-27, 2018, in Pebble Beach, California. This year's event will feature addresses by Dr. Henrik Christensen, the Qualcomm Chancellor's Chair of Robot Systems, and Mr. Bill Bishop, Chief Architect and Co-Founder of Brick Meets Click. Both speakers will deliver passionate messages about issues that are impacting the future of California agriculture and what our industry must do to be prepared. Full Story

January 18, 2018

IEEE Spectrum

Designing Customizable Self-Folding Swarm Robots

Researchers at the University California, San Diego, are taking the first steps towards robotics swarms that can be rapidly customized, self-assembled, and then self-deployed, without needing tedious human intervention at every step of the way. They're laser-cut from flat sheets, can fold themselves up, and then skitter away with only a minimum of human finger-lifting. The heterogeneous swarm idea is not a new one: Insects have been doing it for ages, and it's been very effective for them. Full Story

January 10, 2018

Digital Journal

The Futurist Institute Releases The Robot and Automation Almanac - 2018

The Futurist Institute has released a groundbreaking new book, The Robot and Automation Almanac - 2018. This innovative book contains essays from 23 robot and automation experts, executives, and investors that all answer one question: What will happen for robots and automation in 2018? Jason Schenker, the Chairman of The Futurist institute and the world's leading financial futurist, has been the driving force behind The Robot and Automation Almanac - 2018. "People are interested, curious, and concerned about robots and automation. So we asked the question: What's next? Full Story