Experience Engineering Initiative

The Jacobs School of Engineering's Experience Engineering Initiative aims to give every engineering and computer science undergraduate student at UC San Diego a hands-on or experiential engineering course or lab each and every year — starting freshman year. These new hands-on classes serve as "spring training" for future internships and full-time jobs.

"Early on, we must give our students many opportunities for "a-ha!" moments — experiences that help students generate the confidence and motivation they need to persevere and succeed in classes, internships and ultimately in engineering careers," said Albert P. Pisano, dean of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Read more about Experience Engineering in Pulse magazine.

 

Experience Engineering Stories


UC San Diego engineering students help 5-year-old move arms again

UC San Diego engineering students help 5-year-old move arms again

June 25, 2019

Five-year-old Max Ng was a perfectly healthy boy until, at the age of two, he contracted a rare virus called acute flaccid myelitis. Similar to polio, the virus attacked the nerves in his spinal cord, leaving his arms limp at his sides. Max hasn’t been able to lift or lower his arms on his own to use his fully-functioning hands for the three years since.Now, thanks to a lightweight motorized exoskeleton built by four UC San Diego undergraduate engineering students, Max is moving his arms to feed himself and play with his parents.   Full Story


Making Art with AI

Making Art with AI

June 10, 2019

In Machine Learning for the Arts, Robert Twomey, a postdoctoral researcher, teaches students how to use tools commonly associated with artificial intelligence applications in computer science and engineering--to create and modify text, images, drawings, videos and more. Full Story


Project in a Box: Dream it. Build it.

Project in a Box: Dream it. Build it.

June 6, 2019

An Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department program at UC San Diego designed to motivate and empower undergraduate students has found a creative way to challenge young people to think outside the box by first asking them to dive into one. Project in a Box is a student-led organization at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering that originated in 2016 with a mission to make experiential learning more accessible to undergraduate students on campus. Full Story


Passion Project

Passion Project

May 28, 2019

Will Tanaka, a nanoengineering sophomore at UC San Diego, is growing mushrooms from food waste. He first discovered what is called “environmental farming” from a pair of UC Berkeley graduates, who founded a startup for sustainable planters that allow people to grow mushrooms, herbs and more right on their windows. Tanaka took this knowledge to Roger’s Community Garden, a student-run space in Revelle College, where he began to grow his own fungi. “My project involves collecting coffee and tea waste from on-campus vendors like Tapioca Express, Starbucks, Art of Espresso and Sunshine Market to grow edible oyster mushrooms,” said Tanaka. “That way we can directly convert food waste biomass to food.” Full Story


Engineering Students Find New, Unexpected Careers in Biomedicine

Engineering Students Find New, Unexpected Careers in Biomedicine

May 28, 2019

Two years ago, as fourth-year undergraduate students majoring in engineering, Yan Gong and Lu Xu had no idea they were about to enter the world of biomedicine. They were in a circuits class when their professor recommended them for positions in Imanuel Lerman’s lab, which was searching for students to help with developing a treatment for chronic pain. One of their first meetings with Lerman was at a hospital where Lerman,  associate professor with UC San Diego’s Department of Anesthesiology, asked the two students to solve an issue with interference that was jamming his medical research neurotechnology devices. Without his tools, he couldn’t accurately measure his patients’ physiological responses to a novel neurotechnology he hoped would dampen their responses to pain. Full Story


The robots that dementia caregivers want: robots for joy, robots for sorrow

The robots that dementia caregivers want: robots for joy, robots for sorrow

March 13, 2019

Building robots that can help people with dementia has been a longtime goal for roboticists. Yet until now, no one has sought to survey informal caregivers, such as family members, about what characteristics and roles these robots should have. A team of scientists at the University of California San Diego sought to address this by spending six months co-designing robots with family members, social workers, and other caregivers who care for people with dementia. They are presenting their findings at the Human Robot Interaction conference March 11 to 14 in South Korea. Full Story


Lifesaving App

Lifesaving App

February 7, 2019

Undergraduate students on the Cruz Roja Global Ties team designed and built a mobile app to make ambulance dispatch in Tijuana easier, faster and more efficient.  Full Story


Training Clinical Engineers

Training Clinical Engineers

February 4, 2019

UC San Diego's Clinical Bioengineering course offers undergraduate engineering students hands-on learning experience to solve clinical problems. The course reflects the Institute of Engineering in Medicine's mission to connect engineers with physicians to produce medical innovations. Full Story


Undergraduate Engineers Get Hands-on Experience with Autonomous Vehicles

Undergraduate Engineers Get Hands-on Experience with Autonomous Vehicles

October 11, 2018

The Introduction to Autonomous Vehicles course is all about hands-on learning by doing. Over the course of the quarter, students enrolled in the class build a small robotic car, train it to run autonomously, and trick it out with a bonus feature of their choosing. Full Story


Computer Science Student Leader Wins UC San Diego Sustainability Award for His Work to Combat Ocean Pollution

Computer Science Student Leader Wins UC San Diego Sustainability Award for His Work to Combat Ocean Pollution

June 19, 2018

While on a trip with UC San Diego oceanographers to collect aerial imagery of local ecosystems in Baja, California, QI Engineers for Exploration student leader Nikko Dutra Bouck discovered massive amounts of trash covering mangrove ecosystems and contributing to ocean pollution. Dismayed at what he saw, Dutra developed a solution to the problem that could keep 50-80% of the trash out of the ocean. For all his hard work in improving sustainability, he has received the 2018 UC San Diego Sustainability Outstanding Student Award. Full Story


EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio doubles in size

EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio doubles in size

February 12, 2018

The EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio, which provides undergraduate engineering and visual art students with a space where theoretical coursework and hands-on experience intersect, quickly filled to capacity after it opened in 2015. The studio recently doubled in size, and students are taking full advantage of the space. Full Story


From Class to Clinic

From Class to Clinic

January 11, 2018

It’s not every day that an undergrad­uate class influences the way surgeons prepare for operations. But that’s exactly what happened with a fresh­man bioengineering class co-taught by then-PhD student Jason Caffrey ’11, MS ’13‚ and professor Robert Sah.  Full Story


Undergraduate engineers, Birch Aquarium collaborate on innovative exhibits

Undergraduate engineers, Birch Aquarium collaborate on innovative exhibits

December 19, 2017

Ten UC San Diego undergraduates left an indelible mark on the Birch Aquarium this summer thanks to the Summer Engineering Experience (SEE) internship program. SEE was designed by the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering to provide sophomore and junior engineering students with hands-on experience creating, pitching and developing a project from start to finish.  Full Story


Teaching the joy of coding

Teaching the joy of coding

December 7, 2017

CSE 190 is a computer science class at the University of California San Diego that is designed to prepare undergraduate students to teach others how to code in the wild—in libraries, as well elementary, middle and high schools. The class is taught by Sarah Guthals, who earned a Ph.D. in computer science at UC San Diego in 2014 and received a Forbes 30 Under 30 award in 2016 for her efforts to teach children how to code. Full Story


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

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

August 4, 2017

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


Engineers harness the power of 3D printing to help train surgeons, shorten surgery times

Engineers harness the power of 3D printing to help train surgeons, shorten surgery times

August 2, 2017

A team of engineers and pediatric orthopedic surgeons are using 3D printing to help train surgeons and shorten surgeries for the most common hip disorder found in children ages 9 to 16. In a recent study, researchers showed that allowing surgeons to prep on a 3D-printed model of the patient’s hip joint cut by about  25 percent the amount of time needed for surgery when compared to a control group. The team, which includes bioengineers from the University of California San Diego and physicians from Rady Children’s Hospital, detailed their findings in a recent issue of the Journal of Children’s Orthopaedics.  Full Story


High School Students Get a Taste of Studying Computer Science at UC San Diego

High School Students Get a Taste of Studying Computer Science at UC San Diego

July 14, 2017

Many of the students studying and living on campus this month look decidedly younger than usual for the University of California San Diego, primarily because they are younger. One group of 205 high school students moved into dorms this week to attend the 2017 California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS), a month-long residential program that also exists on three other University of California campuses (Davis, Irvine and Santa Cruz).  Full Story


Graduating seniors say hands-on experience defined their time at the Jacobs School

Graduating seniors say hands-on experience defined their time at the Jacobs School

June 29, 2017

At Ring Ceremony 2017 at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, Ryan Hill, the outgoing president of the Triton Engineering Student Council challenged his peers to change the world. “In my time here, I’ve seen students be the first ones in the world to 3D-print rockets and send them to space. I’ve seen students build their own biofuel reactors, create virtual reality experiences to interact with nanoparticles…There is no magic formula...One day they said, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if I did X’…and didn’t look back.” Full Story


Alert system for seniors who want to stay active takes first place at 2nd annual Design Competition

Alert system for seniors who want to stay active takes first place at 2nd annual Design Competition

June 26, 2017

On Saturday, June 10, 2017, ten interdisciplinary teams from the University of California San Diego Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) and Cognitive Science Departments presented prototypes of innovative products designed to improve the lives of senior citizens. The UC San Diego undergraduates presented to an audience of  Electrical & Computer Engineering alumni, members of the La Costa Glen senior retirement community and the UC San Diego Retirees Association. Full Story


Robots do some heaving lifting at annual robotics competition

Robots do some heaving lifting at annual robotics competition

June 19, 2017

She was about to drop out of an engineering design class that culminates in a robotics competition. But Shushoma Sravostee’s classmates stepped in to help, offering support and reassurance. On June 13, she and her three teammates won the overall competition, taking home intricate 3D-printed trophies—and bragging rights.  Full Story


Structural Engineering Students Design, Build and Test Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Wings

Structural Engineering Students Design, Build and Test Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Wings

June 15, 2017

Structural engineering students got an opportunity to test their skills at creating unmanned aerial vehicle wings out of composite materials as part of a new structural engineering senior design class at UC San Diego. The class, called SE143, includes all three stages of the industrial aircraft wing production cycle—designing, building and testing.As part of a complete revamping of the Jacobs School of Engineering Structural Engineering Department curriculum, undergraduates in the department now have the option to specialize in one of four areas: civil structures, aerospace structures, structural health monitoring, or geotechnical engineering. Previously, all structural engineering seniors took the same senior design class. Now, Hyonny Kim and John Kosmatka, both professors of structural engineering, have come up with the new SE143 senior design class focused on aerospace structures. Full Story


Computer Science Students Demo Real-Time Multiplayer Games of Their Own

Computer Science Students Demo Real-Time Multiplayer Games of Their Own

June 14, 2017

Computer science professor Geoffrey M. Voelker teaches CSE 125 each spring. The course on "Software System Design and Implementation" gave 32 seniors this spring an opportunity to showcase everything they learned in the past four years. The course is a 10-week project to build a large, complex, distributed software system with real-time constraints. But to make it more exciting, the teams of six or seven students spend the quarter building a networked, real-time, 3D multiplayer game (hence the popular reference to CSE 125 as being "the videogame course"). Each final team demonstration doubles as the team members' final exams.  Full Story


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

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

June 8, 2017

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


Seniors Make Final Tweaks to CSE 125 Multiplayer Videogames

Seniors Make Final Tweaks to CSE 125 Multiplayer Videogames

June 7, 2017

It's not often that the final project presentations of an undergraduate computer-science course attracts a standing-room-only audience of students and visitors from across campus. But that's par for the course when professor Geoffrey M. Voelker's CSE 125 course draws to a close each spring quarter.  Full Story


A Race to Build the Smartest Rover

A Race to Build the Smartest Rover

May 25, 2017

The exploration of Martian soils began nearly two decades ago with the successful landing of an automobile-sized, one-ton robot on Mars. Now, students at UC San Diego are working to develop the next generation of Mars rovers.  Full Story


Giving Students a Place to Prep for Tomorrow's Virtual (Reality) Economy

Giving Students a Place to Prep for Tomorrow's Virtual (Reality) Economy

May 11, 2017

The laboratory looks like a cross between a classroom and a tech pavilion at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. There are virtual-reality headsets everywhere, and large flat screen 3D displays. College students work at computers, while teammates wearing goggles look from side to side, occasionally ducking or recoiling, as they react and engage with the virtual environments visible in their head-mounted displays. Welcome to the Virtual Reality Lab—the first of its kind at an American university.  Full Story


Triton Entrepreneur Night: Pitch Perfect

Triton Entrepreneur Night: Pitch Perfect

May 10, 2017

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


UC San Diego Designated as a Changemaker Campus

UC San Diego Designated as a Changemaker Campus

April 6, 2017

The University of California San Diego has been designated as a Changemaker Campus by Ashoka U for its role as a leader in social innovation education. Only 40 universities around the world have received this designation and UC San Diego is the first University of California campus to be recognized.  Full Story


IGNITE @ UC San Diego Aims to Accelerate Innovation

IGNITE @ UC San Diego Aims to Accelerate Innovation

February 8, 2017

A campuswide initiative is seeking to expand the innovation pipeline across the border. The inaugural IGNITE @ UC San Diego conference will connect young innovators with seasoned entrepreneurs. Co-hosted by UC San Diego’s Office of Innovation and Commercialization and the student-led Entrepreneur Challenge, the daylong event is set for Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 at the Price Center on campus. Students and community members across the Baja California region are invited to attend the conference free of charge. Full Story


UC San Diego breaks income boundaries in engineering

UC San Diego breaks income boundaries in engineering

October 7, 2016

“This is just the beginning of what technology like this can do,” said Gabriel Davalos, an incoming aerospace engineering major. Davalos was referring to a miniature table lamp he and some of his peers built that turned on when something nearby made a loud noise. The students also fabricated a tiny house to protect the lamp using 3D printed materials and rapid prototyping tools. Full Story


From Satellites to Biodegradable Surfboards

From Satellites to Biodegradable Surfboards

October 6, 2016

UC San Diego showcases real-world applications of research at Maker FaireA surfboard made of algae-based foam. A small satellite that could be put into orbit around the moon. A balloon that carries experiments to the outer reaches of the atmosphere. These were some of the innovations that students, faculty and alumni from UC San Diego showed off this weekend at San Diego Maker Faire, a gathering of more than 200 innovators in a festival-like atmosphere at Balboa Park.  Full Story


Maker Faire San Diego: Celebrating 'Geekdom' of Every Stripe

Maker Faire San Diego: Celebrating 'Geekdom' of Every Stripe

September 29, 2016

It’s billed as “The Greatest Show (&Tell) on Earth,” and researchers from the University of California San Diego will once again be part of the spectacle as Maker Faire San Diego takes over Balboa Park. Full Story


EnVision Interns: The Power of Volunteer Student Teams for a Maker Space

EnVision Interns: The Power of Volunteer Student Teams for a Maker Space

September 23, 2016

LED lights in the shape of a 3D printer head light up the word “3D” in the window of the EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio, visible to passersby. Besides being visually appealing, the display is also providing information: the speed of the animation increases depending on how many 3D printers are being used in the Maker Studio. Full Story


UC San Diego Gearing Up for Major Hackathon

UC San Diego Gearing Up for Major Hackathon

September 16, 2016

The University of California San Diego will host over 1,000 students at SD Hacks 2016 for 36 hours of technological collaboration. This will be the second time SD Hacks will take place at UC San Diego. The student-led hackathon is one of the largest in California, along with those of UC Berkeley and UCLA. After a successful inaugural hackathon in 2015, thousands of students from all over the world have applied to attend this year’s event. Full Story


Engineering students try to become pinball wizards in this class

Engineering students try to become pinball wizards in this class

July 7, 2016

The vaguely sweet smell of laser-etched wood. Repeated pings and the laughter of students. Pairs of students huddling over their projects, connecting wires and poking and prodding. This was the scene on a recent afternoon in the basement of Jacobs Hall here on campus. The room was filled with students enrolled in ECE 115, a design and rapid prototyping class taught by electrical and computer engineering professor Michael Yip here at the University of California San Diego.  Full Story


UC San Diego Students Develop Games to Teach Kids 'Cool Ways to Recycle'

UC San Diego Students Develop Games to Teach Kids 'Cool Ways to Recycle'

June 27, 2016

The computer animation is relatively modest – for good reason. Specifically, the 25 students taking CSE 198 with computer science professor Geoffrey Voelker decided that their interactive games should be designed not for college students, but for… third-graders. Why? According to project leader Danielle Tobey, it was because “research showed that the curriculum at that grade level begins to kids about habitat destruction.”Once they had decided to develop games for 8- to 9-year-olds, it became important to use simple animations as well as game rules and instructions that could be easily understood and followed by third-graders. Calling itself RecyCool, the team set out to teach the basics and the importance of recycling. Full Story


Engineering students compete for first place in Robolympics

Engineering students compete for first place in Robolympics

June 13, 2016

The Olympics may be in Rio de Janeiro this summer, but students in mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Nate Delson’s Introduction to Engineering Graphics and Design (MAE3) course competed in their very own version of them right here at the University of California San Diego – the Robot Olympics – with robots that they designed and built themselves. Full Story


No. 1 From the Start

No. 1 From the Start

May 26, 2016

Bioengineers at the University of California San Diego have helped us understand why atherosclerosis develops and how it is impacted by blood flow. They have pioneered the development of very thin, small and flexible sensors that stick to the skin and monitor vital signs, such as the brain activity of a newborn. They also developed injectable hydrogels that can help muscle tissues heal after a heart attack. Researchers celebrated their achievements over the past five decades and looked to the future during a three-day 50th anniversary celebration May 19 to 21. Full Story


From the deep sea to deep space: sea urchin's teeth inspire new design for space exploration device

From the deep sea to deep space: sea urchin's teeth inspire new design for space exploration device

May 2, 2016

The sea urchin’s intricate mouth and teeth are the model for a claw-like device developed by a team of engineers and marine biologists at the University of California, San Diego to sample sediments on other planets, such as Mars. The researchers detail their work in a recent issue of the Journal of Visualized Experiments. Full Story


Electrical Engineering Undergrads Build and Race Robots

Electrical Engineering Undergrads Build and Race Robots

March 23, 2016

The EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio at UC San Diego teemed with excitement on the day of the final in an electrical engineering class called Making, Breaking and Hacking Stuff. Instead of a typical test, the class culminated in a cumulative final project – teams of two or three students used the knowledge and some of the parts they had acquired during the class’s previous projects to build a line-following robot. The teams competed to see who programmed their robot to follow a line most closely, and at the fastest speed. Full Story


Visual Arts and Engineering Transforming Education in New Maker Studio

Visual Arts and Engineering Transforming Education in New Maker Studio

March 17, 2016

The new 3,000 square foot studio on the third floor of the Structural and Materials Engineering building provides a wide range of design, fabrication and prototyping tools from 3D printers and welding stations to a sophisticated laser cutter. It’s a creative, hands-on, experiential space where visual arts and engineering communities converge; where students are empowered to think, design, make, tinker, break and build again. Full Story


Arts and engineering students collaborate in new course at UC San Diego

Arts and engineering students collaborate in new course at UC San Diego

March 11, 2016

Students from a structural engineering and a visual arts class are working together, shoulder to shoulder, on a collaborative final project despite the fact that they are in different classes. This visual arts and engineering mashup is happening in the new EnVision Maker Studio at UC San Diego and involves students in Structural Engineering 1 and Visual Arts 40.  Full Story


Making, Breaking and Hacking in Electrical Engineering

Making, Breaking and Hacking in Electrical Engineering

March 8, 2016

From a single resistor to LEDs, audio amplifiers and robots, freshman and sophomore students in Electrical Engineering’s new ECE5 class at the University of California, San Diego make and break as they get hands-on exposure to electrical engineering fundamentals. Full Story


UC San Diego engineers build flexible battery packs in new EnVision Maker Studio

UC San Diego engineers build flexible battery packs in new EnVision Maker Studio

March 8, 2016

Groups of freshmen Nanoengineering undergraduates from the University of California, San Diego are creating flexible battery packs the size of a credit card, from scratch. The students will test their batteries by attaching an LED bulb and looking for a glow.  Full Story


The robotic Force awakens at UC San Diego

The robotic Force awakens at UC San Diego

January 14, 2016

The movie premiere was still more than a week away, but Star Wars fever was already peaking at UC San Diego Dec. 9 during the campus’ semi-annual robotics competition. This year, the event was themed after the movie—of course—with teaching assistants dressing up as Jedi Knights and professor Michael Tolley donning a Star Wars rebel helmet. A total of 45 teams and 165 students vied for the big win. Full Story


Gadgetron Robot Factory allows students to create and learn

Gadgetron Robot Factory allows students to create and learn

January 4, 2016

Students unleashed “robot mayhem” during the last day of CSE 91 at UC San Diego. Robots with funny monikers, such as “Bash Ketchum,” ran loose in a miniature arena, where they spun around, played music and generally created creative chaos. It was all part of a class designed to teach students how to design and program robot. All student teams used the Gadgetron Robot Factory, a tool developed at UC San Diego to design the robots.    Full Story


Experience Chemical Engineering course gives students a taste of engineering in the real world

Experience Chemical Engineering course gives students a taste of engineering in the real world

January 4, 2016

In a brightly-lit laboratory room just east of Warren Quad, seventeen students pored over their iPad-based lab reports and put the finishing touches on their engineering projects. These students, mostly freshmen, were part of Professor Aaron Drews’ CENG 4 Experience Chemical Engineering seminar, a course designed to give students a rich hands-on introduction to chemical engineering. The class, which is currently in its pilot phase, is part of Jacobs School Dean Albert P. Pisano’s vision for experiential learning activities that expose students to “real-world challenges that require them to integrate theory and practice.” Full Story