News & Events


Making Robotic Assistive Walking More Natural


A team of graduate students in Caltech's Advanced Mechanical Bipedal Experimental Robotics Lab (AMBER), led by Professor Aaron Ames, Bren Professor of Mechanical and Civil Engineering and Control and Dynamical Systems, is developing a new method of generating gaits for robotic assistive devices, which aims to guarantee stability and achieve more natural locomotion for different users. "If you're designing a trajectory for a robotic assistive device, a satisfactory gait should not only be stable but also feel natural," says Amy Li. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights MCE Yisong Yue Aaron Ames Maegan Tucker Kejun Li Rachel Gehlhar

Professor Hajimiri Receives ASCIT Teaching Award


Ali Hajimiri, Bren Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering; Co-Director, Space-Based Solar Power Project, has been chosen by the Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology (ASCIT) to receive a 2021-2022 ASCIT Teaching Award. These awards recognize individuals who inspire and motivate students, are approachable, and present course material effectively and efficiently. [Past Winners]

Tags: EE honors Ali Hajimiri

Lab Earthquakes Show How Grains at Fault Boundaries Lead to Major Quakes


By simulating earthquakes in a lab, Caltech engineers have provided strong experimental support for a form of earthquake propagation now thought responsible for the magnitude-9.0 earthquake that devastated the coast of Japan in 2011. "Our novel experimental approach has enabled us to look into the earthquake process up close, and to uncover key features of rupture propagation and friction evolution in rock gouge," says Vito Rubino, research scientist and lead author of the Nature paper. The Nature paper is titled "Intermittent lab earthquakes in dynamically weakening fault gouge." Rubino and his co-authors Nadia Lapusta, Lawrence A. Hanson, Jr., Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Geophysics, and Ares Rosakis, Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, show that so-called "stable" or "creeping" faults are not actually immune to major ruptures after all, as previously suspected. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis Nadia Lapusta Vito Rubino

Tech Brief: Bringing a New Dimension into Black Hole Imaging


The goal of this project is to develop a method to uncover the 3D structure of the glowing hot gas surrounding a black hole.

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Tags: Katie Bouman Aviad Levis

Kuan-Chang Chen Wins Charles Wilts Prize


Kuan-Chang Chen, advised by Professor Azita Emami is a winner of this year's Charles Wilts Prize, for his doctoral thesis "Energy-Efficient Receiver Design for High-Speed Interconnects." The Charles Wilts Prize is awarded every year to a graduate student in Electrical Engineering for outstanding independent research.

Tags: EE honors Wilts Prize Kuan-Chang Chen Azita Emami

Jin Sima Wins Charles Wilts Prize


Jin Sima, advised by Professor Jehoshua (Shuki) Bruck is a winner of this year's Charles Wilts Prize, for his doctoral thesis "Correcting Errors in DNA Storage." The Charles Wilts Prize is awarded every year to a graduate student in Electrical Engineering for outstanding independent research.

Tags: EE honors Jehoshua Bruck Wilts Prize Jin Sima

Artificial Skin Gives Robots Sense of Touch and Beyond


A new artificial skin can now give robots the ability to sense temperature, pressure, and even toxic chemicals through a simple touch. The multimodal robotic-sensing platform, dubbed M-Bot, was developed in the lab of Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering; Investigator, Heritage Medical Research Institute; Ronald and JoAnne Willens Scholar. It aims to give humans more precise control over robots while also protecting the humans from potential hazards. "I think we have shown a proof of concept," says Gao. "But we want to improve the stability of this robotic skin to make it last longer. By optimizing new inks and new materials, we hope this can be used for different kinds of targeted detections. We want to put it on more powerful robots and make them smarter, more intelligent." [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights MedE Wei Gao You Yu Jiahong Li Samuel Solomon Jihong Min Changhao Xu Jiaobing Tu Yu Song

Winners of the 2022 New Horizons Award Announced


The winners of the 2022 New Horizons Award were announced at the end of this academic year. Haley Bauser was recognized for sustained dedication and commitment to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus, which inspired conversations and actions from members of EAS and the broader campus community. Adam Blank was recognized for efforts to advocate for and improve the student experience at Caltech, especially for students from backgrounds that have been historically marginalized in STEM. Heather Lukas was recognized for Founding Womxn in EAS and campus efforts in support of gender equity, and for sustained service to Caltech and the broader community. Emily Palmer was recognized for the development of a new seminar series and discussion group on History, Ethics and Identity in STEM and for demonstrating that the engineering curriculum can be expanded to include social, historic and political dimensions. Elizabeth Qian was recognized for a conscientious approach to teaching and mentoring, for cultivating positive camaraderie and awareness in her research group, and for contributions to the CMS department’s examination of its culture and policies.

Tags: honors GALCIT MedE CMS Adam Blank Haley Bauser Heather Lukas Emily Palmer Elizabeth Qian

Melany Hunt Awarded CCID Agent of Change Award


The Caltech Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CCID) recently honored 10 campus leaders, each nominated by members of the Institute community, at its annual Celebration of Excellence award ceremony. Melany Hunt, Dotty and Dick Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering, received the CCID Agent of Change Award for her service as chair of the DEI committee within the Division of Engineering and Applied Science and her creation of a new course to support Freshman Summer Research Institute (FSRI) participants. [Caltech story]

Tags: honors MCE Melany Hunt

Nanofabrication Courses Let Caltech Undergraduates Get Hands-on at the Smallest Scales


The course combines topical lectures that give the students a preview of what they will be doing in the cleanroom along with hands-on practical training. Both components are conducted as a team effort between Scherer and the KNI technical staff. The first two lectures of the term were presented by KNI’s microscopist, Dr. Annalena Wolff, who lectured on scanning electron and focused ion beam microscopy. Additional lectures were presented by KNI’s Associate Director of Technical Operations, Dr. Guy DeRose, on electron beam lithography.

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Tags: APhMS EE research highlights MedE Axel Scherer KNI Changsoon Choi Paromita Mitchell Annalena Wolff Guy DeRose Bert Mendoza Alex Wertheim Kelly McKenzie