This ‘squidbot’ jets around and takes pics of coral and fish

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have built a squid-like robot that can swim untethered, propelling itself by generating jets of water. The robot carries its own power source inside its body. It can also carry a sensor, such as a camera, for underwater exploration. The researchers detail their work in a recent issue of Bioinspiration and Biomimetics.

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Material scientists learn how to make liquid crystal shape-shift

A new 3D-printing method will make it easier to manufacture and control the shape of soft robots, artificial muscles and wearable devices. By controlling the printing temperature of liquid crystal elastomer, researchers have shown they can control the material’s stiffness and ability to contract.

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UC San Diego launches Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies program and minor, a welcome addition to campus

UC San Diego will have a new program in Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies starting in fall, a long-awaited move that many students, faculty, staff and alumni have been eager to see.

Offering cultural programming and the university’s very first minor in Asian American and Pacific Islander studies, the new program is housed in the Institute of Arts and Humanities, along with 14 additional programs.

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Making space weather forecasts faster and better

To improve the ability to forecast space weather, a multidisciplinary team of researchers, including Professor Boris Kramer at the University of California San Diego, received $3.1 million from the National Science Foundation. The researchers, led by Professor Richard Linares at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will also work on speeding up the forecasting abilities that are currently available.

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These flexible feet help robots walk faster

Roboticists at the University of California San Diego have developed flexible feet that can help robots walk up to 40 percent faster on uneven terrain such as pebbles and wood chips. The work has applications for search-and-rescue missions as well as space exploration.

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Toward a low-cost, low-power wearable sensor for temperature and respiration

Engineers at the University of California San Diego are developing low-cost, low-power wearable sensors that can measure temperature and respiration–key vital signs used to monitor COVID-19. The devices would transmit data wirelessly to a smartphone, and could be used to monitor patients for viral infections that affect temperature and respiration in real time. The research team plans to develop a device and a manufacturing process in just 12 months.

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Solar Power Plants Get Help from Satellites to Predict Cloud Cover

Cloud cover is often characterized in simple terms, such as cloudy, partly cloudy or clear. This does not provide accurate information for estimating the amount of sunlight available for solar power plants. In this week’s Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, a new method is reported for estimating cloud optical properties using data from recently launched satellites. This new technique is known as Spectral Cloud Optical Property Estimation, or SCOPE.

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