Engineers Taught a Drone to Herd Birds Away From Airports
Soon-Jo Chung, Associate Professor of Aerospace and Bren Scholar; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, and colleagues have developed a new control algorithm that enables a single drone to herd an entire flock of birds away from the airspace of an airport. The effectiveness of the algorithm is only limited by the number and size of the incoming birds, Professor Chung says, adding that the team plans to explore ways to scale the project up for multiple drones dealing with multiple flocks.[Caltech story]
Graduate Student Places 4th in National Soaring Competition
GALCIT Graduate student Michael Marshall, who is a member of Professor Sergio Pellegrino’s Space Structures Laboratory, has received the Rudolph W. Mozer Trophy from the Soaring Society of America (SSA) for being the highest ranking contestant under 26 years of age at any U.S. National Soaring contest. He also placed 4th in the U.S. National Soaring contest. Soaring involves flying without flapping wings or using engine power, or as described by the SSA “to fly as the hawk and eagle has been mankind's dream for centuries. Modern sailplanes make soaring flight possible, and with them humans can fly higher, faster, and farther than the greatest of birds, using only an invisible force of nature to stay aloft.” [SSA news]
Dragonfly Larvae Inspire New Designs for Prosthetic Heart Valves
Professor Mory Gharib and postdoctoral researcher Chris Roh (MS '13, PhD '17) have studied the design and control of the jets that dragonfly larvae use to propel themselves to re-design health values. "The current heart valve design is a one-size-fits-all, where no patient-specific design is considered, and this causes many post-transplant complications," Dr. Roh says. "We believe that an intentionally off-centered opening of the heart valve to more closely match the patient's original blood flow will be an important design parameter that can be adjusted based on each patient's heart morphology." [Caltech story]
Winners of the 2018 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Announced
The student winners of the 2018 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes were announced at the end of this academic year. Claire Bedbrook, advised by Professors Frances H. Arnold and Viviana Gradinaru received the prize in Biotechnology. Her research is in engineering proteins capable of controlling and reading out neural activity to advance neuroscience research. Nicholas Dou, advised by Professor Austin Minnich received the prize in Nanotechnology. Nicholas focuses on developing and characterizing novel nano-architected materials that are exceptionally lightweight, mechanically resilient, and thermally insulating. Xiaoqi Ren, advised by Professor Adam Wierman received the prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources. Xiaoqi’s research is focused on optimization of today's large-scale data centers, including online scheduling, energy usage and sustainability, and new market mechanisms for electricity markets and data clouds. Daniel C. Bowden, advised by Professors Joann M. Stock and Victor Tsai has received the prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection. Daniel has worked on a range of projects relating to the propagation of seismic waves in the Earth's crust. Colin Cook, advised by Professor Yu-Chong Tai has receive the prize in Entrepreneurship. Colin is working on a phototherapeutic contact lens to treat diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness.
Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes
Richard B. Chapman Memorial Awards
Morgane Anne Marie Grivel advised by Professor Morteza Gharib, Kazuki Maeda advised Professor Tim Colonius, and Jason Schlup advised by Professor Guillaume Blanquart are recipients of the 2018 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award. Morgane's research focuses on using hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions to modify hydrodynamic flows. Jason's research utilized computational fluid dynamics to investigate the highly unstable combustion of hydrogen-air mixtures with a focus on accurate, cost-effective modeling techniques. Kazuki does research in multi-phase flow, computational fluid dynamics, and biomedical engineering. The Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award is given to an EAS graduate student in hydrodynamics who has distinguished himself or herself in research.
Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award
Wireless Pressure-Sensing Eye Implant Could Help Prevent Blindness
Azita Emami, Andrew and Peggy Cherng Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering and Executive Officer for Electrical Engineering, Yu-Chong Tai, Anna L. Rosen Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering; Andrew and Peggy Cherng Medical Engineering Leadership Chair; Executive Officer for Medical Engineering, and colleagues have developed a new pressure-sensing implant for the eye that could help prevent one of the leading causes of blindness. The implant could help glaucoma patients monitor their condition by wirelessly sending data about the eye to the patient or medical professionals. Patients at risk for glaucoma are required to make regular visits to an ophthalmologist to have their intraocular pressure (eye pressure) checked. The disadvantage is that patients are only able to measure pressure while visiting their doctor. With a wireless implant, a patient has access to their eye pressure data at any time, and continuous monitoring will allow intervention sooner if needed. [Caltech story]
A Network of Support
Early in his freshman year CMS and BEM alumnus Ramsathwick “Sathwick” Pathireddy (BS ’17) realized just how challenging a Caltech workload could be and turned to his housemates and friends for help. “When I had questions about time management, what classes to take, or what internships to go for, I always had someone to talk to,” Sathwick says. [Breakthrough story]