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The Future is Flat (For Lenses)

12-22-16

Andrei Faraon, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have developed a system of flat optical lenses that can be easily mass-produced and integrated with image sensors, paving the way for cheaper and lighter cameras in everything from cell phones to medical devices. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MedE Andrei Faraon

Building Better Batteries

12-19-16

Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, and colleagues have measured for the first time the strength of lithium metal at the nano- and microscale, a discovery with important implications for suppressing dendrite formation and improving lithium-ion batteries.  [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MedE MCE Julia Greer

A Birder in the Hand: Mobile Phone App Can Recognize Birds From Photos

12-14-16

Pietro Perona, Allen E. Puckett Professor of Electrical Engineering, and colleagues have developed the Merlin Bird Photo ID mobile app which uses machine-learning technology to identify hundreds of North American bird species it "sees" in photos. "This app is the culmination of seven years of our students' hard work and is propelled by the tremendous progress that computer-vision and machine-learning scientists are making around the world," says Professor Perona. "A machine that recognizes objects in images, like humans do, was a distant dream when I was a graduate student and now it's finally happening." [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights CMS Pietro Perona

Professor Rolf Sabersky Passes Away

11-10-16

Rolf H. Sabersky, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Emeritus, passed away on October 24, 2016 at the age of 96.  Professor Sabersky joined the faculty in 1949 having obtained his BS ’42, MS ’43, and PhD ’49 from Caltech in Mechanical Engineering. He became professor emeritus in 1988.  He worked with luminaries throughout his distinguished career including Theodore von Kármán at Aerojet. James Van Allan sought his expertise for the development of the Ajax and Bumblebee rocket programs.  Professor Sabersky made pioneering contributions to our understanding of boiling heat transfer, free convection, granular flows, and indoor air quality. He taught courses in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer.  He was renowned for his commitment to education, mentoring, and promoting diversity. He was the author of two popular textbooks, Elements of Engineering Thermodynamics, and Fluid Flow: A First course in Fluid Mechanics, which he coauthored with Professor Allan Acosta. He received the Heat Transfer Memorial Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1977.

Tags: research highlights MCE EAS history Rolf Sabersky

Graduate Student Wins Best Paper Prize

11-09-16

Electrical Engineering graduate student Chun-Lin Liu, working with Professor Vaidyanathan, has received the best paper prize for his paper entitle, “Two-Dimensional Sparse Arrays with Hole-Free Coarray and Reduced Mutual Coupling". The prize was presented to him at the 50th Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems, and Computers. [Read the paper]

Tags: EE honors research highlights P. P. Vaidyanathan Chun-Lin Liu

Visualization Brings Data to Life

10-28-16

Students participating in Caltech's Data Visualization program aim to tackle cumbersome data-manipulation problem such as how to drive a rover on Mars from a command room on Earth. One of the goals of the program is to develop innovative software to streamline the ways in which scientists and engineers visually manipulate their data. "We use a human-centered design methodology," Professor Mushkin says. "Design students create sketches and ask the researchers to 'interact' with them by pointing, talking, shuffling, and annotating the paper, while computer science students create rough drafts of a variety of possible approaches to coding the visualization." [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights MCE CMS Hillary Mushkin

Practical Mathematics: An Interview with Andrew Stuart

10-28-16

Professor Andrew Stuart is interested in how the current era of data acquisition interacts with centuries of human intellectual development of mathematical models that describe the world around us. His research is informed by—and has applications for—diverse arenas such as weather prediction, carbon sequestration, personalized medicine, and crowd forecasting. [Interview with Prof. Stuart]

Tags: research highlights CMS Andrew Stuart

Raising Temperature Changes an Element's Electronic "Topology"

10-27-16

Brent Fultz, Barbara and Stanley R. Rawn, Jr., Professor of Materials Science and Applied Physics, and colleagues have discovered a new way that heat tweaks the physical properties of a material. The potential value to engineers lies in the fact that it is much easier to raise the temperature of a material than it is to place it under the sort of pressure needed to force an electronic topological transition. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Brent Fultz

Noise-Canceling Optics

10-10-16

Changhuei Yang, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Medical Engineering, and colleagues have created the visual analogue of noise-canceling headphones—a camera system that can obtain images of objects obscured by murky media, such as fog or clouds, by canceling out the glare. Their device selectively cancels the scattered light, leaving only the light that is reflected or bounced off the objects and has slipped back through the murk unmolested. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights Changhuei Yang MedE

Your Future is Calling

10-03-16

Professor Morteza Gharib was one of the speakers at a recent symposium celebrating the Caltech–City of Hope Biomedical Research Initiative which provides seed grants to accelerate the development of basic scientific research and its translation into biomedical applications. Professor Gharib’s presentation was focused on measuring the ejection fraction, the fraction of blood that is ejected from the heart with each heartbeat. The group has designed a small piece of hardware that can connect to an iPhone and calculate a patient's ejection fraction—for less than $8. The device, called Vivio, gives comparable results to a cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, the gold standard in the medical industry for measuring heart health. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MedE Morteza Gharib