News & Events


Professor Gharib Named Vice Provost


Morteza Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Bio-Inspired Engineering, is the new Vice Provost with a special focus on research. Professor Gharib has made contributions to a wide array of research topics ranging from the fundamental analysis of biological flows, to the development of bio-inspired medical devices, to advanced flow visualization techniques. One of his more unusual studies was his work with a SURF student several years ago where they raised a 30000-pound obelisk into place using a single kite and speculated that the ancient Egyptians may have moved the massive stones from which the pyramids were built and raised obelisks by flying them into place! His breadth, technical strength, and enthusiasm will serve him and Caltech well as he takes on the role of Vice Provost. [Caltech Today Article]

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Ali Hajimiri Awarded $6 Million to Develop Self-Healing Circuits


Over the past few decades, the transistors in computer chips have become progressively smaller and faster, allowing upwards of a billion individual transistors to be packed into a single circuit, thus shrinking the size of electronic devices. But these circuits have an intractable design flaw: if just a single transistor fails, the entire circuit also fails. One novel way around the problem is a so-called self-healing circuit. Such circuits are "inspired by biological systems that constantly heal themselves in the presence of random and intentional failures," says Caltech professor Ali Hajimiri.

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Morteza Gharib and Abbas Nasiraei Moghaddam Show Function of Helical Band in Heart


Using an MRI technique, Morteza Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Bioengineering, and his colleague Abbas Nasiraei Moghaddam, a Caltech graduate and visitor in Bioengineering, were able to create some of the first dynamic images of normal heart muscle in action at the tissue level. They showed that a muscular band--which wraps around the inner chambers of the heart in a helix--is actually a sort of twisting highway along which each contraction of the heart travels. "We tagged and traced small tissue elements in the heart, and looked at them in space, so we could see how they moved when the heart contracts," Gharib explains. "In this way, we were able to see where the maximum physical contraction occurs in the heart and when--and to show that it follows this intriguing helical loop." [Caltech Press Release]

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Popular Mechanics Honors Caltech Alumni at Award Ceremony


Popular Mechanics honored a group of Caltech alumni at its annual Breakthrough Awards ceremony on October 15. Rudy Roy ('07), Ben Sexson ('07), and Daniel Oliver ('07), along with Art Center alum Charles Pyott, received the magazine's Next Generation Award for establishing the nonprofit organization Intelligent Mobility International (IMI). IMI's mission is to empower people with disabilities in developing countries by designing and producing safe, affordable wheelchairs made for the rugged terrain of rural communities. The project originated in 2006, in a Caltech class called Product Design for the Developing World, which is taught each fall by Visiting Professor of Mechanical Engineering Ken Pickar. [Read more on green design in Caltech News...]

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Changhuei Yang Develops "Microscope on a Chip"


Changhuei Yang, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering, and colleagues have turned science fiction into reality with their development of a super-compact high-resolution microscope, small enough to fit on a finger tip. This "microscopic microscope" operates without lenses but has the magnifyingpower of a top-quality optical microscope, can be used in the field to analyze blood samples for malaria or check water supplies for giardia and other pathogens, and can be mass-produced for around $10. [Caltech Press Release]

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Yu-Chong Tai Discusses the Technology of Retinal Implants in Watson Lecture


In a Watson Lecture entitled The Next-Generation Neural Implant: Let's Start with Retinal Implants, Professor of Electrical Engineering Yu-Chong Tai discusses the technology of retinal implants and recent progress in their development.

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Changhuei Yang Invents New Technique That Makes Tissues Transparent


Changhuei Yang, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering, and colleagues, have invented a new technique, turbidity suppression by optical phase conjugation (TSOPC), that counteracts the scattering of light and removes the distortion it creates in images, potentially allowing for light energy to be targeted to devices inside a human body. [Caltech Press Release]

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Medical Engineering