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]
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.
Chaining Atoms Together Yields Quantum Storage
Engineers at Caltech have developed an approach for quantum storage that could help pave the way for the development of large-scale optical quantum networks. "The ability to build a technology reproducibly and reliably is key to its success," says graduate student Andrei Ruskuc. "In the scientific context, this let us gain unprecedented insight into microscopic interactions between ytterbium qubits and the vanadium atoms in their environment." The new system relies on nuclear spins—the angular momentum of an atom's nucleus—oscillating collectively as a spin wave. This collective oscillation effectively chains up several atoms to store information. "Based on our previous work, single ytterbium ions were known to be excellent candidates for optical quantum networks, but we needed to link them with additional atoms. We demonstrate that in this work," says Andrei Faraon, Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering. [Read the paper] [Caltech story]
New Graduate Track to Combine Study of Medical and Electrical Engineering
In an effort to create more opportunities for students, increase interdisciplinary research, and gain visibility for a first-of-its kind program, Caltech is creating a new graduate education track that combines medical engineering and electrical engineering. Students entering the joint track will be eligible to earn a single PhD in electrical and medical engineering, and would perform research in each field and, ideally, in a combination of the two fields. "All my students from both departments have a strong interest in this joint track," says Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. "This will be good for them because it will broaden their horizons by exposing them to both fields. This will also allow MedE to recruit students from the EE track, and EE will be able to recruit from MedE." [Caltech story]