Monday, October 17, 2016

TerraSwarm PI Jose Carmena Receives Award from National Eye Institute

As reported by UC Berkeley's News, TerraSwarm PI Jose Carmena will receive a $225,000 award from the National Eye Institute as part of the federal BRAIN initiative. The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is part of a Presidential focus intended to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain by supporting the development and application of innovative technologies. The award will support testing of newly developed miniaturized wireless sensors or "neural dust." As previously reported, these sensors have the potential to record activity within the central nervous system. The implanted sensors' design is unique in using ultrasound to both power the sensor and retrieve readings. Possible applications for the research include less invasive medical treatment options.

Monday, September 26, 2016

TerraSwarm PI Bjoern Hartmann Named Director of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation at UC Berkeley

TerraSwarm PI Bjoern Hartmann has been named as the director of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation at UC Berkeley.  PI Bjoern Hartmann is an Assistant Professor in the EECS Department. He has served as the chief technology officer for the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation since its inception.  His research on Human-Computer Interaction centers on novel design, prototyping, and implementation tools for the era of post-personal computing.

The Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation works to educate top innovators at the intersection of design and technology, and to provide students with opportunities for hands-on experience working in interdisciplinary teams to address real world problems. It is designed to provide a space for collaboration using multiple modes of engagement among students from different disciplines and levels of expertise.  Focusing on human-centered engineering, the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation facilitates an increased role for design in undergraduate engineering education at UC Berkeley.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

TerraSwarm PI Vijay Kumar's Lab Develops Quadrotor with Onboard Navigation

As reported by IEEE SpectrumPopular Science, and Gizmodo TerraSwarm PI Vijay Kumar's Lab at the University of Pennsylvania has developed a drone capable of on-board navigation. Traditionally when quadrotors perform complex maneuvers, such as flying through narrow openings, it requires an expensive complex external motion capture system that relays information to the drone. TerraSwarm PI Vijay Kumar's Lab has developed a 250 gram quadrotor drone that accomplishes these tasks using a single camera and on-board sensing and computing.  This creates an opportunity for real world applications by enabling the quadrotor to perform these complicated operations outside a controlled laboratory setting.  The quadrotor can move at speeds of up to 4.5 m/s, with acceleration of over 1.5g, and roll/ pitch angles of up to 90 degrees. While the current design still requires that the location of obstacles, relative the drone's starting position, be provided in advance, the research team is working to integrate the drones camera into real-time planning and control framework in the future.

Friday, September 9, 2016

TerraSwarm PIs Sanjit Seshia and Richard Murray Receive NSF "Frontier" Award

As reported in it's September, 6, 2016 Press Release, a research team including TerraSwarm PI Sanjit Seshia and TerraSwarm PI Richard Murray has received a National Science Foundation "Frontier" award for their project Verified Human Interfaces, Control, and Learning for Semi-Autonomous Systems (VeHICaL).  The five-year $4.6 million award will support multidisciplinary research into systems that operate together with human operators. The goal of the project is to enhance human collaboration and interaction with automation in the physical environment in a way that enhances safety, privacy and performance. The research team for the VeHICaL project includes Sanjit Seshia, University of California, Berkeley; Thomas Griffiths, University of California, Berkeley; Claire Tomlin, University of California, Berkeley; S. Shankar Sastry, University of California, Berkeley; Ruzena Bajcsy, University of California, Berkeley; Richard Murray, Caltech; and Cynthia Sturton, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Possible applications for the VeHICaL project's research outcomes include drones and semi-autonomous cars.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

PI Pieter Abeel Co-Principal Investigator for New Center for Human-Compatible Aritificial Intelligence

Pieter Abbeel will serve as a co-principal investigator for newly launched Center for Human-Compatible Aritificial Intelligence along with Anca Dragan (UC Berkeley), Tom Griffiths  (UC Berkeley), Bart Selman (Cornell University), Joseph Halpern (Cornell University) Michael Wellman (University of Michigan),  and Satinder Singh Baveja (University of Michigan). Professor Abbeel is also co-principal investigator of TerraSwarm funded research project on the Human Intranet.

The new center is being launched with a $5.5 million grant from the Open Philanthropy Project. Additional grants from Levehume Trust and the Future of Life Institute will fund the center's research.  It will be lead by University of Califonia, Berkeley Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Stuart Russell. The Center for Human-Compatible Aritificial Intelligence will focus on ensuring that sophisticated artificial intelligence systems function in a manner that is aligned with human values. “AI systems must remain under human control, with suitable constraints on behavior, despite capabilities that may eventually exceed our own,” Russell explained in UC Berkeley's news article. “This means we need cast-iron formal proofs, not just good intentions.”

Monday, August 8, 2016

Apple Buys TerraSwarm PI Carlos Guestrin's Startup Turi

Turi, an artificial intelligence startup founded by TerraSwarm PI Carlos Guestrin, has been acquired by Apple. News of the purchase appeared in several articles including the Wall Street Journal's, "Apple Buys Machine-Learning Startup Turi" and Geek Wire's "Exclusive: Apple acquires Turi in major exit for Seattle-based machine learning and AI startup."

Turi enables companies to make sense of data, offering a software platform that helps them develop and manage applications with machine learning capabilities. It allows developers to detect fraud, create recommendation engines, analyze customer data, and target potential customers.

Carlos Guestrin, the Associate Professor of Machine Learning at the Computer Science and Engineering Department of the University of Washington, founded Turi in 2013. Formerly GraphLab and Dato, the startup adopted it's current name in July. The name is a reference to software creation techniques that rely on computers making inferences from data to essentially teach themselves without specific instructions.

Apple uses machine learning in predicting word completion in messages, photo facial recognition, and applications such as Siri. It's acquisition of Turi is seen as part of a larger push by Apple into artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Friday, August 5, 2016

First Dust-Sized Wireless Sensors Built by TerraSwarm PIs Jose Carmena, Michel Maharbiz, and Jan Rabaey

An August 3, 2016 news article, "Sprinkling of neural dust opens door to electroceuticals," reports that a team of University of California, Berkeley engineers including TerraSwarm PIs Jose Carmena, Michel Maharbiz, and Jan Rabaey have developed the first dust-sized, wireless, implantable sensors. Measuring 1 millimeter cube, the sensors are approximately the size of a grain of sand. The batteryless sensors use ultrasound as both a power source and to communicate results, overcoming one of the major challenges to this type of technology. Unlike radio waves, ultrasound vibrations can penetrate most of the human body, and is already widely used in healthcare settings. This opens the possibility for applications deep within the body.  Piezoelectric crystal is used to convert ultrasound vibrations from outside the body into the electricity needed to power the device's on-board transistor, which is in contact with nerve or muscle fiber. Changes in the voltage of the fiber alters the circuit of the device causing variation in the echo picked up by the ultrasound receiver.

Applications include real time monitoring and stimulation of internal organs, muscles, or nerves. This technology opens the door to new diagnostic and treatment of a wide range of conditions including epilepsy, inflammation, and paralysis. Compared to currently available implantable electrodes that require wires to be passed externally, these sensors are sealed in the body decreasing the likelihood of infection and accidental displacement. The researchers are currently working on building sensors using biocompatible thin films, which would allow the sensors to function in the body for a decade or more without degradation. Future work includes developing even smaller sensors.