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Undergraduate Team Wins International Thales Arduino Competition

03-04-16

The Caltech team, Trigger Cats, has won the 2015/2016 International Thales Arduino Competition. They designed and developed a modular stabilization system which uses a gyroscope and an accelerometer to keep a load steady after sudden perturbations. Potential applications range from preventing military vehicles from flipping due to blasts to anti-seasickness chairs on cruise ships. The team comprised of undergraduate students: Aritra Biswas, Frederick Berl, Carlos Gonzalez, Cormac R. ONeill, and Yongkyun (Daniel) Lee. Teams from universities across the United Kingdom and the United States competed on the Project Arduino challenge which used an Arduino kit. The teams were asked to build and film the progress of a project that tied into the Thales business areas – Aerospace, Space, Transportation, Defense and Security. [Tigger Cats Video]

Tags: honors MCE Aritra Biswas Frederick Berl Carlos Gonzalez Cormac ONeill Yongkyun Lee

Electrical Vehicle Design and Racing

02-12-16

The students in the CS/EE/ME 75 class, Introduction to Multidisciplinary Systems Engineering, invited industry experts to their midterm design review on the evening of February 11, 2016. The students are currently in the manufacturing phase and plan to finish the vehicle frame this week and attach the mounting brackets shortly thereafter. They aim to have a running prototype electrical vehicle by mid-March to get early testing data before refining their design for the upcoming Formula SAE competition. The course is co-taught by Professors Guillaume Blanquart, Azita Emami, and Richard Murray as well as the Executive Director for the Resnick Institute, Neil Fromer. Several students in the course are also members of the Caltech Sustainable Vehicle Club led by undergraduate student Robert Anderson. [Huffpost Education Blog]

Tags: EE energy MCE CMS Guillaume Blanquart Richard Murray Rob Anderson Azita Emami Neil Fromer

Tiny Diatoms Boast Enormous Strength

02-08-16

Researchers in the lab of Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, have recently found that diatom shells have the highest specific strength—the strength at which a structure breaks with respect to its density—of any known biological material, including bone, antlers, and teeth. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MedE MCE Julia Greer

Professor Rosakis Inducted Into the Academy of Athens

01-12-16

Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has been inducted into the Academy of Athens in the class of Natural Sciences for his “exceptional contributions to science, in particular in experimental science, in the mechanics of solids, and in aerospace.” He was indicated as a Corresponding Member of this selective academy - there are only 76 members in his section and class. [Video of event] [Caltech story]

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Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis

Cancer Treatment in a Painless Patch

11-05-15

Mechanical engineering undergraduate student, Teo Wilkening, spent this past summer working with Professor Gharib to test the preliminary design for an alternative—and possibly much less painful—method of chemotherapy drug delivery through a patch. To avoid the pain caused by the large needle traditionally used for such an intravenous injection, the team envisioned a patch containing hundreds of micrometer-scale needles, too small in diameter to be sensed by the nerves in the skin. [Caltech story]

Tags: GALCIT MedE MCE Morteza Gharib research highlight Teo Wilkening

Extending a Battery's Lifetime with Heat

10-03-15

The research of alumnus Asghar Aryanfar (’15 PhD, ME) along with Professors Goddard and Hoffmann has shown that heat can break down the damaging branch-like structures that grow inside batteries, which may possibly be used to extend battery lifetimes. [Learn more] [Read the paper]

Tags: research highlights MCE ESE William Goddard alumni Michael Hoffmann Asghar Aryanfar

Atomic Fractals in Metallic Glasses

09-18-15

Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, and colleagues including graduate student David Chen have shown that metallic glasses has an atomic-level structure although it differs from the periodic lattices that characterize crystalline metals. "Our group has solved this paradox by showing that atoms are only arranged fractally up to a certain scale," Greer says. "Larger than that scale, clusters of atoms are packed randomly and tightly, making a fully dense material, just like a regular metal. So we can have something that is both fractal and fully dense." [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MedE MCE Julia Greer David Chen

Sergio Pellegrino Elected President of the IASS

09-02-15

Professor Sergio Pellegrino, Joyce and Kent Kresa Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Civil Engineering; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Research Scientist, has been elected President of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS). The IASS, founded in 1959, aims to further progress through an interchange of ideas among all those interested in lightweight structural systems such as lattice, tension, membrane, and shell structures. [New Officers of IASS]

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Sergio Pellegrino

Crush, the RoboSub, Places in International Competition

08-20-15

The Caltech Robotics Team placed fourth in the 18th Annual International RoboSub Competition. The Competition is designed to introduce students to high-tech STEM fields such as maritime robotics. This year's team from Caltech was led by mechanical engineering recent graduate Justin Koch who was advised by Professor Joel Burdick. [Caltech story]

Tags: honors MCE CMS alumni Joel Burdick Justin Koch