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Stimulating Electrode Array Assists Paraplegic Man to Stand and Move Legs Voluntarily

05-20-11

Joel W. Burdick, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, and colleagues including Yu-Chong Tai, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, have used a stimulating electrode array to assist a paralyzed man to stand, step on a treadmill with assistance, and, over time, to regain voluntary movements of his limbs. Using a combination of experimentation, computational models of the array and spinal cord, and machine-learning algorithms, Professor Burdick and his colleagues are now trying to optimize the stimulation pattern to achieve the best effects, and to improve the design of the electrode array. Further advances in the technology should lead to better control of the stepping and standing processes. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: EE research highlights MedE health Yu-Chong Tai MCE Joel Burdick

Experiments Settle Long-Standing Debate about Mysterious Array Formations in Nanofilms

05-19-11

Sandra M. Troian, Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering, and colleagues' experiments have confirmed which of three possible mechanisms is responsible for the spontaneous formation of three-dimensional (3-D) pillar arrays in nanofilms (polymer films that are billionths of a meter thick). "My ultimate goal is to develop a suite of 3-D lithographic techniques based on remote, digital modulation of thermal, electrical, and magnetic surface forces," Troian says. Confirmation of the correct mechanism has allowed her to deduce the maximum resolution or minimum feature size ultimately possible with these patterning techniques. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights GALCIT MCE Sandra Troian

Professor Blanquart Receives NSF CAREER Award

02-25-11

Guillaume Blanquart, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has been awarded the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for his proposal entitled "Towards understanding and modeling turbulent buoyant flows". The aim of the project is to understand the complex interactions between turbulent fluid mechanics and Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities. These phenomena commonly occur in nature such as in supernova explosions, under water hot-vents, and fires. They are also encountered in many engineering applications such as in Inertial Confinement Fusion.

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Tags: honors research highlights MCE NSF CAREER Guillaume Blanquart NSF

Product Design for the Developing World

12-10-10

The only way to pass Visiting Professor of Mechanical Engineering Ken Pickar's E/ME 105 class, Product Design for the Developing World, is by designing something—a machine, a tool, a gadget, a process—to help improve the lives of the billions of people in the world who live on two or three dollars a day. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights MedE MCE Ken Pickar

Yu-Chong Tai Receives 2010 Breakthrough Award

10-04-10

Yu-Chong Tai, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, is a recipient of a 2010 Breakthrough Award by Popular Mechanics for his work on an artificial retina. [Popular Mechanics Article]

Tags: EE honors research highlights health Yu-Chong Tai MCE Popular Mechanics

Caltech Receives $10 Million in Gifts to Help Launch New Terrestrial Hazard Center

09-15-10

The Terrestrial Hazard Observation and Reporting Center (THOR) has been launched in an effort to find ways to minimize the damage caused by natural hazards. THOR will span two academic divisions at Caltech, Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) and Geological and Planetary Sciences. "The interdisciplinary and interactive nature of engineering at Caltech allows us to translate scientific knowledge and discovery into applications with direct societal impact," says Ares Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering; EAS Chair. "One of the areas of pioneering research and innovation made possible by THOR is seismo-engineering. The boundaries of seismo-engineering are fuzzy ones and lie exactly in the interface between seismology and earthquake engineering. We are delighted to have the opportunity to explore these boundaries." [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights MCE ESE

Jose Andrade Receives DOE Award

09-10-10

Congratulations to José E. Andrade, Associate Professor of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, and colleagues whoes paper "Multi-scale calculation inside compaction bands: from the field to the lab" has been recognized by the DOE Basic Energy Sciences Office, with an award for outstanding contributions in geosciences research.

Tags: honors research highlights MCE Jose Andrade

Aseismic Slip as a Barrier to Earthquake Propagation

05-06-10

Tectonics Observatory researchers including Nadia Lapusta, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Geophysics, have explored the effects of aseismic slip in the aftermath of the 2007 Peru earthquake. "This large area of aseismic slip is good news," says Jean-Philippe Avouac, Director of the Tectonics Observatory and Professor of Geology. "It lowers the seismic hazard in that region, and allows us to be a little bit predictive. We cannot tell you when there will be an earthquake, but we can tell you where there is stress buildup, and where there is no stress buildup. Where there is no stress buildup, there will be no seismic rupture. That is where the earthquakes are going to stop." [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights MCE Nadia Lapusta Jean-Philippe Avouac

Ares Rosakis Receives 2010 Robert Henry Thurston Lecture Award

05-06-10

Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has been selected to receive the 2010 Robert Henry Thurston Lecture Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers "for pioneering contributions to the field of fracture and failure mechanics of microelectronic, engineering and geological materials and structures, spanning a wide range of length scales; and for visionary leadership in promoting interdisciplinary research and education in mechanical engineering."

Tags: honors research highlights GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis

Professor Knauss Receives the 2010 Timoshenko Medal

05-04-10

Wolfgang G. Knauss, Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Mechanics, Emeritus, has been selected to receive the 2010 Timoshenko Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers "for fundamental contributions to the mechanics of fracture, covering mixed-mode fracture, dynamic fracture, and interface and adhesive fracture; and the characterization of material response and failure at the microscale, with an emphasis on experimental mechanics." The Timoshenko Medal was established in 1957 and is conferred in recognition of distinguished contributions to the field of applied mechanics.

Tags: honors research highlights GALCIT Wolfgang Knauss