09/08/10 — Over the last decade, the line between real and virtual in motion pictures has grown even blurrier with the rise of computer-generated imagery (CGI). If CGI is done well, you could be looking at a pixilated Brad Pitt, not the hunky star himself, and you'd be none the wiser. Any visual effects supervisor will tell you that one of CGI's biggest challenges is replicating faces. Humans look at faces every day and expertly distinguish fact from fiction. But technology is catching up, thanks, in part, to a Berkeley engineer. Paul Debevec (Ph.D.'96 EECS) is a friendly, congenial academic with a love of movies who has engineered an ingenious system to make digital animation, in particular human faces, more realistic.
05/20/10 Los Angeles Times — UC Berkeley mechanical engineering professor Liwei Lin and a team of researchers are perfecting microscopic fibers that can produce electricity from simple body motions such as bending, stretching and twisting. The filaments, which resemble tiny fishing lines, may soon be woven into clothing and sold as the ultimate portable generators.
05/05/10 — UC Berkeley assistant professor of bioengineering Mohammad Mofrad has been busy uncovering the mysteries of how human cells behave when physical force is applied to them, working at the exact intersection of engineering and biology. Mofrad and a handful of fellow researchers are in the vanguard of a subspecialty called cellular mechanobiology, or cellular biomechanics, where they're stirring up the entire field of biology by adding physics to the mix. The ramifications of their work may one day bring about better treatments for cancer and cardiovascular disease as well as HIV/AIDS and the common flu.
04/07/10 — Clean and green technologies are on the rise in Silicon Valley. Electric car startups like Tesla Motors and solar cell and biofuel innovators are snapping up commercial space, while established companies like Applied Materials are growing their clean energy divisions. “Over the past six years, clean tech's portion of venture [capital] investments has grown from merely 3 percent to more than 25 percent,” reported the San Jose Mercury News in January. The newspaper went on to pronounce clean and green technologies the next great wave of innovation in Silicon Valley. It's no surprise to five Berkeley Engineering alumni who work in the up-and-coming sector.
03/22/10 San Francisco Business Times — Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will receive about $13.5 million over five years from the National Cancer Institute to develop computational models that predict breast cancer responses to therapeutic agents. The new Center for Cancer Systems Biology will be co-directed by Joe Gray, director of the lab's life sciences division and an adjunct professor of laboratory medicine at UCSF, and Claire Tomlin, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley.
03/03/10 — After 70 years in environmental engineering, Harvey Ludwig (B.S.'38, M.S.'42 CE) has learned a thing or two about the field. Ludwig ran his own environmental engineering consulting firm in the United States for 26 years before moving to Thailand to start a company that consulted on water and sanitation projects there and in other developing countries around Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It was an eye-opening experience, and ever since, Ludwig has freely shared his insights on how to translate Western technologies into best practices for emerging markets.
02/09/10 ABC News — Navy Commander Scott Shackleton, fifth cousin of the great explorer and assistant dean for capital projects and facilities in the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley, found his opportunity to follow in Sir Ernest Shackleton's footsteps. For the last three weeks, Cmdr. Shackleton served as an operations officer at McMurdo Station, near the Antarctic coast, as part of this year's Operation Deep Freeze, the annual resupply mission for the research personnel who live on Antarctica year-round.
02/03/10 — Berkeley Engineering alumna Michelle Khine, now an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at UC Irvine, has discovered an inventive scientific approach to fabricating cheap microfluidic devices using Shrinky Dinks. When her method of printing microfluidic patterns on Shrinky Dink sheets -- using a laser-jet printer, then heating them in a toaster oven to create patterns of channels and microwells -- was featured and published online in Lab Chip, it had more downloads in one month than any other paper previously posted by the UK's Royal Society of Chemistry.
12/15/09 — Some economists attribute about 50 percent of the annual rise in health care costs to medical technology. Technological advances have allowed doctors to treat previously untreatable conditions and prolong both the duration and quality of life. However, as engineers, we believe that new technology opens up greater access and that scalability holds the power to drive down costs. Witness, for example, Moore's Law at work in the area of information and communications technology.
12/15/09 — Malware is tough to defeat. Once a piece of malicious software such as a virus or worm attacks, it might take days or weeks before computer security professionals release a fix or other countermeasure, says EECS associate professor Dawn Song (Ph.D.'02 EECS). But Song -- named one of Technology Review's 2009 Young Innovators Under 35 -- has created what she calls a "game-changing" technology in the security landscape, significantly cutting the amount of time it takes security analysts to address a malware problem.
06/04/09 — We spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors but probably don't give much thought to the quality of the air we breathe until we step outside. That could be a mistake, says Beverly Coleman (M.S.'05, Ph.D.'09 CEE), who received her doctorate just last month.
03/02/09 — The urgent business of protecting the American people from terrorism and other threats will almost certainly follow a different course under the Obama administration. In particular, the security of electronic information supporting our most critical systems – for instance, financial, medical and civil infrastructure data – is likely to be defined by a stronger effort to reconcile the competing needs of public security, personal privacy and utility.
02/02/09 — As we listened to President Obama's inaugural address on January 20, we were encouraged by his remarks emphasizing the role of science. However, the nation's research community would be shortsighted to take these words simply as an invitation to submit funding requests and expand programs. Instead, we must mobilize quickly to identify the most ambitious challenges we are capable of tackling-in other words, our “moon shots” for the 21st century.
05/02/08 — There were plenty of clues around campus that April was Earth Month: tree plantings, conferences and summits, awarding of Sustainability Awards and granting of Green Initiative grants. But the maturity of UC Berkeley as a hub of sustainability awareness and action goes far deeper; Berkeley marks Earth Day every day, and its efforts are being felt on campus and far beyond.
12/02/07 — No cancer is good, but brain cancers are among the worst. The most common type, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), can strike at any age and is usually fatal. Bioengineering professor Sanjay Kumar is studying the deadly brain cancer in a promising new way and developing new forms of therapy that might halt it.
12/02/07 — Using a device that's roughly the size and price of an upscale cell phone, Berkeley Engineers hope to halt the spread of diseases afflicting millions in the developing world. Dubbed SeroScreen, the handheld instrument will test blood and other bodily fluids for the presence of infection and deliver an on-site diagnosis within minutes for influenza, skin infections, mosquito-borne viruses and other ailments.