In 2010, Patrick O. Brown, then a biochemist at Stanford University, and Michael Eisen, Berkeley professor of genetics, were at a board meeting in Washington, D.C., for PLOS, the Public Library of Science.
At Cal, Vanessa Lavorato, owner of Marigold Sweets and cohost of the TV show Bong Appétit, was like many another college undergraduate: She had a fondness for both cannabis and chocolate. But her appreciation was from an amateur’s perspective.
Richard Sanford graduated from Berkeley in 1965, served a combat tour in Vietnam, and by 1971 found himself working from a mossy old barn near Lompoc with no plumbing or electricity.
A geographer by training, the Navy veteran was engaged in an improbable quest—transforming the barn and adjoining bean fields into a classic, Burgundian-style vineyard.
The robot and I met at the southwest corner of Center and Shattuck. It was 3 p.m. on a Wednesday, and the streets were bustling. The robot was small and boxy, something like a cooler on wheels. I knelt down at what I presumed was the robot’s front end. It winked a pixilated eye.
Following instructions I’d received in advance, I raised a hand and flashed an “okay” sign. The robot emitted a pleasant dinging sound and a hatch on top slowly opened. I reached in and removed a grease-stained paper bag. Inside were two slices of warm pizza.
Posted on February 26, 2018 - 3:47pm
At Eagle Elementary School, located in a suburban district in New York’s Capital Region, 12 fourth and fifth-graders are inventing. Two students are trying to work the bugs out of a miniature electronic sliding door. Another team is setting up the tiny equivalent of a washing machine drum. Still others are building a robotic fan.
Posted on February 23, 2018 - 1:12pm
The news cycle is spinning with such ferocity that it may be hard to remember that it was only a couple of weeks ago that infrastructure was Topic A, with the Trump administration announcing a new initiative to fix America’s potholed roads, repair its spavined bridges, and spiff up its energy delivery systems. But even while the general focus has shifted, Berkeley engineers and public policy analysts are thinking about possible remedies to our infrastructure woes.
Posted on February 22, 2018 - 1:13pm
Earlier this month, the New York Times published its first feature story with augmented reality, or AR, depicting 360 degree models of Olympians suspended in action: a figure skater frozen in the middle of his quadruple jump, a speed skater paused during the sharp angling of a turn.
Posted on February 20, 2018 - 12:55pm
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in April 2006. Last week, John Perry Barlow—poet, Internet phlilosopher and activist, known for an eclectic resume and zest for life— died in his sleep after a period of ill health. California is reposting this story in light of that news.
Good Robot, Bad Robot
MIT Technology Review says 2017 was the year robots backflipped into our hearts, with exhibit A being Atlas, Boston Dynamics’ incredibly gymnastic bot, which (resisting the urge to say ‘who’) not only sticks the landing on an honest-to-god backflip, but raises its arms afterward as if in celebration.
Posted on January 12, 2018 - 3:22pm
In 2025, California parking lots will be the new gas stations. Or so goes the vision of Ethan Elkind, director of the climate program at the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment at Berkeley.
To the average technology consumer, a quantum computer sounds like something out of science fiction. But these machines are real, and scientists at Berkeley are working on one right now.
So what is a quantum computer?
Well, a “classic” digital computer, like the one at your desk, stores information in bits, a basic unit of information. Binary bits, found in the computers we use daily, can only be zero or one, or on or off.