As the future steadily becomes the present, we often find ourselves disappointed with how little our world resembles … The Jetsons. No flying cars, no 3-D printed meals. And today’s hoverboards? They don’t even hover! But if you’ve spent any time on the Cal campus lately, you’ve likely crossed paths with a KiwiBot, one of 150 fox terrier–sized robots that autonomously navigate the winding paths and hordes of hustling students. The bots are on their quest to deliver lunch. And though a KiwiBot is no Rosey (the Jetsons’ sassy robo-maid), it does have a certain charm.
UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna has chalked up another award for her discovery of the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool. The Kavli Prize in nanoscience is worth $1 million and will be shared among the three recipients, which includes Doudna’s collaborator, Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Institute.
Posted on June 1, 2018 - 5:59pm
You’ve said the role of research administration is to support faculty and provide “the best possible environment for pursuing world-changing research.” As the new vice chancellor for research, how do you create that environment and what does it look like?
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
Posted on October 2, 2017 - 3:10pm
Broken hip announcements were a dark opera as I entered adulthood. Both parents. Then the parents of many of my friends and the parents of their friends’ friends as we marched toward middle age. For each of the afflicted, it was the last stumble toward the grave. For their offspring, who had tumbled through the tear gas of the Vietnam era, it was strange to witness: falling down, then pneumonia, confusion, intestinal bleeding, bladder infections, dementia, stroke, and within a year or at most two, the tomb.
Posted on August 8, 2017 - 2:14pm
How’s this for a modern take on the venerable office vending machine? You swipe your credit or debit card, open a fridge-like glass door, and choose from an array of fresh entrees and snacks. If you want a receipt, the machine will email it to you, and it keeps track of your preferences: next time there’s a sale on your favorite yogurt, Byte Food’s cloud-based servers will give you a heads up.
Posted on February 16, 2017 - 1:44pm
SkyDeck, UC Berkeley’s start-up accelerator program, is housed on the top floor of the tallest building in downtown Berkeley. All four walls of the 10,000 square-foot penthouse have floor-to-ceiling windows, offering up a 360-degree view. This is where Cal’s fledgling entrepreneurs come for free office space and guidance while preparing to launch their product or service. They have six months to a year up here with SkyDeck, and then it’s time to jump out of the nest.
Posted on March 24, 2016 - 4:25pm
Wave energy. A portable spirometer for kids with asthma. Tools to lower the carbon footprint. A robot-building kit.
These are just a few examples of what UC Berkeley startups are developing at the Foundry, Cal’s technology incubator. But Liz Klinger and James Wang are working on something else entirely: a smart vibrator.
Posted on March 18, 2015 - 12:50pm
Whatever wariness has accompanied the collaboration between public universities and private sector profit-seeking, that horse appears well out of the barn, foaming at the mouth and galloping madly for the horizon. At UC Berkeley, academic/corporate “incubators” and “accelerators” are all the rage. Supporters focus on the upside: Creative researchers are able to launch start-ups that produce spookily cool products and generate gigabucks in the process—and may even embody the maxim to do well by doing good.
Posted on January 16, 2015 - 1:18pm
Time has borne out the veracity of the Biblical observation that poor will always be with us—and so, too, are well-meaning efforts to feed the famished. But success in getting food to the hungry has been spotty at best. Now, a group of idealistic Cal students is bringing high tech to bear on the problem, producing an approach that is propagating across the country.
Posted on January 13, 2014 - 1:58pm
UC Berkeley, of course, is one of the top engineering schools in the nation, an institution that needn’t take a backseat to any peer—including a certain private university nestled in the San Francisco Peninsula. But there’s one area where Cal’s engineers and entrepreneurs have admittedly played catch-up to private, heavily endowed universities: ramping up for global markets.
Posted on July 15, 2013 - 5:27pm