Faculty

image credit: L. Cicero
February 2018


Krishna Shenoy and team have been researching the use of brain machine interfaces (BMI) to assist people with paralysis. Recently, one of the researchers changed the task, requiring physical movement from a change in thought. He realized that the BMI would allow study of the mental rehearsal that occurs before the physical expression.

Although there are some important caveats, the results could point the way toward a deeper understanding of what mental rehearsal is and, the researchers believe, to a future where brain-machine interfaces, usually thought of as prosthetics for people with paralysis, are also tools for understanding the brain.

"Mental rehearsal is tantalizing, but difficult to study," said Saurabh Vyas, a graduate student in bioengineering and the paper's lead author. That's because there's no easy way to peer into a person's brain as he imagines himself racing to a win or practicing a performance. "This is where we thought brain-machine interfaces could be that lens, because they give you the ability to see what the brain is doing even when they're not actually moving," he said.

"We can't prove the connection beyond a shadow of a doubt," Krishna said, but "this is a major step in understanding what mental rehearsal may well be in all of us." The next steps, he and Vyas said, are to figure out how mental rehearsal relates to practice with a brain-machine interface – and how mental preparation, the key ingredient in transferring that practice to physical movements, relates to movement.

Meanwhile, Krishna said, the results demonstrate the potential of an entirely new tool for studying the mind. "It's like building a new tool and using it for something," he said. "We used a brain-machine interface to probe and advance basic science, and that's just super exciting."

Additional Stanford authors are Nir Even-Chen, a graduate student in electrical engineering, Sergey Stavisky, a postdoctoral fellow in neurosurgery, Stephen Ryu, an adjunct professor of electrical engineering, and Paul Nuyujukian, an assistant professor of bioengineering and of neurosurgery and a member of Stanford Bio-X and the Stanford Neurosciences Institute.

Funding for the study came from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, a Ric Weiland Stanford Graduate Fellowship, a Bio-X Bowes Fellowship, the ALS Association, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Simons Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Excerpted from Stanford News, "Mental rehearsal prepares our minds for real-world action, Stanford researchers find," February 16, 2018.

 

Related News:

Research by PhD candidate and team detects errors from Neural Activity, November 2017.

Krishna Shenoy's translation device; turning thought into movement, March 2017.

Brain-Sensing Tech Developed by Krishna Shenoy and Team, September 2016.

Krishna Shenoy receives Inaugural Professorship, February 2017.

 

February 2018

Angad Rekhi (PhD candidate) and Amin Arbabian have developed a wake-up receiver that turns on a device in response to incoming ultrasonic signals – signals outside the range that humans can hear. By working at a significantly smaller wavelength and switching from radio waves to ultrasound, this receiver is much smaller than similar wake-up receivers that respond to radio signals, while operating at extremely low power and with extended range.

This wake-up receiver has many potential applications, particularly in designing the next generation of networked devices, including so-called "smart" devices that can communicate directly with one another without human intervention.

"As technology advances, people use it for applications that you could never have thought of. The internet and the cellphone are two great examples of that," said Rekhi. "I'm excited to see how people will use wake-up receivers to enable the next generation of the Internet of Things."

Excerpted from Stanford News, "Stanford researchers develop new method for waking up small electronic devices", February 12, 2018

 

Related news:

Amin's Research Team Powers Tiny Implantable Devices, December 2017.

Stanford Team led by Amin Arbabian receives DOE ARPA-E Award, January 2017.

Amin Arbabian receives Tau Beta Pi Undergrad Teaching Award, June 2016.

February 2018

Gordon Wetzstein has been selected as a 2018 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Computer Science. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has selected 126 outstanding U.S. and Canadian researchers as recipients of the 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships. Awarded annually since 1955, the fellowships honor early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements mark them as among the very best scientific minds working today.

"The Sloan Research Fellows represent the very best science has to offer," says Sloan President Adam Falk, "The brightest minds, tackling the hardest problems, and succeeding brilliantly—Fellows are quite literally the future of twenty-first century science."

Awarded in eight scientific and technical fields—chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics—the Sloan Research Fellowships are awarded in close coordination with the scientific community. Candidates must be nominated by their fellow scientists and winning fellows are selected by an independent panel of senior scholars on the basis of a candidate's independent research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become a leader in his or her field.

Congratulations to Gordon for this outstanding achievement!


 

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economics. www.sloan.org

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Press Release

February 2018

David Tse has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering with the citation, "For contributions to wireless network information theory."

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

A professor of Electrical Engineering, Tse is the Thomas Kailath and Guanghan Xu Professor of Engineering. Dr. Tse's research interests are in information theory and its applications in various fields, including wireless communication, energy and computational biology.

Previously, Professor Tse was awarded the 2017 Claude E. Shannon Award from IEEE Information Theory Society. Read article.

 

Please join us in congratulating David for this well-deserved recognition of his profound contributions.

 

Read NAE Press Release, February 7, 2018

February 2018

University of California, Berkeley EECS alumna Andrea Goldsmith (B.A. '86/M.S. '91/Ph.D. '94) has been awarded the 2018 Berkeley EECS Distinguished Alumni Award. Her citation reads, "For excellence in research and teaching, and for tireless commitment to the advancement of women in the profession."
Andrea is the Stephen Harris Professor in the School of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering.

Distinguished Alumni Awards winners are selected each year by the EE and CS Chairs in consultation with the Berkeley EECS Faculty Awards Committee and with input from the EECS faculty.

 

Please join us in congratulating Andrea!

 

Related news:

"Prof. Goldsmith receives the 2017 IEEE WICE Mentorship Award," October 2017

"Professor Goldsmith elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences," April 2017

"Professor Andrea Goldsmith elected to the National Academy of Engineering," February 2017

January 2018

Congratulations to Professor Emeritus Arogyaswami Paulraj.

Paulraj joins 14 other inductees this year, recognized for their inventions that have changed the world. The inductee ceremony will be held on May 3, 2018 at the National Building Museum, Washington D.C.

Paulraj pioneered MIMO—Multiple Input, Multiple Output—a wireless technology that has revolutionized broadband wireless internet access for billions of people worldwide. MIMO improves both transmission data rates and expands network coverage. It is the essential foundation for all current (WiFi and 4G mobile) and future broadband wireless communications.

About the National Inventors Hall of Fame:
The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) is the premier non-profit organization in America dedicated to recognizing inventors and invention, promoting creativity, and advancing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Founded in 1973 in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, NIHF is committed to not only honoring the individuals whose inventions have made the world a better place, but also to ensuring American ingenuity continues to thrive in the hands of coming generations through its national, hands-on educational programming and challenging collegiate competitions focused on the exploration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. NIHF has served more than 1 million children and 125,000 educators and interns, and awarded more than $1 million to college students for their innovative work and scientific achievement through the help of its sponsors.

Congratulations to Paulraj for this well deserved, and very impressive, honor!

Read more about NIHF inductee Arogyaswami Paulraj 

 

Excerpted from National Inventors Hall of Fame.

December 2017

The Stanford chapter of Tau Beta Pi, an engineering honor society, is proud to announce the inaugural "Teaching Honor Roll," which recognizes the extraordinary teaching of 12 educators in the School of Engineering, three are from Electrical Engineering.

Selection criteria include great teaching, extraordinary inspiration to study a topic, outstanding mentoring and particularly creative lecturing, but are by no means limited to these characteristics. Any undergraduate in the School of Engineering can nominate an instructor.

The 2017 honorees in the Tau Beta Pi Teaching Honor Roll include Electrical Engineering's Stephen Boyd, Reza Mahalati, and Rahul Prabala (BS '16, MS '17).

"I'm so glad to be able to make an impact with EE108," said Rahul Prabala (BS '16, MS '17) on hearing the news of his inclusion. "And I'm honored to be part of the first TBP Teaching Honor Roll."

The honor roll will be displayed in the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center, with plaques bearing the names and short quotes from this year's 12 recipients. The Teaching Honor Roll wall can be found on the ground floor of Huang, near NVIDIA Auditorium. In subsequent years, a list of previous winners will be maintained on the Tau Beta Pi Honor Roll website.

Tau Beta Pi is the nation's second oldest honor society. Founded in 1885, it has chapters in at least 242 U.S. colleges and universities and a membership of well over 550,000. Tau Beta Pi promotes academic excellence, civic leadership and community service for students. In their duties, members organize panel discussions, host industry dinners and conduct math and science programs at local K-12 schools, among many other activities.

 

Congratulations Stephen, Reza, and Rahul!

Excerpted from Stanford Engineering's, "Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society debuts its "Teaching Honor Roll"" Dec. 6, 2017.

Professor Amin Arbabian
December 2017

Professor Amin Arbabian and team are looking for ways to power tiny devices that may be used to pinpoint and repair problems deep inside the body without the trauma of major surgery or the side effects of systemic treatments like chemotherapy.

Ideally, the implants could be placed alongside vital organs to take sensor readings, deliver tiny amounts of drugs, provide remedial jolts of electricity or combinations of the above.

There are many challenges that stand between concept and execution, one of which is providing power to the devices. EE professor Amin Arbabian and his team, including graduate students Marcus Weber, Jayant Charthad and Ting Chia Chang, have been working on this approach for years, putting together electronic components in a modular design to create something new: an implantable device platform the size of a grain of rice that is designed to let engineers swap essential modules depending on the functions desired.

"Think of our implant platform as the chassis of a car that we can customize for different applications," Weber said.

Each implant contains a power-receiving module that can convert the energy from ultrasound waves into usable electricity. This is based on the well-known principle of piezoelectricity – the subtle pressure exerted by sound waves can compress certain crystals in a way that creates a flow of electrons. According to tests thus far, their implants can be powered beyond 12 centimeters below the skin, or a bit under 5 inches – which is sufficient for targeting most any vital organ in the body. The researchers believe they can implant devices even deeper in the future.

To store power between ultrasound charges, the engineers equipped the implant with capacitors instead of bulky batteries. The nanocapacitors store enough of a charge to run the onboard processor that controls each implant and power the implant's ultrasound transmitter.

The team is designing a skin patch that will serve as the control hub and a central power source for their closed-loop system. The skin patch draws on advice from Butrus "Pierre" Khuri-Yakub to think of it like the cell tower in a mobile phone network, relaying signals and orchestrating the activity of two or more implants in different parts of the body.

"We anticipate that as we further refine and test the system, we will find multiple applications beyond epilepsy, hypertension and diabetes, including bladder incontinence, chronic pain and cardiac arrhythmia," Arbabian says.

Read about the IEEE demonstrations at ISSCC and VLSI, or learn more about the lab's implant work at arbabianlab.stanford.edu/research/implants.

 

Excerpted from Stanford Engineering, "How implants powered by ultrasound can help monitor health," December 4, 2017.

December 2017

The Great Teaching Showcase is a two-part event that brings together faculty and instructors from all seven schools at Stanford to share success stories and celebrate our collective commitment to improving learning through classroom innovation.

Part one, "Faces of Teaching" will feature short talks that focus on instructors' and students' personal journeys as teachers and learners.

The second part, Gallery Walk, will share successful models of course and assignment design, pedagogical approaches, and innovative classroom ideas to improve learning outcomes, drive student engagement, model inclusive teaching and learning, and reflect on challenges and opportunities.

We are pleased that two Electrical Engineering faculty will be presenting – professors Juan Rivas-Davila and Gordon WetzsteinJuan's presentation is titled, "Ready-to-build power electronics design projects."

Gordon's presentation is titled, "Project-based learning in EECS: virtual reality as a case study."

 

Congratulations to Juan and Gordon on their acceptance into this important Stanford event!

 

December 2017

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) today announced Balaji Prabhakar of Stanford University as a 2017 ACM Fellow. ACM Fellows are selected each year for outstanding accomplishments in computing and information technology and/or outstanding service to ACM and the larger computing community.

The 2017 ACM Fellows were selected by their peers from more than 100,000 ACM members worldwide and represent the top one percent of ACM members.

ACM recognizes excellence through its eminent series of awards for technical and professional achievements and contributions in computer science and information technology. ACM also names as Fellows and Distinguished Members those members who, in addition to professional accomplishments, have made significant contributions to ACM's mission.

"To be selected as a Fellow is to join our most renowned member grade and an elite group that represents less than 1 percent of ACM's overall membership," explains ACM President Vicki L. Hanson. "The Fellows program allows us to shine a light on landmark contributions to computing, as well as the men and women whose hard work, dedication, and inspiration are responsible for groundbreaking work that improves our lives in so many ways."

The 2017 Fellows have been cited for numerous contributions in areas including artificial intelligence, big data, computer architecture, computer graphics, high performance computing, human-computer interaction, sensor networks, and wireless networking.

ACM will formally recognize its 2017 Fellows at the annual Awards Banquet, to be held in San Francisco on June 23, 2018. Additional information about the 2017 ACM Fellows, and the awards event, as well as previous ACM Fellows and award winners, is available on the ACM Awards site.

 

Please join us in congratulating Balaji!

 

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