August 2015

The first fully internal method of delivering optogenetics has been established. Miniature implanted devices are being wirelessly powered by a special power source that transmits frequencies that resonate in certain lab mice.

The device dramatically expands the scope of research that can be carried out through optogenetics to include experiments involving mice in enclosed spaces or interacting freely with other animals. The work is published in the Aug. 17 edition of Nature Methods.

Professor Ada Poon states, "This is a new way of delivering wireless power for optogenetics. It's much smaller and the mouse can move around during an experiment." See video.

The device can be assembled and reconfigured for different uses in a lab, and the design of the power source is publicly available. "I think other labs will be able to adapt this for their work," Poon said.

This novel way of delivering power is what allowed the team to create such a small device. And in this case, size is critical. The device is the first attempt at wireless optogenetics that is small enough to be implanted under the skin and may even be able to trigger a signal in muscles or some organs, which were previously not accessible to optogenetics.

The team says the device and the novel powering mechanism open the door to a range of new experiments to better understand and treat mental health disorders, movement disorders and diseases of the internal organs. They have a Stanford Bio-X grant to explore and possibly develop new treatments for chronic pain.

Professor Poon's lab recently sponsored a summer program for local female high school students, providing them a chance to explore several introductory concepts of EE. View article.

Excerpts are from the Stanford Report. View full article

July 2015

Stanford Professor Ada Poon gave 22 female high school students a chance to explore introductory concepts about electricity and electronics during a week-long program called Girlz Gone Wireless (GGW).

Offered for the first time this summer at Stanford, the program was hosted Professor Poon and her lab members in the Stanford Electrical Engineering (EE) department. The week-long workshop gave the 9th and 10th grade students a chance to build various projects using the lab equipment, tools, and kits.

The five day program culminated with each student building their own cell phone charger and a wireless speaker.

Professor William Cruz of Los Medanos College and Stanford EE PhD candidate Kamal Aggarwal (pictured below, back row) led the daily sessions. EE's Instructional Labs Manager, Steven Clark, provided hardware and tools.

Other Stanford faculty, staff, and researchers also presented lectures and shared personal experiences at the Girlz Gone Wireless sessions, covering topics like solar cells, wireless medical devices, and interaction design.

Anjali Datta and Irena Tammy Fischer-Hwang, both EE PhD candidates, encouraged the participants to consider joining organizations that would help them grow as students and professionals. They introduced the GGW to three relevant groups: WEE (Women in Electrical Engineering), WISE (Women in Science and Engineering), and SWE (Society of Women Engineers).

Girlz Gone Wireless was free and open to local students with a minimum 3.5 GPA interested in engineering.

Participants were enthusiastic about experiencing the lab environment, and learning and applying the concepts. "On Monday I didn't know what any of the tools or meters were for, and now I know what they are and how to use all of them," one student said.

Professor Poon hopes that many of the young women will set their sites on studying electrical engineering.

"I hope they'll find the lessons interesting and experience fewer hurdles with studying EE or any other engineering field," Poon said. "So many girls applied for the program but we had to limit it because of the size of our lab," she added. "I know it's a commitment for the students and their parents to come every day, especially during their summer."

Professor Poon closed the program by giving each participant a certificate and encouraging them to continue to grow their interest in engineering.

Several Girlz Gone Wireless participants pose with Professor Ada Poon (far right, front row), Prof. William Cruz of Los Medanos College, and Stanford EE PhD candidate Kamal Aggarwal (back row).

View more photos


Professor Poon's Lab works on implantable bio-medical devices. The wireless, rechargeable devices may assist in controlling prosthetic limbs for amputees; providing medicine or therapeutic relief; and possibly treating diseases with electronics rather than medication.

Visit EE Student Organizations page to learn more about WEE (Women in EE) and other student organizations.

Stanford's Office of Science Outreach (OSO) assisted in this program.

August 2015

Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) has awarded Professor Shanui Fan's group funding to develop new techniques for cooling buildings.

Fan reported the energy-saving breakthrough in the journal Nature. Using a thermal photonic approach, the material reflects sunlight and emits heat, demonstrating new possibilities for energy efficiency. The photonic radiative cooler consists of seven alternating layers of hafnium dioxide (HfO2) and silicon dioxide (SiO2) of varying thicknesses, on top of 200 nm of silver (Ag), which are all deposited on top of a 200-mm silicon wafer.

This passive energy source, which exploits the large temperature difference between space and Earth, could provide nighttime lighting without batteries or other electrical inputs.

GCEP is an industry partnership that supports innovative research on energy technologies to address the challenge of global climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The project includes five corporate sponsors: ExxonMobil, GE, Schlumberger, DuPont and Bank of America.


View full Stanford Report article.

August 2015

The new light-field stereoscope technology – developed by Wetzstein along with researchers Fu-Chung Huang and Kevin Chen – moves beyond current "flat" VR that essentially is a 2D screen in front of your eyes. The new headset design creates a sort of hologram for each eye to make the experience more natural. A light field creates multiple, slightly different perspectives over different parts of the same pupil. The result: you can freely move your focus and experience depth in the virtual scene, just as in real life.

"If you have a five-hour (robotic) surgery, you really want to try to minimize the eye strain that you put on the surgeon and create as natural and comfortable a viewing experience as possible," Wetzstein said.

"Virtual reality gives us a new way of communicating among people, of telling stories, of experiencing all kinds of things remotely or closely," Wetzstein said. "It's going to change communication between people on a fundamental level."

Wetzstein's computational imaging work is going beyond the lab and into the classroom. In the fall, he will team with Tanja Aitamurto, deputy director of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Stanford, to teach an interdisciplinary course at Stanford's d.school focused on the social impacts of virtual reality. The class, EE392D, Designing Civic Technologies with Virtual Reality, will be open to all Stanford students from any major. Wetzstein is also developing a class focused on virtual reality technology for the spring quarter.


Professor Wetzstein's research lab, Stanford Computational Imaging Group 

Read full Stanford Report article

July 2015

The Innovation Transfer Program at the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy is providing financial support for 11 new teams trying to put university research to work. The Innovation Transfer Program is in its first year.

Of the 11 teams that have been awarded, three are led by EE faculty advisors.

  • Humblade is an embedded sensor that provides online monitoring of wind power generators, and eventually pipeline, trains, planes and other critical infrastructure. Advisor: Boris Murmann.
  • Spark Thermionics will prototype a device to convert heat to electricity with record-setting efficiency, and is scalable from watts to megawatts. Advisor: Roger Howe.
  • Vorpal (awarded in fall 2014) is developing a handheld device for sterilizing liquids using pulsed electric field technology as an energy-efficient alternative to pasteurization and other means of purification. Advisor: Juan Rivas-Davila.

The Energy Innovation Transfer Program at the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy provides financial support for clean energy technologies.


Read full Stanford Report article.

July 2015

Subhasish Mitra, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and of Computer Science, has received the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) Technical Excellence Award for his research related to Quick Error Detection (QED) technology.

Electronic systems are an indispensable part of all our lives. Malfunctions in these systems have consequences ranging from annoying computer crashes, loss of data and services, to financial and productivity losses, or even loss of human life. To ensure robust operation of electronic systems, it is essential to minimize the effects of design flaws (bugs) in the hardware. Unfortunately, existing test and validation methods cannot cope with the tremendous complexity of today's integrated circuits and systems. As a result, many critical bugs are detected only after integrated circuits (ICs) are manufactured. During post-silicon validation and debug, manufactured ICs are tested in actual system environments to detect and fix bugs in hardware. Existing post-silicon validation and debug techniques are ad hoc and very expensive, and their cost and complexity are rising faster than design cost.

Quick Error Detection (QED) technology overcomes post-silicon validation and debug challenges by detecting bugs a billion times quicker compared to existing approaches, while simultaneously catching critical bugs that would otherwise go undetected and severely jeopardize robust operation of electronic systems. QED also localizes difficult hardware bugs automatically in only a few hours so that the detected bugs can be fixed efficiently. In contrast, it might take days or weeks (or even months) of manual work (per bug) using existing approaches. QED has been successfully used in industry.

"I am honored by this award from the SRC in recognition of the QED technology," replied Professor Mitra. "QED is key to ensuring robust operation of electronic systems we rely on everyday. My sincere thanks to the SRC for funding my research, and for selecting the QED technology for this prestigious award. I am fortunate to work with an excellent group of highly-motivated undergraduate and graduate students at Stanford, as well as fantastic collaborators from industry and academia. The QED technology would have been impossible without them. Finally, I also thank the NSF since the roots of this QED work started with support by the NSF CAREER award."

  • The students that contributed to this QED technology are: David Lin (EE '15), Dr. Yanjing Li (EE '13), Dr. Sung-Boem Park (EE '10), Ted Hong (MS '07), Diana Mui (MS '11), Ziyad Abdel Khaleq (MS '12), Sundaram Ananthanarayanan (MS '14), Eshan Singh (PhD candidate), Christine Cheng (MS), and Dr. Farzan Fallah.
  • Collaborators from industry: AMD, Freescale, Intel, IBM, Renesas
  • Collaborators from academia: Prof. Clark Barrett (NYU), and Prof. Deming Chen (UIUC) and Keith Campbell (UIUC).

Publications by Mitra's group have received other awards including: IEEE/ACM Design Automation Conference Best Paper Award, IEEE International Test Conference Best Student Paper Award, and the Best in Session Award at the Semiconductor Research Corporation's TechCon Conference.

The Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) is a leading research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies, sponsoring university research and supporting elite students and faculty around the world. Nominations are reviewed and approved by SRC's Board of Directors. Teams are recognized for their impact on semiconductor productivity through cultivation of technology and talent.

June 2015

The citation for Associate Professor Christos Kozyrakis' award reads, "For outstanding contributions to transactional memory technologies.” The Maurice Wilkes Award is given annually by ACM SIGARCH for an outstanding contribution to computer architecture made by an individual in the first 20 years of their career. The award is named after Sir Maurice Wilkes, a pioneer of computing systems that made fundamental contributions to the field quite early in his career.

Prof. Kozyrakis' research focuses on making computer systems of any size faster, cheaper, and greener. His current work focuses on the hardware architecture, runtime environment, programming models, and security infrastructure for warehouse-scale data centers and many-core chips with thousands of general purpose cores and fixed functions accelerators.

SIGARCH serves a unique community of computer professionals working on the forefront of computer design in both industry and academia. It is ACM's primary forum for interchange of ideas about tomorrow's hardware and its interactions with compilers and operating systems.

Congratulations to Christos for this well-deserved recognition of his outstanding research contributions.


Read more about the ACM SIGARCH Maurice Wilkes Award

June 2015

Professor Shenoy is one of 26 finalists appointed as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Shenoy is a leader in the emerging field of brain-machine interfaces to control the movement of computer cursors and prosthetic limbs. He has developed computational methods to dramatically speed up the ability to decode patterns of neural activity in a person's brain. These algorithms have been incorporated into a system designed to allow people with paralysis to control a computer cursor with their thoughts.

Known for their creativity and productivity, HHMI investigators push the bounds of knowledge in biomedical research. Professor Shenoy will continue his research and teaching at Stanford. As an HHMI investigator, additional funding will allow the freedom to explore and follow his research ideas through to completion.

Shenoy's HHMI appointment will begin in September. 


Read School of Engineering News article.

May 2015

On May 18th and 19th, Professor Stephen P. Boyd will present at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. The occasion marks the 56th Chaim Weizmann Memorial Lectures. The Weizmann Memorial Lectures are considered the most prestigious lecture series at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

The lectures are intended to review the newest developments in the field chosen for discussion. This year's event consists of two lectures, which are open to the Institute's faculty and staff, and the community. Monday's talk is aimed toward anyone interested in science, while Tuesday's lecture is geared toward scientists from the Weizmann Institute and from other institutions of higher education in Israel.

Professor Boyd's two lectures are titled: 'Convex Optimization' and 'Domain Specific Languages for Convex Optimization.'

May 2015

"A new algorithm enables a moment-by-moment analysis of brain activity each time a laboratory monkey reaches this way or that during an experiment. It's like reading the monkey's mind," states the Stanford Report article.

Professor Shenoy and neuroscientist Matthew Kaufman, a previous student of Shenoy's, published the research findings in eLife.

Shenoy's lab focuses on movement control and neural prostheses — such as artificial arms — controlled by the user's brain.

"This basic neuroscience discovery will help create neural prostheses that can withhold moving a prosthetic arm until the user is certain of their decision, thereby averting premature or inopportune movements," Shenoy said.


Krishna Shenoy is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Courtesy Professor of Neurobiology.


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