Travis Smith has always been interested in building things. This summer, the UC Davis graduate student will be on national television building robots and then watching his creations stand up to spikes, chainsaws and flamethrowers as a team member in the sixth series of “Battlebots” on the ABC network.
Travis Smith, a Ph.D. student in engineering, is taking part in the sixth season of the TV show “Battlebots.”
In the show, teams build armed robots that fight it out in an arena full of hazards. Think FIRST Robotics, but with chainsaws.
UC Davis multi-alumna Christine Gulbranson is bringing her talents to a new challenge starting today, May 1: She is one of two regular judges on a new reality TV show, “Big Brain Theory: Pure Genius” which begins an eight-week run on the Discovery Channel tonight.
Gulbranson said she hopes the show can help get young people excited about in careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
“In my experience, it was when I was working in a physics lab, doing things, that a lightbulb clicked on and I realized, ‘I can do this,'” she said.
In this first video, he uses two Kinects to capture a 3-D image of a person and put her into a virtual office on a 3D TV screen. Because his volunteer is sitting in the KeckCAVES 3-D virtual reality environment, she can also see a 3-D image that Oliver projects back at her. It’s one half of what could be a two-way, virtual chat — but with real people, instead of avatars, dropped into a computer-generated environment.
The High Energy Physics group is hosting a public screening of “The Atom Smashers,” a documentary about the race to find the Higgs boson. The screening will be on Sunday, April 26 at 7 pm in Chem 194. After the movie, directors Clayton Brown and Monica Ross, and UC Davis professors John Conway and Robin Erbacher, who appear in the movie, will be on hand to answer questions. Tickets are $4. More information here.
Jessica is working on her second album and a new fragrance. She is also in negotiations to develop a new reality show about grad students called “The Scholarly Life”, in which she will show her intellectual side by wearing reading glasses. Her research addresses the signaling value of bright sweaters on small dogs, and is funded by proceeds from her new line of handbags.
(Picture caption: The pom poms (“pseudo-poodles”) on Jessica’s Uggs act as lures to attract the ankle-biting dogs, who are angered by them. This innovative technique is one of Jessica’s many contributions to the methods of field ecology.)
Nelson Max, a professor of computer science at UC Davis and at Lawrence Livermore National Lab who pioneered computer animation in the 1970s and 1980s, will be presented with the 2007 Steven A. Coons Award by the ACM SIGGRAPH conference this week.
The Coons Award is the highest honor accorded by ACM SIGGRAPH. It is given in odd-numbered years to individuals for lifetime intellectual and creative contributions to computer graphics and interactive techniques. The award is named for Steven A. Coons, an early pioneer in the field of computer graphical methods.
Headlining is a talk by Tony DeRose from Pixar Studios, who will give a talk about “Math in the Movies.” The movie industry is going through a digital revolution, he says, and mathematicians and computer scientists are leading entertainment in new directions.
DeRose has a bachelor’s degree in math from UC Davis and was a computer science professor at the University of Washington before he went into movies with Pixar.