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UCSD recruits a top engineer from Brain Corp.

UC San Diego has made another quick move to expand its new Contextual Robotics Institute, recruiting a highly regarded engineer from the Brain Corp., a Qualcomm venture.

Todd Hylton will serve as executive director of CRI, reporting to Henrik Christensen, the Georgia Tech engineer who was recently appointed to lead the institute.

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Hylton spent the past four years as executive vice president of strategy and research at Brain Corp., a small startup. He previously worked as a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a unit of the Defense Department that cultivates emerging technologies. He is especially well known for trying to develop systems that are inspired by the speed and versatility of the central nervous system.

In a statement, Christensen said Monday "I am excited that Hylton " will play a key role as we focus on industry collaborations both locally and globally. Todd has a strong history both from government positions and work in the local industry that will facilitate rapid growth of our project portfolio and industry network."

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Hylton will hold the title "Professor of Practice" in the Jacobs School of Engineering, the home of CRI.

UC San Diego created CRI late last year in hopes of become one of the nation's leaders in robotics. The institute will heavily focus on developing robotic systems that can anticipate and meet people's needs, particularly in health care, public safety and defense. Over the summer, the university hired several researchers who will primarily work out of CRI, including Christensen.

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Teams of engineering undergrads at UCSD have spent an entire quarter designing and testing their unique robots to lift and transport 18 spheres to three different platforms. The course culminates in a themed competition. Video by David Brooks.
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