Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Just a couple of thoughts on ASARCO.

I think that the dissent was closer to being right than the majority opinion was (of course I think so:  I was one of four folks on this amicus brief), and that Congress should fix the problem by adopting the test that we proposed in our brief (fees for substantially prevailing).  The majority opinion will tempt parties who like objecting to fees for strategic reasons to do more of these types of objections; professionals may respond by increasing their base rates (or increasing them more rapidly) to take the possibility of objections (and unreimbursed defenses) into account; and a court's only likely response is to consider whether really obviously strategic-only objections were actually frivolous.  On the other hand, there's still the "you don't object to mine, and I won't object to yours" behavior, so maybe the opinion won't have as drastic an effect as I fear.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Taken directly from our announcement--couldn't have written it better myself:
On behalf of Dean Rama Venkat, the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering is proud to announce that our team DRC-Hubo @UNLV finished in eighth place among the world’s best robotics teams competing in the 2015 U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Challenge Finals, just a few points below universities such as Carnegie Melon and MIT.
Launched in response to a humanitarian need that became glaringly clear during the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011, the DARPA Robotics Challenge consisted of three increasingly demanding competitions over two years. The goal was to accelerate progress in robotics and hasten the day when robots can enter areas too dangerous for humans and mitigate the impacts of natural or man-made disasters.

UNLV’s team, led by Lincy Professor of Unmanned Autonomous Systems, Paul Oh, performed six of eight tasks in 57 minutes and 41 seconds, giving the team the eighth place spot. The team performed better than competitors from Lockheed Martin, Virginia Tech, University of California, Los Angeles, Seoul National University and more. Joining UNLV on the team are students and one professor from Kookmin University in Seoul, Korea, as well as professionals from robotics company Praxis Aerospace.

Driving was arguably the most challenging task in the completion, but Oh hoped that UNLV would emerge as a leader in that area.  Metal Robot drove in less than 60 seconds, ranking among the top teams in the competition.

In case you missed it, please check out this UNLV slideshow, highlighting some of the most exciting aspects of the competition.  

During the competition, Oh and members of the team were featured in Computer World, U.S. News & World Report, Armed with Science(the U.S. Department of Defense science blog) and Popular Science.

You can see a play by play of the event on the COE Facebook and Twitter feeds.

We also worked with several other media outlets on larger projects that will be aired in the near future. Outlets include NOVA on PBS, The Economist, GQ Magazine, Daily Planet/Discovery Channel Canada,  Inside Unmanned Aerial Systems Magazine,  RAI Italian National TV, Robo Nation TV, Tech Biz Geeks blog and more.

Oh and team members also will be featured in several documentaries including “My Life with a Robot,” by French company Belotta films, a project by screenwriter Michael Bacall and a move production by To the Stars media.

Thousands of spectators visited the two-day competition, which also featured a large technology exposition. UNLV’s College of Engineering had a booth in this expo, attracting hundreds of people to follow us on social media, as well as hundreds of prospective students who filled out cards seeking additional information on our robotics programs.

Overall, it’s an epic success for our Engineering Program to be featured with the likes of Carnegie Melon, MIT, Lockheed Martin and more. We couldn’t be more proud of our team.