Ken Pickar
Visiting Professor of Mechanical Engineering

California Institute of Technology
208 Gates-Thomas, Mail Code 104-44
Pasadena, CA 91125
(626) 395-4185


E/MedE/ME 105

E/ME 103

Useful Links





Fall 2018 E/ME103 Management of Technology
Professor: Ken Pickar

The course will be taught again in Fall 2018. 

E/ME 103 is for students interested in learning how rapidly evolving technologies are harnessed to produce useful products and successful businesses and great research.

Distinguished Guest Lecturers share their experiences.

Last year Six papers were written on Occular Phototherapeutics, Renewable Energy on a Systems Level, Extracellular Vesicles for Drug Delivery, Virtual Reality Technology, Spatial Sensing Technologies for Autonomous Vehicles, Application of Machine Learning to the Personal Loan Industry in China. 
The widely varied subjects reflect the diversity of personal interests of the students! 

Just completed

E/ME/MedE 105a,b "Design for Freedom from Disability" 
was taught in the Winter and Spring of 2018. [Video] This course, taught in conjunction with Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center results in devices which help people with serious disabilities. By applying engineering skills and working with the people who have the actual challenge we are addressing, we have created some useful products which can change people's lives. Of the 12 devices created in the last 2 years of the course, 3 have been chosen to be presented at the National Conference of the Rehabilitation Society. This choice was made from 100 competing University submissions. 

A significant accomplishment this year is the  prototyping of a device which has the attributes of a "smart cane". Testing at Rancho showed that balance can be maintained even for some stroke victims. In collaboration with Prof. Aaron Ames and his graduate student,  Maegan Tucker, we are working on the next stage of introducing this device.

It is a capstone ME course.

The idea is to give the student

An Opportunity

To be inspired by
incredible people

To help these people
with your technology

To work the whole
process of Dream,
Design, Build, Implement

Ken Pickar
Visiting Professor of Mechanical and Medical Engineering, 1998-present,
J. Stanley Johnson Visiting Professor of Mechanical Engineering, 1999-2003

Caltech Video on “The The Human Side of Engineering

Story of Class

Teaching Areas of Interest
My classes are taught at the junction of science, engineering and business by applying my background in mechanical and electrical engineering technology management and in physics. I am particularly interested in the start-up and continuous growth of technology-based companies, and the modification of normative product development processes to address developing world challenges.

Faculty Advisor
Entrepreneur's Club
Engineers for a Sustainable World
Consulting Club

Business Background (partial)
Allied Signal (now Honeywell) Senior Vice President of Engineering and Technology
GE Corporate R&D Manager of The Electronics Laboratories
Bell Laboratories Member of the Technical Staff

Boards of Director Positions

Public: Neustar (1999-2011) IPO New York Stock Exchange in 2005 Ness Technologies (2003-2008) NASDAQ
Level One (1999-2000) NASDAQ sold to Intel in 2000

H2Scan (2004-2011)
Butterfli- On Demand Assisted Transportation

Non Profit:

Albany Medical School and Medical Center (1988-1992) Los Angeles County Regional Food Bank (2004-2010). Central food distributer.
South Coast Botanical Garden (2005- ) Los Angeles County Botanical Garden in Palos Verdes
Intelligent Mobility (2007- ) non profit wheelchair provider spun out of E/ME 105
Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator LACI helps promising Cleantech startups
Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay

Tech Coast Angels (Southern California early stage investing network)
Executive committee LA Chapter (1999- )

B.S., Queens College, City University of New York;
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania (Critical Velocity of Superfluid Liquid Helium Films)

The Associated Students of Caltech (ASCIT) Award for Excellence in Teaching (2004-2005)