UW News


October 18, 2017

For $1000, anyone can purchase online ads to track your location and app use

graphic of commute where someone could be tracked via ads

New University of Washington research finds that for a budget of roughly $1000, it is possible for someone to track your location and app use by purchasing and targeting mobile ads. The team hopes to raise industry awareness about the potential privacy threat.


October 17, 2017

Flexible ‘skin’ can help robots, prosthetics perform everyday tasks by sensing shear force

photo of robot arm with skin on finger

UW and UCLA engineers have developed a flexible sensor “skin” that can be stretched over any part of a robot’s body or prosthetic to accurately convey information about shear forces and vibration, which are critical to tasks ranging from cooking an egg to dismantling a bomb.


October 12, 2017

UW names second CSE building the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering

photo of Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering under construction as of Oct. 5

The University of Washington Board of Regents on Thursday approved the naming of the new computer science building under construction on the Seattle campus as the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering. The naming of the building was made possible by gifts from Microsoft Corp. and a group of local business and philanthropic leaders who are longtime friends and colleagues of the couple.


October 6, 2017

3 UW researchers chosen for NIH High-Risk, High-Rewards program

Joshua Vaughan, Daniel Chiu and Jakob von Moltke

Three University of Washington faculty members are among those honored with an NIH High-Risk, High-Reward Research grant, which fund exceptionally creative scientists proposing to use highly innovative approaches to tackle major challenges in biomedical research.


September 14, 2017

People of color exposed to more pollution from cars, trucks, power plants during 10-year period

In columns A and B, red identifies locations where NO2 concentrations were higher for nonwhites than whites; blue indicates that NO2 concentrations were higher for whites than nonwhites; and white means they were equal. In column C, red indicates that the absolute difference in NO2 concentration between nonwhites and whites increased over time; blue indicates that difference decreased over time; and white indicates no change.

A new nationwide study finds that the U.S. made little progress from 2000 to 2010 in reducing relative disparities between people of color and whites in exposure to harmful air pollution emitted by cars, trucks and other combustion sources.


September 13, 2017

UW team shatters long-range communication barrier for devices that consume almost no power

In the long-range backscatter system developed by UW researchers, this sensor uses reflected radio waves to encode and communicate information using almost zero power. It can “talk” to a receiver up to 2.8 km away.

UW researchers have demonstrated for the first time that devices that run on almost zero power can transmit data across distances of up to 2.8 kilometers — breaking a long-held barrier and potentially enabling a vast array of interconnected devices.


September 6, 2017

PupilScreen aims to allow parents, coaches, medics to detect concussion, brain injuries with a smartphone

photo of pupilscreen in use

University of Washington researchers are developing a smartphone app that is capable of objectively detecting concussion and other traumatic brain injuries in the field, which could provide a new level of screening for athletes and accident victims.


August 28, 2017

New app could use smartphone selfies to screen for pancreatic cancer

BiliScreen is a new smartphone app that can screen for pancreatic cancer by having users snap a selfie. It’s shown here with a 3-D printed box that helps control lighting conditions to detect signs of jaundice in a person’s eye.

A new app could lead to earlier detection of pancreatic cancer simply by snapping a smartphone selfie. The disease kills 90 percent of patients within five years, in part because there are no telltale symptoms or non-invasive screening tools to catch a tumor before it spreads.


August 10, 2017

DNA sequencing tools lack robust protections against cybersecurity risks

UW researchers have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to remotely compromise a computer using information stored in DNA. This test tube holds hundreds of billions of copies of the exploit code stored in synthetic DNA molecules, which has the potential to compromise a computer system when it is sequenced and processed.

A new UW study finds DNA sequencing tools lack robust cybersecurity protections. In a scientific first, the team also infected a computer with synthesized DNA molecules.


July 11, 2017

Lip-syncing Obama: New tools turn audio clips into realistic video

Reel of Obama photos

A new machine learning tool developed by UW computer vision researchers can create realistic videos from audio files alone – including speeches by President Barack Obama.


July 5, 2017

First battery-free cellphone makes calls by harvesting ambient power

UW engineers have designed the first battery-free cellphone that can send and receive calls using only a few microwatts of power

UW engineers have designed the first battery-free cellphone that can send and receive calls using only a few microwatts of power, which it harvests from ambient radio signals or light. It’s a major step forward in moving beyond chargers, cords and dying phones.


June 27, 2017

Brain signals deliver first targeted treatment for world’s most common movement disorder

A new closed-loop deep brain stimulation system (results at right) developed by the UW-based CNSE delivers relief from symptoms of essential tremor that cause patients hands to shake (left) as successfully as current DBS methods (middle), but using far less battery life.

For the first time, University of Washington researchers have delivered targeted treatment for essential tremor – the world’s most common neurological movement disorder – by decoding brain signals to sense when patients’ limbs are shaking.


June 26, 2017

Microscope can scan tumors during surgery and examine cancer biopsies in 3-D

Photo of Adam Glaser tweaking microscope

A new UW microscope could provide real-time results during cancer-removal surgeries, potentially eliminating the 20 to 40 percent of women who have to undergo multiple lumpectomy surgeries because cancerous breast tissue is missed the first time around.


June 8, 2017

Wide-Open accelerates release of scientific data by automatically identifying overdue datasets

graph showing papers released after WideOpen

WideOpen is a new open-source tool developed at the UW to help advance open science by automatically detecting datasets that are overdue for publication. Already, more than 400 datasets have been made public as a result.


June 2, 2017

Catching the IMSI-catchers: SeaGlass brings transparency to cell phone surveillance

Image of suspicious cell site signal patterns

University of Washington security researchers have developed a new system called SeaGlass to detect anomalies in the cellular landscape that can indicate where and when cell phone surveillance devices are being used.


May 30, 2017

Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?

Photo of drone delivery

A new study finds that drone deliveries emit less climate-warming carbon dioxide pollution than truck deliveries in some — but not all — scenarios.


May 25, 2017

UW engineers borrow from electronics to build largest circuits to date in living eukaryotic cells

An artist’s impression of connected CRISPR-dCas9 NOR gates.

UW synthetic biology researchers have demonstrated a new method for digital information processing in living cells, analogous to the logic gates used in electric circuits. The team built the largest circuits published to date in eukaryotic cells, using DNA instead of silicon and solder.


May 2, 2017

Period tracking apps failing users in basic ways, study finds

Screenshots of pink, flowery apps

A new study finds that smartphone apps to track menstrual cycles often disappoint users with a lack of accuracy, assumptions about sexual identity or partners, and an emphasis on pink and flowery form over function and customization.


April 26, 2017

Food photos help Instagram users with healthy eating

Image of food photographs posted on Instagram

A new study describes how some people turn to posting photos on Instagram to track food intake or to be held accountable by followers in meeting healthy eating or weight loss goals.


April 24, 2017

Scientific discovery game significantly speeds up neuroscience research process

Mozak screenshot

Mozak, a new scientific discovery game from the UW team that created Foldit, is allowing video gamers and citizen scientists to speed up a fundamental task in brain science: reconstructing the intricate architecture of brain neurons.


April 19, 2017

Two UW faculty named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Two University of Washington faculty members are among the leaders from academia, business, philanthropy, humanities and the arts elected as 2017 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies.


April 13, 2017

UW College of Engineering announces Direct to College admission for 2018 incoming freshman class

Photo of students working in Bioengineering Lab

The University of Washington’s College of Engineering will offer Direct to College admission beginning with the entering freshman class of 2018, assuring students who are admitted into the college and their families that they will be able to pursue an engineering degree at the UW.


April 11, 2017

Technology to improve rockfall analysis on cliffs could save money, lives

image of a crumbling cliff seen via LIDAR

University of Washington civil engineers have developed a new, automated technology to analyze the potential for rockfalls from cliffs onto roads and areas below.


April 3, 2017

UW security researchers show that Google’s AI tool for video searching can be easily deceived

Screenshot of Google API results after the car images are inserted into the video.

University of Washington security researchers have shown that Google’s new tool that uses machine learning to automatically analyze and label video content can be deceived by inserting a photograph periodically into videos. After they inserted an image of a car into a video about animals, for instance, the system thought the video was about an Audi.


March 28, 2017

Parents who play ‘Pokémon GO’ with kids: ‘It wasn’t really about the Pokémon’

Parents who played Pokemon GO with their children reported increased exercise, outdoor experiences and family bonding.

In the first study to survey and interview parents who play Pokémon GO with their children, families report a number of side benefits, including increased exercise, more time spent outdoors and opportunities for family bonding.


March 9, 2017

$50M endowment establishes the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington

The University of Washington has established the new school in recognition of Allen’s longstanding support of CSE and the UW.

A $50 million endowment for the newly established Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering will propel the UW to the forefront of computer science education and innovation for generations to come.


March 1, 2017

Singing posters and talking shirts: UW engineers turn everyday objects into FM radio stations

photo of poster broadcasting music

A new technique pioneered by University of Washington engineers enables “singing” posters and “smart” clothing to send audio or data directly to your car’s radio or your smartphone by piggybacking on ambient FM radio signals.


February 28, 2017

UW security researchers show that Google’s AI platform for defeating Internet trolls can be easily deceived

photo of researchers

UW researchers have bypassed Google’s new machine learning system that aims to curb toxic comments in online discussion forums can by simply misspelling or adding unnecessary punctuation to abusive words.


February 16, 2017

New UW Computer Science & Engineering building receives $5M gift from Charles and Lisa Simonyi

rendering of student commons

Longtime philanthropists Charles and Lisa Simonyi have given a second Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) building on the University of Washington’s Seattle campus a major boost with a $5 million gift.


February 10, 2017

Laser-based camera developed at UW improves view of the carotid artery to assess stroke and heart attack risk

endoscope

A unique application of a medical camera developed by a University of Washington mechanical engineer could one day help physicians know who is at risk for stroke or heart attack by providing a better view of potential problem areas.


February 8, 2017

College of Engineering’s STARS program wins $2.2M to improve access for low-income students

The UW STARS program, which offers engineering students from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds extra academic support, will receive a one-time grant of $2.2 million from the Opportunity Expansion Fund passed by the Washington Legislature and funded by Microsoft.

The STARS program, which offers engineering students from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds extra academic support, will receive a one-time grant of $2.2 million from the Opportunity Expansion Fund passed by the Washington Legislature and funded by Microsoft.


February 1, 2017

New route-finding map lets Seattle pedestrians avoid hills, construction, accessibility barriers

AccessMap provides customized directions for Seattle pedestrians and wheelchair users looking to avoid hills, construction sites and other accessibility barriers. In this example, Access Map routes users trying to reach Seattle City Hall via Pike Street rather than directly up steep Seneca Street.

AccessMap – a University of Washington project spearheaded by the Taskar Center for Accessible Technology — launched a new online travel planner offering customizable suggestions for people who need accessible or pedestrian-friendly routes when getting from point A to B in Seattle.


January 31, 2017

UW’s Forefront to recreate memorial, advocate for solutions at Suicide Prevention Education Day in Olympia

Photograph of 2016 memorial

The UW-based Forefront will host a memorial for Washington state residents who died by suicide and join firearms dealers, veterans’ organizations, pharmacists, health care providers and suicide attempt and loss survivors to advocate for two legislative bills as part of Suicide Prevention Education Day.


January 12, 2017

LATTICE connects women engineers in early academic careers with peers, support

LATTICE logo

A new national program at the UW — LATTICE — aims to diversify the national engineering faculty population by building supportive communities during the critical transition from graduate studies to permanent tenure-track positions.


January 10, 2017

Zillow Group pledges $5 million for new UW Computer Science & Engineering building

rendering of Zillow Commons event space

Zillow Group, the Seattle-based company that houses real estate and home-related brands on mobile and web, has committed $5 million toward the development of a second Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) building on the UW Seattle campus.


December 7, 2016

Volunteers hack toys for children with disabilities at UW Dec. 11

photo of person adapting a toy train

At the Hack for Access: Holiday Toy event on Dec. 11 and the UW, community volunteers will disassemble and rewire toys to make them more accessible for children with disabilities.


December 6, 2016

USDOT awards $14M for mobility research at UW-led transportation center

pac trans image

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded approximately $14 million over five years to a multi-university, regional transportation center led by the University of Washington to fund research aimed at improving the mobility of people and goods across the Pacific Northwest.


December 5, 2016

No peeking: Humans play computer game using only direct brain stimulation

The UW researchers used a magnetic coil placed at the back of the skull to noninvasively stimulate test subjects’ brains. Players used the absence or presence of phosphenes — blobs of light that appear when researchers stimulate a specific region of the visual cortex — to guide them through a maze without actually seeing the maze.

UW researchers have published the first demonstration of humans playing a simple, two-dimensional computer game using only input from direct brain stimulation — without relying on any usual sensory cues from sight, hearing or touch.


November 30, 2016

What makes Bach sound like Bach? New dataset teaches algorithms classical music

MusicNet is a new publicly available dataset from UW CSE and statistics researchers that “labels” each note of a classical composition in ways that can teach machine learning algorithms about the basic structure of music.

MusicNet is the first publicly available large-scale classical music dataset designed to allow machine learning algorithms to tackle everything from automated music transcription to listening recommendations based on the structure of music itself.


November 22, 2016

New grasses neutralize toxic pollution from bombs, explosives and munitions

Grass photo

UW engineers have developed the first transgenic grass species that can take up and destroy RDX — a toxic compound that has been widely used in explosives since World War II and contaminates military bases, battlegrounds and some drinking water wells.



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