UW Today


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.


November 3, 2016

Electrical engineering lecture series to explore compressed sensing

David Donoho

The Department of Electrical Engineering’s 2016 Lytle Lecture series will explore bridging theory and practice in compressed sensing, which has enabled speedups in medical imaging and scientific signal processing.


October 26, 2016

For the first time in humans, researchers use brain surface stimulation to provide ‘touch’ feedback to direct movement

CSNE M.D./Ph.D. student and GRIDLab member David Caldwell tests the hardware used for stimulating and recording a patient’s brain surface, along with a cyber glove to track hand joint angles and finger motions.

For the first time in humans, UW Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) researchers have used direct stimulation of the human brain surface to provide basic sensory feedback through artificial electrical signals, enabling patients to control movement while opening and closing their hand.


October 24, 2016

Uber service faster in low income Seattle neighborhoods, initial study finds

A new UW study finds Uber wait times in Seattle are faster in lower income neighborhoods.

Your wait time for an Uber ride in Seattle is shorter if you are in a lower income neighborhood. Alternatively, wait times are longer for an Uber in wealthier neighborhoods, according to a new University of Washington study that measures one dimension of whether TNCs are providing equitable access.


HCDE professor’s invention wins Popular Science 2016 ‘Best of What’s New’ award

This simple IV drip device from Shift Labs, founded by UW HCDE professor Beth Kolko, won 2016 “Best of What’s New” Award from Popular Science.

An IV drip technology developed by Shift Labs, founded by University of Washington Human Centered Design and Engineering Professor Beth Kolko, has been recognized by Popular Science with a 2016 “Best of What’s New” Award.


Turning your living room into a wireless charging station

graphic of wireless power delivery system

A flat-screen panel that resembles a TV on your living room wall could one day remotely charge any device within its line of sight, according to new research from UW and Duke University engineers.


October 19, 2016

Popular Science picks DNA data storage project for 2016 ‘Best of What’s New’ Award

Lee Organick, a UW computer science and engineering research scientist, mixes DNA samples for storage. Each tube contains a digital file, which might be a picture of a cat or a Tchaikovsky symphony.

A technique to store and retrieve digital data in DNA developed by University of Washington and Microsoft researchers is one of the most innovative and game-changing technologies of the year, according to Popular Science’s 2016 “Best of What’s New” Awards.


October 12, 2016

As online retailing booms, new Urban Freight Lab to work with industry, SDOT on delivery challenges

In dense commercial neighborhoods with limited parking, large truck drivers may resort to parking in the center lane while they make deliveries

As online retailing booms, the new UW Urban Freight Lab will partner with UPS, Costco, Nordstrom and SDOT to research solutions for businesses delivering goods in urban settings and cities trying to manage limited street space.


October 6, 2016

CSE gets major boost with $10 million donation from Amazon

The new 130,000-square-foot UW CSE building will provide space for the University of Washington to double the number of computer science and engineering graduates annually.

Amazon is giving a major push to the campaign to build a second Computer Science & Engineering building on the University of Washington campus with a $10 million gift, the university announced Thursday. “Our state’s economy — and the world’s economy — depends on innovation and on innovators. UW graduates with skills in computer science…


October 5, 2016

$4M grant funds new UW RAPID Facility to investigate natural disasters worldwide

LIDAR scan of earthquake damaged home

A new UW disaster investigation center funded by a $4 million National Science Foundation grant will collect and analyze critical data that’s often lost in the immediate aftermath of hurricanes and earthquakes but that can help create more resilient communities.


October 4, 2016

Oct. 10 bioengineering lecture focuses on accelerating drug delivery

Kinam Park

Accelerating growth in effectively delivering new oral and transdermal drug delivery techniques will be the focus of the University of Washington Department of Bioengineering’s 2016 Allan S. Hoffman Lecture on Oct. 10.


October 3, 2016

Engineering lecture series focuses on building safe, resilient communities

Image of Seattle skyline

As the fourth-fastest growing city in the United States, Seattle faces important questions in its quest to remain a resilient and sustainable community. Can we build to withstand natural disasters, reduce environmental toxins as consumption rises, meet urban transportation challenges so food, supplies and consumer products can get where they need to go? Over the…


September 27, 2016

Secure passwords can be sent through your body, instead of air

photo of on body system

UW engineers have devised a way to send secure passwords through the human body, instead of over the air where they’re vulnerable to hacking.


September 8, 2016

Life after Fitbit: Appealing to those who feel guilty vs. free

Is life better or worse after sticking your Fitbit in a drawer? UW researchers surveyed hundreds of people who had abandoned self-tracking tools and found emotions ranged from guilt to indifference to relief that the tracking experience was over.

Is life better or worse after sticking your Fitbit in a drawer? UW researchers surveyed hundreds of people who had abandoned self-tracking tools and found emotions ranged from guilt to indifference to relief that the tracking experience was over.


September 7, 2016

HemaApp screens for anemia, blood conditions without needle sticks

Photo of HemaApp illuminating a patient's finger

UW engineers have developed HemaApp, which uses a smartphone camera to estimate hemoglobin concentrations and screen for anemia without sticking patients with needles.


August 17, 2016

Interscatter communication enables first-ever implanted devices, smart contact lenses, credit cards that ‘talk’ Wi-Fi

photo of three devices used in experiment

“Interscatter” communication developed by UW engineers allows power-limited devices such as brain implants, contact lenses, credit cards and smaller wearable electronics to talk to everyday devices such as smartphones and watches.


July 27, 2016

Carbon-financed cookstove fails to deliver hoped-for benefits in the field

Photo of women using cookstoves in India

A study of the the first clean cookstove intervention in India financed through the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism found expected benefits from newer, more “efficient” stoves — based on their performance in lab tests — did not materialize in the field.


July 21, 2016

Imaging software predicts how you look with different hair styles, colors, appearances

These examples show a single input photo (left) and Dreambit's automatically synthesized appearances of the input photo with "curly hair" (top row), in "India" (2nd row), and at "1930" (3rd row).

A personalized image search engine developed by a University of Washington researcher lets a person imagine how they would look a with different a hairstyle, if they lived in a different time period or any other appearance change that can be synthesized with internet photos.


July 7, 2016

UW, Microsoft researchers break record for DNA data storage

photo of researchers

University of Washington and Microsoft researchers have broken what they believe is the world record for the amount of digital data successfully stored — and retrieved — in DNA molecules by encoding, among other things, an OK Go video.


June 23, 2016

How well do facial recognition algorithms cope with a million strangers?

photo of images in MegaFace gallery

University of Washington computer scientists have launched the “MegaFace Challenge,” the world’s first competition aimed at evaluating and improving the performance of face recognition algorithms at the million person scale.


June 21, 2016

UW-led team awarded $1M bioelectronics innovation prize

diagram of how device works

An international team led by researchers at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) based at the University of Washington is one of three finalists in a race to produce an implantable wireless device that can assess, stimulate and block the activity of nerves that control organs.


May 19, 2016

Using static electricity, insect-sized flying robots can land and stick to surfaces

Image of flying insect robot

A new study co-authored by a University of Washington mechanical engineer demonstrates how flying insect-sized robots can land and stick to surfaces, which conserves energy and extends flight times.


May 17, 2016

UW team first to measure microscale granular crystal dynamics

Photo of slide showing granular crystals

UW mechanical engineers have for the first time analyzed interactions between microscale granular crystals — a first step in creating novel materials that could be used for impact mitigation, signal processing, disease diagnosis, or even making more controllable solid rocket propellants.


May 13, 2016

Proton-conducting material found in jelly that fills organs of sharks, skates and rays

Image of the ampullae of Lorenzini found in sharks, skates and rays.

The jelly found in the electrosensory organs of sharks, skates and rays is a remarkable proton-conducting material, with the highest proton conductivity ever reported for a biological material, UW researchers have found.


May 9, 2016

This five-fingered robot hand learns to get a grip on its own

This five-fingered robot hand can learn how to perform dexterous manipulation — like spinning a tube full of coffee beans — on its own, rather than having humans program its actions.

A University of Washington team of computer science and engineering researchers has built a robot hand that can not only perform dexterous manipulation – one of the most difficult problems in robotics – but also learn from its own experience.


May 5, 2016

Two-minute warnings make kids’ ‘screen time’ tantrums worse

picture of child using computer

Giving young children a two-minute warning that “screen time” is about to end makes transitions away from tablets, phones, televisions and other technological devices more painful, a new University of Washington study has found.


May 2, 2016

New health sensing tool measures lung function over a phone call, from anywhere in the world

image of SpiroSmart being used in a Bangladesh clinic

University of Washington researchers have developed SpiroCall, a new health sensing tool that can accurately measure lung function from anywhere in the world over a simple phone call.


April 27, 2016

‘Walk-DMC’ aims to improve surgery outcomes for children with cerebral palsy

Walk-DMC is a new, quantifiable measure of motor control in children with cerebral palsy. It relies on data from electromyography (EMG) shown in this demonstration, which uses electrodes to monitor muscle activity.

A UW mechanical engineer has developed a new assessment of motor control in children with cerebral palsy called Walk-DMC, which could help predict which patients are — or are not — likely to benefit from invasive surgical interventions.


April 8, 2016

UW-led research team wins $7.5M MURI grant to defend against advanced cyberattacks

photo of Radha Poovendran

A University of Washington-led research team has won a $7.5 million, five-year Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant from the Department of Defense to better model and mount defenses against stealthy, continuous computer hacking attacks known as “advanced persistent threats.”


April 7, 2016

UW team stores digital images in DNA — and retrieves them perfectly

Lee Organick, a UW computer science and engineering research scientist, mixes DNA samples for storage. Each tube contains a digital file, which might be a picture of a cat or a Tchaikovsky symphony.

University of Washington and Microsoft researchers have developed one of the first complete systems to store digital data in DNA — allowing one to store data that today would fill a Walmart supercenter in a space the size of a sugar cube.


April 4, 2016

The Twittersphere does listen to the voice of reason — sometimes

WestJet tweet screenshot

In the maelstrom of information, opinion and conjecture that is Twitter, the voice of truth and reason does occasionally prevail, according to a new study from UW researchers. Tweets from “official accounts” — the government agencies, emergency responders, media or companies at the center of a fast-moving story — can slow the spread of rumors on Twitter and correct misinformation that’s taken on a life of its own.


March 15, 2016

Smartwatches can now track your finger in mid-air using sonar

Photo of FingerIO on phone

A new sonar technology developed by University of Washington computer scientists and electrical engineers allows you to interact with mobile devices and smartwatch screens by writing or gesturing on any nearby surface — a tabletop, a sheet of paper or even in mid-air.


March 8, 2016

Family technology rules: What kids expect of parents

family photo

A new UW study is among the first to explore children’s expectations for parents’ technology use — revealing kids’ feelings about fairness and “oversharing,” the most effective types of household technology rules and families’ most common approaches.


February 29, 2016

Doctor, patient expectations differ on fitness and lifestyle tracking

Image of phones with running apps

With apps and activity trackers measuring every step people take, morsel they eat, and each symptom or pain, patients commonly arrive at doctor’s offices armed with self-tracked data. Yet health care providers lack the capacity or tools to review five years of Fitbit logs or instantaneously interpret data patients have been collecting about themselves, according to new UW research.


NASA data used to track groundwater in Pakistan

Picture of groundwater fieldwork

Pakistan’s water managers are using NASA satellites to more effectively monitor groundwater supplies, thanks to a partnership with UW civil and environmental engineers. It’s part of a larger effort to use the vast amount of data and observations collected by Earth-orbiting satellites to better quality of life in developing countries.


February 25, 2016

Driverless cars could increase reliance on roads

Photo of driverless car

Driverless vehicles could intensify car use — reducing or even eliminating promised energy savings and environmental benefits, a new study co-authored by a University of Washington researcher finds. If people can work, relax and even hold meetings in their fully automated vehicles, they may drive more.


February 24, 2016

Clean, efficient cookstoves from UW-industry partnership to be manufactured in Kenya

Photo of woman testing stove in Kenya

A more efficient and clean wood-burning cookstove — developed by Vashon Island’s BURN Design Lab and UW mechanical engineers — will reduce the amount of fuel families need to collect or buy by 55 percent. It will also reduce exposure to the harmful particulate pollution produced by traditional cooking flames.


February 23, 2016

UW engineers achieve Wi-Fi at 10,000 times lower power

UW computer scientists and electrical engineers have generated "passive" Wi-Fi transmissions using 10,000 times less power.

With “Passive Wi-Fi,” UW computer scientists and electrical engineers have generated Wi-Fi transmissions using 10,000 times less power than conventional methods. The system can transmit Wi-Fi signals at rates up to 11 megabits per second — lower than maximum Wi-Fi speeds but 11 times faster than Bluetooth — that can be decoded on any of the billions of devices with Wi-Fi connectivity.


February 8, 2016

UW’s Tom Anderson elected to National Academy of Engineering

Tom Anderson portrait

Tom Anderson, a University of Washington professor of computer science and engineering and alumnus, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Also elected are UW civil engineering alumnus Jon Magnusson and computer science alumnus Albert Greenberg.



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