UW Today


December 12, 2014

Online tool lets Washington residents calculate carbon tax impacts

University of Washington computer scientists have partnered with members of the Carbon Washington grassroots campaign to create an online tool that lets residents calculate how a state carbon tax swap proposed by the organization would impact them financially. The calculator offers information users can’t find elsewhere and is meant to be a neutral, unbiased tool….


December 3, 2014

Competitive award to fund new approaches to artificial intelligence work

Four University of Washington researchers have received the Allen Distinguished Investigator award for their work in artificial intelligence research. The awards, totaling about $2.7 million to the UW from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, will fund early stage research in several areas of artificial intelligence. The recipients from the UW are Jeffrey Heer, an…


December 1, 2014

‘What is HCDE?’ New comics class aims to answer the question

Undergraduate students Xiangyi (Anne) Zheng, left, and Daniel Aldridge give feedback on each other's comics at a recent class.

A new class at the University of Washington is using comics to explain what, exactly, the field of human-centered design is all about.


November 21, 2014

3 UW professors to speak in local TEDxRainier event

Three University of Washington professors will join a congressman, a mountain climber, inventors, architects, advocates, an astronaut and even a barista at this year’s TEDxRainier event, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 22, at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center. The independently run, one-day event is in its fifth year in Seattle, modeled…


November 20, 2014

UW undergrad’s early life challenges become a hectic schedule of opportunity

David Coven in the lab.

From starting his own company – and recruiting 11 friends to join him – and running a successful nonprofit to doing research in the lab and taking a full course load, engineering undergraduate student David Coven is an expert schedule juggler.


November 17, 2014

‘Building the Bionic Man’ lecture on campus this week

The latest in the Seattle Arts & Lectures SAL U series will look at technologies that could help repair a person’s cognitive or sensory-motor functions. “Brain-Computer Interfaces: Building the Bionic Man” is at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19, in Kane Hall room 110. The speaker is Rajesh Rao, a UW professor of computer science and…


November 12, 2014

Moving cameras talk to each other to identify, track pedestrians

Tracking camera example

University of Washington electrical engineers have developed a way to automatically track people across moving and still cameras by using an algorithm that trains the networked cameras to learn one another’s differences.


November 5, 2014

UW study shows direct brain interface between humans

An example of how the brain to brain interface demonstration would look.

University of Washington researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people as part of a scientific study following the team’s initial demonstration a year ago.


October 24, 2014

Fusion researchers take a different approach to a heated conversation

When Thomas Jarboe and Derek Sutherland took their concept for an economically feasible fusion reactor into the public sphere two weeks ago, they expected some negative loud mouths and naysayers. After all, this is fusion physics, a field that seems so inaccessible to most people that it carries a certain mystique and inspires an almost…


Large X-ray scanner to produce 3-D images for labs across campus

A photo of an example of a scanner.

A state-of-the-art imaging machine is coming to the University of Washington for use by researchers in a variety of disciplines.


October 22, 2014

Solar energy research gets boost from federal grant

Energy researchers at the UW will expand their work in making high-efficiency, printable solar cells and solar inks with the help of a competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Researchers say these printable solar cells could be twice as efficient as today’s standard solar technologies. This, in turn, could drive down the cost…


October 16, 2014

Inventor of MIMO wireless technology to speak at UW

If you use high speed Wi-Fi and 4G or LTE on your smartphone, you’ve got Arogyaswami Paulraj to thank. His wireless communications technology – MIMO, or multiple input, multiple output – is the core driver that increases performance in the latest wireless systems. Paulraj will talk about developing this technology and what may be coming…


October 13, 2014

Neural engineering hackathon: 36 hours, 15 students, five working prototypes

The workload and time crunch were comparable to pulling two all-nighters, but you wouldn’t guess that from the energy in the room. Fifteen students, all wearing matching grey t-shirts, buzzed around the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering Monday morning (Oct. 13), clearly excited to show off their designs. They had just finished a 36-hour weekend…


October 10, 2014

Students win award to make riding the bus more accessible for blind people

A group of University of Washington engineering students are winners of the 2014 Ford College Community Challenge, a competition that awards $25,000 per team to student-led groups at 10 universities to fund projects that help build sustainable communities. The UW team’s project is StopInfo, which integrates with the OneBusAway app and provides specific information on location,…


Engineering lecture series focuses on technologies for the heart

2014 flyer image

The University of Washington’s College of Engineering 2014 fall lecture series will feature faculty researchers in engineering and medicine who are improving cardiac medical care with new technologies.


October 8, 2014

UW fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal

A prototype of the UW's current fusion experiment.

University of Washington engineers have designed a concept for a fusion reactor that, when scaled up to the size of a large electrical power plant, would rival costs for a new coal-fired plant with similar electrical output.


October 2, 2014

UW’s Jeffrey Heer wins award to support data visualization research

A data visualization example

Jeffrey Heer, a University of Washington associate professor of computer science and engineering, has received an award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to develop new theories, tools and techniques for data visualization that help scientists see and understand big data.


September 30, 2014

UW students to build hybrid-electric muscle car in EcoCAR 3 contest

A Chevy Camaro

The UW is one of 16 schools invited to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors Co. EcoCAR 3 competition that spans four years with stand-alone contests each spring. Their challenge in this next competition is to convert a Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid-electric car.


September 19, 2014

Reflected smartphone transmissions enable gesture control

An image showing how SideSwipe works.

University of Washington engineers have developed a new form of low-power wireless sensing technology that lets users “train” their smartphones to recognize and respond to specific hand gestures near the phone.


September 3, 2014

Changing temperature powers sensors in hard-to-reach places

The power harvester could be placed outside and runs off of temperature changes in the natural world.

University of Washington researchers have taken inspiration from a centuries-old clock design and created a power harvester that uses natural fluctuations in temperature and pressure as its power source.


August 27, 2014

New smartphone app can detect newborn jaundice in minutes

A demonstration of how the app set-up looks.

University of Washington engineers and physicians have developed a smartphone application that checks for jaundice in newborns and can deliver results to parents and pediatricians within minutes.


August 26, 2014

Scientists craft a semiconductor junction only three atoms thick

As seen under an optical microscope, the heterostructures have a triangular shape. The two different monolayer semiconductors can be recognized through their different colors.

Scientists have developed what they believe is the thinnest-possible semiconductor, a new class of nanoscale materials made in sheets only three atoms thick.


August 19, 2014

Shyam Gollakota named one of world’s top innovators under 35

photo of shyam gollakota

Shyam Gollakota, a University of Washington assistant professor of computer science and engineering, has been named one of this year’s “Innovators Under 35” by global media company MIT Technology Review.


August 18, 2014

StopInfo for OneBusAway app makes buses more usable for blind riders

Bus-TILE

A UW study found that StopInfo, a new hub for bus stop information in the OneBusAway app, is helpful for blind riders and can promote spontaneous and unfamiliar travel. A UW research team launched the program recently in collaboration with King County Metro.


August 4, 2014

No-power Wi-Fi connectivity could fuel Internet of Things reality

A diagram of how the technology works.

University of Washington engineers have designed a new communication system that uses radio frequency signals as a power source and reuses existing Wi-Fi infrastructure to provide Internet connectivity to battery-free devices.


July 30, 2014

Dissolvable fabric loaded with medicine might offer faster protection against HIV

The UW's dissolving fibers could be spun and placed within an applicator, similar to those used to insert a tampon. The inset image shows the quick-release fibers magnified 5,000 times.

University of Washington bioengineers have discovered a potentially faster way to deliver a topical drug that protects women from contracting HIV. Their method spins the drug into silk-like fibers that quickly dissolve when in contact with moisture, releasing higher doses of the drug than possible with other materials.


July 28, 2014

New protein structure could help treat Alzheimer’s, related diseases

An abnormal protein, left, is intercepted by the UW’s compound that can bind to the toxic protein and neutralize it, as shown at right.

University of Washington bioengineers have a designed a peptide structure that can stop the harmful changes of the body’s normal proteins into a state that’s linked to widespread diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and Lou Gehrig’s disease.


July 8, 2014

Better visualizing of fitness-app data helps discover trends, reach goals

sample visualization on a smartphone

University of Washington researchers have developed visual tools to help self-trackers understand their daily activity patterns over a longer period and in more detail. They found people had an easier time meeting personal fitness and activity goals when they could see their data presented in a broader, more visual way.


June 26, 2014

Ask the crowd: Robots learn faster, better with online helpers

The UW's robot builds a turtle model.

University of Washington computer scientists have shown that crowdsourcing can be a quick and effective way to teach a robot how to complete tasks.


June 23, 2014

Ferroelectric switching seen in biological tissues

An illustration of the molecular structure of tropoelastin, the smallest unit of the protein elastin.

University of Washington researchers have shown that a favorable electrical property is present in a type of protein found in organs that repeatedly stretch and retract, such as the lungs, heart and arteries. These findings are the first that clearly track this phenomenon, called ferroelectricity, occurring at the molecular level in biological tissues.


Zippy, electric micro cars coming to campus for sustainability research

Micro electric cars.

The University of Washington is one of four institutions receiving four Innova Dash all-electric micro vehicles this summer. They will be able to communicate data such as position, speed and battery charge directly to the UW’s network, which will provide the information to various research projects.


June 16, 2014

Sensor in eye could track pressure changes, monitor for glaucoma

A commercially available artificial lens implanted in an eye.

University of Washington engineers have designed a low-power sensor that could be placed permanently in a person’s eye to track hard-to-measure changes in eye pressure. The sensor would be embedded with an artificial lens during cataract surgery and would detect pressure changes instantaneously, then transmit the data wirelessly using radio frequency waves.


June 12, 2014

New computer program aims to teach itself everything about anything

Some of the many variations that the new program has learned for three different concepts: "Horse," "Dog" and "Walking."

Computer scientists from the University of Washington and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Seattle have created the first fully automated computer program that teaches everything there is to know about any visual concept.


May 14, 2014

$31M gift will fund early stage UW research by high-tech entrepreneurs

Neil King and graduate student Yu-Ru Lin observe bacterial colony growth at the Institute for Protein Design.

The University of Washington is receiving a $31.2 million gift from Washington Research Foundation to boost entrepreneurship and support research that tackles some of society’s most crucial challenges. The award will fund four interdisciplinary initiatives that seek to advance global innovation in clean energy, protein design, big data science and neuroengineering.


May 7, 2014

UW building teleoperated robots for disaster response in national challenge

The robot has a mounted camera and router to transmit the robot’s view of the scene, and built-in haptics technology allows the operator to receive force feedback from the robot.

University of Washington electrical engineers have developed telerobotics technology that could make disaster response faster and more efficient. They are working with a large team as part of the SmartAmerica Challenge, an initiative that encourages new technologies that help society in our increasingly connected world.


April 23, 2014

Thousands on campus for Engineering Discovery Days, April 25-26

Students check out 3-D printers at the 2013 Engineering Discovery Days.

Engineers and scientists at the University of Washington will display their most engaging research and projects Friday and Saturday, April 25-26, during the annual Engineering Discovery Days, which is free and open to the public.


April 15, 2014

UW graduate’s lens turns any smartphone into a portable microscope

Photo of the micro phone lens on a smartphone.

The Micro Phone Lens, developed by UW mechanical engineering alumnus Thomas Larson (’13), can turn any smartphone or tablet computer into a handheld microscope.


April 9, 2014

Automated age-progression software lets you see how a child will age

A single photo of a child (far left) is age progressed (left in each pair) and compared to actual photos of the same person at the corresponding age (right in each pair).

University of Washington engineers have developed software that automatically generates images of a young child’s face as it ages through a lifetime. The technique is the first fully automated approach for aging babies to adults that works with variable lighting, expressions and poses.


March 31, 2014

UW experts part of technical team investigating Snohomish County mudslide

An aerial photo of the Oso, Wash., mudslide.

A national team jointly led by a University of Washington geotechnical engineer and an engineering geologist will investigate what caused the March 22 mudslide in Snohomish County and what effects the disaster had on the nearby residential communities.


March 17, 2014

Hold that RT: Much misinformation tweeted after 2013 Boston Marathon bombing

A graph shows hashtags on Twitter and how they are related to each other.

University of Washington researchers have found that misinformation spread widely on Twitter after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing despite efforts by users to correct rumors that were inaccurate.



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