UW Today


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.


March 10, 2014

Scientists build thinnest-possible LEDs to be stronger, more energy efficient

This graphical representation shows the layers of the 2-D LED and how it emits light.

University of Washington scientists have built the thinnest-known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics. The LED is based off of two-dimensional, flexible semiconductors, making it possible to stack or use in much smaller and more diverse applications than current technology allows.


March 5, 2014

Reflection makes sense: New initiative prompts engineering students to look back to go forward

University of Washington graduate students talk about their projects in class.

The University of Washington’s Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching has received a $4.4 million grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust to develop and promote teaching practices that help undergraduate engineering students reflect on their experiences. The award establishes the Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education that focuses on first- and second-year undergraduates who want to be engineers, especially those from underrepresented populations


February 27, 2014

Battery-free technology brings gesture recognition to all devices

AllSee detects the unique signal changes (shown on the oscilloscope) and classifies a rich set of hand gestures.

University of Washington computer scientists have built a low-cost gesture recognition system that runs without batteries and lets users control their electronic devices hidden from sight with simple hand movements. The prototype, called “AllSee,” uses existing TV signals as both a power source and the means for detecting a user’s gesture command.


February 20, 2014

NASA’s ‘Mohawk Guy’ advocates ‘audacious,’ creative engineering

Bobak Ferdowsi photo

Bobak Ferdowsi, a NASA flight engineer who became known as “Mohawk Guy” after sporting a mohawk hairstyle during the 2012 rover Curiosity’s landing on Mars, spoke to a class of University of Washington aeronautics and astronautics engineering students on Feb. 19. Ferdowsi was a student in the department and graduated from the UW in 2001.


February 6, 2014

UW’s James Riley elected to National Academy of Engineering

A large 'W' is at the north entrance to the UW campus.

James Riley, a University of Washington professor of mechanical engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Election to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer.


Credit card-sized device could analyze biopsy, help diagnose pancreatic cancer in minutes

the device is shown up close.

University of Washington scientists and engineers are developing a low-cost device that could help pathologists diagnose pancreatic cancer earlier and faster. The prototype can perform the basic steps for processing a biopsy, relying on fluid transport instead of human hands to process the tissue.


January 27, 2014

Facelift complications eased with help of new 3-D imaging technique

This image shows a mouse ear after a successful cosmetic filler injection. The filler, in green, rests in the tissue without blocking the blood vessels and veins

New imaging technology from University of Washington engineers allows scientists to analyze what happens within the smallest blood vessels during a cosmetic facelift. This finding could be used to prevent accidents during procedures and help clinicians reverse the ill effects if an injection doesn’t go as planned.


January 15, 2014

Glaciers, streamflow changes are focus of new Columbia River study

aerial view of bonneville dam, 40 miles east of portland.

University of Washington environmental engineers are launching a new study to try to understand how climate change will affect streamflow patterns in the Columbia River Basin. The team will look at the impact of glaciers on the river system, the range of possible streamflow changes and how much water will flow in the river at hundreds of locations in future years.


January 7, 2014

On-demand vaccines possible with engineered nanoparticles

Nanoparticles and engineered proteins.

University of Washington engineers hope a new type of vaccine they have shown to work in mice will one day make it cheaper and easy to manufacture on-demand vaccines for humans. Immunizations could be administered within minutes where and when a disease is breaking out.


December 12, 2013

New state-funded Clean Energy Institute will focus on solar, battery technologies

Gov. Jay Inslee (center) shakes hands with Dan Schwartz, director of the new Clean Energy Institute, with UW President Michael Young (left).

A new University of Washington institute to develop efficient, cost-effective solar power and better energy storage systems launched Dec. 12 with an event attended by UW President Michael K. Young, Gov. Jay Inslee and researchers, industry experts and policy leaders in renewable energy.


November 13, 2013

Snow melts faster under trees than in open areas in mild climates

A mounted hunting camera captures snow in a forest gap, while snow appears to have melted under the trees in dense, second-growth forest behind the gap site.

University of Washington researchers have found that tree cover actually causes snow to melt more quickly in warm, Mediterranean-type climates. Alternatively, open, clear gaps in the forests tend to keep snow on the ground longer into the spring and summer. Their findings were published this fall in Water Resources Research.


November 12, 2013

Grant will support interdisciplinary, data-intensive research at UW

wordle image of words from the UW's proposal

The UW, along with the University of California, Berkeley, and New York University, are partners in a new five-year, $37.8 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation that aims to accelerate the growth of data-intensive discovery across many fields.


November 1, 2013

UW surgical robot featured in 2013 movie ‘Ender’s Game’

A close-up shoot of the UW’s Raven II robot as it simulates brain surgery on actor Moisés Arias during the filming of “Ender’s Game.”

A University of Washington surgical research robot appears in the sci-fi movie “Ender’s Game” starring Harrison Ford. Two UW students operated the robot during the filming of the movie, which opens Nov. 1 in theaters across the country.


October 25, 2013

New UW-Pacific NW National Lab computing-research institute holds first public workshop

Co-directors Jandhyala and Dunning.

Based at the University of Washington, the Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing’s first public event on Oct. 30 will feature speakers from the UW, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and industry, as well as breakout sessions that explore various aspects of science and engineering technologies.


October 23, 2013

Stephen Boyd: Making the best decisions in smart systems, products

photo of stephen boyd

Stephen Boyd of Stanford University is the speaker at this year’s Lytle Lecture Series hosted by the UW’s Department of Electrical Engineering. He will give a free public talk at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28.


October 17, 2013

Yoga accessible for the blind with new Microsoft Kinect-based program

Example of how the Kinect reads incorrect body posture.

A team of University of Washington computer scientists has created a software program that watches a user’s movements and gives spoken feedback using a Microsoft Kinect on what to change to accurately complete a yoga pose.


October 15, 2013

Local infrastructure focus of College of Engineering’s fall lecture series

Part of the lecture series brochure cover.

The University of Washington College of Engineering fall lecture series will feature faculty researchers and industry leaders who work to maintain and improve our region’s critical infrastructure. The lectures are at 7 p.m. on Oct. 23, Oct. 30 and Nov. 14.


October 9, 2013

New strategy lets cochlear implant users hear music

Photo of piano keys

University of Washington scientists have developed a new way of processing the signals in cochlear implants to help users hear music better. The technique lets users perceive differences between musical instruments, a significant improvement from what standard cochlear implants can offer.


September 30, 2013

3 UW professors honored by NIH for innovative biomedical research

Drumheller Fountain and Gerberding Hall on the UW campus.

Three University of Washington faculty members are among those honored with a grant from the National Institutes of Health’s High Risk-High Reward program.



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