UW Today

Engineering


November 2, 2015

UW to co-lead West Coast ‘Big Data brain trust’ for NSF

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The National Science Foundation has selected the University of Washington, along with the University of California, San Diego and the University of California, Berkeley, to co-lead one of four Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs around the country.


October 22, 2015

New UW model helps zero in on harmful genetic mutations

gene splicing illustration

By more accurately predicting how variations in DNA sequences affect gene splicing, a new UW model and publicly available Web tool can help narrow down which genetic mutations cause disease and which have little effect on a person’s health.


October 15, 2015

Affordable camera reveals hidden details invisible to the naked eye

Compared to an image taken with a normal camera (left), HyperCam images (right) reveal detailed vein and skin texture patterns that are unique to each individual.

Peering into a grocery store bin, it’s hard to tell if a peach or tomato or avocado is starting to go bad underneath its skin. A new affordable hyperspectral camera technology developed by UW and Microsoft Research uses both visible and invisible near-infrared light to “see” beneath surfaces and capture hidden details.


September 30, 2015

3-D printing techniques help surgeons carve new ears

Carved ear models

A UW otolaryngology resident and bioengineering student have used 3-D printing techniques to create lifelike models to help aspiring surgeons – who currently practice on soap, apples, and vegetables – learn to perform ear reconstruction surgeries.


September 29, 2015

Arsenic found in many U.S. red wines, but health risks depend on total diet

A new UW study found arsenic levels in 98 percent of red wines tested exceed U.S. drinking water standards, but that health risks depend on one's total diet.

A new UW study that tested 65 wines from America’s top four wine-producing states — California, Washington, New York and Oregon — found all but one have arsenic levels that exceed what’s allowed in drinking water. But health risks from that toxic element depend on what else a person is eating.


September 23, 2015

UW and Shanghai Jiao Tong University forge international collaboration on smart cities

Photo of memorandum signing

Leaders from the University of Washington and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), one of China’s most prestigious public research universities, signed an agreement Wednesday to work together on “smart cities” research, teaching and collaborations in their respective electrical engineering departments.


September 21, 2015

AI system solves SAT geometry questions as well as average human test taker

SAT photo Aaron Escobar, flickr

The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and UW computer scientists have created an artificial intelligence (AI) system that can solve SAT geometry questions as well as the average American 11th-grade student, a breakthrough in AI research.


September 17, 2015

A Q & A with Pedro Domingos: Author of ‘The Master Algorithm’

book cover image

UW CSE professor Pedro Domingos’ book “The Master Algorithm” is an essential primer on machine learning, and a popular science romp through one of today’s hottest scientific topics.. It unveils the deep ideas behind the algorithms that increasingly pick our books, find our dates, manage investments and run our lives — and what informed consumers ought to know about them.


September 8, 2015

Gender, corporate culture at Boeing explored in new book ‘Capitalist Family Values’

"Capitalist Family Values: Gender, Work, and Corporate Culture at Boeing" by Polly Myer, lecturer in the UW history department. We offer a Q and A with Myers.

Polly Myers is a lecturer in the UW Department of History and author of the book “Capitalist Family Values: Gender, Work, and Corporate Culture at Boeing,” published by University of Nebraska Press.


New wearable technology can sense appliance use, help track carbon footprint

Electromagnetic radiation patterns of various appliances

A new wearable technology developed at the University of Washington called MagnifiSense can sense what devices and vehicles its user interacts with, which can help track that individual’s carbon footprint, enable smart home applications or even assist with elder care.


August 13, 2015

From protein design to self-driving cars: UW researchers win AI prize for new optimization approach

folded protein-flickr-Argonne National Laboratory_tile

UW machine learning researchers have developed a new approach to optimization – a key step in predicting everything from election results to how proteins will fold – that won a top paper prize at the world’s largest artificial intelligence conference.


August 12, 2015

CO2 emissions change with size of streams and rivers

A stream in Wyoming.

Researchers have shown that CO2 appears in streams by way of two different sources — either as a direct pipeline for groundwater and carbon-rich soils, or from aquatic organisms releasing the gas through respiration and natural decay.


August 5, 2015

How makerspaces can be accessible to people with disabilities

Photo of student in MakerSpace

UW researchers have released new guidelines to make MakerSpaces more accessible to people with disabilities, as more communal spaces with soldering irons, 3-D printers, sewing machines and other “making” tools pop up on campuses and neighborhoods nationwide.


August 3, 2015

UW to invest $37 million in nanofabrication lab critical to researchers, start-ups

Photo of UW students learning microfabrication techniques in the Washington Nanofabrication Facility.

The UW is investing up to $37 million in the Washington Nanofabrication Facility, which makes things for researchers and outside companies that aren’t practical, economical or possible to fabricate at commercial foundries: inconceivably tiny devices, chips made from unconventional materials that industrial factories won’t touch and devices that probe the boundaries of our universe.


July 22, 2015

Distinguished faculty to be inducted into Washington State Academy of Sciences

Detail from the Turing exhibit at a science museum

In recognition of their outstanding records of scientific achievement, 12 University of Washington professors will be inducted this fall into the Washington State Academy of Sciences. The professors will be honored for their “willingness to work on behalf of the academy” to bring top-quality scientific methods to research issues pertaining to Washington state. The induction ceremony will be…


Computer security tools for journalists lacking in a post-Snowden world

Journalists typing

Despite heightened awareness of surveillance tactics and privacy breaches, existing computer security tools aren’t meeting the needs of journalists working with sensitive material, a new UW study finds.


July 20, 2015

The Next MacGyver will be a woman — and a UW engineering student may invent her

Concept art for "The Mind" television proposal

Astronautics doctoral student Nao Murakami wants to invent the heir to Angus MacGyver — the 1980s television hero who inspired a generation of engineers by foiling criminals with household items like cooking oil, a shop vac or a tube sock. Only this time the engineering heroine will be a woman.


July 16, 2015

Many mobile health apps neglect needs of blind users

Screenshot of mHealth app with poorly labeled buttons

University of Washington researchers who conducted the first academic review of nine mhealth iPhone apps on the market in March 2014 found none met all the criteria that would make them accessible to blind customers. Accessibility shortcomings ranged from improperly labeled buttons to layouts that confuse built-in screen readers that assist low-vision smartphone users.


July 13, 2015

Robotics and the law: When software can harm you

An artist's concept of a NASA robotic refueling mission. Shown here, cameras light the way as a tool from a robotic refueling mission approaches a satellite to cut wire, one of the steps to remotely accessing a satellite's triple-sealed fuel valve.

Twenty years in, the law is finally starting to get used to the Internet. Now it is imperative, says Ryan Calo, assistant professor in the UW School of Law, that the law figure out how to deal effectively with the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence.


June 30, 2015

UW team programs solitary yeast cells to say ‘hello’ to one another

UW researchers have produced cell-to-cell communication in baker's yeast, a first step in learning to build multicellular organisms from scratch. The red yeast cells have been engineered to produce the plant hormone auxin, which "tells" the green cells to express a gene differently.

UW researchers have produced cell-to-cell communication in baker’s yeast — a first step in learning to build multicellular organisms or artificial organs from scratch.


June 18, 2015

UW and Tsinghua University create groundbreaking partnership with launch of the Global Innovation Exchange

GIX Exterior Rendering

In pursuit of solutions to some of the biggest global challenges, two of the world’s leading research universities, the University of Washington and Tsinghua University, are partnering to create the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX), an institute dedicated to educating the next generation of innovators. With $40 million in foundational support from Microsoft, GIX will bring…


Saharan silver ants use hair to survive Earth’s hottest temperatures

A Saharan silver ant offloading heat on top of dry vegetation.

An international team of researchers that includes a University of Washington electrical engineer has discovered two key strategies that enable Saharan silver ants to survive in one of the hottest terrestrial environments on Earth.


June 12, 2015

UW LEADs nation in female engineering faculty

Bioengineering professor Valerie Daggett works with a student in her lab.

The University of Washington has the nation’s highest percentage of women in tenure-track engineering faculty positions. An online toolkit based on UW’s leadership workshops for department chairs could help replicate that success at other institutions.


Microsoft dedicates $10M gift to new UW Computer Science & Engineering building

An early conceptual drawing of the new CSE building interior by LMN Architects. The final building design will incorporate an undergraduate commons (pictured) and instructional labs, seminar rooms, research labs, and collaborative spaces for students and faculty

Microsoft Corp. is awarding a $10 million gift to kick-start a campaign to build a second Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) building on the University of Washington campus as an “investment in students who will become the innovators and creators of tomorrow,”


June 2, 2015

UW researchers scaling up fusion hopes with DOE grant

UW researchers will attempt to create a self-sustained and controlled fusion reaction with a scaled-up version of this Z-pinch device.

UW researchers are scaling up a novel plasma confinement device with a DOE grant, in hopes of producing a self-sustaining reaction to create fusion energy.


June 1, 2015

UW students use open source mapping to aid relief efforts in Nepal

Map­ping in Nepal by Open­StreetMap com­mu­nity

University of Washington civil and environmental engineering students have joined a 4,000-volunteer crowdsourcing effort to turn satel­lite imagery of Nepal into maps that aid earthquake relief efforts.


May 18, 2015

Study: 44 percent of parents struggle to limit cell phone use at playgrounds

Playground phone

A new University of Washington study finds that cell phone use at playgrounds is a significant source of parental guilt, and that caregivers absorbed in their phones were much less attentive to children’s requests.


May 7, 2015

UW researchers hack a teleoperated surgical robot to reveal security flaws

UW reseachers mounted common cyberattacks while study participants used the Raven II surgical robotic system to move rubber blocks on a pegboard.

University of Washington researchers easily hacked a next generation teleoperated surgical robot — one used only for research purposes — to test how easily a malicious attack could hijack remotely-controlled operations in the future and to make those systems more secure.


May 6, 2015

UW mapping app turns art into a sharable walking route

The app allows you to share the walk with a friend.

The Trace app turns a digital sketch that you draw on your smartphone screen — heart, maple leaf, raindrop — into a walking route that you can send to a friend. The recipient of the “gift” receives step-by-step walking directions that eventually reveal the hidden shape on a map.


April 30, 2015

Engineering a better solar cell: UW research pinpoints defects in popular perovskites

The quality of the perovskite materials for electronic device applications improved after chemical treatment, remediating the “dark” areas.

A new UW study demonstrates that perovskite materials — superefficient crystal structures that have recently taken the scientific community by storm — contain previously undiscovered flaws that can be engineered to improve solar cells and other devices even further.


April 16, 2015

Research identifies barriers in tracking meals and what foodies want

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University of Washington and Georgia Institute of Technology researchers studied how mobile-based food journals integrate into everyday life. A new study suggests how future designs might make it easier and more effective.


April 14, 2015

UW among select universities to use investigational Medtronic device, advance research into brain activity

Jeffrey Herron reviews a circuit board he designed to allow for wireless and mobile experiments with the Activa PC+S Deep Brain Stimulation system.

Researchers from the University of Washington have teamed up with medical device manufacturer Medtronic to use the Activa® PC+S Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) system with people who have essential tremor.


April 9, 2015

Who’s a CEO? Google image results can shift gender biases

CEO Google image search results (April 2015)

A University of Washington study assesses how accurately gender representations in online image search results for 45 different occupations — from CEO to telemarketer to engineer — match reality. Exposure to skewed image results shifted people’s perceptions about how many women actually hold those jobs.


March 23, 2015

UW scientists build a nanolaser using a single atomic sheet

The ultra-thin semiconductor, which is about 100,000 times thinner than a human hair, stretches across the top of the photonic cavity.

University of Washington scientists have built a new nanometer-sized laser using a semiconductor that’s only three atoms thick. It could help open the door to next-generation computing that uses light, rather than electrons, to transfer information.


March 19, 2015

UW geologist, engineer reflect back one year later on nation’s deadliest landslide

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

A UW geologist and geotechnical engineer look back at what the past year has meant, personally and professionally, as they helped recovery efforts from the nation’s deadliest landslide in our own backyard.


March 18, 2015

New research suggests insect wings might serve gyroscopic function

A robber fly with a very large haltere (inside yellow box). Halteres are sensors that act like gyroscopes, providing information about the insect's body rotations during flight.

Gyroscopes measure rotation in everyday technologies, from unmanned aerial vehicles to cell phone screen stabilizers. Though many animals can move with more precision and accuracy than our best-engineered aircraft and technologies, gyroscopes are rarely found in nature. Scientists know of just one group of insects, the group including flies, that has something that behaves like…


New Air Force center at UW learns from animals for better flight

Yonatan Munk, a postdoctoral researcher in biology, studies how moths fly.

A new center at the University of Washington funded by the U.S. Air Force will focus on how elements in nature can help solve challenging engineering and technological problems related to building small, remotely operated aircraft.


March 10, 2015

An injectable UW polymer could keep soldiers, trauma patients from bleeding to death

a rendering of fibrin forming a blood clot using the polymer to bind.

University of Washington researchers have developed a new injectable polymer that strengthens blood clots, called PolySTAT. Administered in a simple shot, the polymer finds any unseen injuries and has the potential to keep trauma patients from bleeding to death before reaching medical care.


March 9, 2015

UW leads nation in primary care, rural medicine and family medicine; top 10 in dozens of graduate programs

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The University of Washington has 42 graduate schools and specialty programs among the nation’s top 10 in each area, according to U.S. News & World Report’s Graduate School Rankings released Tuesday. The UW again ranked as the No. 1 primary care medical school, while the rural medicine and family medicine specialties continue to lead the…


February 13, 2015

AAAS symposium looks at how to bring big-data skills to academia

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A session Feb. 15 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting will explore how big data scientists can find careers at universities and within academic settings.



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