UW Today


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

Why do some STEM fields have fewer women than others? UW study may have the answer


Women’s relative lack of participation in science, technology, engineering and math is well documented, but why women are more represented in some STEM areas than others is less clear. A new University of Washington study is among the first to address that question by comparing gender disparities across STEM fields. Published Oct. 12 in the…

UW law professor Ryan Calo to join experts at White House conference

Ryan Calo

Ryan Calo, an assistant professor in the University of Washington School of Law, will be among national experts at a White House event tomorrow on innovations in science and technology. A nationally known expert on robotics and privacy law, Calo will speak at the White House Frontiers Conference at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon…

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

New protein bridges chemical divide for ‘seamless’ bioelectronics devices

A top view of GrBP5 nanowires on a 2-D surface of graphene.

In a paper published Sept. 22 in Scientific Reports, engineers at the University of Washington unveiled peptides that could help bridge the gap where artificial meets biological — harnessing biological rules to exchange information between the biochemistry of our bodies and the chemistry of our devices.

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 28, 2016

UW ranked among the top five most innovative universities in the world by Reuters

The University of Washington W

The University of Washington landed at No. 5 on The Reuters 100: The World’s Most Innovative Universities. Now in its second year, the list ranks the educational institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies and help drive the global economy.

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 29, 2016

New discovery Proxima b is in host star’s habitable zone — but could it really be habitable?

Artist's impression of the planet orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri.

The world’s attention is now on Proxima Centauri b, a possibly Earth-like planet about 4.22 light-years away. It’s in its star’s habitable zone — but could it in fact be habitable? If so, the planet evolved very different than Earth, say researchers at the University of Washington-based Virtual Planetary Laboratory.

August 20, 2016

‘I miss you so much’: How Twitter is broadening the conversation on death and mourning

Twitter bird and logo on blue background

Death and mourning were largely considered private matters in the 20th century, with the public remembrances common in previous eras replaced by intimate gatherings behind closed doors in funeral parlors and family homes. But social media is redefining how people grieve, and Twitter in particular — with its ephemeral mix of rapid-fire broadcast and personal…

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.

August 9, 2016

New book ‘Cities that Think Like Planets’ imagines urban regions resilient to change

Marina Alberti's book "Cities that Think Like Planets: Complexity, Resilience, and Innovation in Hybrid Ecosystems" was published in July by University of Washington Press. Photo is the cover illustration of the book.

What does it mean for a city to “think like a planet”? Marina Alberti of the UW College of Built Environments discusses her new book, “Cities that Think Like Planets,” published by UW Press.

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.

Middle schoolers build underwater robot in science summer camp

Alexander Riley works on the ROV during summer camp.

Middle school students tried their hands at designing and building underwater robots this week during a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration science summer camp in Seattle. The ROV workshop was a joint project by UW-based Washington Sea Grant, NOAA and Atlantis STEAM.

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 8, 2016

Researchers show phone calls can forecast dengue fever outbreaks

Predictions from the research team's model about where dengue fever cases would appear based on phone calls (in red) closely track suspected dengue cases actually reported by Pakistani hospitals (in black).

A UW computer science and engineering doctoral student has helped develop a system that can forecast the outbreak of dengue fever by simply analyzing the calling behavior of citizens to a public-health hotline.

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 29, 2016

UW project highlights liability of internet ‘intermediaries’ in developing countries

Internet sign reflected on tile floor

How much liability do website owners and other online service providers have for content posted by other people? If someone posts content on your website that is defamatory, constitutes hate speech, disseminates child pornography or invades someone’s privacy, are you liable? The answers to such questions can be murky in developing countries. And as internet…

June 24, 2016

UW’s Clean Energy Institute to participate in national smart manufacturing initiative


The University of Washington’s Clean Energy Institute will partner with regional industry and academic institutions as part of the new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, according to an announcement June 20 by the White House.

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.

June 15, 2016

Evans School’s Justin Marlowe addresses public-private partnerships in third financial guide

Volume three of Justin Marlowe's Guide to Financial Literacy has been published by Governing magazine.

Public-private partnerships can be important financing tools, but public officials overseeing them must understand the risks well, says the Evans School’s Justin Marlowe, author of a multivolume Guide to Financial Literacy.

June 10, 2016

Jackson School Space Security Initiative capstone event gathers students, area stakeholders

Saadia Pekkanen, Job and Gertrud Tamaki Professor and associate director of the UW's Jackson School of International Studies, chairs a capstone meeting for junior fellows of the school's Space Security Initiative Wednesday, June 8, at the University of Washington Club. From left, others are: Kristian Ulrichsen, affiliate professor of international studies; Alan Boyle, journalist with GeekWire; and John Thornquist, director of the Office of Aerospace for the Washington State Department of Commerce.

What are the policies of global rising powers regarding the use of orbital and outer space, and what are the implications of those policies for international cooperation? A capstone event for junior fellows of the Jackson School’s Space Security Initiative explored such questions in a recently with space industry, media and government representatives also on hand.

June 6, 2016

See, hear and study the deep sea: Ocean Observatories Initiative data now live

camera illuminating seafloor

Data is now streaming from the deep sea, thanks to an observatory installed in this region by the University of Washington as part of a larger National Science Foundation initiative to usher in a new age of oceanographic research.

May 31, 2016

Tiny probe could produce big improvements in batteries and fuel cells

image of nanoscale details seen by probe

A team led by University of Washington engineers has developed a new tool that could aid in the quest for better batteries and fuel cells. Although battery technology has come a long way since Alessandro Volta first stacked metal discs in a “voltaic pile” to generate electricity, major improvements are still needed to meet the…

May 27, 2016

UW researchers illuminate ways to heal defects in solar cells

Microscopic image of a crystal

Electrical energy fuels our modern lives, from the computer screen that keeps us up after sunset to the coffee maker that greets us at sunrise. But the electricity underlying our 21st century world, by and large, is generated at a cost — through the unsustainable expenditure of fossil fuels. For decades this demand for cheap,…

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 11, 2016

New project to shine light on dark places around UW campus

Lighting along Rainier Vista on the UW campus.

An interdisciplinary team of students, faculty and staff together with lighting design experts is asking the UW community those questions as part of a new plan to improve the efficiency and sustainability of outdoor lighting around the Seattle campus.

UW researchers secure prestigious MURI grants for self-cooling lasers and fluid mechanics


University of Washington professors Peter Pauzauskie and Alberto Aliseda are part of two U.S. Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grants to develop innovative approaches to cutting-edge fields of engineering.

Paper gets ‘smart’ with drawn-on, stenciled sensor tags

In this example, the speed of the spinning tag on the pinwheel is mapped to onscreen graphics.

Researchers from the University of Washington, Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University have created ways to give a piece of paper sensing capabilities that allows it to respond to gesture commands and connect to the digital world.

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 18, 2016

Board of Regents approves first University of Washington master’s program through Global Innovation Exchange

Shwetak Patel, chief technology officer for GIX.

The University of Washington Board of Regents has approved the Master of Science in Technology Innovation degree, a 60-credit interdisciplinary program developed by the Global Innovation Exchange.

April 12, 2016

UW undergraduate team wins $10,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for gloves that translate sign language

These "SignAloud" gloves developed by UW students contain sensors that record hand position and movement and transmit data wirelessly to a central computer, which uses algorithms to recognize and translate sign language gestures.

Two University of Washington undergraduates have won a $10,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for their “SignAloud” invention — gloves that can translate American Sign Language into text or speech.

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.”

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