UW News

College of Engineering


June 19, 2019

Partnerships for Impact: NSF Awards an additional $4M to the West Big Data Innovation Hub co-led by the UW eScience Institute

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The National Science Foundation is awarding a second round of funding for the Regional Big Data Innovation Hubs — organizations launched in 2015 to build and strengthen data science partnerships across industry, academia, nonprofits and government to address scientific and societal challenges. The University of Washington, in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, San Diego, will continue to coordinate the West Big Data Innovation Hub.


‘Alexa, monitor my heart’: Researchers develop first contactless cardiac arrest AI system for smart speakers

An Amazon Alexa lights up

UW researchers have developed a new tool to monitor people for cardiac arrest while they’re asleep — all without touching them. The tool is essentially an app for a smart speaker or a smartphone that allows it to detect the signature sounds of cardiac arrest and call for help.


June 11, 2019

Behind the magic: Making moving photos a reality

Picasso's "Niña con corona y barco" steps out of the frame

UW researchers have figured out how to take a person from a 2D photo or a work of art and make them run, walk or jump out of the frame. The system also allows users to view the animation in three dimensions using augmented reality tools.


May 30, 2019

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things among topics at May 31 xTech + Impact Summit

Parrington

Academics will gather May 31 at the UW with policymakers, entrepreneurs, and representatives of corporations, foundations and nonprofits for The xTech + Impact 2019 Summit, a daylong seminar exploring the role of exponential technology and its impact on society.


May 29, 2019

Video: Origami-inspired materials are designed to soften impact

A person holding a chain of unit cells

University of Washington researchers have developed a novel solution to change the feeling of impact when one thing hits another. It has potential for use in spacecraft, cars and beyond — inspired by origami.


May 24, 2019

Origami-inspired materials could soften the blow for reusable spacecraft

a hand pointing to the paper model

University of Washington researchers used the paper folding art of origami to develop a novel solution to help reduce the forces associated with impact — like in car crashes, football helmets, landing spacecraft and more.


May 20, 2019

Scientists use molecular tethers and chemical ‘light sabers’ to construct platforms for tissue engineering

Photo by Katherine Turner.

In a paper published May 20 in the journal Nature Materials, a team of researchers from the University of Washington unveiled a new strategy to keep proteins intact and functional in synthetic biomaterials for tissue engineering. Their approach modifies proteins at a specific point so that they can be chemically tethered to the scaffold using light. Since the tether can also be cut by laser light, this method can create evolving patterns of signal proteins throughout a biomaterial scaffold to grow tissues made up of different types of cells.


May 15, 2019

First smartphone app that can hear ear infections in children

a smartphone displaying the app

Researchers at the UW have created a new smartphone app that can detect fluid behind the eardrum by simply using a piece of paper and the phone’s microphone and speaker.


May 9, 2019

Former cleantech executive leads development of University of Washington energy research and technology center

A future building on the University of Washington campus.

The University of Washington and its Clean Energy Institute named Kevin Klustner executive director of the Center for Advanced Materials and Clean Energy Technologies, or CAMCET. When complete, CAMCET will be a 340,000-square-foot building that will bring together UW scientists and engineers with industry, civic and nonprofit partners to accelerate clean energy solutions for a healthy planet.


May 3, 2019

Researchers take a bottom-up approach to synthesizing microscopic diamonds for bioimaging, quantum computing

Two people operating a laser to heat material and make nanodiamonds.

Researchers at the University of Washington, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory discovered that they can use extremely high pressure and temperature to introduce other elements into nanodiamonds, making them potentially useful in cell and tissue imaging, as well as quantum computing.


April 29, 2019

Patterns of compulsive smartphone use suggest how to kick the habit

A group of people looking at their phones

UW researchers conducted in-depth interviews to learn why we compulsively check our phones.


April 26, 2019

Video: Kids have fun with science at Engineering Discovery Days

discovery days

Engineering Discovery Days is a yearly event that invites Washington state fourth- through eighth-graders to have fun leaning about STEM with the College of Engineering.


Soundbites: Engineering Discovery Days

discovery days

Engineering Discovery Days is a yearly event that invites Washington state fourth- through eighth-graders to have fun leaning about STEM with the College of Engineering.


April 25, 2019

Public talks kick off study of ice loss, warming and coastal changes in northern Alaska

flat peninsula and water

A UW team will visit Alaska’s North Slope Borough the week of April 28 in preparation for a two-year study of how waves, ice loss and warming are affecting the low-lying region.


April 18, 2019

Project Sidewalk helps users map accessibility around Seattle, other cities

Project Sidewalk logo

UW researchers have led the development of Project Sidewalk, an online crowdsourcing game that lets anyone with an internet connection use Google Street View to virtually explore neighborhoods and label curb ramps, missing or rough sidewalks, obstacles and more.


April 15, 2019

Synthetic peptide can inhibit toxicity, aggregation of protein in Alzheimer’s disease, researchers show

a chemical structure of a peptide

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington has developed synthetic peptides that target and inhibit the small, toxic protein aggregates that are thought to trigger Alzheimer’s disease.


April 8, 2019

Water and wastewater disinfection can help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, but what about their genes?

vials exposed to UV light

A UW team tested how well current water and wastewater disinfecting methods affect antibiotic resistance genes in bacterial DNA. While these methods work well to deter bacterial growth, they had varied success in either degrading or deactivating a representative antibiotic resistance gene.


March 21, 2019

UW, Microsoft, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory establish new Northwest Quantum Nexus for a quantum revolution in science, technology

Portraits of two people

The University of Washington, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Microsoft Quantum announced this week that they have joined forces in a new coalition, the Northwest Quantum Nexus, to bring about a revolution in quantum research and technology.


With a ‘hello,’ Microsoft and UW demonstrate first fully automated DNA data storage

Blue DNA strand cartoon

UW and Microsoft researchers have demonstrated the first fully automated system to store and retrieve data in manufactured DNA — a key step in moving the technology out of the research lab and into commercial data centers.


March 13, 2019

New method to assess platelet health could help ER doctors

a hand holding the new device

UW researchers have created a novel system that can measure platelet function within two minutes and can help doctors determine which trauma patients might need a blood transfusion upon being admitted to a hospital.


March 12, 2019

Eight postdoctoral researchers at the University of Washington receive awards from the Washington Research Foundation

Photo by Katherine Turner.

Eight researchers at the University of Washington have been named 2019 Washington Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellows.


March 11, 2019

Black and Hispanic Americans bear a disproportionate burden from air pollution

industry smokestacks at sunrise

Black and Hispanic Americans bear a disproportionate burden from air pollution generated mainly by non-Hispanic white Americans, according to new research from a team led by the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota.


How to train your robot (to feed you dinner)

A robot feeds a volunteer a strawberry

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a robotic system that can feed people who need someone to help them eat.


March 5, 2019

FASER detector at the Large Hadron Collider to seek clues about hidden matter in the universe

A computer image of a device that will detect particles in the Large Hadron Collider.

On March 5, the CERN research board approved a new experiment at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva to search for evidence of fundamental dark matter particles. UW scientists are part of this endeavor, the Forward Search Experiment — or FASER — which seeks to answer one of the outstanding questions in particle physics: What is dark matter made of?


February 27, 2019

Three UW scientists awarded Sloan Fellowships for early-career research

Photo by Katherine Turner. The Block W statue at the North entrance to the UW Seattle campus.

Three faculty members at the University of Washington have been awarded early-career fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The new Sloan Fellows, announced Feb. 19, include Kelley Harris, an assistant professor of genome sciences at the UW School of Medicine; and Alvin Cheung and Shayan Oveis Gharan, both assistant professors in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.


February 25, 2019

It’s all in the twist: Physicists stack 2D materials at angles to trap particles on the nanoscale, creating a unique platform to study quantum optical physics

A depiction of single-layer semiconductors.

In a paper published Feb. 25 in the journal Nature, a University of Washington-led team of physicists report that it has developed a new system to trap individual excitons — bound pairs of electrons and their associated positive charges. Their system could form the basis of a novel experimental platform for monitoring excitons with precision and potentially developing new quantum technologies.


February 4, 2019

Early spring rain boosts methane from thawing permafrost by 30 percent

The landscape surrounding a thaw bog in Alaska

A UW-led team has found that early spring rainfall warms up a thawing permafrost bog in Alaska and promotes the growth of plants and methane-producing microbes.


January 23, 2019

First-of-its-kind center hosts tools to analyze the effects of natural disasters

A researcher watches the z boat

A center housed at the University of Washington offers a new way for scientists to get their hands on state-of-the-art equipment to study the effects of natural disasters. The RAPID Facility, which is the first of its kind in the world, contains over 300 instruments that are available for researchers around the world to use.


January 16, 2019

Three awards from US Department of Energy to fuel UW solar cell research

Photo by Katherine Turner.

Three teams led by University of Washington researchers — Scott Dunham, Hugh Hillhouse and Devin MacKenzie — have received competitive awards totaling more than $2.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office for projects that will advance research and development in photovoltaic materials, which are an essential component of solar cells and impact the amount of sunlight that is converted into electricity.


January 9, 2019

First smartphone app to detect opioid overdose and its precursors

Second Chance uses sonar to monitor someone's breathing rate

UW researchers have developed a smartphone app that uses sonar to monitor someone’s breathing rate and sense when an opioid overdose has occurred.


December 19, 2018

Researchers develop a new houseplant that can clean your home’s air

a scientist puts a plant into a glass tube

Researchers at the University of Washington have genetically modified a common houseplant to remove chloroform and benzene from the air around it.


December 13, 2018

Underwater sensors for monitoring sea life (and where to find them)

lowering the wave-powered AMP frame into the water

A UW team created a mechanical eye under the ocean’s surface that could live near renewable-energy sites and use a series of sensors to watch nearby animals. On Dec. 13, the researchers put the newest version of the AMP into the waters of Seattle’s Portage Bay for two weeks of preliminary testing before a more thorough analysis is conducted in Sequim, Washington.


December 11, 2018

Researchers create first sensor package that can ride aboard bees

the sensor backpack

Farmers can already use drones to soar over huge fields and monitor temperature, humidity or crop health. But these machines need so much power to fly that they can’t get very far without needing a charge. Now, engineers at the University of Washington have created a sensing system that is small enough to ride aboard a bumblebee.


December 6, 2018

Two-dimensional materials skip the energy barrier by growing one row at a time

Picture of how small protein molecules interact with one another.

A new collaborative study led by a research team at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Washington could provide engineers new design rules for creating microelectronics, membranes and tissues, and open up better production methods for new materials.


November 13, 2018

Scientists engineer a functional optical lens out of 2D materials

An image of four lenses under a microscope.

In a paper published Oct. 8 in the journal Nano Letters, a team from the University of Washington and the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan announced that it has constructed functional metalenses that are one-tenth to one-half the thickness of the wavelengths of light that they focus. Their metalenses, which were constructed out of layered 2D materials, were as thin as 190 nanometers — less than 1/100,000ths of an inch thick.


October 25, 2018

Urban Freight Lab will help UPS evaluate its new e-bike delivery service in Seattle

A UPS delivery person on an e-bike in front of the Space Needle

UPS announced today that it will be pilot-testing deliveries with cargo e-bikes in downtown Seattle. This test is expected to last a year, and the University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab at the Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Center will help UPS evaluate the study’s outcomes.


Creating curious robots: UW researchers get Honda grant to build a mathematical model of curiosity

A student gets a hug from a robot.

The University of Washington will lead one of three teams that will partner with the Honda Research Institute to explore the mechanisms behind curiosity and seek advances in artificial cognition. The UW-led team will receive $2.7 million over the next three years to generate a mathematical model of curiosity.


October 12, 2018

Could parcel lockers in transit stations reduce traffic congestion in Seattle?

The center will initially focus on the “Final 50 feet” challenge in urban deliveries, or the last leg between delivery drivers finding a place to park and handing off a package in a private building.

The University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab at the Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Center has been looking for solutions to Seattle’s traffic congestion: Parcel lockers that aren’t owned by a specific company could alleviate the strain. Now the researchers have identified five viable locker locations at three different Seattle Link light rail stations for a future pilot test.


October 10, 2018

Prescience: Helping doctors predict the future

Prescience on a computer screen

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a new machine-learning system, called Prescience, which uses input from patient charts and standard operating room sensors to predict the likelihood that a patient will develop hypoxemia — a condition when blood oxygen levels dip slightly below normal. Prescience also provides real-world explanations behind its predictions.


October 9, 2018

Researchers develop 3D printed objects that can track and store how they are used

An e-NABLE hand with the bidirectional sensor on it

Engineers at the University of Washington have developed 3D printed devices that can track and store their use — without using batteries or electronics. Instead, this system uses a method called backscatter, through which a device can share information by reflecting signals that have been transmitted to it with an antenna.



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