UW News

College of Engineering


January 16, 2018

Researchers program biomaterials with ‘logic gates’ that release therapeutics in response to environmental triggers

four people in a laboratory

Drug treatments can save lives, but sometimes they also carry unintended costs. After all, the same therapeutics that target pathogens and tumors can also harm healthy cells. To reduce this collateral damage, scientists have long sought specificity in drug delivery systems: A package that can encase a therapeutic and will not disgorge its toxic cargo…


January 8, 2018

UW Reality Lab launches with $6M from tech companies to advance augmented and virtual reality research

One goal of the UW Reality Lab — funded with initial investments from Facebook, Google and Huawei — is to achieve telepresence, allowing one to have a lifelike conversation with a person in a remote location.

The UW Reality Lab is launching with $6 million from Facebook, Google, and Huawei to accelerate innovation in augmented and virtual reality and educate the next generation of researchers and practitioners.


December 21, 2017

UW a leader in supporting Washington’s STEM students

scholar solomon Muche

Now serving its sixth cohort of students, the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship has helped more than 8,400 students attend the state’s universities and colleges. The UW has the largest number of scholarship recipients — 1,679 across all three campuses — and has seen more than 1,300 scholars graduate.


December 13, 2017

University of Washington celebrates fundraising and construction milestones for second computer science building

photo of Gates Center construction taken Dec. 8, 2017

The University of Washington celebrated two major fundraising and construction milestones on Wednesday for the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering, which will allow the UW to double its annual computer science and engineering degree production.


December 5, 2017

Making humanity’s challenges smaller and smaller: UW launches Institute for Nano-Engineered Systems

A ribbon cutting ceremony.

The University of Washington has launched a new institute aimed at accelerating research at the nanoscale: the Institute for Nano-Engineered Systems, or NanoES. The institute will pursue impactful advancements in a variety of disciplines — including energy, materials science, computation and medicine. Yet these advancements will be at a technological scale a thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair.


In first, 3-D printed objects connect to WiFi without electronics

UW engineers have developed the first 3-D printed plastic objects that can connect to WiFi without electronics. The attachment above can sense when your laundry soap is running low — and automatically order more.

UW engineers have developed the first 3-D printed plastic objects that can connect to other devices via WiFi without using any electronics, including a laundry bottle that can detect when soap is running low and automatically order more.


November 28, 2017

UW students win Amazon’s inaugural Alexa Prize for most engaging socialbot

The UW Sounding Board team (left to right: Hao Fang, Hao Cheng, Ari Holtzman, Mari Ostendorf, Maarten Sap, Elizabeth Clark, Yejin Choi) wins Amazon's first Alexa Prize.

A team of University of Washington students and faculty has won Amazon’s inaugural Alexa Prize, a university competition designed to produce an artificial intelligence agent capable of coherent and sustained conversation with humans.


Two UW professors elevated to IEEE Fellows

IEEE-2018

Two faculty members in the University of Washington College of Engineering have been elected as 2018 fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Tom Furness, professor of industrial and systems engineering, was honored for “leadership in virtual and augmented reality” and Siddhartha “Sidd” Srinivasa, professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, was recognized for “contributions to robotic manipulation and human-robot interaction.”


November 16, 2017

UW receives top honors from CleanTech Alliance for research and support in energy innovation, industry partnerships

People posing at an award ceremony

The CleanTech Alliance has presented the University of Washington with the organization’s 2017 CleanTech Achievement Award. The honor recognizes the UW’s dedication to research and development of transformative clean energy technologies, facilities, pipelines for startups and industry partnerships. The award was announced on Nov. 8 at the annual meeting and 10th anniversary of the CleanTech…


November 14, 2017

2 UW engineering students make Forbes ’30 under 30 in Energy’ list

Double photo

Two University of Washington engineering students were selected by Forbes magazine for its list of the top 30 people in the world under age 30 working in energy.


November 13, 2017

New tool quantifies power imbalance between female and male characters in Hollywood movie scripts

graphic showing power comparisons between Anna and Elsa from the movie Frozen with Cinderella

UW researchers who used machine learning tools to analyze language in 800 Hollywood movie scripts found subtle but widespread gender bias in the way male and female characters are portrayed.


October 31, 2017

How to store information in your clothes invisibly, without electronics

Using magnetic properties of conductive thread, University of Washington researchers are able to store data in fabric. In this example, the code to unlock a door is stored in a fabric patch and read by an array of magnetometers.

UW computer scientists have created fabrics and fashion accessories that can store data — from security codes to identification tags — without needing any on-board electronics or sensors.


October 18, 2017

For $1000, anyone can purchase online ads to track your location and app use

graphic of commute where someone could be tracked via ads

New University of Washington research finds that for a budget of roughly $1000, it is possible for someone to track your location and app use by purchasing and targeting mobile ads. The team hopes to raise industry awareness about the potential privacy threat.


October 17, 2017

Flexible ‘skin’ can help robots, prosthetics perform everyday tasks by sensing shear force

photo of robot arm with skin on finger

UW and UCLA engineers have developed a flexible sensor “skin” that can be stretched over any part of a robot’s body or prosthetic to accurately convey information about shear forces and vibration, which are critical to tasks ranging from cooking an egg to dismantling a bomb.


October 12, 2017

UW names second CSE building the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering

photo of Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering under construction as of Oct. 5

The University of Washington Board of Regents on Thursday approved the naming of the new computer science building under construction on the Seattle campus as the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering. The naming of the building was made possible by gifts from Microsoft Corp. and a group of local business and philanthropic leaders who are longtime friends and colleagues of the couple.


October 4, 2017

New portable blood analyzer could improve anemia detection worldwide

Nikita Taparia stands with a microfluidic card in her hand, next to the optical analyzer.

To reduce the burden of anemia worldwide, health officials need a portable and affordable way to analyze blood. Mechanical engineering researchers at the University of Washington developed a device smaller than a toaster that can detect the level of hemoglobin in whole blood samples using optical absorbance.


September 28, 2017

Lisa M. Zurk named executive director of UW Applied Physics Laboratory

Lisa M. Zurk

Lisa Zurk, a UW aluma in electrical engineering, professor at Portland State University and program manager at DARPA, will become the eighth director of the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory.


September 25, 2017

UW to host $15.6M NSF-funded center for innovation, education in materials science

Photo by Katherine Turner.

The University of Washington is home to a new national center of excellence for research, education and training in materials science. The Molecular Engineering Materials Center is funded by a $15.6 million, six-year grant from the National Science Foundation as part of its highly competitive Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) program.


September 14, 2017

People of color exposed to more pollution from cars, trucks, power plants during 10-year period

In columns A and B, red identifies locations where NO2 concentrations were higher for nonwhites than whites; blue indicates that NO2 concentrations were higher for whites than nonwhites; and white means they were equal. In column C, red indicates that the absolute difference in NO2 concentration between nonwhites and whites increased over time; blue indicates that difference decreased over time; and white indicates no change.

A new nationwide study finds that the U.S. made little progress from 2000 to 2010 in reducing relative disparities between people of color and whites in exposure to harmful air pollution emitted by cars, trucks and other combustion sources.


September 6, 2017

PupilScreen aims to allow parents, coaches, medics to detect concussion, brain injuries with a smartphone

photo of pupilscreen in use

University of Washington researchers are developing a smartphone app that is capable of objectively detecting concussion and other traumatic brain injuries in the field, which could provide a new level of screening for athletes and accident victims.


August 16, 2017

Computer scientists use music to covertly track body movements, activity

A person walking in a straight line.

Researchers at the University of Washington have demonstrated how it is possible to transform a smart device into a surveillance tool that can collect information about the body position and movements of the user, as well as other people in the device’s immediate vicinity. Their approach involves remotely hijacking smart devices to play music embedded with repeating pulses that track a person’s position, body movements, and activities both in the vicinity of the device as well as through walls.


UW professor Franziska Roesner named one of world’s top innovators under 35

A professor smiling

MIT Technology Review has named Franziska Roesner, University of Washington professor of computer science and engineering, one of 35 “Innovators Under 35” for 2017.


August 10, 2017

DNA sequencing tools lack robust protections against cybersecurity risks

UW researchers have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to remotely compromise a computer using information stored in DNA. This test tube holds hundreds of billions of copies of the exploit code stored in synthetic DNA molecules, which has the potential to compromise a computer system when it is sequenced and processed.

A new UW study finds DNA sequencing tools lack robust cybersecurity protections. In a scientific first, the team also infected a computer with synthesized DNA molecules.


July 17, 2017

Material from shellfish delivers a boost to bioassays and medical tests

A close-up view of a virus

Scientists at the University of Washington have discovered a simple way to raise the accuracy of diagnostic tests for medicine and common assays for laboratory research. By adding polydopamine — a material that was first isolated from shellfish — to these tests at a key step, the team could increase the sensitivity of these common bioassays by as many as 100 to 1,000 times.


UW team develops fast, cheap method to make supercapacitor electrodes for electric cars, high-powered lasers

A coin-cell battery

University of Washington researchers have developed a fast, inexpensive method to make electrodes for supercapacitors, with applications in electric cars, wireless telecommunications and high-powered lasers.


July 5, 2017

First battery-free cellphone makes calls by harvesting ambient power

UW engineers have designed the first battery-free cellphone that can send and receive calls using only a few microwatts of power

UW engineers have designed the first battery-free cellphone that can send and receive calls using only a few microwatts of power, which it harvests from ambient radio signals or light. It’s a major step forward in moving beyond chargers, cords and dying phones.


June 27, 2017

Brain signals deliver first targeted treatment for world’s most common movement disorder

A new closed-loop deep brain stimulation system (results at right) developed by the UW-based CNSE delivers relief from symptoms of essential tremor that cause patients hands to shake (left) as successfully as current DBS methods (middle), but using far less battery life.

For the first time, University of Washington researchers have delivered targeted treatment for essential tremor – the world’s most common neurological movement disorder – by decoding brain signals to sense when patients’ limbs are shaking.


June 26, 2017

Microscope can scan tumors during surgery and examine cancer biopsies in 3-D

Photo of Adam Glaser tweaking microscope

A new UW microscope could provide real-time results during cancer-removal surgeries, potentially eliminating the 20 to 40 percent of women who have to undergo multiple lumpectomy surgeries because cancerous breast tissue is missed the first time around.


June 7, 2017

Scientists discover a 2-D magnet

A top-view depiction of a single layer of CrI3. Chromium atoms are depicted in grey, with iodine atoms in purple.

A team led by the University of Washington and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has for the first time discovered magnetism in the 2-D world of monolayers, or materials that are formed by a single atomic layer. The findings, published June 8 in the journal Nature, demonstrate that magnetic properties can exist even in the 2-D realm — opening a world of potential applications.


June 2, 2017

Catching the IMSI-catchers: SeaGlass brings transparency to cell phone surveillance

Image of suspicious cell site signal patterns

University of Washington security researchers have developed a new system called SeaGlass to detect anomalies in the cellular landscape that can indicate where and when cell phone surveillance devices are being used.


May 30, 2017

Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?

Photo of drone delivery

A new study finds that drone deliveries emit less climate-warming carbon dioxide pollution than truck deliveries in some — but not all — scenarios.


May 25, 2017

UW engineers borrow from electronics to build largest circuits to date in living eukaryotic cells

An artist’s impression of connected CRISPR-dCas9 NOR gates.

UW synthetic biology researchers have demonstrated a new method for digital information processing in living cells, analogous to the logic gates used in electric circuits. The team built the largest circuits published to date in eukaryotic cells, using DNA instead of silicon and solder.


May 2, 2017

Period tracking apps failing users in basic ways, study finds

Screenshots of pink, flowery apps

A new study finds that smartphone apps to track menstrual cycles often disappoint users with a lack of accuracy, assumptions about sexual identity or partners, and an emphasis on pink and flowery form over function and customization.


April 26, 2017

Food photos help Instagram users with healthy eating

Image of food photographs posted on Instagram

A new study describes how some people turn to posting photos on Instagram to track food intake or to be held accountable by followers in meeting healthy eating or weight loss goals.


April 24, 2017

Scientific discovery game significantly speeds up neuroscience research process

Mozak screenshot

Mozak, a new scientific discovery game from the UW team that created Foldit, is allowing video gamers and citizen scientists to speed up a fundamental task in brain science: reconstructing the intricate architecture of brain neurons.


April 19, 2017

Two UW faculty named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Two University of Washington faculty members are among the leaders from academia, business, philanthropy, humanities and the arts elected as 2017 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies.


April 14, 2017

UW, Tohoku University establish Academic Open Space partnership for innovations in aerospace, clean energy, disaster preparedness

tohoku-uwTILE

The University of Washington and Japan’s Tohoku University have agreed to create an Academic Open Space to foster collaborations and academic exchanges between these two leading research institutions of the Pacific Rim. The agreement, signed April 14 by leaders of both institutions at the UW campus in Seattle, is expected to build upon current collaborations in aerospace design and materials, as well as launch new science and engineering partnerships.


April 13, 2017

UW College of Engineering announces Direct to College admission for 2018 incoming freshman class

Photo of students working in Bioengineering Lab

The University of Washington’s College of Engineering will offer Direct to College admission beginning with the entering freshman class of 2018, assuring students who are admitted into the college and their families that they will be able to pursue an engineering degree at the UW.


April 11, 2017

Technology to improve rockfall analysis on cliffs could save money, lives

image of a crumbling cliff seen via LIDAR

University of Washington civil engineers have developed a new, automated technology to analyze the potential for rockfalls from cliffs onto roads and areas below.


April 3, 2017

UW security researchers show that Google’s AI tool for video searching can be easily deceived

Screenshot of Google API results after the car images are inserted into the video.

University of Washington security researchers have shown that Google’s new tool that uses machine learning to automatically analyze and label video content can be deceived by inserting a photograph periodically into videos. After they inserted an image of a car into a video about animals, for instance, the system thought the video was about an Audi.



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