UW Today

College of Engineering


January 19, 2016

This smartphone technology 3-D maps your meal and counts its calories

NutriRay 3D

A new laser mapping technology and smartphone app developed by University of Washington electrical engineers allows you to point your phone at a plate of food and get an estimate of the total calories and nutrition.


January 15, 2016

Twenty-seven UW faculty listed among ‘world’s most influential scientific minds’ by Thomson Reuters

campus-TILE

The University of Washington is home to 26 researchers included on Thomson Reuters’ list of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” for 2015, which was released Jan. 14. The distinction, based on an analysis of over a decade of research paper citations among 21 general scientific fields, is meant to recognize scientists who are most cited by their peers.


January 12, 2016

UW computer scientists to make financial products better and more available for the poor

Photo of mPesa outlet

UW computer scientists, with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are launching a new research group to develop technological solutions that will make financial products more available to the lowest-income people around the world.


January 11, 2016

New master of applied bioengineering to prepare students for translational research

Bioengineering student project.

In December, the University of Washington’s Department of Bioengineering began accepting applications for its newest graduate degree program, the Master of Applied Bioengineering. The one-year, full-time program begins in August, and will train students to apply engineering design and entrepreneurship skills to address unmet clinical needs and to transform biomedical research into technologies for improving health care. The degree will position graduates to respond to market-based demands of industry, medicine and translational research.


January 8, 2016

Stir no more: UW scientists show that draining speeds up bioassays

HeLa cells stained with an antibody against beta-tubulin.

Three scientists at the University of Washington have proposed a way to speed up common bioassays used in research and diagnostics. Their solution, reminiscent of the magic behind washing machines, could reduce wait times to a fraction of what they once were. As they report in the journal Small, biological assays that once took hours could instead take minutes.


January 6, 2016

What motivates people to walk and bike? It varies by income

New University of Washington research finds different factors in the built environment motivate higher-income and lower-income people to walk and bike.

The built environment influences decisions to walk or bike differently for lower- and higher-income groups, UW researchers have found. Neighborhood density, accessible destinations and fewer vehicles were associated with more walking and biking in lower-income groups, while neighborhood attractiveness was relevant for higher-income groups.


December 15, 2015

Fuel economy improvements in US climate commitment on par with 1970s gains

Photo of 1970s Datsun ad

A new UW study finds that fuel efficiency improvements needed to meet U.S. climate commitments are on par with what the auto industry delivered in the 1970s and 1980s.


December 7, 2015

What makes Tom Hanks look like Tom Hanks?

UW researchers reconstructed have 3-D models of celebrities such as Tom Hanks from  Internet photo collections. The models can be controlled by photos or videos of another person.

UW researchers have reconstructed 3-D models of celebrities such as Tom Hanks from large Internet photo collections. The model can deliver speeches that the real actor never performed – one step toward developing fully interactive digital personas of people from family or historic photo collections.


December 1, 2015

UW roboticists learn to teach robots from babies

photos of gaze experiments

A collaboration between University of Washington developmental psychologists and computer scientists has demonstrated that robots can “learn” much like babies – by experiencing the world and eventually imitating humans.


November 18, 2015

Popular Science names ‘Power Over Wi-Fi’ one of the year’s game-changing technologies

Photo of device

The Power Over Wi-Fi (PoWiFi) system developed by UW engineers is one of the most innovative and game-changing technologies of the year, according to Popular Science, which included it in the magazine’s annual “Best of What’s New” awards announced this week.


November 16, 2015

UW team refrigerates liquids with a laser for the first time

Photo of crystal

Since the first laser was invented in 1960, they’ve always given off heat. University of Washington researchers are the first to solve a decades-old puzzle — figuring out how to make a laser refrigerate water and other liquids.


November 2, 2015

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

Logo_eScience-stacked (002) copy

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

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 26, 2015

Lab experiments question popular measure of ancient ocean temperatures

The study looked at Thaumarchaeota archaea, which are found throughout the world's oceans. These single-celled organisms have just one membrane sac that encloses their bodies. This organism, used in the study, was collected from a tropical-water tank at the Seattle Aquarium.

The membranes of sediment-entombed archaea are an increasingly popular way to determine ocean surface temperatures back to the age of the dinosaurs. But new results show that changing oxygen can affect the reading by as much as 21 degrees C.


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 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

Crystals form through a variety of paths, with implications for biological, materials and environmental research

Artist's rendition of calcium carbonate crystals.

Crystals play an important role in the formation of substances from skeletons and shells to soils and semiconductor materials. But many aspects of their formation are shrouded in mystery. Scientists have long worked to understand how crystals grow into complex shapes. Now, an international group of researchers has shown how nature uses a variety of…


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

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.


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

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

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.


April 27, 2015

New UW app can detect sleep apnea events via smartphone

ApneaApp uses a smartphone to wirelessly detect sleep apnea events in the privacy of one's bedroom, without needing sensors or special equipment.

The gold standard for diagnosing sleep apnea — a disease which affects roughly 1 in 13 Americans — requires an overnight hospital stay and costs thousands of dollars. A new smartphone app developed at the University of Washington can wirelessly test for sleep apnea events in a person’s own bedroom without needing special sensors attached to the body.


April 16, 2015

Research identifies barriers in tracking meals and what foodies want

pizza-TILEjpg

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 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.



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