UW Today

College of Engineering


May 7, 2014

UW building teleoperated robots for disaster response in national challenge

The robot has a mounted camera and router to transmit the robot’s view of the scene, and built-in haptics technology allows the operator to receive force feedback from the robot.

University of Washington electrical engineers have developed telerobotics technology that could make disaster response faster and more efficient. They are working with a large team as part of the SmartAmerica Challenge, an initiative that encourages new technologies that help society in our increasingly connected world.


April 23, 2014

Thousands on campus for Engineering Discovery Days, April 25-26

Students check out 3-D printers at the 2013 Engineering Discovery Days.

Engineers and scientists at the University of Washington will display their most engaging research and projects Friday and Saturday, April 25-26, during the annual Engineering Discovery Days, which is free and open to the public.


April 15, 2014

UW graduate’s lens turns any smartphone into a portable microscope

Photo of the micro phone lens on a smartphone.

The Micro Phone Lens, developed by UW mechanical engineering alumnus Thomas Larson (’13), can turn any smartphone or tablet computer into a handheld microscope.


April 7, 2014

UW startup creates underwater robotics with a human touch

Undergraduates students work on instrumentation with the BluHaptics team.

A team of University of Washington scientists and engineers working at the Applied Physics Laboratory is creating a control system for underwater remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs. Researchers will demonstrate the technology at the SmartAmerica Challenge in Washington, D.C. in June.


March 17, 2014

Hold that RT: Much misinformation tweeted after 2013 Boston Marathon bombing

A graph shows hashtags on Twitter and how they are related to each other.

University of Washington researchers have found that misinformation spread widely on Twitter after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing despite efforts by users to correct rumors that were inaccurate.


March 10, 2014

Scientists build thinnest-possible LEDs to be stronger, more energy efficient

This graphical representation shows the layers of the 2-D LED and how it emits light.

University of Washington scientists have built the thinnest-known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics. The LED is based off of two-dimensional, flexible semiconductors, making it possible to stack or use in much smaller and more diverse applications than current technology allows.


March 5, 2014

Reflection makes sense: New initiative prompts engineering students to look back to go forward

University of Washington graduate students talk about their projects in class.

The University of Washington’s Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching has received a $4.4 million grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust to develop and promote teaching practices that help undergraduate engineering students reflect on their experiences. The award establishes the Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education that focuses on first- and second-year undergraduates who want to be engineers, especially those from underrepresented populations


February 27, 2014

Battery-free technology brings gesture recognition to all devices

AllSee detects the unique signal changes (shown on the oscilloscope) and classifies a rich set of hand gestures.

University of Washington computer scientists have built a low-cost gesture recognition system that runs without batteries and lets users control their electronic devices hidden from sight with simple hand movements. The prototype, called “AllSee,” uses existing TV signals as both a power source and the means for detecting a user’s gesture command.


February 20, 2014

NASA’s ‘Mohawk Guy’ advocates ‘audacious,’ creative engineering

Bobak Ferdowsi photo

Bobak Ferdowsi, a NASA flight engineer who became known as “Mohawk Guy” after sporting a mohawk hairstyle during the 2012 rover Curiosity’s landing on Mars, spoke to a class of University of Washington aeronautics and astronautics engineering students on Feb. 19. Ferdowsi was a student in the department and graduated from the UW in 2001.


February 6, 2014

UW’s James Riley elected to National Academy of Engineering

A large 'W' is at the north entrance to the UW campus.

James Riley, a University of Washington professor of mechanical engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Election to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer.


Credit card-sized device could analyze biopsy, help diagnose pancreatic cancer in minutes

the device is shown up close.

University of Washington scientists and engineers are developing a low-cost device that could help pathologists diagnose pancreatic cancer earlier and faster. The prototype can perform the basic steps for processing a biopsy, relying on fluid transport instead of human hands to process the tissue.


January 27, 2014

Facelift complications eased with help of new 3-D imaging technique

This image shows a mouse ear after a successful cosmetic filler injection. The filler, in green, rests in the tissue without blocking the blood vessels and veins

New imaging technology from University of Washington engineers allows scientists to analyze what happens within the smallest blood vessels during a cosmetic facelift. This finding could be used to prevent accidents during procedures and help clinicians reverse the ill effects if an injection doesn’t go as planned.


January 15, 2014

Glaciers, streamflow changes are focus of new Columbia River study

aerial view of bonneville dam, 40 miles east of portland.

University of Washington environmental engineers are launching a new study to try to understand how climate change will affect streamflow patterns in the Columbia River Basin. The team will look at the impact of glaciers on the river system, the range of possible streamflow changes and how much water will flow in the river at hundreds of locations in future years.


January 7, 2014

On-demand vaccines possible with engineered nanoparticles

Nanoparticles and engineered proteins.

University of Washington engineers hope a new type of vaccine they have shown to work in mice will one day make it cheaper and easy to manufacture on-demand vaccines for humans. Immunizations could be administered within minutes where and when a disease is breaking out.


December 12, 2013

New state-funded Clean Energy Institute will focus on solar, battery technologies

Gov. Jay Inslee (center) shakes hands with Dan Schwartz, director of the new Clean Energy Institute, with UW President Michael Young (left).

A new University of Washington institute to develop efficient, cost-effective solar power and better energy storage systems launched Dec. 12 with an event attended by UW President Michael K. Young, Gov. Jay Inslee and researchers, industry experts and policy leaders in renewable energy.


November 13, 2013

Snow melts faster under trees than in open areas in mild climates

A mounted hunting camera captures snow in a forest gap, while snow appears to have melted under the trees in dense, second-growth forest behind the gap site.

University of Washington researchers have found that tree cover actually causes snow to melt more quickly in warm, Mediterranean-type climates. Alternatively, open, clear gaps in the forests tend to keep snow on the ground longer into the spring and summer. Their findings were published this fall in Water Resources Research.


November 1, 2013

UW surgical robot featured in 2013 movie ‘Ender’s Game’

A close-up shoot of the UW’s Raven II robot as it simulates brain surgery on actor Moisés Arias during the filming of “Ender’s Game.”

A University of Washington surgical research robot appears in the sci-fi movie “Ender’s Game” starring Harrison Ford. Two UW students operated the robot during the filming of the movie, which opens Nov. 1 in theaters across the country.


October 23, 2013

Stephen Boyd: Making the best decisions in smart systems, products

photo of stephen boyd

Stephen Boyd of Stanford University is the speaker at this year’s Lytle Lecture Series hosted by the UW’s Department of Electrical Engineering. He will give a free public talk at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28.


October 17, 2013

Yoga accessible for the blind with new Microsoft Kinect-based program

Example of how the Kinect reads incorrect body posture.

A team of University of Washington computer scientists has created a software program that watches a user’s movements and gives spoken feedback using a Microsoft Kinect on what to change to accurately complete a yoga pose.


October 15, 2013

Local infrastructure focus of College of Engineering’s fall lecture series

Part of the lecture series brochure cover.

The University of Washington College of Engineering fall lecture series will feature faculty researchers and industry leaders who work to maintain and improve our region’s critical infrastructure. The lectures are at 7 p.m. on Oct. 23, Oct. 30 and Nov. 14.


October 9, 2013

New strategy lets cochlear implant users hear music

Photo of piano keys

University of Washington scientists have developed a new way of processing the signals in cochlear implants to help users hear music better. The technique lets users perceive differences between musical instruments, a significant improvement from what standard cochlear implants can offer.


September 30, 2013

UW engineers invent programming language to build synthetic DNA

An example chemical program.

A team led by the University of Washington has developed a programming language for chemistry that it hopes will streamline efforts to design a network that can guide the behavior of chemical-reaction mixtures in the same way that embedded electronic controllers guide cars, robots and other devices.


September 16, 2013

Depletion of ‘traitor’ immune cells slows cancer growth in mice

A stained cross-section of a mouse tumor. In this image, red areas are macrophages, and green indicates the presence of the peptide that can bind with macrophages in cancer cells.

Scientists at the University of Washington have developed a strategy to slow tumor growth and prolong survival in mice with cancer by targeting and destroying a type of cell that dampens the body’s immune response to cancer.


September 11, 2013

UW engineers to make cookstoves 10 times cleaner for developing world

An example of one of the more efficient cookstoves used in developing countries.

University of Washington engineers have received a $900,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to design a better cookstove, which researchers say will use half as much fuel and cut emissions by 90 percent.


August 27, 2013

Researcher controls colleague’s motions in 1st human brain-to-brain interface

A photo showing both sides of the demonstration.

University of Washington researchers have performed what they believe is the first noninvasive human-to-human brain interface, with one researcher able to send a brain signal via the Internet to control the hand motions of a fellow researcher.


August 13, 2013

Wireless devices go battery-free with new communication technique

Two devices communicate without using battery power.

University of Washington engineers have created a new wireless communication system that allows devices to interact with each other without relying on batteries or wires for power.


July 28, 2013

Breakthrough in detecting DNA mutations could help treat tuberculosis, cancer

A conceptual image showing examples of mutations and no mutations.

Researchers have developed a new method that can look at a specific segment of DNA and pinpoint a single mutation, which could help diagnose and treat diseases such as cancer and tuberculosis.


July 23, 2013

Pain of artificial legs could be eased by real-time monitoring

Ron Bailey walks on a treadmill while testing the new technology.

University of Washington engineers have developed a device that tracks how much a person’s limb swells and shrinks when inside a prosthetic socket. The data could help doctors and patients predict how and when their limbs will swell, which could be used to build smarter sockets.


July 16, 2013

Eye-tracking could outshine passwords if made user-friendly

A human eye.

University of Washington engineers found in a recent study that the user’s experience could be key to creating an authentication system that doesn’t rely on passwords.


June 27, 2013

Competitive STEM program at UW targets deaf, hard of hearing students

Teaching assistant works with student.

The Summer Academy for Advancing Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Computing at the University of Washington is the only program of its kind in the nation that offers a full quarter of academic credit to incoming college students or those who just finished their first year.


UW gas-, electric-powered cars claim 1st and 2nd in national contest

Racecar competing in Lincoln, Neb.

The University of Washington Formula Motorsports team took first place at the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers competition held June 19-22 in Lincoln, Neb.


June 25, 2013

UW awarded $10 million to design paper-based diagnostic medical device

Simulated computer image of portable diagnostic device

The University of Washington has received nearly $10 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to continue a project aimed at building a small, paper-based device that could test for infectious diseases on-demand in areas where diagnostic capabilities are limited.


June 12, 2013

Silicon-based nanoparticles could make LEDs cheaper, greener to produce

LumiSands red phosphors

Researchers at the University of Washington have created a material they say would make LEDs cheaper and greener to manufacture, driving down costs to consumers.


June 11, 2013

New tasks become as simple as waving a hand with brain-computer interfaces

A human brain depicted in a movie poster.

University of Washington researchers have demonstrated that when humans use brain-computer interfaces, the brain behaves much like it does when completing simple motor skills such as kicking a ball or waving. Learning to control a robotic arm or a prosthetic limb could become second nature for people who are paralyzed.


June 4, 2013

Wi-Fi signals enable gesture recognition throughout entire home

A hand gesture changes the TV channel.

University of Washington researchers have shown it’s possible to leverage Wi-Fi signals around us to detect specific movements without needing sensors on the human body or cameras.


May 29, 2013

UW to host student steel bridge competition this weekend

UW team competes at regional competition 2013

Just a week after the Interstate 5 Skagit River Bridge collapse north of Seattle, the University of Washington will host a national steel bridge competition for undergraduate civil engineering students. Forty-nine finalist teams will converge on campus for the 2013 National Student Steel Bridge Competition.


May 14, 2013

Engineered biomaterial could improve success of medical implants

Two tissue samples showing differences in collagen build-up.

University of Washington engineers have created a synthetic substance that fully resists the body’s natural attack response to foreign objects. Medical devices such as artificial heart valves, prostheses and breast implants could be coated with this polymer to prevent the body from rejecting an implanted object.


May 8, 2013

New ‘academic redshirt’ program to support undergraduate STEM education

Math Academy 2012 students

The University of Washington in collaboration with Washington State University is developing an “academic redshirt” program that will bring dozens of low-income, Washington state high school graduates to the two universities to study engineering in a five-year bachelor’s program.


May 6, 2013

New device can extract human DNA with full genetic data in minutes

close-up view of the device.

A new device will give hospitals and research labs a much easier way to separate DNA from human fluid samples to help with genome sequencing, disease diagnosis and forensic investigations.


April 29, 2013

Grocery delivery service is greener than driving to the store

Webvan.com was a one-time grocery delivery company.

New University of Washington research shows it’s much more environmentally friendly to leave the car parked at home and opt for groceries delivered to your doorstep.



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