UW Today

College of Engineering


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.


April 23, 2013

Robots, solar-powered cars at Engineering Discovery Days, April 26-27

A student gets a hug from a robot.

Engineering Discovery Days is April 26-27 at the UW campus and will feature exhibits and demonstrations from engineering departments and student groups.


April 22, 2013

Professor of computer science and engineering remembered through UW scholarship fund

David Notkin, professor of computer science and engineering at UW.

David Notkin, University of Washington professor of computer science and engineering, died April 22. He was 58.


April 12, 2013

New device could cut costs on household products, pharmaceuticals

Surfactant gel structure forms after passing through device.

A new procedure that thickens and thins fluid at the micron level could save consumers and manufacturers money, particularly for some soap products.


April 4, 2013

Rocket powered by nuclear fusion could send humans to Mars

Image of a spacecraft powered by a fusion-driven rocket.

Astronauts could be a step closer to a fast journey to Mars using a unique manipulation of nuclear fusion devised by UW scientists and those at a Redmond company.


March 19, 2013

Tenfold boost in ability to pinpoint proteins in cancer cells

Lab image of cells

New research offers a more comprehensive way to analyze a cell’s unique behavior, revealing patterns that could indicate why a cell will or won’t become cancerous.


January 24, 2013

Organic ferroelectric molecule shows promise for memory chips, sensors

Image of electric response

A paper in Science describes an organic crystal that shows promise as a cheap, flexible, nontoxic material for the working parts of memory chips, sensors and energy-harvesting devices.


January 9, 2013

UW, Pacific NW National Lab join forces on computing research

Hyak supercomputer at UW.

The University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have formed the Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing, a joint institute based at the UW that will foster collaborative computing research.


January 7, 2013

Judith Ramey appointed interim dean of UW College of Engineering

Judy Ramey

Judith Ramey, professor and former chair in the UW’s Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering, is named interim dean of the University of Washington’s College of Engineering.


December 13, 2012

Energy Dept. funds UW project to turn wasted natural gas into diesel

ARPA-E logo

The U.S. Department of Energy this month awarded $4 million to a team, led by UW chemical engineers, that aims to develop bacteria to turn the methane in natural gas into diesel fuel for transportation.


November 30, 2012

Electrically spun fabric offers dual defense against pregnancy, HIV

Magnified image of fibers and sperm

Electrically spun cloth with nanometer-sized fibers show promise as a cheap, versatile platform to simultaneously offer contraception and prevent HIV. New funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will further test the system’s versatility and feasibility.


June 28, 2012

Plasma startup creates high-energy light to make smaller microchips

Four capacitors supply up to 10,000 volts to separate the xenon electrons from their nuclei, creating an electrically charged plasma.

In one of the twists of scientific discovery, a UW duo working on fusion energy — harnessing the energy-generating mechanism of the sun — may have found a way to etch the next generation of microchips.


May 9, 2012

Portable diagnostics designed to be shaken, not stirred

A close-up of the UW surface showing the arc edges and adjacent pillars.

A textured surface mimics a lotus leaf to move drops of liquid in particular directions. The low-cost system could be used in portable medical or environmental tests.


January 12, 2012

Surgical robots to provide open-source platform for medical robotics research

UW electrical engineering doctoral student Hawkeye King holds the circuit boards and connectors for the Raven II robot.

Seven identical robots created and built at the UW will be flown to campuses across the country, where they will provide the first common research platform to develop the future of surgical robotics. The robots will be display Friday at an open house.


September 20, 2011

Visionary innovator wins MacArthur ‘genius’ award

Shwetak Patel

Shwetak Patel, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering and electrical engineering who explores how people and computers interact, has been named one of this years MacArthur Fellows.



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