UW Today

Department of Electrical Engineering


July 7, 2016

UW, Microsoft researchers break record for DNA data storage

photo of researchers

University of Washington and Microsoft researchers have broken what they believe is the world record for the amount of digital data successfully stored — and retrieved — in DNA molecules by encoding, among other things, an OK Go video.


June 21, 2016

UW-led team awarded $1M bioelectronics innovation prize

diagram of how device works

An international team led by researchers at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) based at the University of Washington is one of three finalists in a race to produce an implantable wireless device that can assess, stimulate and block the activity of nerves that control organs.


May 11, 2016

Paper gets ‘smart’ with drawn-on, stenciled sensor tags

In this example, the speed of the spinning tag on the pinwheel is mapped to onscreen graphics.

Researchers from the University of Washington, Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University have created ways to give a piece of paper sensing capabilities that allows it to respond to gesture commands and connect to the digital world.


May 2, 2016

New health sensing tool measures lung function over a phone call, from anywhere in the world

image of SpiroSmart being used in a Bangladesh clinic

University of Washington researchers have developed SpiroCall, a new health sensing tool that can accurately measure lung function from anywhere in the world over a simple phone call.


April 14, 2016

Scientists crack secrets of the monarch butterfly’s internal compass

Monarch butterflies.

Each fall, monarch butterflies across Canada and the United States turn their orange, black and white-mottled wings toward the Rio Grande and migrate over 2,000 miles to the relative warmth of central Mexico. This journey, repeated instinctively by generations of monarchs, continues even as monarch numbers have plummeted due to loss of their sole larval food…


April 8, 2016

UW-led research team wins $7.5M MURI grant to defend against advanced cyberattacks

photo of Radha Poovendran

A University of Washington-led research team has won a $7.5 million, five-year Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant from the Department of Defense to better model and mount defenses against stealthy, continuous computer hacking attacks known as “advanced persistent threats.”


March 15, 2016

Smartwatches can now track your finger in mid-air using sonar

Photo of FingerIO on phone

A new sonar technology developed by University of Washington computer scientists and electrical engineers allows you to interact with mobile devices and smartwatch screens by writing or gesturing on any nearby surface — a tabletop, a sheet of paper or even in mid-air.


February 23, 2016

UW engineers achieve Wi-Fi at 10,000 times lower power

UW computer scientists and electrical engineers have generated "passive" Wi-Fi transmissions using 10,000 times less power.

With “Passive Wi-Fi,” UW computer scientists and electrical engineers have generated Wi-Fi transmissions using 10,000 times less power than conventional methods. The system can transmit Wi-Fi signals at rates up to 11 megabits per second — lower than maximum Wi-Fi speeds but 11 times faster than Bluetooth — that can be decoded on any of the billions of devices with Wi-Fi connectivity.


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.


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 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.


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.


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 14, 2015

UW among select universities to use investigational Medtronic device, advance research into brain activity

Jeffrey Herron reviews a circuit board he designed to allow for wireless and mobile experiments with the Activa PC+S Deep Brain Stimulation system.

Researchers from the University of Washington have teamed up with medical device manufacturer Medtronic to use the Activa® PC+S Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) system with people who have essential tremor.


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.


November 12, 2014

Moving cameras talk to each other to identify, track pedestrians

Tracking camera example

University of Washington electrical engineers have developed a way to automatically track people across moving and still cameras by using an algorithm that trains the networked cameras to learn one another’s differences.


September 22, 2014

New RFID technology helps robots find household objects

A PR2 robot successfully navigates to a medication bottle.

The University of Washington and Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new search algorithm that improves a robot’s ability to find and navigate to tagged objects.


September 19, 2014

Reflected smartphone transmissions enable gesture control

An image showing how SideSwipe works.

University of Washington engineers have developed a new form of low-power wireless sensing technology that lets users “train” their smartphones to recognize and respond to specific hand gestures near the phone.


September 3, 2014

Changing temperature powers sensors in hard-to-reach places

The power harvester could be placed outside and runs off of temperature changes in the natural world.

University of Washington researchers have taken inspiration from a centuries-old clock design and created a power harvester that uses natural fluctuations in temperature and pressure as its power source.


August 27, 2014

New smartphone app can detect newborn jaundice in minutes

A demonstration of how the app set-up looks.

University of Washington engineers and physicians have developed a smartphone application that checks for jaundice in newborns and can deliver results to parents and pediatricians within minutes.


August 4, 2014

No-power Wi-Fi connectivity could fuel Internet of Things reality

A diagram of how the technology works.

University of Washington engineers have designed a new communication system that uses radio frequency signals as a power source and reuses existing Wi-Fi infrastructure to provide Internet connectivity to battery-free devices.


June 23, 2014

Zippy, electric micro cars coming to campus for sustainability research

Micro electric cars.

The University of Washington is one of four institutions receiving four Innova Dash all-electric micro vehicles this summer. They will be able to communicate data such as position, speed and battery charge directly to the UW’s network, which will provide the information to various research projects.


June 16, 2014

Sensor in eye could track pressure changes, monitor for glaucoma

A commercially available artificial lens implanted in an eye.

University of Washington engineers have designed a low-power sensor that could be placed permanently in a person’s eye to track hard-to-measure changes in eye pressure. The sensor would be embedded with an artificial lens during cataract surgery and would detect pressure changes instantaneously, then transmit the data wirelessly using radio frequency waves.


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 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.


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.


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 25, 2013

New UW-Pacific NW National Lab computing-research institute holds first public workshop

Co-directors Jandhyala and Dunning.

Based at the University of Washington, the Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing’s first public event on Oct. 30 will feature speakers from the UW, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and industry, as well as breakout sessions that explore various aspects of science and engineering technologies.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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