UW News


September 13, 2021

Do Alexa and Siri make kids bossier? New research suggests you might not need to worry

A simple drawing of a robot with a smiley face against a blue background

A team led by UW studied whether hanging out with conversational agents, such as Alexa or Siri, could affect the way children communicate with their fellow humans.


September 2, 2021

UW engineer explains how the redesigned levee system in New Orleans helped mitigate the impact of Hurricane Ida

A graphic showing Hurricane Ida superimposed on top of a map

UW News asked Michael Motley, a UW associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, to explain how levees protect cities like New Orleans. 


July 29, 2021

UW to lead new NSF institute for using artificial intelligence to understand dynamic systems

Purple and white lines that are tracing the shape of the UW W.

The UW will lead a new artificial intelligence research institute that will focus on fundamental AI and machine learning theory, algorithms and applications for real-time learning and control of complex dynamic systems, which describe chaotic situations where conditions are constantly shifting and hard to predict.


July 22, 2021

Gaming graphics card allows faster, more precise control of fusion energy experiments

A prototype of the UW's current fusion experiment.

UW researchers have developed a method that uses a gaming graphics card to control plasma formation in their prototype fusion reactor.


July 13, 2021

From ‘distress’ to ‘unscathed’ — mental health of UW students during spring 2020

A table in the living room with a cup of tea, a laptop and a stack of books on top. Behind the table is a couch and a bike

To understand how the UW’s transition to online-only classes affected college students’ mental health in the spring of 2020, UW researchers surveyed 147 UW undergraduates over the 2020 spring quarter.


July 9, 2021

‘We need to be patient’ — UW’s Dawn Lehman on the collapse of the Champlain Towers South

Dawn Lehman's headshot

While there is currently no explanation for why the Champlain Towers South building collapsed, Dawn Lehman, a University of Washington professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been studying photographs, videos, drawings, reports and permits to investigate this tragedy to understand what happened. UW News asked her to help us understand why buildings fail.


June 14, 2021

UW researchers can turn a single photo into a video

A massive waterfall surrounded by green trees and bushes. A large building is in the back left of this photo.

UW researchers have developed a deep learning method that can animate any flowing material, including waterfalls, smoke or clouds.


June 10, 2021

Cause, scope determined for deadly winter debris flow in Uttarakhand, India

A destroyed hydroelectric plant in the mountains

On Feb. 7, 2021, a wall of debris and water barreled down river valleys in India, destroyed two hydropower facilities and left more than 200 people dead or missing. A self-organized coalition of 53 scientists from 14 countries, including researchers from the University of Washington, worked nonstop following the disaster to investigate the cause, scope and impacts.


April 21, 2021

Q&A: It’s not just social media — misinformation can spread in scientific communication too

When people think of misinformation, they often focus on popular and social media. But in a paper published April 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, University of Washington faculty members Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom write that scientific communication — both scientific papers and news articles written about papers — also has the potential to spread misinformation.


April 20, 2021

Using engineering methods to track the imperceptible movements of stony corals

A coral reef with orange fish swimming around

A new study led by UW researchers borrowed image-analysis methods from engineering to spot the minute movements of a stony coral.


April 19, 2021

Arguing on the internet: UW researchers studying how to make online arguments productive

A person looking shocked at what they are seeing on their phone

UW researchers worked with almost 260 people to understand online disagreements and to develop potential design interventions that could make these discussions more productive and centered around relationship-building.


April 1, 2021

New system that uses smartphone or computer cameras to measure pulse, respiration rate could help future personalized telehealth appointments

A person holding a phone in front of their face

A UW-led team has developed a method that uses the camera on a person’s smartphone or computer to take their pulse and breathing rate from a real-time video of their face.


March 9, 2021

Alexa, do I have an irregular heart rhythm? First AI system for contactless monitoring of heart rhythm using smart speakers

A small white box on a table and a person sitting in front of it (their back is to the camera)

UW researchers have developed a new skill for a smart speaker that for the first time monitors both regular and irregular heartbeats without physical contact.


February 4, 2021

‘Audeo’ teaches artificial intelligence to play the piano

A hand pressing a piano key

A UW team created Audeo, a system that can generate music using only visual cues of someone playing the piano.


January 12, 2021

New treatment allows some people with spinal cord injury to regain hand and arm function

A hand picking up a tiny bead

Using physical therapy combined with a noninvasive method of stimulating nerve cells in the spinal cord, University of Washington researchers helped six Seattle area participants regain some hand and arm mobility.


December 7, 2020

The Smellicopter is an obstacle-avoiding drone that uses a live moth antenna to seek out smells

A hawkmoth in the lower right hand corner of the photo with an out of focus drone behind it

A team led by the UW has developed Smellicopter: an autonomous drone that uses a live antenna from a moth to navigate toward smells. Smellicopter can also sense and avoid obstacles as it travels through the air.


December 3, 2020

Tire-related chemical is largely responsible for adult coho salmon deaths in urban streams

A team led by researchers at UW Tacoma, UW and Washington State University Puyallup has discovered a chemical that kills coho salmon in urban streams before the fish can spawn.


November 24, 2020

Q&A: Animal Crossing to K-pop: Gaming, music fandom groups provide human connection during the pandemic

A screenshot of people gathered around a table in the game Animal Crossing. There are cakes and balloons and everyone is smiling.

In this Q&A, UW Information School associate professor Jin Ha Lee discusses how video game and music fandom communities can be “places of light” during the COVID-19 pandemic.


October 28, 2020

SoundWatch: New smartwatch app alerts d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing users to birdsong, sirens and other desired sounds

A wrist with a smartwatch on it. The smartwatch has an alert that says "Car honk, 98%, Loud, 101 dB" It also has options to snooze the alert for 10 minutes or open in an app on the user's phone.

UW researchers have developed SoundWatch, a smartwatch app for deaf, Deaf and hard-of-hearing people who want to be aware of nearby sounds.


October 8, 2020

Airdropping sensors from moths: Researchers use flying insects to drop sensors from air, land them safely on the ground

UW researchers have created a sensor system that can ride aboard a small drone or an insect, such as a moth, until it gets to its destination.


September 30, 2020

UW researchers driving around Seattle to track COVID-19 response over time

A panoramic view of a street corner. Cars and a pedestrian are labeled

UW researchers developed a project that scans the streets every few weeks to document how Seattle has reacted to the pandemic and what recovery looks like.


September 28, 2020

Q&A: UW researchers clicked ads on 200 news sites to track misinformation

A study by UW researchers found that both mainstream and misinformation news sites displayed similar levels of problematic ads. UW News had a conversation with the team about this research, where ads on news sites come from, and how things might change leading up to the election.


August 14, 2020

UW team developing model to help lower COVID-19 infections in King County, guide eventual vaccine distribution

A UW Medicine worker wearing personal protective equipment stands outside a car at a drive up testing clinic

A UW team has received a grant to develop a model that uses local data to generate policy recommendations that could help lower COVID-19 infections in King County.


July 15, 2020

A GoPro for beetles: Researchers create a robotic camera backpack for insects

A beetle with a camera system on its back moves through a patch of moss

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a tiny wireless steerable camera that can ride aboard an insect or an insect-sized robot.


June 17, 2020

Is the air getting cleaner during the COVID-19 pandemic?

San Francisco at sunset

Using air quality data from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency monitors across the U.S., a UW-led team looked for changes in two common pollutants over the course of 2020.


April 22, 2020

A contact-tracing app that helps public health agencies and doesn’t compromise your privacy

A person on a train looking at their phone. Other people are on their phones behind that person.

Researchers from the University of Washington and UW Medicine, along with volunteers from Microsoft, have developed a new contact-tracing app called CovidSafe.


April 16, 2020

‘Hands-on’ classes online? How some instructors are adapting to a new teaching environment

A postal service box with lab materials inside

When the UW announced it was moving its spring quarter 2020 classes entirely online to combat the novel coronavirus, instructors across campus faced a new, uncharted challenge.


April 14, 2020

How families can use technology to juggle childcare and remote life

A child in front of a laptop.

UW researchers are beginning a national study to help families discover technology that helps them both successfully navigate home-based learning and combat social isolation.


April 13, 2020

UW’s 3D printed COVID-19 face shields: From innovation to delivery

face masks

When the first U.S. COVID-19 patient emerged in Washington, UW Medicine, as the state’s foremost provider of advanced medical care, was thrust into the role of trailblazer. Its clinicians and researchers have since mustered a speedy and sometimes ingenious response.


‘I saw you were online’: How online status indicators shape our behavior

A closeup of a hand holding a phone

After surveying smartphone users, UW researchers found that many people misunderstand online status indicators but still carefully shape their behavior to control how they are displayed to others.


March 31, 2020

UW researchers need your (digital) coughs

A photo of the front of the Gates Center

UW researchers are developing an app that will allow health organizations to monitor coughs from self-quarantined COVID-19 patients from home.


March 18, 2020

How people investigate — or don’t — fake news on Twitter and Facebook

A Facebook post that shows a picture of a crazy cloud formation over Sydney. The text above the picture says "A friend posted this pic of last night's storm in Sydney. Think there might be a craft in there somewhere?"

UW researchers watched 25 participants scroll through their Facebook or Twitter feeds while, unbeknownst to them, a Google Chrome extension randomly added debunked content on top of some of the real posts.


March 17, 2020

Survey: What blocks your bus?

A King County Metro bus in Seattle.

UW researchers are inviting the public to share their experiences on their regular commutes in a survey.


March 2, 2020

Navigating the potential pitfalls of tracking college athletes

A close up of a hand holding oars. On the person's wrist is a fitness tracker

UW researchers interviewed 22 athletes and staff members from three college athletics programs to see how collecting data from college athletes might encroach on their autonomy.


February 18, 2020

Simple, fuel-efficient rocket engine could enable cheaper, lighter spacecraft

A rocket takes off

UW researchers have developed a mathematical model that describes how rotating detonation engines work.


February 13, 2020

Hydropower dams cool rivers in the Mekong River basin, satellites show

A river in the foreground while children run on the beach in the background

Using 30 years of satellite data, UW researchers discovered that within one year of the opening of a major dam in the Mekong River basin, downstream river temperatures during the dry season dropped by up to 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C).


February 3, 2020

The one ring — to track your finger’s location

A close up of the ring with the wristband in the background

UW researchers have created AuraRing, a ring and wristband combination that can detect the precise location of someone’s index finger and continuously track hand movements.


January 22, 2020

What’s in Puget Sound? New technique casts a wide net for concerning chemicals

A researcher works in a chemical hood

Using a new “non-targeted” approach, UW and UW Tacoma researchers screened samples from multiple regions of Puget Sound to look for potentially harmful compounds that might be present.


December 4, 2019

Warmer temperatures will increase arsenic levels in rice, study shows

closeup of rice grains on rice plants

UW researchers have found that warmer temperatures, at levels expected under most climate change projections, can lead to higher concentrations of arsenic in rice grains.


December 2, 2019

Carpentry Compiler helps woodworkers design objects that they can actually make

A wooden birdhouse

UW researchers have created Carpentry Compiler, a digital tool that allows users to design woodworking projects. Once a project is designed, the tool creates optimized fabrication instructions based on the materials and equipment a user has available.



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