UW News


June 13, 2022

Is there snow in that tree? Citizen science helps unpack snow’s effect on summer water supplies

Trees in a forest. The trees are blanketed by heavy snow.

To investigate what happens to snow intercepted by trees, UW researchers created a citizen science project called Snow Spotter.


June 1, 2022

VoxLens: Adding one line of code can make some interactive visualizations accessible to screen-reader users

A laptop with a screen reader attached sitting on a table

VoxLens users can gain a high-level summary of the information described in a graph, listen to a graph translated into sound or use voice-activated commands to ask specific questions about the data, such as the mean or the minimum value.


May 23, 2022

‘I don’t even remember what I read’: People enter a ‘dissociative state’ when using social media

People on public transit. Everyone is looking at their phones.

Researchers at the University of Washington wondered if people enter a state of dissociation when surfing social media, and if that explains why users might feel out of control after spending so much time on their favorite app.


April 21, 2022

Q&A: Making Earth-friendly electronics

A hand holding a biodegradeable circuit board in a beaker full of water. The circuit board is dissolving

Three researchers in the University of Washington College of Engineering are exploring ways to make electronics more Earth-friendly.


March 16, 2022

Tiny battery-free devices float in the wind like dandelion seeds

Inspired by how dandelions use the wind to distribute their seeds, a University of Washington team has developed a tiny sensor-carrying device that can be blown by the wind as it tumbles toward the ground.


February 16, 2022

Google’s ‘CEO’ image search gender bias hasn’t really been fixed

UW researchers showed that image search results for four major search engines from around the world, including Google, still reflect gender bias.


February 11, 2022

Smartphone app can vibrate a single drop of blood to determine how well it clots

Close up of a person holding a phone with a plastic attachment that holds a cup under the camera. The person is adding a red solution to the cup.

Researchers at the UW have developed a new blood-clotting test that uses a single drop of blood and a smartphone vibration motor and camera.


December 15, 2021

Despite cleaner air, pollution disparities for people of color remain across the US

A photo of a city skyline in a haze of smog

UW researchers investigated disparities in exposure to six major air pollutants in 1990, 2000 and 2010 by comparing models of air pollution levels to census data. While overall pollutant concentrations have decreased since 1990, people of color are still more likely to be exposed to all six pollutants than white people, regardless of income level, across the continental United States.


December 9, 2021

3D imaging method may help doctors better determine prostate cancer aggressiveness

picture of research leads with microscope

A team led by the UW has developed a new, non-destructive method that images entire 3D biopsies instead of a slice for determining prostate cancer aggressiveness. The 3D images provided more information than a 2D image — specifically, details about the tree-like structure of the glands throughout the tissue.


November 17, 2021

A chatbot can help doctors better understand incoming emergency department patients’ social needs

A row of green chairs in a waiting room

A team led by the UW developed a chatbot that could ask emergency department visitors about social needs, including housing, food, access to medical care and physical safety.


November 8, 2021

Political ads during the 2020 presidential election cycle collected personal information and spread misleading information

bar chart showing an increase in number of political ads in Atlanta as the date approaches for the Georgia run-off election in 2021

University of Washington researchers looked at almost 56,000 political ads from almost 750 news sites between September 2020 and January 2021.


October 20, 2021

UW students designed a rover to inspect culvert conditions to help fish

A rover entering a pipe

UW students created a rover that can inspect sewer pipes or culverts for any damage that could prevent fish from using them during migration.


September 23, 2021

Video: Arsenic makes these south Puget Sound fish unsafe to eat

Big mouth bass close up

Researchers at the University of Washington and UW Tacoma have been studying arsenic levels in the mud, water and in creatures from lakes in the south Puget Sound area. Eating contaminated fish or snails from these lakes could lead to health risks.


September 22, 2021

UW and UC San Diego researchers honored for their work discovering that someone could hack a car

A team from the University of Washington and University of California San Diego has received the Golden Goose Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


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.



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