UW News


May 15, 2024

Q&A: How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect older adults’ technology use?

University of Washington researchers interviewed 16 older adults in Washington and Oregon, ages 65 to 80, about how their technology use with their social support networks changed during the pandemic.


May 9, 2024

Can Wikipedia-like citations on YouTube curb misinformation?

A computer screen with the YouTube logo, a red rectangle with a triangle in it, above links to "Home" and "Trending"

University of Washington researchers created and tested a prototype browser extension called Viblio, which lets viewers and creators add citations to the timelines of YouTube videos.


May 1, 2024

Virtual reality environment for teens may offer an accessible, affordable way to reduce stress

Three images each set in 3D animations of a snowy forest show, from left to right: a gray sign that reads “Welcome to RESeT”; a post with six small signs on with arrows and the words from top to bottom “River Boats,” “Scavenger Hunt,” “Rock Stacking,” “Rabbits,” and “Bird Search”; a red sign with an image of a bird on it and the text “FOLLOW THE SONG.”

Working with teens, UW researchers have designed RESeT: a snowy virtual world with six activities intended to improve mood. In a 3-week study of 44 Seattle-area teens, researchers found that most used the technology about twice a week without being prompted and reported lower stress levels after using the environment.


April 26, 2024

New circuit boards can be repeatedly recycled

A small brown circuit board sits on a gray background. To its right are a small copper plate, sheets of glass fibers in a crosshatch pattern, small chunks of vitrimer plastic that’s been removed from a circuit board, and a computer chip.

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington developed a new PCB that performs on par with traditional materials and can be recycled repeatedly with negligible material loss. Researchers used a solvent that transforms a type of vitrimer — a cutting-edge class of polymer — into a jelly-like substance without damage, allowing solid components to be plucked out for reuse or recycling. With these “vPCBs” (vitrimer printed circuit boards), researchers recovered 98% of the vitrimer and 100% of the glass fiber.


April 24, 2024

Q&A: How TikTok’s ‘black box’ algorithm and design shape user behavior

A hand holds a smartphone with the TikTok app open.

Franziska Roesner, a University of Washington associate professor, and collaborators will present two papers that mine real-world data to help understand TikTok’s personalized its recommendation algorithm and its impact.


March 28, 2024

Q&A: UW researcher discusses the vital role of Indigenous librarians

Shelves of library books are out of focus, except for a few books in the center of the frame. Behind them, a window sheds bright light.

Sandy Littletree, a UW assistant professor in the Information School, discusses the importance of working Indigenous ways of knowing into libraries, archives and data repositories.


March 14, 2024

UW researchers taught kids to code with cultural research and embroidery machines

University of Washington researchers taught a group of high schoolers to code by combining cultural research into various embroidery traditions with “computational embroidery.” The method teaches kids to encode embroidery patterns on a computer through a coding language called Turtlestitch.


March 11, 2024

Q&A: How Instagram influencers profit from anti-vaccine misinformation

A person's hand holds a smartphone, with the Instagram analytics page open. There's a green plant in the background.

New research from the UW examines how three wellness Instagram influencers profited from anti-vaccine misinformation.


February 15, 2024

Q&A: What is the best route to fairer AI systems?

Two people's hands gesture to pieces of paper between two laptops on a desk.

Mike Teodorescu, a University of Washington assistant professor in the Information School, proposes that private enterprise standards for fairer machine learning systems would inform governmental regulation.


February 7, 2024

UW-developed smart earrings can monitor a person’s temperature

The temperature sensing earring is shown attached to a person’s ear. The portion touching the earlobe has a gemstone on it. Dangling a few centimeters below it is a small circular circuit board.

University of Washington researchers introduced the Thermal Earring, a wireless wearable that continuously monitors a user’s earlobe temperature. Potential applications include tracking signs of ovulation, stress, eating and exercise. The smart earring prototype is about the size and weight of a small paperclip and has a 28-day battery life.


January 9, 2024

Q&A: UW researchers answer common questions about language models like ChatGPT

A cellphone running ChatGPT sits on a textbook that's slightly out of focus.

A team University of Washington researchers have published a guide explaining language models, the technology that underlies chatbots.


November 29, 2023

AI image generator Stable Diffusion perpetuates racial and gendered stereotypes, study finds

Four images created by AI image generator Stable Diffusion with the prompt "person from Oceania" show four light-skinned people.

University of Washington researchers found that when prompted to make pictures of “a person,” the AI image generator over-represented light-skinned men, failed to equitably represent Indigenous peoples and sexualized images of certain women of color.


November 16, 2023

Q&A: How an assistive-feeding robot went from picking up fruit salads to whole meals

An assistive-feeding robotic arm attached to a wheelchair uses a fork to stab a piece of fruit on a plate among other fruits.

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington developed 11 actions a robotic arm can make to pick up nearly any food attainable by fork. This allows the system to learn to pick up new foods during one meal.


November 15, 2023

WhaleVis turns more than a century of whaling data into an interactive map

A humpback whale breaches in the Pacific Ocean.

A team at the University of Washington has created an interactive dashboard called WhaleVis, which lets users map data on global whale catches and whaling routes from 1880 to 1986. Scientists can compare this historical data and its trends with current information to better understand whale populations over time.


November 9, 2023

New AI noise-canceling headphone technology lets wearers pick which sounds they hear

A man wearing a surgical mask and headphones walks through the University of Washington campus while holding a smartphone. People walk behind him.

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington has developed deep-learning algorithms that let users pick which sounds filter through their headphones in real time. Either through voice commands or a smartphone app, headphone wearers can select which sounds they want to include from 20 classes, such as sirens, baby cries, speech, vacuum cleaners and bird chirps.


November 2, 2023

Can AI help boost accessibility? These researchers tested it for themselves

Four AI-generated images show different interpretations of a doll-sized “crocheted lavender husky wearing ski goggles,” including two pictured outdoors and one against a white background.

Seven researchers at the University of Washington conducted a three-month autoethnographic study — drawing on their own experiences as people with and without disabilities — to test AI tools’ utility for accessibility. Though researchers found cases in which the tools were helpful, they also found significant problems.


October 30, 2023

A Google Slides extension can make presentation software more accessible for blind users

A user demonstrates creating a presentation slide with A11yBoard on a touchscreen tablet and computer screen.

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington has created A11yBoard for Google Slides, a browser extension and phone or tablet app that allows blind users to navigate through complex slide layouts, objects, images and text.


October 24, 2023

How can social media be better? Four UW researchers compare strategies

A silhouette of a person looking at a phone.

The turmoil at large tech platforms has many people reconsidering what they want out of social media. Four researchers at the University of Washington are exploring different approaches to improve people’s experiences.


October 17, 2023

Q&A: Researchers aim to improve accessibility with augmented reality

A drawing of a phone labeling accessibility problems in a kitchen.

This month, University of Washington researchers will introduce multiple projects that deploy augmented reality — through headsets and phone apps — with the aim of making the world more accessible for people with disabilities.


September 27, 2023

MilliMobile is a tiny, self-driving robot powered only by light and radio waves

Two fingers are about to pick up a tiny robot

The robot, equipped with a solar panel–like energy harvester and four wheels, is about the size of a penny, weighs as much as a raisin and can move about the length of a bus in an hour on a cloudy day.


September 25, 2023

Q&A: Can AI in school actually help students be more creative and self-directed?

A woman sits in an office setting

Katie Davis, a University of Washington associate professor in the Information School, discusses how generative AI might support learning, instead of detracting from it, if kids can keep their agency.


September 22, 2023

Q&A: How new software is changing our understanding of human brain development

An MRI image of a baby's brain

A team including researchers at the University of Washington recently used new software to compare MRIs from 300 babies and discovered that myelin, a part of the brain’s so-called white matter, develops much slower after birth.


September 21, 2023

UW team’s shape-changing smart speaker lets users mute different areas of a room

The seven robotic microphones sit in their charging station

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington has developed system of robotic self-deploying microphones, which lets users control sound in a room, muting certain areas and creating “active zones” in others.


August 16, 2023

Q&A: As AI changes education, important conversations for kids still happen off-screen

Jason Yip, a UW associate professor in the Information School, discusses how parents and schools can adapt to new technologies in ways that support children’s learning.


July 24, 2023

With a new app, smart devices can have GPS underwater

A scuba diver swims in dark water.

A team at the University of Washington has developed the first underwater 3D-positioning app for smart devices. When at least three divers are within about 98 feet of each other, the app tracks each user’s location relative to the leader.


July 18, 2023

Learning from superheroes and AI: UW researchers study how a chatbot can teach kids supportive self-talk

a smart speaker sits beside school supplies

Researchers at the University of Washington created a new audio chatbot, Self-Talk with Superhero Zip, aimed to help children speak positively to themselves. This chatbot is “a ‘Sesame Street’ experience for a smart speaker.”


June 21, 2023

An app can transform smartphones into thermometers that accurately detect fevers

A researcher holds a phone to a patient's forehead.

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington has created an app called FeverPhone, which transforms smartphones into thermometers without adding new hardware.