UW News

College of Engineering


January 23, 2023

Q&A: How AI can help people be more empathetic about mental health

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington studied how artificial intelligence could help people on the platform TalkLife, where people give each other mental health support. The researchers developed an AI system that suggested changes to participants’ responses to make them more empathetic. The best responses resulted from a collaboration between AI and people.


December 5, 2022

New blood test can detect ‘toxic’ protein years before Alzheimer’s symptoms emerge, study shows

stylized image of the human brain

Researchers at the University of Washington have detected “toxic” small aggregates of a particular protein in the blood of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as in individuals who showed no signs of cognitive impairment at the time the blood sample was taken, but who developed it at a later date. This blood test picks up oligomers — or small, misfolded aggregates — of the amyloid beta protein, which scientists believe triggers the development of Alzheimer’s.


November 16, 2022

Q&A: UW researchers find privacy risks with 3D tours on real estate websites

A screenshot of a virtual tour of a house. The scene is in a living room and there is a bar over the picture that says "click to explore this 3D space"

University of Washington researchers examined 44 3D tours in 44 states across the U.S. to look for potential security issues when personal details were included in the tour.


October 31, 2022

How low-cost earbuds can make newborn hearing screening accessible

A person holds a child, who is looking at the camera. Another person's arm holds a probe to the child's ear. The probe is connected to a smartphone, which the third person is holding.

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington has created a new hearing screening system that uses a smartphone and earbuds.


October 24, 2022

A new approach, not currently described by the Clean Air Act, could eliminate air pollution disparities

An aerial shot of Seattle showing a large road surrounded by neighborhoods and businesses. There is water on the right and downtown is in the top left.

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington compared three potential strategies for reducing fine particulate matter pollution disparities across the contiguous U.S.


October 17, 2022

Q&A: UnlockedMaps provides real-time accessibility information for urban rail transit in six metro areas

A screenshot of a map of Chicago. Rail stations are shown as green (accessible), yellow (elevator outage) or orange (not accessible) circles

UW researchers developed UnlockedMaps, a web-based map that allows users to see in real time how accessible rail transit stations are in six metro areas. UnlockedMaps shows which stations are accessible and which ones are experiencing elevator outages.


October 13, 2022

Video: Finding — and keeping — the perfect fit for a prosthetic leg

University of Washington Professor Joan Sanders and her team are creating a new type of prosthetic leg: one that automatically adjusts its fit throughout the day. Their latest prototype detects in real time how well the prosthesis socket and amputation site are fitting and responds by automatically changing the size of the socket, without the need for adjustments to padding or user action.


October 12, 2022

UW’s Yejin Choi wins MacArthur Foundation ‘genius grant’

a person stands in front of a stairwell

Yejin Choi, University of Washington professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, has received a “genius grant” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Choi uses natural language processing to develop artificial intelligence systems that have the ability to reason and can understand the implied meanings in human language.


October 10, 2022

Engineering lecture series focuses on health care for the brain

Two people look at a slide on a microscope

The University of Washington’s annual Engineering Lecture Series will feature research with potential to transform brain therapeutics from infancy to late adulthood.


September 28, 2022

UW-developed wave sensors deployed to improve hurricane forecasts

Person drops sensor from plane

Researchers dropped technology developed at the University of Washington off the coast of Florida this week to measure ocean waves in the path of Hurricane Ian. The test is one part of a broad effort to improve forecasts for these fast-moving and deadly systems.


September 26, 2022

UW joins industry-academia alliance to accelerate research in neuroscience

An image of neurons under a microscope

The University of Washington has joined the Alliance for Therapies in Neuroscience (ATN), a long-term research partnership between academia and industry geared to transform the fight against brain diseases and disorders of the central nervous system. Launched in 2021 by the University of California, San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Genentech — a member of the Roche group — and Roche Holding AG, the ATN seeks to accelerate the development of new therapies for a broad range of brain and central nervous system conditions.


September 19, 2022

A smartphone’s camera and flash could help people measure blood oxygen levels at home

A hand holding a cellphone with one finger over the flash and the camera. The flash is shining through the finger and glowing red.

In a proof-of-principle study, University of Washington and University of California San Diego researchers have shown that smartphones are capable of detecting blood oxygen saturation levels down to 70%. This is the lowest value that pulse oximeters should be able to measure, as recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


September 15, 2022

UW breaks ground on $102 million Interdisciplinary Engineering Building

groundbreaking

Wearing purple hard hats and using gold-plated shovels, officials from the University of Washington broke ground Thursday on a new, $102 million Interdisciplinary Engineering Building to be constructed along Stevens Way east of the Husky Union Building. Once complete, the state-of-the-art 70,000-square-foot building will be an example of a student-focused learning facility backed by both public and private investments. The project aims to fuel economic growth and create a pipeline of future, local engineering talent.


September 13, 2022

Q&A: UW researchers develop a reactor that can destroy ‘forever chemicals’

Metal objects on a table. There are two tubes and also two other hexagonal shapes

UW researchers have created a reactor that can completely break down hard-to-destroy chemicals.


August 15, 2022

UW to host college students for NASA-funded lunar rover challenge

Photo of rover on simulated lunar surface

The University of Washington received a nearly $500,000 grant to run one of NASA’s Artemis Student Challenges in which participants turn a model lunar lava tube into a habitat suitable for housing humans on the moon or Mars.


August 4, 2022

UW to construct new Interdisciplinary Engineering Building, expanding contemporary educational spaces for students

building exterior

The University of Washington will break ground this fall on a new, $90 million Interdisciplinary Engineering Building, thanks in part to a $10 million donation from Boeing. Once complete, the state-of-the-art building will be a leading example of a student-focused learning facility backed by both public and private investments. The state of Washington has also dedicated $50 million to support the project that aims to fuel economic growth and create a pipeline of future, local engineering talent.


July 28, 2022

How to help assembly-line robots shift gears and pick up almost anything

22 objects on a table top. Objects include white 3D printed shapes and also random household items such as a drill, a mustard container, a bowl and a tennis ball

A UW team created a new tool that can design a 3D-printable passive gripper and calculate the best path to pick up an object. The team tested this system on a suite of 22 objects — including a 3D-printed bunny, a doorstop-shaped wedge, a tennis ball and a drill.


July 15, 2022

Seven UW faculty members elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences

Campus photo

Seven professors at the University of Washington are among 25 new members of the Washington State Academy of Sciences for 2022, according to a July 15 announcement.


July 14, 2022

UW professor’s new book and course on sexual harassment in engineering seek to disrupt culture of silence

Denise Wilson, a University of Washington professor of electrical and computer engineering, is working to end the prevalence of sexual harassment in engineering. She and her colleague Jennifer VanAntwerp of Calvin University are co-authors of “Sex, Gender, and Engineering: Harassment at Work and in School,” published in April by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


July 11, 2022

ClearBuds: First wireless earbuds that clear up calls using deep learning

A hand holding up a 3D printed earbud

UW researchers created ClearBuds, earbuds that enhance the speaker’s voice and reduce background noise.


June 17, 2022

Q&A: New children’s book shows how natural world inspired inventor to create medieval robots

Book cover showing a medieval robot

“Robots and Other Amazing Gadgets Invented 800 Years Ago,” a children’s book by the UW’s Faisal Hossain and Qishi Zhou, shares the inventions of Ismail Al-Jazari, a 12th-century polymath considered by many to be the “father of robotics.”


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 26, 2022

With EcoCAR, UW students experience post-COVID camaraderie under the hood of a hybrid vehicle

students standing with a car with logos on it

With the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge, UW students modified a 2019 Chevrolet Blazer to use electrification, advanced propulsion systems and automated vehicle technology. It’s an opportunity for students — across four years — to take a car from design to a consumer-ready product.


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.


May 11, 2022

Faculty/staff honors in STEM mentoring, applied mathematics and Inuit languages

Recent recognition of the  includes the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring for Joyce Yen, the election of J. Nathan Kutz as a Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics fellow and the recognition of Alexina Kublu with the 2022 Inuit Language Recognition Award.


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.


April 6, 2022

UW-housed RAPID Facility receives $6M renewal grant

Researchers looks at boat drone in water

The first-of-its-kind center has received a $6 million renewal grant from the National Science Foundation.


March 29, 2022

Scientists identify overgrowth of key brain structure in babies who later develop autism

New research from the Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS) Network, which includes the University of Washington, finds that the amygdala, an area of the brain critical for interpreting emotions, grows too rapidly in infants who go on to develop autism.


March 28, 2022

UW graduate and professional disciplines again place high in US News’ best graduate school rankings

campus shot

The University of Washington’s graduate and professional degree programs were widely recognized as among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 Best Graduate School rankings released Tuesday.


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.


March 9, 2022

More air pollution present in areas with historical redlining

Cars on a road with houses and mountains in the background

A team of researchers at the UW and UC Berkeley has found that housing discrimination practices dating from the 1930s still drive air pollution disparities in hundreds of American cities today.


March 8, 2022

O-pH, a new UW dental tool prototype, can spot the acidic conditions that lead to cavities

Patient in dental exam

You and your dentist have a lot of tools and techniques for stopping cavities, but detecting the specific chemical conditions that can lead to cavities and then preventing them from ever getting started is much harder. Now, in a new study, University of Washington researchers have shown that a dental tool they created can measure…


February 22, 2022

Q&A: Student Kaden Lee on competing in the ‘Jeopardy! College National Championship’

Person in Husky sweatshirt on Jeopardy

The “Jeopardy! College National Championship” brought together undergraduate students from 36 U.S. colleges and universities. Kaden Lee, a UW junior from Medical Lake, Washington, majoring in aeronautics and astronautics, appeared in the tournament on Feb. 11.


February 11, 2022

Samson Jenekhe, Anna Karlin elected to National Academy of Engineering

Samson Jenehke, a University of Washington professor in both the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Chemical Engineering, and Anna Karlin, a UW professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, announced Feb. 9 by the academy.


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.


February 9, 2022

UW and Amazon announce creation of the Science Hub

aerieal shot of UW

The University of Washington and Amazon today announced the Science Hub, an effort that deepens the relationship between the two organizations and will advance innovation in core robotics, artificial intelligence technologies and their applications.


January 26, 2022

Air pollution from planes, roads infiltrates schools and can be dramatically reduced with portable air filters

Professor testing air quality

What started as a University of Washington-led project to measure air pollution near Sea-Tac International Airport has led to schools in the area installing portable air filters to improve indoor air quality. First, UW researchers found they were able to parse aircraft pollution from roadway pollution in the communities under Sea-Tac International Airport flight paths…


Four UW faculty members, incoming Burke Museum leader named 2021 AAAS Fellows

Four current faculty members and the incoming executive director of the UW’s Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture have been named AAAS Fellows, according to a Jan. 26 announcement by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. They are among 564 new fellows from around the world elected in 2021, who are recognized for “their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements” in science and engineering.


January 24, 2022

Fast, cheap test can detect COVID-19 virus’ genome without need for PCR

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a new test for COVID-19 that combines the speed of over-the-counter antigen tests with the accuracy of PCR tests that are processed in medical labs and hospitals. The Harmony COVID-19 test is a diagnostic test that, like PCR tests for COVID-19, detects genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. But whereas conventional PCR tests can take several hours, the Harmony kit can provide results in less than 20 minutes for some samples and with similar accuracy.



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