UW News

Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics

May 29, 2019

Video: Origami-inspired materials are designed to soften impact

A person holding a chain of unit cells

University of Washington researchers have developed a novel solution to change the feeling of impact when one thing hits another. It has potential for use in spacecraft, cars and beyond — inspired by origami.

May 24, 2019

Origami-inspired materials could soften the blow for reusable spacecraft

a hand pointing to the paper model

University of Washington researchers used the paper folding art of origami to develop a novel solution to help reduce the forces associated with impact — like in car crashes, football helmets, landing spacecraft and more.

August 15, 2018

Flying blind: How a drone can soar without using GPS

The team with their aircrafts

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a new method that gives aircraft a backup system in case GPS fails: An antenna on the ground that can tell a drone where it is. The team successfully tested their system in June.

April 12, 2016

UW undergraduate team wins $10,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for gloves that translate sign language

These "SignAloud" gloves developed by UW students contain sensors that record hand position and movement and transmit data wirelessly to a central computer, which uses algorithms to recognize and translate sign language gestures.

Two University of Washington undergraduates have won a $10,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for their “SignAloud” invention — gloves that can translate American Sign Language into text or speech.

July 20, 2015

The Next MacGyver will be a woman — and a UW engineering student may invent her

Concept art for "The Mind" television proposal

Astronautics doctoral student Nao Murakami wants to invent the heir to Angus MacGyver — the 1980s television hero who inspired a generation of engineers by foiling criminals with household items like cooking oil, a shop vac or a tube sock. Only this time the engineering heroine will be a woman.

June 2, 2015

UW researchers scaling up fusion hopes with DOE grant

UW researchers will attempt to create a self-sustained and controlled fusion reaction with a scaled-up version of this Z-pinch device.

UW researchers are scaling up a novel plasma confinement device with a DOE grant, in hopes of producing a self-sustaining reaction to create fusion energy.

October 8, 2014

UW fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal

A prototype of the UW's current fusion experiment.

University of Washington engineers have designed a concept for a fusion reactor that, when scaled up to the size of a large electrical power plant, would rival costs for a new coal-fired plant with similar electrical output.

February 20, 2014

NASA’s ‘Mohawk Guy’ advocates ‘audacious,’ creative engineering

Bobak Ferdowsi photo

Bobak Ferdowsi, a NASA flight engineer who became known as “Mohawk Guy” after sporting a mohawk hairstyle during the 2012 rover Curiosity’s landing on Mars, spoke to a class of University of Washington aeronautics and astronautics engineering students on Feb. 19. Ferdowsi was a student in the department and graduated from the UW in 2001.

April 4, 2013

Rocket powered by nuclear fusion could send humans to Mars

Image of a spacecraft powered by a fusion-driven rocket.

Astronauts could be a step closer to a fast journey to Mars using a unique manipulation of nuclear fusion devised by UW scientists and those at a Redmond company.

June 28, 2012

Plasma startup creates high-energy light to make smaller microchips

Four capacitors supply up to 10,000 volts to separate the xenon electrons from their nuclei, creating an electrically charged plasma.

In one of the twists of scientific discovery, a UW duo working on fusion energy — harnessing the energy-generating mechanism of the sun — may have found a way to etch the next generation of microchips.