UW News

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering


September 1, 2020

UW launches Institute for Foundations of Data Science

people at white board

The University of Washington will lead a team of institutions in establishing an interdisciplinary research institute that brings together mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists and engineers to develop the theoretical foundations of a fast-growing field: data science.


August 31, 2020

UW receives NSF funds for investment in an interdisciplinary quantum future

A person standing smiling at the camera

The National Science Foundation has awarded $3 million to establish a NSF Research Traineeship at the University of Washington for graduate students in quantum information science and technology. The new traineeship — known as Accelerating Quantum-Enabled Technologies, or AQET — will make the UW one of just “a handful” of universities with a formal, interdisciplinary QIST curriculum.


August 20, 2020

Faculty/staff honors: Public service award, endowed professorship, cybersecurity grant — and a UW professor among Talented 12

Recent honors and grants to University of Washington faculty and staff have come from the American Chemical Society, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the National Science Board and the family of engineers Ganesh and Hema Moorthy.


August 7, 2020

Faculty/staff honors: Grants for STEM equity, HIV prevention; innovation award — and a White House honor for engineering mentoring

Recent honors and grants to University of Washington individuals and units have come from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Marconi Society — and the White House.


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.


May 6, 2020

Should you help a sick person? UW psychology, computer science faculty study ‘moral dilemmas’ of COVID-19

Elderly man opening front door to find a bag of food on his doorstep

A new international study led by the University of Washington aims to gauge the perception of ethical situations as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves around the world.


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.


March 30, 2020

Faculty/staff honors: Outstanding educator in landscape architecture, Royal Society of Edinburgh corresponding fellowship — and the Green Rat Clingfish takes a bow

A Green Rat Clingfish, Barryichthys algicola, from St. Helens, Tasmania.

Recent honors to University of Washington faculty and staff have come from the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the World Register of Marine Species.


February 18, 2020

Campus podcasts: UW Tacoma, architecture, science papers explained

Logo for Paw'd Defiance, a podcast being produced by UW Tacoma

It’s the year 2020, and where two or more are gathered, it seems, there is a podcast. Given the level of creativity among University of Washington faculty and staff, it’s no surprise that many high-quality podcasts are now being produced on campus. Here’s a look at three podcasts being created by UW departments or people,…


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.


December 16, 2019

Faculty/staff honors: Distinguished teaching honor, new editor for environmental health journal, overseeing education in Uganda, Allen School honors

statue of George Washington on UW campus

Recent honors to UW faculty and staff include the new editorship of a major journal, a post with the Republic of Uganda and honors from the American College of Physicians, the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.


December 9, 2019

Brian Johnson receives $4.9 million from U.S. Department of Energy to support solar energy systems

Brian Johnson, assistant professor in the UW Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, has received a $4.9 million grant across three years from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Brian Johnson, assistant professor in the UW Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, has received a $4.9 million grant across three years from the U.S. Department of Energy.


November 4, 2019

Single discrimination events alter college students’ daily behavior

Five hands making fists in a circle. All arms have black Fitbit trackers on them.

UW researchers aimed to understand both the prevalence of discrimination events and how these events affect college students in their daily lives. Over the course of two academic quarters, the team compared students’ self-reports of unfair treatment to passively tracked changes in daily activities, such as hours slept, steps taken or time spent on the phone.


October 4, 2019

New metasurface design can control optical fields in three dimensions

An image showing how the optical element focuses light to a specific point in 3D space above the element's surface.

A team led by scientists at the University of Washington has designed and tested a 3D-printed metamaterial that can manipulate light with nanoscale precision. As they report in a paper published Oct. 4 in the journal Science Advances, their designed optical element focuses light to discrete points in a 3D helical pattern.


August 9, 2019

Artificial intelligence could yield more accurate breast cancer diagnoses

Researchers at UW and UCLA have developed an artificial intelligence system that could help pathologists read biopsies more accurately, and lead to better detection and diagnosis of breast cancer.


July 16, 2019

8 UW professors elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences in 2019

Suzzallo Library at night

Eight scientists and engineers from the University of Washington have been elected this year to the Washington State Academy of Sciences.


April 3, 2019

UW virtuoso of mobile sensing technology receives ACM Prize in Computing

portrait

A University of Washington professor, Shwetak Patel, is the recipient of the 2018 ACM Prize in Computing for contributions to creative and practical sensing systems for sustainability and health, the Association for Computing Machinery or ACM announced today.


March 21, 2019

UW, Microsoft, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory establish new Northwest Quantum Nexus for a quantum revolution in science, technology

Portraits of two people

The University of Washington, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Microsoft Quantum announced this week that they have joined forces in a new coalition, the Northwest Quantum Nexus, to bring about a revolution in quantum research and technology.


January 16, 2019

Three awards from US Department of Energy to fuel UW solar cell research

Three teams led by University of Washington researchers — Scott Dunham, Hugh Hillhouse and Devin MacKenzie — have received competitive awards totaling more than $2.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office for projects that will advance research and development in photovoltaic materials, which are an essential component of solar cells and impact the amount of sunlight that is converted into electricity.


December 11, 2018

Researchers create first sensor package that can ride aboard bees

the sensor backpack

Farmers can already use drones to soar over huge fields and monitor temperature, humidity or crop health. But these machines need so much power to fly that they can’t get very far without needing a charge. Now, engineers at the University of Washington have created a sensing system that is small enough to ride aboard a bumblebee.


November 13, 2018

Scientists engineer a functional optical lens out of 2D materials

An image of four lenses under a microscope.

In a paper published Oct. 8 in the journal Nano Letters, a team from the University of Washington and the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan announced that it has constructed functional metalenses that are one-tenth to one-half the thickness of the wavelengths of light that they focus. Their metalenses, which were constructed out of layered 2D materials, were as thin as 190 nanometers — less than 1/100,000ths of an inch thick.


October 9, 2018

Researchers develop 3D printed objects that can track and store how they are used

An e-NABLE hand with the bidirectional sensor on it

Engineers at the University of Washington have developed 3D printed devices that can track and store their use — without using batteries or electronics. Instead, this system uses a method called backscatter, through which a device can share information by reflecting signals that have been transmitted to it with an antenna.


September 12, 2018

Three UW teams receive TRIPODS+X grants for research in data science

The National Science Foundation announced on Sept. 11 that it is awarding grants totaling $8.5 million to 19 collaborative projects at 23 universities for the study of complex and entrenched problems in data science. Three of these projects will be based at the University of Washington and led by researchers in the College of Engineering and the College of Arts & Sciences.


August 6, 2018

Alexa, be my friend: Children talk to technology, but how does it respond?

When young children talk to voice-activated technologies, the devices don’t always respond in a helpful way. A new University of Washington study suggests that these interfaces could be designed to be more responsive – repeating or prompting the user, for example – and be more useful to more people.


May 15, 2018

The first wireless flying robotic insect takes off

RoboFly in an engineer's hand

Engineers at the University of Washington have created RoboFly, the first wireless flying robotic insect. This might be one small flap for a robot, but it’s one giant leap for robot-kind.


April 19, 2018

Researchers achieve HD video streaming at 10,000 times lower power

Saman with a camera prototype on his glasses

Engineers at the University of Washington have developed a new HD video streaming method that doesn’t need to be plugged in. Their prototype skips the power-hungry components and has something else, like a smartphone, process the video instead.


March 15, 2018

With new ‘shuffling’ trick, researchers can measure gene activity in single cells

A drawing of cells being sorted.

Researchers at the University of Washington and the Allen Institute for Brain Science have developed a new method to classify and track the multitude of cells in a tissue sample. In a paper published March 15 in the journal Science, the team reports that this new approach — known as SPLiT-seq — reliably tracks gene activity in a tissue down to the level of single cells.


February 20, 2018

Using a laser to wirelessly charge a smartphone safely across a room

Five people posing

Engineers at the University of Washington have for the first time developed a method to safely charge a smartphone wirelessly using a laser.


February 12, 2018

Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

A portion of the team’s experimental setup for capturing an image using a metalens. The researchers capture an image of flowers through a metalens (mounted on a microscope slide) and visualize it through a microscope.

In a paper published Feb. 9 in Science Advances, scientists at the University of Washington announced that they have successfully combined two different imaging methods — a type of lens designed for nanoscale interaction with lightwaves, along with robust computational processing — to create full-color images.


December 5, 2017

In first, 3-D printed objects connect to WiFi without electronics

UW engineers have developed the first 3-D printed plastic objects that can connect to other devices via WiFi without using any electronics, including a laundry bottle that can detect when soap is running low and automatically order more.


November 28, 2017

UW students win Amazon’s inaugural Alexa Prize for most engaging socialbot

A team of University of Washington students and faculty has won Amazon’s inaugural Alexa Prize, a university competition designed to produce an artificial intelligence agent capable of coherent and sustained conversation with humans.


September 28, 2017

Lisa M. Zurk named executive director of UW Applied Physics Laboratory

Lisa Zurk, a UW aluma in electrical engineering, professor at Portland State University and program manager at DARPA, will become the eighth director of the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory.


September 13, 2017

UW team shatters long-range communication barrier for devices that consume almost no power

UW researchers have demonstrated for the first time that devices that run on almost zero power can transmit data across distances of up to 2.8 kilometers — breaking a long-held barrier and potentially enabling a vast array of interconnected devices.


September 6, 2017

PupilScreen aims to allow parents, coaches, medics to detect concussion, brain injuries with a smartphone

photo of pupilscreen in use

University of Washington researchers are developing a smartphone app that is capable of objectively detecting concussion and other traumatic brain injuries in the field, which could provide a new level of screening for athletes and accident victims.


August 28, 2017

New app could use smartphone selfies to screen for pancreatic cancer

A new app could lead to earlier detection of pancreatic cancer simply by snapping a smartphone selfie. The disease kills 90 percent of patients within five years, in part because there are no telltale symptoms or non-invasive screening tools to catch a tumor before it spreads.


July 5, 2017

First battery-free cellphone makes calls by harvesting ambient power

UW engineers have designed the first battery-free cellphone that can send and receive calls using only a few microwatts of power, which it harvests from ambient radio signals or light. It’s a major step forward in moving beyond chargers, cords and dying phones.


June 27, 2017

Brain signals deliver first targeted treatment for world’s most common movement disorder

For the first time, University of Washington researchers have delivered targeted treatment for essential tremor – the world’s most common neurological movement disorder – by decoding brain signals to sense when patients’ limbs are shaking.


May 25, 2017

UW engineers borrow from electronics to build largest circuits to date in living eukaryotic cells

An artist’s impression of connected CRISPR-dCas9 NOR gates.

UW synthetic biology researchers have demonstrated a new method for digital information processing in living cells, analogous to the logic gates used in electric circuits. The team built the largest circuits published to date in eukaryotic cells, using DNA instead of silicon and solder.


April 3, 2017

UW security researchers show that Google’s AI tool for video searching can be easily deceived

Screenshot of Google API results after the car images are inserted into the video.

University of Washington security researchers have shown that Google’s new tool that uses machine learning to automatically analyze and label video content can be deceived by inserting a photograph periodically into videos. After they inserted an image of a car into a video about animals, for instance, the system thought the video was about an Audi.


March 1, 2017

Singing posters and talking shirts: UW engineers turn everyday objects into FM radio stations

photo of poster broadcasting music

A new technique pioneered by University of Washington engineers enables “singing” posters and “smart” clothing to send audio or data directly to your car’s radio or your smartphone by piggybacking on ambient FM radio signals.



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