Washington Engineer - April 2011

In this issue:

  • Dean's Message
  • Research - Guiding Solar Molecules; Enabling Silicon Photonics; Energy-Harvesting Windows
  • Campus News - National Awards for COE Faculty and Students; Dancing with Drones; UW Environmental Innovation Challenge
  • Events - Engineering Discovery Days; Smart Grid Symposium; New Dawn for Solar Energy on UWTV
  • In the Media

Dean's Message

Dean Matt O'Donnell describes spring initiatives related to alternative energy: A recent sold-out event on solar technology, an upcoming conference on smart grids, and two engineering projects that claimed top prizes in the UW Environmental Innovation Challenge. Play video »


Research

graphic showing hands holding two molecules together (credit: UCLA Newsroom) Controlling a single molecule's reaction with light could improve solar cells
In a recent issue of Science, UW and UCLA researchers show they can use nanotechnology to control molecules excited by ultraviolet light.
Chemical & Engineering News

 

Opsis logo New center aims to dramatically lower barrier to making silicon photonic chips
UW and Intel are enabling the next generation of computer chips. A new center allows any researcher to easily design and build silicon chips that combine light and electrical signals.
Wall Street Journal | EE Times | Xconomy | Seattle Times

 

demonstration of dimmed window outside with car in background Dimmable windows with solar panels could power zero-energy buildings
UW engineers are developing smart windows that can change transparency depending on conditions, and actually harvest energy from the sun's rays.

Campus News

thumbnail image collage National awards for COE faculty and students
Henry "Hank" Levy, professor and chair of Computer Science & Engineering, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three engineers were among six UW faculty awarded Sloan Research Fellowships. On the student side, two bioengineering undergraduates received Goldwater Scholarships, and a computer science student team won the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

 

engineering students 'dance with drones' for a final project Quadrocopters take over the Allen Center
Electrical engineering students in the Embedded Microcomputer Systems course programmed quadrocopters to dance. Watch videos of the performance and hear from students in the class.
GeekWire | Xconomy

 

student team members hold up water bottles Students win top prize in UW Environmental Innovation Challenge
After scoring by nearly 100 judges two teams with strong ties to UW Engineering placed first and second, collecting awards of $10,000 and $5,000. Voltaic builds electric drive trains; PotaVida monitors water disinfection by solar rays.

Events

a booth from a previous Discovery Days Engineering Discovery Days
Friday and Saturday, April 22 and 23
In this popular annual event, students and their families can explore the UW campus and learn about the College of Engineering through hands-on exhibits, displays and demonstrations.

 

powerlines in a forested valley Smart Grid Research Symposium
June 15, 2011, UW Seattle campus
This spring, the UW will host a national symposium with researchers, public utilities and government leaders on the future of smart grid research and education. Details to come and will be linked from the faculty page for Daniel Kirschen, the newly appointed Close Professor of Electrical Engineering.

 

New Dawn poster image New Dawn for Solar Energy on UWTV
On April 12, deans Matt O'Donnell (Engineering) and Ana Mari Cauce (Arts & Sciences) hosted a sold-out event exploring how UW researchers are rising to the challenge of making solar energy affordable and scalable. The event is now available as an archived webcast on UWTV.

 

In the Media

screen capture from a video of haptics using Kinect Game device adapted for robo-touch
MSNBC | Feb. 16, 2011
UW graduate students adapted the Kinect game controller to give surgeons tactile feedback as they are operating on a patient. Now that the feat has been publicized on YouTube, in the blogosphere and beyond, it seems as if everyone is trying to do it.

 

top view of a red Lamborghini UW Lamborghini lab in top gear, Aventador next
Seattle Times | Feb. 28., 2011
Lamborghini recently took the wraps off the first production car to come fully through the UW Lamborghini Lab's entire gestation process. Called the Aventador, it's a $370,000 Batmobile that goes from zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds.

 

John Janicki, co-founder and president of Janicki Industries The new steel
Seattle Business Magazine | January 2011
Boeing’s carbon-composite 787 fuselages grabbed the headlines, but many Washington companies are forging ahead in advanced materials research. UW Engineering faculty, research centers and alumni are mentioned.