A team of UW researchers has engineered yeast cells that can “talk” to one another using a plant hormone. Right now the cells are just saying “hi,” but the technique could lead to synthetic stem cells that grow into artificial organs or organisms that require different types of cells to work together. Authors of a new study include EE and BioE professor Eric Klavins, BioE PhD student Arjun Khakhar, and EE PhD student Nicholas J. Bolten.
Dennis Muilenburg, a 30-year company man who started as an engineering intern and earned his master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics at the UW, takes over as CEO of The Boeing Company on July 1. Muilenburg has been Boeing’s president, chief operating officer and vice chairman since 2013. While he has worked primarily on the defense side of Boeing's business, one local leader is quoted as being pleased that Muilenburg comes from an engineering background.
In pursuit of solutions to some of the biggest global challenges, two of the world’s leading research universities, the University of Washington and Tsinghua University, are partnering to create the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX), an institute dedicated to educating the next generation of innovators. With $40 million in foundational support from Microsoft, GIX will bring together students, faculty, professionals and entrepreneurs from around the world to collaborate on real-world technology and design projects. Based in a new facility in the Seattle area, this is the first time a Chinese research university has established a physical presence in the United States.
See also: The New York Times
The Saharan silver ant can forage in temperatures of up to 158 degrees Fahrenheit. A new study co-authored by Gary Bernard, a UW affiliate professor of electrical engineering, reveals how the ant’s uniquely shaped silver hairs reflect sunlight and shed heat. The findings could lead to biologically inspired coatings for passive radiative cooling of objects such as buildings, vehicles or even clothing.
Harnessing the vast amounts of environmental data collected by satellites to improve the management of natural resources, agriculture, and disasters does not happen on its own. Scientists and researchers must collaborate to make that data serve real-world needs and constraints. This is the theme of a workshop in Tacoma on June 23 - 25 hosted by UW Civil & Environmental Engineering and entitled, "Globalizing Societal Application of Scientific Research and Observations from Remote Sensing: The Path Forward."
See also: workshop agenda
UW’s eScience Institute, led by CSE faculty members Bill Howe and Ed Lazowska, has launched a new summer program called Data Science for Social Good. Focusing on the theme of urban science, the program enables teams of students, faculty and community stakeholders to tap into eScience members’ expertise and powerful data analysis and visualization tools to address issues affecting urban environments, including public health and safety, sustainability, transportation, education, and social justice.
For years, the University of Washington has presented Leadership Excellence for Academic Diversity (LEAD) workshops to promote equitable and inclusive environments that work well for all faculty members. The results show in the numbers: among the nation’s top 50 engineering schools, the UW has the highest percentage of women in tenure-track engineering faculty positions. An online toolkit that other universities can use to design and host their own workshops is in the works.
Microsoft Corp. is awarding a $10 million gift to kick-start a campaign to build a second Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) building on the University of Washington campus. The new building would help the department respond to soaring student demand and double the number of graduates in computer science. The campaign goal is $110 million in private and public funds. See also: Microsoft News Center, Seattle Times, GeekWire, Xconomy
For the first time, UW researchers will build a nuclear fusion device on campus. With a $5.3 million U.S. Department of Energy grant announced in May, they will partner with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to scale up their “Sheared Flow Stabilized Z-Pinch” device in the hopes of achieving a sustainable fusion reaction that might one day power homes or spaceships. UW professors Uri Shumlak (A&A) and Brian Nelson (EE) are collaborating on the project.
Using open data software OpenStreetMap, the students in assistant professor Jessica Kaminsky's Civil Engineering in Developing Communities class joined an online community effort to turn satellite imagery of Nepal into maps to aid earthquake relief effort. The digitized maps provide emergency responders and relief coordinators responding to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and powerful aftershocks in Nepal with critical data to guide teams deployed on the ground.
Sylvie Troxel didn’t own a driver’s license when she joined the UW EcoCAR team four years ago. A lifelong bus rider, she knew virtually nothing about cars. Now a senior in ME who leads a team of 40 people and is consumed with zero-to-60 acceleration times, Troxel and teammates are among 16 student teams that will present their final designs to convert a Chevrolet Camaro into a fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicle over four years. The Year 1 competition takes place in downtown Seattle May 29 to June 4.
See also: EcoCAR3 website
Over 300 judges, mentors, and student entrepreneurs gathered at the Bell Harbor Conference Center Thursday evening to award 14 prizes and over $77,000 of seed funding to teams in the 18th annual UW Business Plan Competition. The grand prize went to Vie Diagnostics, whose molecular diagnostic technology will allow patients to be tested and treated for STDs in a single clinical visit. Two PhD students in chemical engineering are on the team.
See also: GeekWire, Business Plan Sweet 16 (includes team rosters)
The National Center for Women & Information Technology awarded its inaugural grand prize for excellence in recruiting, engaging and supporting women undergraduates in computer science to the University of Washington’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering (CSE). The prize comes with $100,000 and is sponsored by Google.
See also: UW CSE News, New York Times, Seattle Times, Xconomy, GeekWire
The UW Business Plan Competition final round is May 21. We have assembled a directory of the sixteen teams that will compete, team rosters, and the innovations they are promoting. Take a look and consider attending the final round—it's open to the public. (Article updated to indicate winning teams.)
HCDE doctoral student Alexis Hiniker presented research on mobile phone use by caregivers at the Association for Computing Machinery’s CHI 2015 conference in Seoul, Korea. The study finds cell phone use at playgrounds is a powerful distraction when children try to get caregivers’ attention, is underestimated in that ability to distract, and is a significant source of parental guilt.
See also: Hiniker's study
Three UW undergraduates are among just 260 students nationwide to be named 2015 Goldwater Scholars. The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation scholarships are awarded to students who have “outstanding potential” and plan to pursue research careers in mathematics, natural sciences or engineering. UW winners are bioengineering majors Ian W. Andrews, Gina L. Hansen, and Alice Bosma-Moody. See also: UW Today
"Breakthroughs in Imprint Lithography and 3-D Additive Fabrication" is the upcoming UW Bioengineering Robert F. Rushmer Lecture. Speaker Joseph M. DeSimone is a prolific inventor, entrepreneur, and renowned scholar and has developed a technique that harnesses the properties of light and oxygen to rapidly "grow" a 3-D object from a pool of resin. Free and open to the public.
See also: UW event calendar
A UW engineering team hacked a remotely controlled surgical robot — one used only for research purposes — to test how easily a malicious attack could happen. "We want to make the next generation of telerobots resilient to some of the threats we’ve detected without putting an operator or patient or any other person in the physical world in danger,” said lead author Tamara Bonaci, a UW doctoral candidate in electrical engineering.
See also: UW BioRobotics Lab telerobotic security work and publications.
A new mobile app developed at the University of Washington turns a digital sketch that you draw on your smartphone screen into a walking route that you can send to a friend or loved one. The recipient receives step-by-step directions that eventually reveal the hidden shape on a map. The free app is called Trace and was designed by Human Centered Design and Engineering researchers. Project lead is Daniela Rosner, an HCDE assistant professor and co-director of the UW’s TAT Lab.
A new smartphone app to detect sleep apnea could mean an enormous savings in time, money, and inconvenience for patients. ApneaApp uses inaudible sound waves emanating from the phone’s speakers to track breathing patterns. The current gold standard in apnea testing requires an overnight hospital stay, sleeping in a strange bed and a tangle of wires, and thousands of dollars. CSE's Shyam Gollakota, assistant professor and director of the UW Networks and Mobile Systems lab, and Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, PhD candidate, collaborated with Nathaniel Watson, M.D. to develop the app. See also: ApneaApp website.
Columnist Jerry Large talks to Eve Riskin, professor of electrical engineering, and Sonya Cunningham, who leads the STARS program, about the successes and fine-tuning in the second year of STARS. Cunningham makes sure students know how to negotiate college and fit in with the culture. Riskin, who is also associate dean of diversity and access for UW engineering, said 11 of the 30 STARS students made the dean’s list winter quarter.
Mobile-based food journals are supposed to make eating healthy easier. But a study by researchers at Georgia Tech and UW found some problem areas, including time-consuming meal logging tasks that can nudge users toward packaged foods. UW co-authors include CSE associate professor James Fogarty and the dub group's Felicia Cordeiro, Daniel Epstein, and Elizabeth Bales.
April 14, 2015 | Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering
Deep brain stimulation devices—essentially pacemakers for the brain—are approved for treating essential tremor, a neurological disorder. When the batteries wear out after three to five years, risky surgery is required to replace the device. Researchers from UW Electrical Engineering and other departments are teaming up with Medtronic on a new device that can provide stimulation only when needed, extending the battery life and increasing the time between surgeries.
Does the gender ratio in images that pop up when we type “author,” “receptionist” or “chef” affect how people perceive those occupations? A new UW study says yes, raising interesting questions about whether search image algorithms should be changed to help counter occupational stereotypes. See also: The Atlantic
Who is liable if a driverless car crashes into a person? What is needed to protect us from personal drones' prying eyes? We Robot 2015, a conference to be held April 10-11 at the UW School of Law, will explore these and other questions within the emerging gray areas in robotics law, policy and ethics. Howard Chizeck, a UW professor of electrical engineering and co-director of the UW BioRobotics Lab, is a conference co-organizer. Registration is required.
Two engineering faculty will be among the honorees at this year’s Awards of Excellence. Daniel T. Schwartz, Director of the Clean Energy Institute and the Boeing-Sutter Professor of Chemical Engineering will receive the Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award. Edward D. Lazowska, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in computer science & engineering will receive the David B. Thorud Leadership Award. Cheer on the winners at 3:30 p.m. June 11 in Meany Hall.
Twenty-two interdisciplinary student teams—including 10 based in UW Engineering departments—will pitch and demonstrate their solutions April 2 at the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge 2015. The competition challenges students to come up with “clean-tech innovations” that reduce waste, minimize energy consumption or contribute to a healthier planet.
See also: engineering student teams
UW engineers have built a new nanometer-sized laser — using the thinnest semiconductor available today — that is energy efficient and compatible with existing electronics. The UW nanolaser, developed in collaboration with Stanford University, uses a semiconductor only three atoms thick.
See also: Nature
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the landslide disaster in Oso, Washington, two UW professors reflect on the event and the intense research and policy efforts that followed. UW Today interviews Joseph Wartman, a UW associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and David Montgomery, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences. See also: KUOW, New York Times op/ed
A new UW research center will study how insects and animals are able to perform complex, precision tasks such as flying in windy and crowded spaces and locating mates and prey. The center is funded by the Air Force and is housed in the UW Department of Biology in partnership with UW Engineering. Basic research will contribute to next-generation small, flying robots. Center home page: Air Force Center of Excellence on Nature-Inspired Flight Technologies and Ideas (NIFTI)
Some of UW’s leading experts on deconstructing the intricate processes of the human brain will participate in a free symposium and panel discussion on Thursday March 19 in the HUB Lyceum. The 2 p.m. symposium, 3:45 p.m. panel discussion and 4:30 p.m. reception are open to the public but require advance registration. See the event web pages for more information.
Out of 22 regional student teams selected to compete this year, 10 teams are based in UW engineering departments. In the EIC, interdisciplinary student teams define an environmental problem, design a solution, produce a prototype, and create a business summary that demonstrates market opportunity and the potential for impact. Engineering teams are working on project that provide an irresistible alternative to driving, turn cooking fires into personal power stations, and decrease energy consumption, improve home safety, and reduce waste.
See also: Environmental Innovation Challenge website.
The new polymer, described in a paper featured on the cover of the March 4 issue of Science Translational Medicine, could become a first line of defense in everything from battlefield injuries to rural car accidents to search and rescue missions deep in the mountains. It has been tested in rats, and researchers say it could reach human trials in five years. The polymer was developed in the Pun Lab, led by Suzie Pun, the UW’s Robert J. Rushmer Professor of Bioengineering.
See also: KPLU radio story.
Pedro Arduino, professor of civil & environmental engineering, will be the UW College of Engineering's associate dean of infrastructure beginning March 9, 2015. He assumes the role as major engineering building projects are in the works and on the horizon. Read more in an announcement to colleagues from UW Engineering dean Michael Bragg.
Seattle’s first-ever “Handathon” will bring together students, faculty and clinicians to the ME building in a hackathon-style, 24-hour event that challenges students to improve an existing 3-D printed prosthetic hand. See also Handathon on the Ability and Innovation Lab website.
Three CoE faculty are among the five UW recipients of 2015 Sloan Research Fellowships honoring early career scientists and scholars: Emily Fox, assistant professor of statistics with adjunct appointments in computer science and engineering and electrical engineering; Shyam Gollakota, assistant professor of computer science and engineering; and Thomas Rothvoss, assistant professor of computer science and engineering and of mathematics. Each award includes $50,000 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Several UW College of Engineering faculty spoke at the 2015 Annual Meeting of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), held February 12-16 in San Jose, CA. David Baker, a professor of biochemistry and adjunct professor in CSE and ChemE, gave a plenary lecture on protein design. HCDE's Cecilia Aragon presented on emotion in informal text communication. Aragon and CSE's Ed Lazowska and Bill Howe presented at a symposium entitled, "Advancing University Career Paths in Interdisciplinary Data-Intensive Science." Find links to UW Today stories, videos, and AAAS web pages.
Following the release of drone rules proposed by the FAA, KING 5 News visits the UW's Autonomous Flight Systems Laboratory for a reaction. See drones in action and hear from researchers on the potential applications of drone technology and why they welcome the rule-making process.
A new UW study identifies stereotypes of computer scientists and engineers as a leading factor in the relatively low percentage of young women choosing to pursue those careers. Researchers conducted experiments to show how stereotypes can be reinforced by the media, learning environments, and narrow characterizations of computer science and engineering by people in those fields. The article cites programs at UW and Harvey Mudd as examples of how to overcome these obstacles and increase the percentage of women among computer science graduates. See also: Frontiers in Psychology
Of the fourteen researchers chosen by UW to receive this year’s UW Innovation Awards, seven are faculty members in the College of Engineering. Four are part of a team building mobile tools for patients to enter data about their habits and behaviors. Three are on a team developing a web-based mentoring program to boost students' entrepreneurial-thinking and problem-solving skills. See also news items from: CSE | EE | HCDE
A recent collaboration between UW chemists and UW mechanical engineers Mark Ganter and Duane Storti, who have developed new 3-D printing materials and techniques, merges custom chemistry and 3-D printing. The researchers have created a bone-shaped plastic tab that turns purple under stretching, offering an easy way to record the force on an object. The sensor might be used to record force or strain on a building or other structure.
A Georgia Tech STEM education program is expanding to UW and other universities thanks to a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The program unites large teams of undergraduates with graduate students and faculty to work together on long-term research projects. UW leads will be College of Engineering associate deans Brian Fabien and Eve Riskin.
CBS 60 Minutes was on campus to film a segment of their program on cybersecurity. A demonstration of the ease with which new cars can be hacked was based on research conducted by a team of UW engineers — Yoshi Kohno, Alexei Czeskis, Karl Koscher, and Franzi Roesner — and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego.
See also: UW CSE's inside story.
To responsibly harvest wave and tidal energy, we need to understand how animals and fish will be affected by ocean energy equipment. Enter the Millennium Falcon, an underwater robot designed to deploy and retrieve an unprecedented array of sensory capabilities in a "plug-and-socket" instrumentation package. Brian Polagye, a UW assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is a project leader. See also: YouTube
Distinguished alumnus Wayne Everett Quinton (’58 BS Mechanical Engineering) passed away on January 22, 2015, at the age of 94. His many inventions, including the lightweight cardiac treadmill, improved the quality of life for millions of people worldwide. Recognized as the world's first bioengineer, Wayne Quinton was named early in his career as one of the 25 top young scientists in the nation by Life magazine and was later honored by UW with the title “Father of Biomedical Engineering." He was a 2009 College of Engineering Diamond Award honoree. See also: Diamond Award profile | Columns feature
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says up to a whopping 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur annually in the U.S., and those numbers are conservative — as many as 50 percent of concussions go unreported. “Helmet technology hasn’t evolved much at all in 40 or 50 years,” says Jonathan Posner, McMinn Endowed Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, who works on the project alongside Professor and Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering Per Reinhall. “Engineering and medicine are working together to come up with a practical solution.”
Friend, colleague, and professor of computer science & engineering Gaetano Borriello passed away on February 1. Gaetano sought to provide an extraordinary educational experience for students in which they discover, pursue, and achieve their potential to make the world a better place. In his honor, UW CSE established the Gaetano Borriello Fellowship for Change to support students whose work is focused on technology can improve the lives of under-served populations.
Cecilia Giachelli has been appointed chair of the Department of Bioengineering beginning February 1, 2015. She is a professor of bioengineering, leads the Giachelli Lab for Cellular Bioengineering, and has served as acting chair since fall 2013. Read more in an announcement to colleagues from UW Engineering dean Michael Bragg and UW Medicine CEO Paul Ramsey.
Alaska Airlines has committed to a 10-year sponsorship of the Environmental Innovation Challenge at the UW, demonstrating its dedication to innovation that addresses the world’s most pressing environmental problems. Alaska Airlines is reducing their contribution to the waste stream with in-flight recycling, drinks served in InCycle Cups (a spin-off from a UW Engineering lab), and 100% recycled paper products in the restrooms. The College of Engineering is also a sponsor of the annual Environmental Innovation Challenge.
On the 315th anniversary of a massive earthquake and tsunami generated off the Washington and Oregon coast, UW scientists are helping prepare the region for a repeat event that could come at any time. Civil engineers Joseph Wartman and Jeff Berman are part of the effort.
A new research center on campus is taking UW-Boeing collaboration to a new level. The Boeing Advanced Research Center, located in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, will let students and faculty members work collaboratively with Boeing engineers on aircraft and spacecraft assembly and manufacturing. See also: Seattle Times | King 5 | GeekWire | Puget Sound Business Journal
Three University of Washington engineers were selected by Forbes magazine as part of its top 30 people in the world under age 30 in energy: Shyam Gollakota (CSE assistant professor), Baosen Zhang (EE assistant professor), and Derek Sutherland (AA PhD candidate). See also: CoE feature
Shyam Gollakota (CSE) has received an NSF CAREER award to design battery-free devices that can connect to the Internet using the WiFi networks around us. 03/15More »
Three CoE faculty members have received 2015 Sloan Research Fellowships honoring early career scientists and scholars: Emily Fox (adjunct in CSE and EE), Shyam Gollakota (CSE), and Thomas Rothvoss (CSE). Each award includes $50,000 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 02/15More »
Kai-Mei Fu (EE, Physics) has been honored with a Cottrell Scholar Award (CSA), which funds early career faculty who excel in undergraduate teaching and research. 02/15More »
Katherine Steele (ME) has received an NSF CAREER award for research titled, "The Ultimate Machine, modeling neuromuscular control and musculoskeletal dynamics to improve human ability." 02/15
Daniela Rosner (HCDE) was awarded an NSF CAREER award to investigate how integrating techniques for social communication into design tools might enable novel forms of expressivity, engagement, and understanding. 02/15More »
Chris Rudell (EE) received an NSF CAREER award to explore and develop ultra-broadband, low-power transceivers using standard digital CMOS technologies. 02/15More »
Mohamed El-Sharkawi (EE) is the recipient of an International Fulbright Fellow Award to help Morocco achieve its energy objectives. 01/15More »
Arka Majumdar (EE) won a 3-year grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research for work in hybrid silicon/silica photonics. 1/15More »
Michael Ernst (CSE) has been named a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for "contributions to software analysis, testing, and verification." 01/15More »
Nicholas Boechler (ME) has received an Army Research Office Young Investigator award to study granular media and shock absorption. 01/15
Three new IEEE fellows for 2015 Dieter Fox (CSE, EE) for contributions to Bayesian state estimation and robotic perception Mehran Mesbahi (A&A) for contributions to networked control systems Radha Poovendran (EE) for contributions to security in cyber-physical systems. 11/14