NewsFlash is a monthly email of press items featuring our College's researchers. For a more complete and regularly updated list of COE media coverage, see In the Media.

Click on a headline to read that article on the web. Some links may require a subscription or no longer be active.

NewsFlash is a service of the UW College of Engineering and the UW Office of News and Information. If you have a newsworthy result about one month from publication, presentation or demonstration, please contact Michelle Ma at mcma@uw.edu@uw.edu or (206) 543-2580.

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NewsFlash, January 2012

 

Jan. 18, 2012 | The Economist: Babbage blog
Surgical robots: The kindness of strangers

Simulation of robotic surgery   The Raven robot—originally developed by UW electrical engineers as a prototype for robotic surgery on the battlefield—is compact, light and cheap. More importantly for academics, it is also the first surgical robot to use open-source software.

RELATED MATERIAL
Surgical robots to provide open-source platform for medical robotics research | Jan. 12, 2012

 

Jan. 13, 2012 | MSNBC
Robot surgeons may get upgraded

Surgical robots named Ravens are flocking to university labs around the U.S. where researchers will be encouraged to hack their software. This reprogramming could accelerate innovation in surgical robotics.

RELATED MATERIAL
Surgical robots to provide open-source platform for medical robotics research | Jan. 12, 2012

 

Jan. 18, 2012 | KCPQ Q13 Fox News
UW surgical robots provide open-source platform for medical research

Blake Hannaford and robot   Blake Hannaford, director of the Biorobotics Laboratory, describes the Raven robot that will soon be used in an open-source research exchange to allow greater development of surgical robotics.

RELATED MATERIAL
Surgical robots to provide open-source platform for medical robotics research | Jan. 12, 2012

 

Jan. 05, 2012 | New Scientist
Buildings and clothes could melt to save energy

Building and palm tree   The sun has risen, and a brand new building on the UW's campus in Seattle is about to melt. It's no design flaw -- a gel in the walls and ceilings of the soon-to-be-completed Molecular Engineering and Sciences Building will reduce energy for cooling by a whopping 98 percent.

 

Jan. 18, 2012 | Daily Journal of Commerce
Phase change materials result in cost savings

A building material that absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night promises to save building owners a bundle of cash when it's time to pay the monthly electricity bill. The UW's new Molecular Engineering and Sciences Building has such materials encapsulated in its wall and ceiling panels.

 

Jan. 23, 2012 | Nature News
Victory for crowdsourced biomolecule design

Winning enzyme   Players of the online game Foldit guide researchers to a better enzyme, in what researchers say is the first crowdsourced redesign of a protein. The new enzyme is 18 times better at catalyzing a step in synthetic chemistry reactions.

RELATED MATERIAL
Paper uncovers power of Foldit gamers’ strategies | Nov. 07, 2011
Gaming for a cure: Computer gamers tackle protein folding | Aug. 04, 2010

 

Jan. 25, 2012 | CNET
Crowdsourcing gamers best computers on protein folding

Foldit screenshot   If you have a good mind for puzzles and are a whiz at video games, your may have a calling in science. Computer scientists Zoran Popovic and Seth Cooper have devised a video game that lets citizen scientists take a stab at decoding the shape of proteins.

RELATED MATERIAL
Paper uncovers power of Foldit gamers’ strategies | Nov. 07, 2011
Gaming for a cure: Computer gamers tackle protein folding | Aug. 04, 2010

 

Jan. 23, 2012 | Gizmodo
Gamers redesign a protein that stumped scientists for years

Folding: it's detestable and boring, as any Gap employee can tell you. But it's also a totally fun thing you can do in a video game! And today it's particularly exciting because players of the online game Foldit have redesigned a protein, and their work is published in the science journal Nature Biotechnology.

RELATED MATERIAL
Paper uncovers power of Foldit gamers’ strategies | Nov. 07, 2011
Gaming for a cure: Computer gamers tackle protein folding | Aug. 04, 2010

 

Jan. 14, 2012 | The New York Times
A wireless road around data traffic jams

Data center   At vast data centers, bottlenecks can occur as traffic moves between servers. Microsoft has built and tested a system with tiny directional antennas at the top of each rack to transmit data wirelessly. Computer science PhD student Daniel Halperin, who worked on the project, is quoted.

 

Jan. 27, 2012 | Inside Science News Service
Discovery of 'bioelectric' arteries opens path to heart disease treatment

Research image   Mechanical engineer Jiangyu Li has found that arteries react curiously to external electric fields, opening the door to minimally invasive detection and treatment of the U.S.'s number one killer: heart disease.

RELATED MATERIAL
Ferroelectric switching discovered for first time in soft biological tissue | Jan. 30, 2012

 

Jan. 06, 2012 | Streetsblog.org
Study: Painted bike lanes don’t endanger pedestrians or anyone else

Bike lane   New York City’s painted bike lanes don’t lead to any increase in the number of traffic crashes, according to a new study by civil engineer Cynthia Chen published in the American Journal of Public Health.

 

Jan. 05, 2012 | KIRO Radio
To pay, or not to pay? The psychology of tolling

520 bridge   Civil engineer Mark Hallenbeck said on the surface, opposition to tolling is really simple: You don't like paying for something you used to get for free. But underlying that is the feeling that the government has changed the rules on you.

 

Jan. 23, 2012 | The Seattle Times: Today File blog
Northern Lights could appear above Washington tonight

An unusually strong solar storm and clear skies overhead — could the Northern Lights appear over Washington tonight? It’s possible, said electrical engineer John Sahr, who studies space plasma physics.

 

Jan. 20, 2012 | Puget Sound Business Journal: TechFlash blog
Prosthetic sensor adds diagnostic ‘feeling’ to artificial limbs

UW prosthetic sensor   Electrical engineer Alexander Mamishev has as developed technology that could result in a better-fitting and better-feeling artificial limb. The prototype Fringing Field Sensor Array could revolutionize the creation and fitting of artificial limbs.

 

Jan. 27, 2012 | Puget Sound Business Journal: TechFlash blog
UW develops diet aid designed to work with smartphone

Graphic of Dietary Data Recorder System   Electrical engineer Alexander Mamishev has developed a device that uses a smartphone to help people watch what they eat and maintain a healthy diet. The device -- called a Dietary Data Recorder System -- works with mobile phones using a laser and the phone’s built-in camera and accelerometer to create 3D models of scanned food.

 

Jan. 11, 2013 | CBS News
Smart contact lenses keep eye on your health

Contact lenses   The new generation of contact lenses is being called “smart lenses,” and they are packed with circuits, sensors and wireless technology – all designed to keep an eye on your health.

RELATED MATERIAL
Big step forward for safety of bionic contact lenses | Nov. 22, 2011
Contact lenses with circuits, lights a possible platform for superhuman vision | Jan. 17, 2008

 

Jan. 07, 2012 | Discovery News
Contact lens monitors blood sugar

Contact with sensor   The tears in your eyes carry a lot of information about you, so why not monitor your vitals with a contact lens?

RELATED MATERIAL
Big step forward for safety of bionic contact lenses | Nov. 22, 2011
Contact lenses with circuits, lights a possible platform for superhuman vision | Jan. 17, 2008

 

Jan. 05, 2012 | Gizmag
Microsoft developing electronic contact lens to monitor blood sugar

Andy Lingley and Desney Tan   Electrical engineer Babak Parviz and grad student Andy Lingley are working with Microsoft Research's Desney Tan, an affiliate professor of computer science and engineering, to build "smart" contact lenses. Microsoft Research produced a video of the work.

RELATED MATERIAL
Big step forward for safety of bionic contact lenses | Nov. 22, 2011
Contact lenses with circuits, lights a possible platform for superhuman vision | Jan. 17, 2008

 

Jan. 12, 2012 | Tacoma News Tribune
More must be done to prepare state's children for rewarding careers

In an op-ed piece, two state senators write that a "top priority needs to be re-investing in science, technology, engineering and math education." The governor's proposal to fund enhanced engineering education at UW and WSU is noted.

 

Jan. 19, 2012 | GeekWire
Geek of the Week: Oren Etzioni on Siri, Burning Man and the promise of algorithms

Oren Etzioni   GeekWire's new Geek of the Week is Oren Etzioni, computer scientist and serial entrepreneur with a knack for building businesses based on complex algorithms that help people make decisions. Etzioni is a professor of computer science and engineering.

RELATED MATERIAL
Web search is ready for a shakeup, says UW computer scientist | Aug. 03, 2011

 

Jan. 24, 2012 | Biodiesel Magazine
UW students to design ultra-efficient hybrid powered by biodiesel

UW EcoCar team   Over the course of the three-year competition, students will convert a 2013 Chevy Malibu, donated by General Motors, into a highly efficient hybrid vehicle. Team members Trevor Crain and Tyler Rose, both in mechanical engineering, are quoted.

 

Jan. 16, 2012 | The (UW) Daily
UW students build rocket for NASA competition

UW-built rocket   This year, a team of aeronautics students will build and launch a rocket that can climb up to one mile above ground. Faculty adviser Adam Bruckner and team members Stewart Jacobs and Thomas Kraft are quoted.

 

Jan. 25, 2012 | Mukilteo Beacon
Boeing 787 engineer says work all started with old Camaro

John Perdoch working on Camaro   John Perdoch, 25, is working at Boeing while pursuing his master's in aeronautical engineering through the company's cooperative learning program. He first became interested in engineering working on a Camaro he bought just after turning 16.

 

If you have a newsworthy result about one month from publication, presentation or demonstration, through the end of 2011 please contact Hannah Hickey. Notice of student and faculty awards and grants is also welcome.