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Tue, 02/23/2016 | UW Today

UW engineers achieve Wi-Fi at 10,000 times lower power

UW computer scientists and electrical engineers have generated "passive" Wi-Fi transmissions that use 10,000 times less power than current methods that drain the batteries on connected devices.

The new Passive Wi-Fi system also consumes 1,000 times less power than existing energy-efficient wireless communication platforms, such as Bluetooth Low Energy and Zigbee. A paper describing those results will be presented in March at the 13th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation.

Thu, 02/18/2016 | UW Today

Three UW professors win Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Two UW engineering professors have received the 2016 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor given by the U.S. government to early career scientists and engineers.

Shwetak Patel, a nationally recognized expert in sensor systems research who directs the UW’s UbiComp Lab, was cited for "inventing low-cost, easy-to-deploy sensor systems that leverage existing infrastructures to enable users to track household energy consumption and make the buildings we live in more responsive to our needs."

Luke Zettlemoyer's research explores the intersection of natural language processing, machine learning and decision making under uncertainty. In his nomination, he was cited for his "outstanding research accomplishments in computational semantics" that "have the potential to completely revolutionize how we retrieve information and interact with computers."

Fri, 02/12/2016 | UW Today

UW scientists create ultrathin semiconductor heterostructures for new technological applications

A team led by Boeing Distinguished Associate Professor Xiaodong Xu successfully combined two different ultrathin semiconductors — each just one layer of atoms thick and roughly 100,000 times thinner than a human hair — to make a new two-dimensional heterostructure with potential uses in clean energy and optically-active electronics. The team announced its findings in a paper published Feb. 12 in the journal Science. "What we’re seeing here is distinct from heterostructures made of 3-D semiconductors," said Xu, who has a joint appointment in the Department of Physics. "We've created a system to study the special properties of these atomically thin layers and their potential to answer basic questions about physics and develop new electronic and photonic technologies."

Mon, 02/08/2016 | UW Today

UW's Tom Anderson elected to National Academy of Engineering

Tom Anderson, a UW professor of computer science and engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. The academy cited Anderson's "contributions to the design of resilient and efficient distributed computer systems." Anderson's research interests span all aspects of building practical, robust, and efficient computer systems — including distributed systems, operating systems, computer networks, multiprocessors, security and educational software.

Also elected are UW civil engineering alumnus Jon Magnusson and computer science alumnus Albert Greenberg.

Fri, 02/05/2016 | UW Today

‘On-ramping’ paves the way for women scientists, engineers to return to academia

To widen the pool of women faculty in STEM, UW researchers and leaders have explored strategies to encourage women scientists and engineers with industry or government experience to transition into academia. Ten women who participated in the UW's On-Ramps into Academia workshops and made the leap were interviewed about the challenges and rewards and also the support that made it easier. Initial concerns included having spent more time developing products than publishing papers, not being able to discuss their work because of intellectual property concerns, or having been outnumbered by men when they were getting their doctorate degrees. Ultimately, though, the women found other dimensions of an academic career attractive enough to want to return.

Authors of a paper recently published in the Journal of Technology Transfer are Eve Riskin, a professor in EE and associate dean for diversity and access at the UW College of Engineering and UW iSchool Ph.D. student Katie O’Leary, ADVANCE director Joyce Yen, and professor of bioengineering Matt O’Donnell.

Mon, 01/25/2016 | UW Today

New handheld, pen-sized microscope could ID cancer cells in doctor’s offices and operating rooms

ME researchers are developing a handheld microscope to help differentiate healthy and cancerous cells in an office setting or operating room. "Being able to zoom and see at the cellular level during the surgery would really help them to accurately differentiate between tumor and normal tissues and improve patient outcomes," said ME Assistant Professor Jonathan Liu. The handheld microscope, roughly the size of a pen, combines technologies in a novel way to deliver high-quality images at faster speeds than existing devices. Researchers expect to begin testing it as a cancer-screening tool in clinical settings next year.

Wed, 01/20/2016 | UW Today

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi sensing from mobile devices may help improve bus service

CEE researchers have developed an inexpensive system to sense Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals from bus passengers' mobile devices and collect data to build better transit systems. They tested it on UW shuttle buses last spring. "Let's say you have a Husky game or Seahawks game and you want to know how much demand changes so you can offer the right level of bus service for this special event," said senior author Yinhai Wang, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium, or PacTrans.

Tue, 01/19/2016 | UW Today

Twenty-seven UW faculty listed among ‘world’s most influential scientific minds’ by Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters has selected five Engineering faculty members for their list of elite, highly cited scientific researchers. The researchers were selected "based on their respective output of top-cited papers in their fields... the scientists who have won acclaim and approval within a key population: their peers."

Fri, 01/15/2016 | UW Today

Stir no more: UW scientists show that draining speeds up bioassays

BioE researchers have shortened the wait time in detecting cellular proteins and DNA. Inspired by studies of fluid dynamics, Xiaohu Gao's team worked around the commonly used and sometimes days-long staining process in which detector molecules bind to their targets to produce a visible color change. Instead of waiting for detector molecules to drift through solution to a target at the bottom, Gao's team allowed detector molecules close to the surface to bind. Then they drained the solution from the plate, mixed it, put it back, and repeated this cycle dozens of times — which they call 'cyclic solution draining and replenishing' and resembles a washing machine's function.

Tue, 01/12/2016 | UW Today

UW computer scientists to make financial products better and more available for the poor

A new CSE research group is to improve financial products — such as money remittances and savings accounts — for the lowest-income people around the world. With a $1.7 million, two-year grant awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Digital Financial Services Research Group will be established to investigate and overcome technological barriers to widespread adoption of mobile financial services. "This technology can have tremendous impact — both for allowing people to send remittances from the city back to rural regions, and to establish savings accounts so people can have reserves so that an event like an accident or a pregnancy doesn’t send them over the edge," said Richard Anderson, professor of computer science and engineering.

Mon, 01/11/2016 | UW Today

New master of applied bioengineering to prepare students for translational research

The 1-year program will train students to apply engineering design and entrepreneurship skills to address unmet clinical needs and to transform biomedical research into technologies for improving health care. The degree will position graduates to respond to market-based demands of industry, medicine and translational research. "Our industry partners tell us they want graduates who have hands-on experience, and practice working in teams and solving real-world problems in a clinical environment," said Wendy Thomas, vice chair of academic affairs and associate professor of bioengineering. "Our graduates will also have practice working with all constraints of the business environment and the communication skills needed to facilitate a team of engineers, scientists, clinicians, business and venture capital investors."

Mon, 01/11/2016 | UW Today

UW center receives $16M to work on first implantable device to reanimate paralyzed limbs

Implantable devices that send signals between regions of the brain or nervous system have potential to improve or even restore mobility for people who have suffered a spinal cord injury or stroke. That’s the mission driving the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, a UW-led effort that includes researchers from MIT, San Diego State, and other partners. The goal is to achieve proof-of-concept demonstrations in humans within the next five years, Rao said. This will lay the groundwork for eventual clinical devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration, in collaboration with the center’s industry partners.

Mon, 01/11/2016 | UW Today

What motivates people to walk and bike? It varies by income

Study led by CEE's Cynthia Chen suggests that policies to promote biking and walking need to be tailored to different neighborhoods and different populations. Specifically, lower- and middle-income King County residents who live in denser neighborhoods — with stores, libraries and other destinations within easy reach — are more likely to walk or bike, according to new University of Washington research. But neighborhood density didn’t motivate higher-income residents to leave their cars at home, the transportation engineers found. Of the environmental factors they studied, the only one that significantly influenced how frequently that group walked or biked was how attractive they found their neighborhoods to be.

Tue, 12/22/2015 | UW BioEngineering

Suzie Pun named a 2015 National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fellow

Suzie Pun was recently named a 2015 National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fellow the UW Bioengineering Robert F. Rushmer Professor of Bioengineering, Dr. Pun’s research focuses on developing bioinspired materials for medical applications. Recently, bioengineers in Dr. Pun’s research group, along with collaborators from UW Emergency Medicine and Chemical Engineering, developed PolySTAT, an injectable polymer that helps strengthen blood clots to stop uncontrolled bleeding.

Tue, 12/15/2015 | UW Today

Fuel economy improvements in US climate commitment on par with 1970s gains

To hold up its end of the landmark climate deal signed in Paris last week, the U.S. will need to make cars and trucks of the future far more fuel efficient — to the equivalent of 54 mpg by 2025. “It’s within the realm of what we’ve done before, just not recently. It’s asking for a return to the rate of innovation the industry was able to deliver in the 1970s and 1980s. But it’s not beyond that,” MacKenzie said lead author Don MacKenzie, UW assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Mon, 12/14/2015 | UW Today

UW Board of Regents approves new Master of Science in Data Science for professionals

The new program is a collaboration between Human Centered Design & Engineering, Computer Science & Engineering, the eScience Institute, the iSchool, and additional UW science and math departments. The 45-credit program, launching in fall 2016, will be offered at the UW Seattle campus, with full- and part-time options available in the evening to suit the schedules of working professionals. Students will gain advanced technical expertise in managing, modeling and visualizing big data to meet the growing needs of industry, government, nonprofits and research institutions.

Mon, 12/07/2015 | UW Today

What makes Tom Hanks look like Tom Hanks?

CSE researchers show it’s possible for machine learning algorithms to capture a "persona" and create a digital model of a well-photographed person.

Tue, 12/01/2015 | UW Today

UW roboticists learn how to teach robots from babies

A collaboration between UW computer scientists and developmental psychologists has shown that robots can "learn" much like kids — by amassing data through exploration, watching a human perform a task, and determining how best to carry out that task on its own. "You can look at this as a first step in building robots that can learn from humans in the same way that infants learn from humans," said senior author Rajesh Rao, a UW professor of computer science and engineering.

Rao's team used research on babies to develop machine learning algorithms that allow a robot to explore how its own actions result in different outcomes.

Wed, 11/18/2015 | UW Today

Popular Science names ‘Power Over Wi-Fi’ one of the year’s game-changing technologies

A team of UW computer science and electrical engineers have developed a novel technology that uses a Wi-Fi router — a source of ubiquitous but untapped energy in indoor environments — to power devices.

The Power Over Wi-Fi (PoWiFi) system is one of the most innovative and game-changing technologies of the year, according to Popular Science, which included it in the magazine’s annual “Best of What’s New 2015” awards announced Wednesday.

Mon, 11/16/2015 | UW Today

UW team refrigerates liquids with a laser for the first time

MSE assistant professor Peter Pauzauskie and his team are the first to solve a decades-old puzzle — figuring out how to make a laser refrigerate water and other liquids under real-world conditions.

Using an infrared laser to cool water by about 36 °F, they demonstrated a hydrothermal process to manufacture a well-known laser crystal for laser refrigeration applications in a faster, inexpensive, and scalable way. They also designed an instrument that uses a laser trap to "hold" a single nanocrystal and illuminate it. The instrument projects the particle’s "shadow" to allow observation of minute changes in its motion due to cooling.

Mon, 11/09/2015 | UW Today

UW and Tsinghua University announce dual degree program through the Global Innovation Exchange

The first dual degree program to be announced through GIX - Global Innovation Exchange is a new model of learning designed to fuel innovation and foster collaborations on a worldwide scale. The UW and Tsinghua University agreed to launch an integrated dual degree program through GIX that combines project-based learning in design thinking, technology development and entrepreneurship.

"Innovation requires you to understand users so you build the right thing, know enough about the technology to prototype it and demonstrate it, and know how to pitch it and convey its importance. This is going to be an intensive, integrated educational program in all these areas," said Shwetak Patel, chief technology officer for GIX and UW's Washington Research Foundation Entrepreneurship Endowed Professor in Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering.

The UW MSTI is currently under review by the UW Graduate School, which must approve all new degree programs.

Tue, 11/03/2015 | UW Today

Life, enhanced: UW professors study legal, social complexities of an augmented reality future

Researchers at the UW’s Tech Policy Lab charge designers of future augmented reality systems with making them adaptable to change, resistant to hacking, and responsive to the needs of diverse users. Augmented reality promises systems that can aid people with mobility or other limitations. But augmented reality will also bring challenges for law, public policy, and privacy, especially pertaining to how information is collected and displayed. Issues regarding surveillance and privacy, free speech, safety, intellectual property and distraction — as well as potential discrimination — are bound to follow.

Mon, 11/02/2015

UW to co-lead West Coast ‘Big Data brain trust’ for NSF

The National Science Foundation selected the UW, along with UC San Diego and Berkeley, to co-lead one of four Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs around the country. The ability to access, analyze and draw insights from massive amounts of data is already driving innovation in fields from medicine and manufacturing to the way cities are managed. To accelerate this emerging field, the NSF is establishing four “Big Data brain trusts” to catalyze new collaborations among university researchers, tech companies, national labs, local and state government and non-profits.

Thu, 10/29/2015 | UW Today

Nov. 5 bioengineering lecture focuses on 'Engineering Personalized Medicine'

We have personal trainers and tailored suits. Why don't we have personalized medicine? That question - and the prospects for stem-cell-based treatments that reverse disease and repair damage rather than simply addressing symptoms - will be the focus of UW Bioengineering's 2015 Allan S. Hoffman Lecture on Nov. 5. Molly S. Shoichet, a University of Toronto chemical engineering and applied chemistry university professor who specializes in tissue engineering at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, will deliver the lecture entitled "Engineering Personalized Medicine" at 4 p.m. at Kane Hall's Walker-Ames Room, with a reception to follow.

Thu, 10/29/2015 | EE News

Pacific Science Center Exhibit Features Research by EE Professor Howard Chizeck

A new Pacific Science Center exhibit features the work of EE Professor Howard Chizeck and students in the BioRobotics Lab. The exhibit, Memory: Past Meets Present, focuses on how the brain retains information on repetitive actions performed by the body. The exhibit runs through March 6, 2016.

One panel of the exhibit highlights the Deep Brain Stimulator (DBS) for essential tremor project, led by EE Ph.D. students Jeffrey Herron and Margaret Thompson, aims to build closed-loop DBS systems to improve treatment for people with neurological disorders such as essential tremor.