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News & events

2014 News Archive

Radha Poovendran

December 23, 2014

Radha Poovendran is the new chair for Electrical Engineering

Dean Michael Bragg has announced that Radha Poovendran, a UW professor of electrical engineering and expert in wireless and sensor network security, will be the new chair of his department. Radha is the recipient of many awards, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

excerpt of map showing carbon sampling locations

December 22, 2014 | School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS)

Humans adding ‘fossil’ carbon to rivers

New research from CEE assistant professor David Butman suggests that the effects of human land-use choices reduce carbon storage in the ground. Butman, who holds a joint appointment with the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS), is the lead author on a paper recently published in Nature Geoscience.

Greg Miller

December 18, 2014 | Office of the Dean

Greg Miller's appointment as CEE Chair extended through June 2018

Dean Michael Bragg has announced that Greg Miller, chair of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, has accepted the dean's invitation to remain as chair through June 2018.

Brian Fabien

December 17, 2014 | Office of the Dean

Brian Fabien appointed Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

Dean Michael Bragg has announced the appointment of Brian Fabien, a UW professor of mechanical engineering, to the position of Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. Fabien is the Director of the Dynamic Systems Modeling and Controls Laboratory and co-faculty advisor for the University of Washington EcoCAR team. He begins his role January 2, 2015.

excerpt of video still showing mountain photo with superimposed rain-on-snow diagram

December 17, 2014 | UW Today

Improving forecasts for rain-on-snow flooding

Researchers in the UW Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering are using the physics behind rain-on-snow events to better predict flood risks. They are also helping clear up some misconceptions—including a common assumption that the rain itself in these events is primarily responsible for melting or washing away snow. See also: YouTube

graphic of tailpipe with calculator

December 12, 2014 | UW Today

Online tool lets Washington residents calculate carbon tax impacts

Justin Bare, a PhD student in Computer Science & Engineering, has created a tool that lets residents calculate how a state carbon tax swap proposed by Carbon Washington would impact them financially.

Jeffrey Heer, Ali Farhadi, Hannaneh Hajishirzi, and Luke Zettlemoyer

December 3, 2014 | UW Today

Competitive award to fund new approaches to artificial intelligence work

Four UW Engineering researchers have received the Allen Distinguished Investigator award totaling $2.7 million for their work in artificial intelligence research. The researchers are: Jeffrey Heer, Ali Farhadi, and Luke Zettlemoyer (CSE), and Hannaneh Hajishirzi (EE). The money will fund early stage research in several areas of artificial intelligence.

excerpt from 'Not Quite Human' comic

December 1, 2014 | UW Today

‘What is HCDE?’ New comics class aims to answer the question

A new class at the University of Washington that teaches comic artistry to undergraduate and graduate students is using comics to explain what, exactly, the field of human-centered design is all about. HCDE associate professor Charlotte Lee developed the class and teaches it with local artist Jeremy Kayes.

Devin Pegues in an excerpt of a Seattle Times photo by Mike Siegle

November 29, 2014 | Seattle Times

UW, WSU give future engineers a ‘redshirt season’

In an idea borrowed from college athletics, the University of Washington and Washington State boost promising engineering students—many of them women and minorities—with an extra year of academic work. See also Education Lab Blog posts: Google+ Hangout recording | STEM stats | guest post

David Coven holds up and inspects a vial in a lab

November 19, 2014 | UW Today

UW undergrad’s early life challenges become a hectic schedule of opportunity

UW undergraduate David Coven has started a company, directs a nonprofit, works in the lab alongside alongside doctoral-level researchers, and takes a full course load on his path to a mechanical engineering degree with a mathematics minor. He has made the most of opportunities, from Mathematics Academy and the UW STEM Bridge Program to college funding awards from Costco and Washington State Opportunity Scholarship.
See also: YouTube

drawing of safer helmet prototype

November 13, 2014 | UW Today

UW researchers win Head Health Challenge with new football helmet designed to combat concussions.

A startup and collaboration that includes ME's Per Reinhall (professor and chair) and Jonathan Posner (associate professor) has developed a new football helmet designed to mitigate the forces likely to cause concussion. Their design won the Head Health Challenge II. See also: GeekWire

colored rectangles around individuals in surveillance video

November 12, 2014 | UW Today

Moving cameras talk to each other to identify, track pedestrians

UW electrical engineers have developed a way to automatically track people across moving and still cameras by using an algorithm that trains the networked cameras to learn one another’s differences. Lead researcher and EE professor Jenq-Neng Hwang said the technology may eventually allow people to see an "animated version of the real-time dynamics of city streets on a platform like Google Earth.” See also: YouTube

UW students Darby Losey with electroencephalography cap

November 5, 2014 | UW Today

UW study shows direct brain interface between humans

UW researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection with three pairs of people. In a newly published study led by Computer Science & Engineering's Rajesh Rao, researchers were able to transmit the signals from one person’s brain over the Internet to control the hand motions of another person a half mile away. A new grant will allow research into transmitting more complex brain processes.
See also: YouTube

Carlos Guestrin

October 29, 2014 | GeekWire

Geek of the Week: GraphLab CEO Carlos Guestrin is unlocking the potential of machine learning

GeekWire names Computer Science & Engineering professor Carlos Guestrin its Geek of the Week and interviews him about the potential of big data, where he finds inspiration, his favorite Star Trek captain, and more.

Nisqually Road (Mt. Rainier area) in a 2006 flood

October 29, 2014 | UW Today

Fires and floods: North Cascades federal lands prepare for climate change

In a changing climate, the North Cascades are expected to become increasingly prone to flooding, fire and insect outbreaks. UW scientists, including UW Civil & Environmental Engineering graduate student Ronda Strauch, have been helping federal agencies to pinpoint especially vulnerable resources and outline management responses to minimize adverse impacts. Findings were released this week in a report from the Pacific Northwest Research Station.


October 28, 2014 | GeekWire

Q&A: How the University of Washington plans to become a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation

Vikram Jandyala, the former chair of UW's electrical engineering department, assumed the role of Vice Provost for Innovation in July. GeekWire stopped by the UW’s Center for Commercialization to talk with Jandhyala about his ambitions for the university. See also: Seattle Business

graphic of buildings and ambient signals

October 27, 2014 | Seattle Times

UW researchers pulling energy out of the air

Brier Dudley reports on the formation of a UW spinout company called Jiva Wireless that will produce wireless, battery-free sensing devices to enable the Internet of Things. Company founders are UW faculty members Joshua Smith (CSE and EE) and Shyam Gollakota (CSE), who have spent years developing the technology. See also: UW Today

screen shot of one of Sutherland's replies to reader comments

October 24, 2014 | UW Today

Fusion researchers take a different approach to a heated conversation

When A&A professor Thomas Jarboe and grad student Derek Sutherland went public with their concept for an economically feasible fusion reactor, they expected some naysayers and negativity. Sutherland has taken on a task perhaps more daunting that the field of fusion physics — reading and responding to reader comments. "We’re not hiding anything and we’ll answer any question you throw at us, which is different from other fusion groups that are quite secretive," Sutherland said.

ME student holds a turbine prototype

October 24, 2014 | UW Today

U.S. Navy awards $8 million to develop wave, tidal energy technology

UW will develop marine renewable energy for use at the Navy’s facilities worldwide as part of an $8 million, four-year contract from the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC). Tide and wave energy from waters near coastal bases will help the Navy meet a commitment to get half of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. Team members include Brian Polagye, an ME assistant professor, and the Applied Physics Laboratory's Jim Thomson, a CEE associate professor.

CT scan of machinery

October 24, 2014 | UW Today

Large X-ray scanner to produce 3-D images for labs across campus

A state-of-the-art imaging machine is coming to UW for use by researchers in a variety of disciplines. Researchers at UW and from other Pacific Northwest schools will be able to use the machine to answer questions such as how concrete and steel components are damaged in earthquakes and what the inside of a 3-D printed object looks like.

solar cell printer

October 22, 2014 | UW Today

Solar energy research gets boost from federal grant

Energy researchers at the UW will expand their work in making high-efficiency, printable solar cells and solar inks with the help of from the U.S. Department of Energy. The tandem, or "stacked," solar cells could be twice as efficient as today's standard solar technologies. See also: Clean Energy Institute research update

Geordi LaForge, a blind character from Star Trek who wore VISOR for super-human vision. Image from Wikipedia

October 21, 2014 | GeekWire

How tech advances are helping innovators do more for people with disabilities

CSE Professor Richard Ladner is jazzed about a better future for people with disabilities. There’s been an increase in attention to assistive technology, and Ladner, whose research includes MobileASL and the Tactile Graphics Project, says we need more people with disabilities pursing careers as coders, engineers, and designers — people who know exactly what a disabled person may need in a product.

Mark Haselkorn

October 17, 2014 | Human Centered Design & Engineering

Announcing the Center for Collaborative Systems for Security, Safety, and Regional Resilience (CoSSaR)

Regional security and the ability to effectively respond to and bounce back from disasters requires good communication and coordination among a wide range of public and private agencies. Focusing on the Puget Sound maritime community, a new UW research center is gaining valuable insights into how information is shared today—and identifying major opportunities to increase effectiveness.

The Center for Collaborative Systems for Security, Safety, and Regional Resilience (CoSSaR) is directed by Mark Haselkorn, a UW professor of human centered design and engineering. CoSSaR’s Maritime Operations Information Sharing Analysis (MOISA) research project was recently awarded federal funding for a second year.

screenshot of ODK Scan from YouTube

October 13, 2014 | VillageReach

Gates Foundation grant to support low-cost digitizing of village health data

Researchers developing ODK Scan, a tool in the Open Data Kit suite that digitizes data on paper forms, have received new support in the form of a $470,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. ODK Scan uses built-in camera and image-processing technology in lower-cost smartphones to improve data visibility through to the “last mile” of the health system. Open Data Kit development is led by Gaetano Borriello, a UW professor of computer science and engineering. The nonprofit VillageReach, which partners with Borriello's team, is the recipient of the grant. See also: VillageReach press release | Washington Post | YouTube

lecture series brochure image

October 10, 2014 | UW Today

Engineering lecture series focuses on technologies for the heart

The heart often goes unnoticed until something goes wrong. During the next month, the University of Washington’s College of Engineering fall lecture series will feature faculty researchers in engineering and medicine who are improving cardiac medical care with new technologies. The lectures, presented October 15, November 4, and November 18, are free and open to the public. Advance registration is required.
See also: 2014 Engineering Lecture Series home page

UW’s current fusion experiment, HIT-SI3

October 8, 2014 | UW Today

UW fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal

What started as a class project in a course taught by UW aeronautics and astronautics professor Thomas Jarboe has evolved into a fusion reactor design that could rival costs for a new coal-fired plant with similar electrical output. The design team has filed for patents for their reactor, known as the dynomak, and plans to scale up prototypes.

Jeffrey Heer

October 2, 2014 | UW Today

Major award to support data visualization research

Researchers in the natural and social sciences will benefit from an award that will bring new talent, courses and tools in big-data discovery and analysis to labs and departments across campus. Jeffrey Heer, an associate professor in CSE, was selected for the Moore Investigator in Data-Driven Discovery award to develop new theories, tools and techniques for data visualization. The grant, $1.5 million over five years, will allow Heer’s group – the UW Interactive Data Lab – to expand its work and enable campus researchers to more effectively explore and analyze data. See also: Moore Foundation news release

EcoCAR3's predecessor on racetrack

September 30, 2014 | UW Today

UW students to build hybrid-electric muscle car in EcoCAR3 contest

Classes have barely started, yet one group of UW students is already in the lab, with no time to waste. The students are the Advanced Vehicle Works team, otherwise known as UW EcoCAR. Their challenge in this next four-year competition is to convert a Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid-electric car. See also: UW EcoCAR Facebook

Tami Bond in the lab

September 23, 2014 | UW Engineering

College of Engineering alumna receives a 2014 MacArthur Fellowship

Tami Bond, a UW College of Engineering alumna and professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has won a "genius" award from the MacArthur Foundation. According to a profile on the MacArthur Foundation website, Bond "has provided the most comprehensive synthesis of the impact of black carbon on climate to date, indicating that global black carbon emissions are one of the most important contributions to anthropogenic (or man-made) climate change." At UW, she received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1993 and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in 2000 advised by professors in civil and environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, and atmospheric sciences. See also: Climate Progress


September 22, 2014 | UW Today

New RFID technology helps robots find household objects

Matt Reynolds, an associate professor in EE and CSE, has helped develop a new search algorithm that improves a robot’s ability to find and navigate to tagged objects. The team has implemented its system on a type of robot called a PR2, allowing it to travel through a home and correctly locate different types of tagged household objects, including a medication bottle, TV remote, phone and hair brush.

The crew helps hand spool about 800 feet of extension cable onto the big orange drum

September 19, 2014 | UW Today

UW students help install cabled deep-sea observatory

This summer and fall UW students helped scientists and engineers complete construction of the world’s largest deep-ocean observatory off the coast of Washington and Oregon. The nearly 45 students also worked with a specialized robot called ROPOS that installs cables, power and communication hubs, and instruments on the ocean floor as part of the observatory construction phase.


September 19, 2014 | UW Today

Reflected smartphone transmissions enable gesture control

A new form of low-power wireless sensing technology could soon let users “train” their smartphones to recognize and respond to specific hand gestures near the phone. The technology – developed in the labs of EE and CSE associate professors Matt Reynolds and Shwetak Patel and implemented in a project called SideSwipe – utilizes the phone’s own wireless transmissions.

Startup Hall logo

September 17, 2014 | Seattle Times blog

With “Startup Hall,” U District aims to be new tech hub

Brier Dudley reports on Startup Hall, a rentable space for startups now operating on the second floor of a former UW law school building. With three anchor tenants that finance and incubate startups and a sea of coworking desks rented out for $350 per month, one goal is jumpstarting the formation of a U District tech hub. See also: GeekWire video

SpiroSmart app charts an exhalation on a smart phone

September 10, 2014 | UW Engineering

Grant will fund clinical trials of mobile app that measures lung function

The Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF) recently announced a $250,000 grant to UW for a clinical trial of SpiroSmart, a mobile app for performing spirometry: monitoring lung function by measuring forceful exhalation. The principal investigator is Shwetak Patel, an associate professor of computer science & engineering and electrical engineering.

Student in a thoughtful conversation

September 8, 2014 | UW College of Engineering

12 higher ed schools team up to promote reflection in learning

The Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching announced the 12 higher education institutions that comprise the Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education. The program, made possible by a $4.4 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, strives to enhance student learning and foster a better-prepared engineering workforce. The member institutions span the continental US, with 6 located in Western Washington.

Anthony Waas

September 4, 2014 | UW Engineering

Anthony Waas to chair UW Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics

Anthony M. Waas, University of Michigan's Felix Pawlowski Collegiate Professor of Aerospace Engineering and of Mechanical Engineering, has been named the new chair of the University of Washington's William E. Boeing Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics. His term will begin in early 2015.

The power harvester sitting in a flower bed

September 03, 2014 | UW Today

Changing temperature powers sensors in hard-to-reach places

UW engineers, inspired by a centuries-old clock design, created a power harvester that uses fluctuations in temperature and pressure as its power source. The team presents its research this month at the ACM’s International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing in Seattle. On the team: Chen Zhao, lead author and PhD student in UWEE, Joshua Smith, UW associate professor in CSE and EE; Sam Yisrael, EE undergrad; Sidhant Gupta, former UW PhD student; Eric Larson, former UW PhD student; and Shwetak Patel.

screen shot of data collection app with outline of baby

August 27, 2014 | UW Today

New smartphone app can detect newborn jaundice in minutes

UW engineers and physicians have developed a smartphone application that checks for jaundice in newborns. Parents or pediatricians take a photo of the baby with a color calibration card in view and data are sent to the cloud for immediate analysis and feedback. The report could indicate whether the baby needs a blood test.

heterostructures as seen through an electron microscope

August 26, 2014 | UW Today

Scientists craft a semiconductor only three atoms thick

Scientists have developed a new class of nanoscale materials that could provide the basis for next-generation flexible and transparent computing, better LEDs, and solar technologies. The research was published online in Nature Materials. MSE's Xiaodong Xu is a senior author.

detail of simulated protein in the Foldit Ebola puzzle

August 25, 2014 | Seattle Times

Gamers helping UW in Ebola research

Players of the online computer game Foldit are helping University of Washington researchers in their search for a cure for the Ebola virus. Foldit is a project of UW's Center for Game Science, directed by computer science and engineering professor Zoran Popović.

incoming freshman Trinh Ha interprets a poster for onlookers

August 21, 2014 | UW Today

Busy midsummer week for UW undergraduate researchers

Mary Gates Hall was packed the morning of August 20 for the Summer Undergraduate Research Poster Session. UW Today's story about the event features incoming freshman Trinh Ha and her project on electrochromatic windows. Ha participated in an eight-week summer research program under the guidance and mentorship of Minoru Taya, a UW professor of mechanical engineering.

Shyam Gollakota

August 19, 2014 | UW Today

Shyam Gollakota named one of world’s top innovators under 35

Shyam Gollakota, a UW assistant professor of computer science and engineering, has been named one of this year’s “Innovators Under 35” by global media company MIT Technology Review. Gollakota's research focuses on leveraging wireless signals around us to power devices and enable new gesture-recognition capabilities. UW CSE alumni Kuang Chen and Kurtis Heimerl were similarly honored -- see the UW CSE News item!

people at a bus stop

August 18, 2014 | UW Today

StopInfo for OneBusAway app makes buses more usable for blind riders

Each month, about 350,000 people in the Puget Sound area use OneBusAway, a free service developed at UW that uses real-time data to track when your bus will arrive. But for blind users, "it’s not always clear where the bus stop is" according to Cynthia Bennett, a UW research scientist. StopInfo is a OneBusAway extension designed to fill that gap using data validated and provided by bus riders. See also: YouTube video | FOX News

part of a RAVEN II surgical robot

August 12, 2014 | UW Center for Commercialization

UW start-up Applied Dexterity creates innovation ecosystem for medical robotics

The creators of RAVEN, an open-source platform for robotic surgery developed at UW, saw that their system could be useful for more than just remote surgery. With help from the UW Center for Commercialization (C4C), they formed Applied Dexterity, Inc. to take the product to market, providing a ready-to-run platform with which to do cutting-edge biorobotics research.

Diagram showing Wi-Fi backscatter using radio frequency signals as a power source and reuses existing Wi-Fi infrastructure to provide Internet connectivity to battery-free devices.

August 04, 2014 | UW Today

No-power Wi-Fi connectivity could fuel an 'Internet of Things' reality

A team of UW engineers has designed a new communication system that uses radio frequency signals as a power source and reuses existing Wi-Fi infrastructure to provide Internet connectivity to everyday objects that have embedded sensors. Called Wi-Fi backscatter, this technology is the first that can connect battery-free devices to Wi-Fi infrastructure. See also: research results

applicator with closeup of dissolvable fabric

July 30, 2014 | UW Today

Dissolvable fabric loaded with medicine might offer faster protection against HIV

UW bioengineers have discovered a potentially faster way to deliver a topical drug that protects women from contracting HIV. Their method spins the drug into silk-like fibers that quickly dissolve and release drugs when in contact with moisture. The UW team is led by bioengineering assistant professor Kim Woodrow.

Governor Jay Inslee addresses an overflow crowd

July 29, 2014 | UW Today

UW celebrates record 18 start-up companies in 2014

Washington Governor Jay Inslee and UW President Michael Young kicked off the 2014 UW Start-Up Celebration in honor of a record 18 new spin-outs—a good number of them based in UW engineering research. The UW ranks 3rd in the nation for number of companies spinning out of a university.

diagram of abnormal protein, left, intercepted by the UW’s compound that can bind to the toxic protein and neutralize it

July 28, 2014 | UW Today

New protein structure could help treat Alzheimer’s, related diseases

UW bioengineers have a designed a peptide structure that can stop the harmful changes of the body’s normal proteins into a state that’s linked to widespread diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and Lou Gehrig’s disease. The synthetic molecule blocks the proteins as they shift from their normal state into an abnormally folded form by targeting a toxic intermediate phase. “If you can truly catch and neutralize the toxic version of these proteins, then you hopefully never get any further damage in the body,” said senior author Valerie Daggett, a UW professor of bioengineering.

aerial view of the slide site at Oso, WA

July 22, 2014 | UW Today

Oso disaster had its roots in earlier landslides

A new study shows the disastrous landslide that killed 43 people at Oso, Washington involved the "remobilization" of a 2006 landslide in the same place. Joseph Wartman, a UW associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, is a team leader for the study.

two female students in a programming class

July 17, 2014 | New York Times via CSE News

Some universities crack code in drawing women to computer science

The New York Times cites University of Washington as a "technology powerhouse" that is well above national averages when it comes to the percentage of women among its computer science graduates. UW's Computer Science & Engineering news page excerpts the article and provides related links and a chart.

Gov. Inslee at a podium

July 9, 2014 | Clean Energy Institute

Washington Takes Big Step Toward Renewable Energy Storage and Grid Integration

Governor Jay Inslee has announced a major state initiative to leverage state matching funds for three projects that will integrate power generated from intermittent renewable sources such as wind and solar in the state's electrical grid. UW's Clean Energy Institute is one of the participating organizations.
See also: Xconomy

smartphone display showing map of workouts and activity level over 1 week

July 8, 2014 | UW Today

Better visualizing of fitness-app data helps discover trends, reach goals

Researchers in the UW's CSE, HCDE and the Design, Use, Build group have developed visual tools to help self-trackers understand their daily activity patterns over a longer period and in more detail than current life-logging programs can offer. Their study found that people generally had an easier time meeting personal fitness and activity goals when they could see their data presented in a broader, more visual way.

Sign at entrance of UW C4C office

July 2, 2014 | Xconomy

UW engineers fuel record-breaking startup boom

The UW spun out 18 startup companies in the past fiscal year. And although the article doesn't name the UW engineers involved, we do! AnswerDash co-founder Jake Wobbrock is an associate professor in CSE (on leave). Applied Dexterity co-founders Blake Hannaford is a professor in EE and Andrew Lewis was a grad student in ME. BluHaptic's chair is Howard Chizeck, professor in EE, VP is Fredrik Ryden, an EE PhD, and ocean engineering Andy Stewart is an affiliate assistant professor in the Applied Physics Lab. Lodespin Labs is led by MSE professor Kanaan Krishnan and MSE PhDs Matthew Ferguson and Amit Khandhar. Medical Models' owner is Michael Fassbind, BS, MS in ME. PETX's Paul Kinahan is an adjunct professor of Bioengineering. PolyDrops leaders are all from ChemE: Volha Hrechka, BS; Gregory Newbloom, PhD candidate, and associate professor Lilo D. Pozzo. VerAvanti's founder is Gerald McMorrow, BS, ME in EE.

robot arranges colored blocks

June 26, 2014 | UW Today

Ask the crowd: Robots learn faster, better with online helpers

UW computer scientists have shown that crowdsourcing can be a quick and effective way to teach a robot how to complete tasks. Instead of learning from just one human, robots could one day query the larger online community, asking for instructions or input on the best way to set the table or water the garden. The research team is led by Computer Science & Engineering's Rajesh Rao and Maya Cakmak.

PacTrans logo

June 25, 2014 | UW Today

News digest: $5.2M award for traffic-safety research

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $5.2 million to a multi-university regional transportation center led by the UW for ongoing research in transportation safety and sustainability issues. The Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium, or PacTrans, represents Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.

Linden Rhoads and Vikram Jandhyala

June 24, 2014 | UW Today

Rhoads leaving UW commercialization; Jandhyala takes new innovation post

Linden Rhoads, who as vice provost for commercialization has greatly boosted the number of patents and startup companies coming from the University of Washington each year, has announced plans to return to private industry. On July 1, Vikram Jandhyala, a UW professor of electrical engineering and an inaugural Center for Commercialization entrepreneurial faculty fellow, will take over the new position of vice provost for innovation.

illustration of the molecular structure of tropoelastin, the smallest unit of the protein elastin

June 23, 2014 | UW Today

Ferroelectric switching seen in biological tissues

Jiangyu Li, professor in ME, leads research that shows ferroelectrical switching is present in a type of protein found — at the molecular level in biological tissues — in organs that repeatedly stretch and retract, such as the lungs, heart and arteries. "We may be able to use this as a very sensitive technique to detect the initiation of the hardening [of arteries] at a very early stage when no other imaging technique will be able to see it," Li said. See also:
Ferroelectric switching discovered in soft biological tissue
High glucose levels could impair ferroelectricity in connective tissues

Tiny electric car like the ones coming to campus

June 23, 2014 | UW Today

Zippy, electric micro cars coming to campus for sustainability research

The UW has been selected to receive 4 all-electric micro vehicles that will communicate data via the UW's wireless network and tablet-size onboard PCs. The information will be sent to various, to-be-determined research projects in sensing, energy, communications, and transportation. Project leaders — Daniel Kirschen, professor in EE; Yinhai Wang, professor in CEE; and Payman Arabshahi, associate professor in EE — will choose projects from proposals submitted by UW faculty. Potential projects range from using the cars to test automated parking technologies, developing a program similar to the UW’s NightRide service, strategizing the best way to charge electric cars, and even detecting and recording bird songs on campus. The research and project designs will involve undergraduate and graduate students.

UW team's EcoCar2 entry

June 20, 2014 | UW Today

UW students’ electric-hybrid car takes 2nd in international competition

The University of Washington's Advanced Vehicle Works team won second place in the international EcoCAR 2 competition this month for turning a Chevrolet Malibu into a highly efficient hybrid vehicle running on electric grid energy and biodiesel. In addition to second place overall, the team won another nine awards. See also: GeekWire | Seattle Times article | Facebook page

David McDonald

June 19, 2014

David McDonald appointed chair of HCDE

David McDonald was appointed chair and associate professor of the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering effective June 23, 2014. McDonald comes to HCDE from the UW's Information School (iSchool) and brings a wide breadth of experience as a leader, educator, and researcher. His research interests span Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), and Social Computing. McDonald has taught a breadth of technical development, design, analysis, and methods courses and has demonstrated a commitment to student mentorship.

poster excerpt - ferry plies Admiralty Inlet with sensor on hull

June 17, 2014 | UW Today

Ferries for science: Instrument will monitor flow in Puget Sound

A sensor mounted on the hull of the ferry Salish will measure water direction and speed from top to bottom in Admiralty Inlet. By better understanding circulation at this "gateway between the ocean and Puget Sound," researchers can help trace events like low-oxygen fish kills to human or nonhuman causes. Jim Thomson, an oceanographer with the UW Applied Physics Laboratory and an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering is quoted.

diagram of lens with sensor and RF chip, with image of lens in eye

June 16, 2014 | UW Today

Sensor in eye could track pressure changes, monitor for glaucoma

A low-power sensor could be placed permanently in a person's eye to track hard-to-measure changes in eye pressure. The sensor would be embedded with an artificial lens during cataract surgery and would detect pressure changes instantaneously, then transmit the data wirelessly using radio frequency waves. The researchers, including UW EE professor Karl Böhringer and EE associate professor Brian Otis, published their results in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering and filed patents on an initial prototype of the pressure-monitoring device.

dog coming through a little door with the text 'Dog Door' underneath

June 12, 2014 | UW Today

New computer program aims to teach itself everything about anything

Computer scientists from UW and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Seattle have created the first fully automated computer program that teaches everything there is to know about any visual concept. Called Learning Everything about Anything, or LEVAN, the program searches millions of books and images on the Web to learn all possible variations of a concept, then displays the results to users as a comprehensive, browsable list of images. See also: YouTube video

UW student shows middle school students EcoCAR engine (photo by Ellen Banner, Seattle Times)

May 24, 2014 | Seattle Times

UW team builds a hybrid with some muscle for collegiate contest

A Chevy Malibu converted by UW students into a powerful, biodiesel-electric hybrid is off to Michigan as part of the national EcoCAR 2 competition. Before the car was shipped out, the students showed it off to a science class at Denny International Middle School. See the Seattle Times story.

Projected Talent team members with grand prize check

May 23, 2014 | UW Engineering

$70,000 Awarded in UW Business Plan Competition

UW Engineering students and graduates were well represented on teams receiving awards ranging from $25,000 to $2,500 at the 2014 UW Business Plan Competition awards ceremony.
See also: Foster Blog | GeekWire

Linda Ng Boyle

May 22, 2014 | UW Engineering

New ISE chair: Linda Ng Boyle

Engineering dean Mike Bragg announced that Linda Ng Boyle, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering and civil and environmental engineering, will become chair of the Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering, effective September 16, 2014. Linda is a respected national leader in the field of transportation safety. She directs the Human Factors and Statistical Modeling Lab and serves as the associate director of research and on the board of directors of the Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium.

graduate student Brad Dickerson runs tests on an insect using a pair of Helmholtz coils

May 14, 2014 | UW Today

$31M gift will fund early stage UW research by high-tech entrepreneurs

UW is receiving a $31.2 million gift from Washington Research Foundation to boost entrepreneurship and support research to advance global innovation in clean energy, protein design, big data science and neuroengineering. The funding will be used to hire new faculty, attract competitive postdoctoral researchers and enhance facilities and infrastructure.

telerobot with mounted camera and router

May 7, 2014 | UW Today

UW building teleoperated robots for disaster response in national challenge

University of Washington electrical engineers have developed telerobotics technology that could make disaster response faster and more efficient. By adding haptics (tactile feedback technology) to remotely controlled robots outfitted with video cameras, researchers have increased the range and precision of tasks emergency responders can perform using robots. On May 13, the team will demonstrate their technology on campus in preparation for the SmartAmerica Challenge Summit in Washington, D.C.

Nicole Trosper

May 5, 2014 | UW Bioengineering

BioE senior receives Bonderman Travel Fellowship

Nicole Trosper, a bioengineering undergrad, received a 2014 Bonderman Travel Fellowship, which allows students to pursue the life-changing benefits of travel – without undertaking academic study or research during the award term. Trosper plans to travel to Brazil, southeastern Africa, Cambodia and Vietnam. She is interested in seeing the role of medicine and engineering across cultures, and how the disciplines enhance cultural identity.

child at laptop computer

May 2, 2014 | UW Today

Teaching kids the language behind their devices— co-founder to speak co-founder and CEO, Hadi Partovi, will speak at UW on May 8 for the Washington Education Innovation Forum. Partovi will discuss what we can do to prepare students for science, technology, math and engineering jobs. CSE professor Ed Lazowska will provide introductory remarks.

implanted cells (green) meshed with primates' heart cells (red)

April 30, 2014 | UW Health Sciences NewsBeat

Scientists regenerate heart muscle in primates

In a major advance, UW researchers have successfully restored damaged heart muscle of monkeys using heart cells created from human embryonic stem cells. Dr. Charles Murry, a UW professor of pathology, bioengineering, and medicine, led the research team that conducted the experiment.

children watch a water rocket blast off

April 23, 2014 | UW Today

Thousands on campus for Engineering Discovery Days, April 25-26

Don’t be surprised if you see a water rocket launch along Rainier Vista or a human-powered submarine showing off by the fountain this week! Engineering Discovery Days is Friday and Saturday, April 25-26. The event is free and open to the public.

placing a Micro Phone Lens on a smart phone

April 15, 2014 | UW Today

UW graduate’s lens turns any smartphone into a portable microscope

UW mechanical engineering alumnus Thomas Larson (’13) has taken the plunge into entrepreneurship: his Olympia, WA company is producing low-cost, plastic lenses that turn smart phones and tablet computers into microscopes. Larson's path to commercialization began in the lab of ME associate professor Nathan Sniadecki and progressed through the UW Business Plan Competition and a successful Kickstarter campaign.
See also: The Olympian

hands being shaken over UWEE and SEIEE agreement

April 11, 2014 | UW Today

UWEE and Shanghai university collaborate on combined BSEE/MSEE program

UW Electrical Engineering and the School of Electronics, Information and Electrical Engineering (SEIEE) in Shanghai, China are collaborating to build a combined BSEE and MSEE program. The programs already have strong ties, with 3 UWEE PhD alumni teaching at SEIEE. UWEE chair and professor Vikram Jandhyala and CoE Advancement's Mahnaz Sherzoi traveled to China to seal the deal.

original image of child's face with three age-progressed versions

April 9, 2014 | UW Today

Automated age-progression software lets you see how a child will age

University of Washington researchers have developed software that automatically generates images of a young child’s face as it ages through a lifetime. The technique is the first fully automated approach for aging babies to adults that works with variable lighting, expressions and poses. CSE's Steven Seitz and Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman have released a paper on the technique. See also: Seattle Times

aerial image of Oso landslide. Photo: Weldon Wilson, Washington State Patrol

April 1, 2014 | UW Today

UW experts part of technical team investigating Snohomish County mudslide

CEE associate professor Joseph Wartman will co-lead a national team to investigate the Oso Washington mudslide to understand why the slope collapsed, in the hope that a similar disaster can be prevented. Wartman and UW geomorphologist David Montgomery hope to visit the landslide site this week, followed by a visit from the entire reconnaissance team of six experts from universities, government agencies and industry. See also: National Geographic
UW researchers, radar company conduct aerial surveys of site

segment of network graph showing the top Twitter hashtags after the Boston Marathon bombing

March 17, 2014 | UW Today

Hold that RT: Much misinformation tweeted after 2013 Boston Marathon bombing

HCDE's Kate Starbird led research that shows misinformation spread widely on Twitter after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, despite efforts to correct inaccurate rumors. Their Paper presented at iConference 2014 won a top award.
See also: KUOW interview with Kate Starbird

Jeff Richards, ChemE student

March 2014 | Columns

Fellowship helps ChemE PhD student's solar energy research

Jeff Richards is researching ways to improve the efficiency of solar cells in the Pozzo Research Group. Jeff's research focuses on the chemical makeup of a solar panel's active layer and testing the use of cheaper, easier-to-recycle plastic materials. See also: Science of the Sun video

graphical representation showing the layers of the 2-D LED and how it emits light

March 10, 2014 | UW Today

Scientists build thinnest-possible LEDs to be stronger, more energy efficient

Materials Science & Engineering researchers Xiaodong Xu, assistant professor, and grad student Jason Ross helped build LEDs that are 10,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair. "This is a huge leap of miniaturization of technology, and because it's a semiconductor, you can do almost everything with it that is possible with existing, three-dimensional silicon technologies," Ross said. See also: Nature Nanotechnology paper

pre-k student holds sheep brain, compares to human brain

March 04, 2014 | The Seattle Times

Brain Awareness Week

Eric Chudler, associate research professor in BioE and executive director of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, organizes brain awareness events to celebrate Brain Awareness Week. The official week is March 10-16..

Three students in a thoughtful conversation

March 04, 2014 | UW Today

New initiative prompts engineering students to look back to go forward

Reflecting on and learning from their educational experiences is crucial to students' academic and career successes. The Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching is establishing the Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education to enhance student learning and foster a better-prepared engineering workforce. The program was made possible by a $4.4 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

user holding AllSee prototype attached to smartphone and gesturing with closed hand

February 27, 2014 | UW Today

Battery-free technology brings gesture recognition to all devices

UW engineering team has built a low-cost gesture recognition system that runs without batteries and lets users control their electronic devices hidden from sight with simple hand movements. The prototype, called AllSee, uses existing TV signals as both a power source and the means for detecting a user's gesture command. The research is led by Shyam Gollakota, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, and assisted by graduate students in electrical engineering. See also: Bringing Gesture Recognition To All Devices (technical paper)

Bobak Ferdowsi - Brian DalBalcon Photography

February 20, 2014 | UW Today

NASA's 'Mohawk Guy' advocates 'audacious,' creative engineering

Bobak Ferdowsi, a NASA flight engineer who became known as "Mohawk Guy" after sporting a mohawk hairstyle during the 2012 rover Curiosity’s landing on Mars, spoke to a class of University of Washington aeronautics and astronautics engineering students on Feb. 19. Ferdowsi was a student in the department and graduated from the UW in 2001. He spoke with UW News & Information's Michelle Ma after his talk.

James J. Riley

February 6, 2014 | UW Today

ME's James Riley elected to National Academy of Engineering

James J. Riley, PACCAR Professor of Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. The academy cited his "contributions in analysis, modeling, and computations of transitioning and turbulent phenomena." Election to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer. See also: National Academies press release

Chris Burfeind holds the prototype microfluidic device

February 6, 2014 | UW Today

Credit card-sized device could analyze biopsy, help diagnose pancreatic cancer in minutes

UW scientists and engineers are developing a low-cost device that could potentially reduce the time it takes to diagnose cancer to a matter of minutes. A prototype made from silicon and teflon tubes uses fluid transport to convey pieces of tissue through a series of steps -- the same steps that full-scale pathology labs apply. (Pictured: ME undergraduate Chris Burfeind.) See also:

image of injected cosmetic filler resting in tissue without blocking blood vessels and veins

January 27, 2014 | UW Today

Facelift complications eased with help of new 3-D imaging technique

BioE professor Ruikang Wang's lab has pioneered a fine-resolution imaging technique called optical microangiography that creates 3-D images of tiny vascular networks without touching or adding dyes. The technique allows scientists to look at blood vessels during an injection and may lead to insight into other vascular health issues such as strokes, traumatic brain injuries, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Francois Baneyx

January 22, 2014

François Baneyx: new chair of UW chemical engineering

François Baneyx, the Charles W.H. Matthaei Professor in Chemical Engineering, has stepped into the role of Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering. François has held many leadership positions, including directing the UW Center for Nanotechnology, NSF National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, and NSF Genetically Engineered Materials Science and Engineering Center (co-director). Dean Mike Bragg describes François as an exceptional scholar whose many awards include his 2013 election as a Fellow in the AAAS. He takes over from Dan Schwartz who is the new director of the Clean Energy Institute.

dentist operates on a patient's mouth (photo: US Navy)

January 21, 2014 | UW Today

Dental school researchers patent new antibacterial agent

Four UW School of Dentistry faculty members have received a patent for a new way of using titanium-based materials to fight oral bacteria. The method employs a novel class of substances called titanates and peroxotitanates, which can inhibit bacterial growth without incurring the toxicity risks the metals would otherwise pose. BioE's James Bryers was co-principal investigator on federally-funded research that culminated in the patent.

dam on the Columbia River

January 15, 2014 | UW Today

Glaciers, streamflow changes are focus of new Columbia River study

As the Earth warms, experts know the Columbia River will change—they just don’t know how much or when. UW environmental engineers are launching a new study to try to understand how climate change will affect streamflow patterns, important for guiding long-term decision-making for the Columbia River Basin. UW Civil & Environmental Engineering professor Dennis Lettenmaier is leading the project with CEE researcher Bart Nijssen and OSU's Philip Mote.

ultrasound image with kidney stone and path marked in red

January 10, 2014 | UW Today

Trial to test using ultrasound to move kidney stones

A new device developed at the University of Washington would let doctors use ultrasound to move kidney stones inside the body and help them pass by natural means. Instead of breaking up large stones, this technique "could move small stones to reduce pain, expense and treatment times" according to ME assistant professor Charles Bailey. With urologists eager to use the new technology, the team hopes to move rapidly to commercialization. See also: YouTube

a representation of how the engineered proteins decorate a nanoparticle's surface

January 7, 2014 | UW Today

On-demand vaccines possible with engineered nanoparticles

UW chemical engineering professor François Baneyx hopes a new type of vaccine shown to work in mice will one day make it cheaper and easy to manufacture on-demand vaccines for humans. "A field doctor could see the beginnings of an epidemic, make vaccine doses right away, and blanket-vaccinate the entire population in the affected area to prevent the spread of an epidemic," said Baneyx, lead author of a recent paper published online in the journal Nanomedicine.


January 3, 2014 | HCDE News

HCDE department chair shines as leader in field

Jan Spyridakis, department chair and professor of HCDE, shines as the most published experimental researcher in the last 20 years in technical communication journals. She coauthored 11% of the total sample on a breadth of themes, including comprehension, genre, technology, communication strategies, and editing and style. The same study found that researchers at the UW had the most output of any other research affiliate.