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[em]Washington Engineer[/em] - February 2016

In the February 2016 issue:

  • Dean's Message
  • Research - First to cool with lasers; Robots learning like babies; Digital personas
  • Campus News - First implantable mobility device; Our newest NAE members; Big data brain trust; New MS of applied bioengineering
  • Events - Women in engineering conference; Environmental Innovation Challenge; Engineering Discovery Days
  • In the Media - Data stored on DNA; Safer football helmets; Power Over Wi-Fi is "best of what's new"

Dean's Message

The dean touches on efforts to restore movement to stroke and spinal cord victims, other research innovations and new graduate programs that will offer students in-demand skills. Read message »

Michael Bragg


Instrument built by UW engineers (from left) Peter Pauzauskie, Xuezhe Zhou, Bennett Smith, Matthew Crane and Paden Roder (unpictured) used infrared laser light to refrigerate liquids for the first time. Credit: Dennis Wise/University of Washington

UW team refrigerates liquids with a laser for the first time
Since the first lasers were invented in 1960, they've given off heat. University of Washington materials science and chemical engineers are the first to solve a decades-old puzzle — figuring out how to make a laser refrigerate water and other liquids.
UPI | Christian Science Monitor | CNET | Quartz | Discovery News | Voice of America

Teaching robot to follow an human's gaze.

Roboticists learn to teach robots from babies
A collaboration between UW computer scientists and developmental psychologists has demonstrated that robots can "learn" much like babies — by experiencing the world and eventually imitating humans.
The Atlantic | Smithsonian | Fortune | Popular Science | Quartz

Images of celebrities such as Tom Hanks from Internet used to control photos or videos of another person. Credit: University of Washington

What makes Tom Hanks look like Tom Hanks?
UW computer vision researchers have reconstructed 3-D models of celebrities such as Tom Hanks from large Internet photo collections. The model can deliver speeches that the real actor never performed — one step toward developing fully interactive digital personas of people from family or historic photo collections.
Mashable | MIT Technology Review | IEEE Spectrum | The Atlantic | Slate | Discover

Campus News

CSNE researchers examine flexible neural recording fibers that can be used in implantable devices for restoring motor function in stroke and spinal cord injury patients. Credit: Justin Knight Photography/MIT/Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering

UW-led center receives $16M to work on first implantable device to reanimate paralyzed limbs
The Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering has won a $16 million National Science Foundation grant to develop the first implantable device to reanimate paralyzed limbs and restore motor function in stroke or spinal cord injury patients.
.Mic | Motherboard | Seattle Times | Puget Sound Business Journal | GeekWire

UW CSE professor Tom Anderson

Tom Anderson elected to National Academy of Engineering
Professor of computer science and engineering and alumnus Tom Anderson has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. The academy cited his "contributions to the design of resilient and efficient distributed computer systems." Also elected were UW civil engineering alumnus Jon Magnusson and computer science alumnus Albert Greenberg.

UW eScience Institute logo

UW to co-lead West Coast Big Data 'brain trust' for NSF
The NSF has selected the University of Washington, along with the University of California, San Diego and the University of California, Berkeley, to co-lead one of four Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs around the country.
Bloomberg Business | Seattle Times

grad student working in a Bioengineering lab. Credit: Scott Manthey

New master of applied bioengineering to prepare students for translational research
A new graduate degree program — the Master of Applied Bioengineering — will launch in August 2016 and 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.


collage of UW women engineers

2016 Women in Science & Engineering Conference
Feb 27, 2016 | 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Husky Union Building
The WiSE Conference — a celebration of women in engineering — brings pre-college, undergraduate and graduate students together with faculty, administrators and professional women for a day of educational and professional enrichment.

Korvata team on stage with their award from the 2014 Environmental Innovaton Challenge

Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge
March 31, 2016 | — 6:30 p.m.
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
The Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge at the University of Washington taps into the passion, smarts, and motivation that engineering students have for solving environmental and clean tech problems.

Engineering Discovery Days logo

Engineering Discovery Days
April 22 and 23, 2016
Various locations on UW campus
UW engineering students and faculty share hands-on fun and learning with local students, teachers and families in this two-day community event.

In the Media

Luis Ceze, one of the designers of the new DNA storage system; Douglas Carmean, a designer of computers at Microsoft; and Karin Strauss, a Microsoft computer architect. Credit: David Ryder for The New York Times

Data storage on DNA can keep it safe for centuries
The New York Times | Dec. 3, 2015
A team of UW and Microsoft computer scientists have shown that DNA molecules can be the basis for an archival storage system potentially capable of storing all of the world’s digital information in roughly nine liters of solution, about the amount of liquid in a case of wine.
KUOW | GeekWire

Ryan Smith, senior in mechanical engineering

This football helmet crumples — and that's good
Bloomberg Business | Jan. 11, 2016
To address football’s concussion plague, Vicis — a UW spin-out company launched by mechanical engineers — has reimagined the traditional football helmet. Like a car’s bumper, the helmet's soft, deformable outer skin gives a little when struck, slowing the impact before it reaches a tailback’s brain.
CBS News | Fortune | USA Today | The Wall Street Journal | Sports Illustrated

Wi-Fi router and a low-resolution camera. Credit: Dennis Wise/ University of Washington

The 'Best of What's New' in Engineering 2015
Popular Science | Nov. 18, 2015
The Power Over Wi-Fi (PoWiFi) system developed by UW electrical engineers and computer scientists — which gleaned enough power from ambient Wi-Fi to take photographs — is one of the most innovative and game-changing technologies of the year.