News & Events

About NewsFlash

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 Jennifer Langston at or (206) 543-2580.

NewsFlash, December 2011


Dec. 26, 2011 | The Seattle Times
3-D printing on way to becoming affordable

Mark Ganter in the lab   Mechanical engineer Mark Ganter sees the future, and it's printing apple pies. And maybe vital organs, furniture and buildings. Today, more and more companies are selling 3-D printers within the price range of consumers.

3-D printing hits rock-bottom prices with homemade ceramics mix | Mar. 31, 2009


Dec. 27, 2011 | Fox News
Top health stories of 2011

Surgeons   The story of how gamers in UW's Foldit game decoded the structure of a retrovirus protein, which has stumped scientists for more than 10 years, was one of Fox News' top health stories of the year.

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


Dec. 27, 2011 | MSNBC: Cosmic Log blog
11 scientific twists from 2011

Numbers   MSNBC includes protein-folding game Foldit, developed by UW computer scientists and biochemists, in his list of top stories of 2011. Readers can vote for their favorite (Foldit is now #6).

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


Dec. 31, 2011 | Puget Sound Business Journal: TechFlash blog
Innovation of the Year: Online game ‘FoldIt’ solves AIDS mystery

Cartoon protein   Foldit was voted innovation of the year by readers of TechFlash as part of the TechFlash Newsmaker Awards. The protein-folding game was developed by computer scientists Zoran Popovic and Seth Cooper, as well as UW biochemists.

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


Dec. 08, 2011 | GeekWire
List: The 25 people who did big stuff this year in Seattle tech and beyond

Yoky Matsuoka   GeekWire editors include computer scientist Yoky Matsuoka in their list of people who made the biggest impact on the technology community and did the coolest stuff within their respective fields over the past year.

UW will lead $18.5 million effort to create mind-machine interface | Jul. 14, 2011


Dec. 26, 2011 | The Seattle Times
520 bridge ready to toll

Putting up tolling signs   What experts call the most complex tolling project in North America is about to start. Mark Hallenbeck, director of the Washington State Transportation Center, is quoted.


Dec. 22, 2011 | InSight Radio
Stop finder app

GoBraille logo   The radio station of the U.K. Royal National Institute of Blind People interviews undergraduate student Sanjana Prasain about her research providing transit information to blind, low-vision, and deaf-blind users.

Bus left you waiting in the cold? Use your cell phone to track it down | Feb. 05, 2009


Dec. 29, 2011 | GeekWire
Amazon’s Bezos spends hours in computer science labs, checking in on the future

Jeff Bezos at UW CEO Jeff Bezos spent several hours at the University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering department before the holiday break.


Dec. 22, 2011 | KING TV
Bionic eye not the stuff of science fiction anymore

Andy Lingley   You've seen it in Hollywood and in video games -- electronics that enhance what we see through our own eyes. Now, electrical engineering PhD student Andy Lingley says the team is much closer to a bionic contact lens.

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


Dec. 18, 2011 | New York Times
The Internet gets physical

Web of objects   Low-cost sensors, clever software and advancing computer firepower are together opening the door to new possibilities. Computer scientists Ed Lazowska and Yoky Matsuoka are quoted.


Dec. 19, 2011 | Xconomy
Scientists morph into entrepreneurs through NSF I-Corps program

I-Corps meeting   Twenty-one teams picked for the National Science Foundation’s new Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program met at Stanford last week. Among them was Carbon Cultures, a group of UW chemical and material engineers working to turn timber waste into fertilizer.

Turning slash piles into soil benefit | Oct. 06, 2011


Dec. 17, 2011 | The Seattle Times
Paul Allen to develop dream of space travel

In a letter to the editor, Reiner Decher, professor emeritus of aeronautics and astronautics, calls Paul Allen's decision to develop space tourism a "combination of absurdity and self-indulgence."


Dec. 27, 2011 | Xconomy
Bacteria to do our bidding

Matt O'Donnell   Xconomy asked experts what one thing they would like to patent. Engineering Dean Matt O'Donnell said: "If I could patent a sure-fire control technology enabling precise delivery of drugs and biologics through living organisms such as bacteria, I would quit my day job."


Dec. 30, 2011 | Xconomy
Technology that finally helps learning

Ed Lazowska   Xconomy asked experts "What's the craziest idea out there that just might succeed?" Computer scientist Ed Lazowska responds that over the next decade, technology can actually play a significant positive role in education.


Dec. 01, 2011 | Prism Magazine
Sensor sensation

Shwetak Patel   The American Society of Engineering Education's Prism magazine, in its "Up close: Innovators at work and in the classroom" series, describes MacArthur award-winner Shwetak Patel's innovations in research and education.

Visionary innovator wins MacArthur 'genius' award | Sep. 20, 2011


Dec. 01, 2011 | NPR
Tainted nectar? Consumer group warns of arsenic in fruit juice

Fruit juice   The FDA said it will consider setting a standard for how much arsenic should be permitted in apple juice after Consumer Reports found high levels in apple juice samples. Electrical engineer Denise Wilson, who published a study that prompted the test, is quoted.


Dec. 29, 2011 | CBS News
Can scented products make you sick?

Perfume counter   Concern is being expressed that fragrances in cleaning products might be making some people ill. Civil and environmental engineer Anne Steinemann recently completed a study of scented products.

Scented consumer products shown to emit many unlisted chemicals | Oct. 26, 2010


Dec. 05, 2011 | Wired
Facebook auditions kid hackers with all-night codefest

Student programming   A team from the University of Washington has built an application — — that lets you grab music from one machine, stream it to another, and play it in sync on both. The team crowds around two monitors as The Police plays on one computer and arrives on the second — almost in sync.


Dec. 06, 2011 | GeekWire
UW students hack their way to Facebook campus with music sharing and syncing app

Facebook hack team   Computer science seniors Ryan Ewing, Alex Juarez and Bill Cauchois and freshman Nick Barnwell competed again in the 24-hour competition in Palo Alto, Calif.


Dec. 20, 2011 | Inside Higher Ed
With Microsoft's, have we reached 'peak social'?

Last week, Microsoft unveiled its new social network for students: The project comes out of Microsoft Research's FUSE Labs and is currently being piloted at the UW and two other schools.


Dec. 06, 2011 | New York Times
A new secret weapon for electronics shoppers

Oren Etzioni   Perhaps the biggest consumer weapon arrived this year in the form of, launched by UW computer scientist Oren Etzioni and a group of UW alumni. The Web site and mobile app collect and mine billions of transactions to determine what the best price is and whether there will be an even better price soon.


Dec. 26, 2011 | American Public Media: Marketplace
Could that new toy robot be hacked?

Robots   From your child's toy robots to pacemakers, electronic devices could all potentially get hacked. Computer scientist Yoshi Kohno is quoted.

Media alert: Presentation on the security of modern automobiles | May. 18, 2010
Researchers find implantable cardiac defibrillators may expose patients to security and privacy risks; potential solutions suggested | Mar. 11, 2008


Dec. 08, 2011 | KIRO-TV
Gregoire testifies on aerospace education bills

Gov. Chris Gregoire is encouraging lawmakers to pass a package of bills she says will ensure the state's aerospace competitiveness. Dean Matt O'Donnell is quoted.


Dec. 06, 2011 | New York Times
Computer scientists may have what it takes to help cure cancer

David Patterson   An inspirational example is the Foldit game — developed by the computer scientist Zoran Popovic at the University of Washington — that recently attracted thousands of volunteers to uncover the structure of an enzyme important to H.I.V. research.

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


Dec. 10, 2011 | The Economist
The play’s the thing

Soldiers in video game   By turning their problem into a game, the scientists have harnessed thousands of human brains without specialist knowledge to work on protein-folding.

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


Dec. 06, 2011 | The (San Jose) Mercury News
In her free time, this Google researcher designs puzzles of the wooden kind

Puzzle pieces   By day, electrical engineer Maya Gupta, currently on sabbatical at Google, tries to solve the puzzle of teaching computers to recognize the contents of digital images. Outside the lab, Gupta prefers puzzles of the analog variety.

Elegance, engineering combine in Maya Gupta’s high-end jigsaw puzzles | Jun. 22, 2011


Dec. 28, 2011 | GeekWire
Geeks who give back: Hélène Martin, UW computer science

Hélène Martin   GeekWire picks Hélène Martin, a UW alum who is now a lecturer in computer science and engineering, for its 2012 "Geeks Who Give Back" calendar. Alum Kevin Ross, founder of Washington FIRST Robotics, is also honored.


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.