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, May 2011


May 02, 2011 | PC Magazine
Study: E-Readers need work before schools toss out textbooks

Kindle DX   Makers of e-readers like the Amazon Kindle DX have some work to do before the devices replace textbooks at universities, according to findings from a long-term study conducted at seven U.S. colleges. The study was led by human centered design and engineering's Charlotte Lee and PhD student Alex Thayer.

College students’ use of Kindle DX points to e-reader’s role in academia | May 02, 2011


May 03, 2011 | Fast Company
E-readers fail at education

Kindle DX with textbook   Digital devices could ostensibly replace the expensive textbooks that many students shell out for every semester. Eventually. For now, e-readers are still supplemental devices because many of them don't work well and, more importantly, they don't work well with the human brain.

College students’ use of Kindle DX points to e-reader’s role in academia | May 02, 2011


May 17, 2011 | New York Times (via International Herald Tribune)
Students not ready to adopt Kindle for notes and reading

Just seven months after adopting the Kindle DX for university-level reading and note-taking, some 60 percent of students had put it aside in favor of traditional learning material. Human centered design and engineering PhD student Alex Thayer and adviser Charlotte Lee presented their findings in Vancouver at a conference on human-computer interaction.

College students’ use of Kindle DX points to e-reader’s role in academia | May 02, 2011


May 02, 2011 | The Seattle Times: Brier Dudley's blog
Kindle so-so for students, UW study concludes

UW researcher Charlotte Lee and PhD student Alex Thayer, in Human Centered Design and Engineering, are about to present a report on a pilot project that had computer science students use a Kindle DX for their course reading.

College students’ use of Kindle DX points to e-reader’s role in academia | May 02, 2011


May 17, 2011 | DailyTech
New scope/software scans bladder's interior like never before

UW scanning fiber endoscope   Mechanical engineers Eric Seibel and Tim Soper have developed a painless and inexpensive bladder scanning method.

Digital imaging software creates a ‘Google Earth’ view of the bladder | May 16, 2011


May 18, 2011 | Medgadget
3D views of the bladder’s interior surface

3D reconstruction of the bladder   UW mechanical engineers are developing a system to acquire 3D images of the interior of the bladder in order to help detect bladder cancer.

Digital imaging software creates a ‘Google Earth’ view of the bladder | May 16, 2011


May 23, 2011 | OptoIQ
Laser endoscope/software combo gives 3-D view of the bladder

UW mechanical engineers created an automated approach to bladder cancer diagnosis using software in combination with an ultrathin endoscope that contains low-power lasers, enabling it to detect newly approved diagnostic cancer-cell markers.

Digital imaging software creates a ‘Google Earth’ view of the bladder | May 16, 2011


May 09, 2011 | MSNBC (via TechNewsDaily)
'Frozen diamond smoke' could be used in human body, electronics

Diamond   Frozen smoke made of diamonds -- the lightest form of diamond known -- could find use within electronics and sensors. Known as aerogels, these are the world's lightest solids, made up of as much as 99.8 percent air. Materials scientist Peter Pauzauskie synthesized the material as a postdoc at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.


May 01, 2011 | Longview Daily News
Green talk vs. green action

Trees on hill   In 2006, Washington voters gave utilities a clear mandate to develop renewable sources of energy. In their efforts to generate more green power, however, some utilities and industries are running into unexpected opposition: environmentalists. UW research into tidal energy is mentioned.

Assessing the environmental effects of tidal turbines | Dec. 13, 2010


May 16, 2011 | The Associated Press (via Bend Bulletin)
Utilities work to solve Oregon coast wave power puzzle

Ocean Power Technologies buoy   Redmond-based Central Electric Cooperative is funding a project to test a wave-power buoy slated to be installed off the coast of Oregon by late summer or early fall. Oregon State University and the UW researchers at the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center are investigating how well wave-power technology will work, as well as the environmental and social issues that come with it.

Assessing the environmental effects of tidal turbines | Dec. 13, 2010


May 24, 2011 | Oregon Public Broadcasting
Researchers study potential impact of tidal power turbines

Instrument for monitoring marine life   Civil and environmental engineer Jim Thomson and his team are trying to understand what the environmental impacts might be of placing two 45 foot high turbines about 150 feet below the surface of Puget Sound.

Assessing the environmental effects of tidal turbines | Dec. 13, 2010


May 26, 2011 | Agence France-Presse
Scientists doubt claims methane gone after BP spill

Scientists are casting doubt on a study that claimed bacteria ate nearly all the methane that leaked after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, saying its methods were flawed. Chemical engineer Ludmila Chistoserdova is a co-author on the new paper published in Science.


May 18, 2011 | The Irish Times
Cocktail of control, power and noise

Lamborghini   Lamborghini boss Stephan Winkelmann says the Aventador is two generations ahead of the Murciélago it replaces. At its core is the breakthrough, an affordable one-piece carbon-fibre chassis that is the end result of years of work with Boeing and the University of Washington.

UW's newly named 'Lamborghini Lab' brings composite parts to sports-car arena | Oct. 06, 2009


May 20, 2011 | Science
Focus on aging: Engineering safer drivers

Car with instruments   ScienceCareers profiles Bryan Reimer, an MIT researcher whose work focuses on improving the performance of the human who drives the car. Industrial and systems engineer Linda Ng Boyle, a collaborator of Reimer's, is quoted.

Distracted drivers benefit from in-car driving coach | Aug. 10, 2010


May 04, 2011 | KUOW Radio
Tolls ramp up in Puget Sound region

Good to Go card   Tolls on the 520 floating bridge may be just the beginning of road tolls in the Seattle region. Civil engineer Mark Hallenbeck, who directs the Washington State Transportation Center at the UW, is a guest on the program.


May 23, 2011 | The Seattle Times
Free app tells you when your bus is coming

Brian Ferris   A front-page article describes OneBusAway, a project by computer scientist Alan Borning, doctoral student Brian Ferris and civil engineering doctoral student Kari Watkins. An accompanying blog post notes that Ferris is leaving to join Google's office in Zurich.

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


May 19, 2011 | PC World (via Computerworld)
Six biggest rising threats from cybercriminals

OnStar communications chip   The age of the connected car is dawning. For anyone who follows network computing or computing in general, adding these new features to a moving vehicle should raise a red flag as yet another way hackers can cause problems.

Media alert: Presentation on the security of modern automobiles | May 18, 2010


May 18, 2011 | New Scientist
Taking control of your data into your own hands

Facebook logo   A New Scientist editorial, "Privacy in the Age of Facebook," considers recent privacy breaches by Apple, Amazon and Sony. An accompanying article notes that computer scientist David Wetherall is developing tools to monitor the data transmission of apps and provide easy-to-understand "privacy revelations" about each one.


May 12, 2011 | ABC News (via Discovery News)
How to make a human antenna

Desk at Microsoft   What if you could control every appliance in your home with one hand? With this technology developed by computer scientist and electrical engineer Shwetak Patel and collaborators at Microsoft Research, you just might be able to.

Home's electrical wiring acts as antenna to receive low-power sensor data | Sep. 15, 2010


May 03, 2011 | Technology Review
Talking to the wall

Person touching wall   Engineers at UW and Microsoft Research have found a way to harness ambient electromagnetic radiation for a computer interface that turns any wall in a building into a touch-sensitive surface. Computer scientist and electrical engineer Shwetak Patel is quoted.

Home's electrical wiring acts as antenna to receive low-power sensor data | Sep. 15, 2010


May 12, 2011 | PC World: Geek Tech blog
Move over, Kinect! Microsoft looks at new motion-sensing technology

Electrical engineering PhD student Gabe Cohn and collaborators at UW and Microsoft Research developed technology that can detect electromagnetic fields produced by a human body, as well as those produced by electrical appliances and power cables. The sensor, which can be worn on the neck or wrist, is connected to a computer that can record and recognize field changes keyed into particular poses.

Home's electrical wiring acts as antenna to receive low-power sensor data | Sep. 15, 2010


May 02, 2011 | Discover
Future tech: Looking forward to the post-screen era

Graphic of eyes on mountain   iPads, 3-D TVs, and other slick modern displays would be a lot better if they weren't hemmed in by frames and limited by solidity. Electrical engineer and nanobiotechnologist Babak Parviz are developing a much cooler approach: display screens built into contact lenses.

Contact lenses with circuits, lights a possible platform for superhuman vision | Jan. 17, 2008


May 17, 2011 | Inside Higher Ed
Bringing them back

OnRamps logo   Increasing the ranks of women faculty members in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines has become an area of intense focus for academe. The organizers of the On-Ramps into Academia workshop in Seattle have taken a different approach: encouraging and coaching talented and accomplished women to leave their positions in private industry and return to campus. Dean Matt O'Donnell, electrical engineer Eve Riskin, OnRamps program manager Joyce Yen and human centered design and engineering's Cecilia Aragon are quoted.

Encouraging women scientists in industry, government to enter academia | Jan. 20, 2011


May 11, 2011 | KPLU
President Obama's Chief Technology Officer in Seattle

Ed Lazowska and Aneesh Chopra   Anish Chopra, chief technology officer to President Obana, has been in Seattle this week, meeting with all kinds of players. Ed Lazowska, professor of computer science and engineering, is quoted.


May 17, 2011 | Xconomy
Red hot: The computer science job market

Ed Lazowska   It’s no secret that there’s extraordinary competition right now for computer scientists, writes computer scientist Ed Lazowska. Both nationally and regionally, new UW graduates are receiving extraordinary offers.


May 05, 2011 | KING 5 News
Hiring boom at Google for 6,000 new employees worldwide

Cullen Walsh   KING 5 News profiles the red-hot Seattle market for computer science grads, interviewing graduating computer science PhD student John P. John and undergraduate Cullen Walsh.


May 13, 2011 | NPR
Some new grads still struggle to find jobs

NPR logo   On college campuses, the outlook for new grads is better than it's been for the past couple of years. Still, for many students landing a good job remains tough. Industrial and systems engineering senior Brittany Kohler and electrical engineering senior Nick Douglas are interviewed as examples from the former category.


May 04, 2011 | Time
Paging Michael Scott: 'That's what she said' computer algorithm developed

Michael Scott of The Office   Computer scientists have actually developed software that recognizes double entendres, à la "that's what she said" jokes. The software, called DEviaNT (Double Entendre via Noun Structure) was developed by PhD student Chloé Kiddon and postdoc Yuriy Brun.


Apr. 30, 2011 | Fox News
Computer program knows when to say ‘that’s what she said’

DEviaNT is a new computer program developed at the UW that can determine, with 72 percent accuracy, when it is appropriate to respond to a sentence with the double entendre "That's what she said," popularized by Steve Carell's character on "The Office."


Apr. 29, 2011 | New Scientist: One Percent blog
That's what she said: Software that tells dirty jokes

Please Dismount sign   Double entendres have been making us laugh since the days of Chaucer and Shakespeare, but up until now computers weren't in on the joke. Chloé Kiddon and Yuriy Brun, two computer scientists at the University of Washington, have developed a system for recognising a particular type of double entendre.


May 05, 2011 | Sustainable Industries
Heart of glass

Bricks   We may need to ditch that aphorism about throwing stones at glass houses. Mechanical engineering grad students Renuka Prabhakar and Grant Marchelli have found a way to make bricks out of recycled glass that they say are stronger, lighter and better insulators than conventional building blocks.

Student clean-tech innovations impress at UW Environmental Innovation Challenge | Apr. 08, 2010


May 21, 2011 | The Seattle Times
UW undergrads show their research shouldn't be overlooked

Pranoti Hiremath   During the University of Washington's Undergraduate Symposium Friday, nearly a thousand UW undergraduate students shared the kind of cutting-edge research and novel thinking they've done during their college years. Bioengineering seniors Pranoti Hiremath and Christopher Mount are mentioned.

Goldwater, Udall and Beinecke scholarship winners announced | Apr. 23, 2009


Apr. 24, 2011 | KPLU: Humanosphere blog
Students ask: Can you save the world?

Students attending the panel discussion   Hundreds of students attended a panel discussion entitled, “Can You Save the World?” The talk was sponsored by a new student-run organization, the Critical Development Forum, started by civil and environmental engineering senior Dean Chahim. Chahim and Susan Bolton, a faculty adviser for UW's Engineers Without Borders chapter, are quoted.


May 24, 2011 | The (UW) Daily
Working their way around the world

The Daily profiles a number of UW students who are embarking on "nontraditional study abroad experiences” outside academic institutions. Laura Schlenke, a master’s student in Human Centered Design and Engineering, is traveling to Uganda this coming summer to help train midwives in how to use an ultrasound to detect for complications in pregnant women.

Undergraduates' low-cost ultrasound system wins Gates Foundation grant | Nov. 09, 2010


Apr. 28, 2011 | Puget Sound Business Journal
Gates Foundation awards 88 projects $100K each

VillageReach logo   The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded 88 proposals from around the world $100,000 each to further research into health and development issues. Seattle nonprofit Village Reach and UW computer scientist Gaetano Borriello won a first-round grant to for their proposal, “Digitizing Paper-Based Data Via Mobile Image Technologies.”

Cell phones become handheld tools for global development | Oct. 29, 2009


May 27, 2011 | GeekWire
Clean water startup PotaVida takes top prize at UW business plan competition

Charlie Matlack   PotaVida is developing a $10 device that helps people in developing worlds or disaster-stricken areas determine if their drinking water is safe. Charlie Matlack, who is earning his PhD in electrical engineering, said the team will put the more than $25,000 in prize money to good use.

Students’ water-testing tool wins $40,000, launches nonprofit | Dec. 20, 2010


May 09, 2011 | Christian Science Monitor
What US cybersecurity needs: a few more good guys

The UW's winning cyber security team   After 17 grueling hours, computer science PhD student Alexei Czeskis and his “cyber swat team” buddies from the University of Washington emerged victorious, slamming their digital doors on the red team’s top guns.

Computer Science and Engineering students win National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition | Apr. 13, 2011