University of Washington College of Engineering





CoE NewsFlash  |  Vol. 3, No. 9  |  January 5, 2010  

NewsFlash: College of Engineering in the Media

NewsFlash is a monthly selection of press items featuring our College's researchers. If you have trouble reading this page in your e-mail program, please read it online. A more complete and regularly updated list of COE media coverage is available on the College Web site, by RSS and on Twitter.

Click on a headline to read that article on the Web. Some links may no longer be active. For that reason, each story is also permanently archived as a PDF document that you can open by clicking on the PDF icon to the left of each item. Or you can read all the stories at once by viewing this bookmarked compilation.

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 Hannah Hickey at (206-543-2580,


Jan. 2, 2010   |
Bar-bot programmed to slake thirst

If you're thinking that the wake of New Year's isn't the best time to (re)visit the topic of bartending, I'll point out that no alcohol was involved in the development of this remarkable contraption. As this creation was part of an undergraduate engineering class, no adult beverages were allowed in the lab.




Dec. 24, 2009   |  Puget Sound Business Journal: TechFlash blog
Coolest thing we saw this year

TechFlash nominates six tech demos it covered in 2009 and asks readers to pick a favorite. One of the nominees is electrical engineering PhD student Alanson Sample's demonstration of the Wireless Ambient Radio Power system, developed at Intel Labs Seattle with Joshua Smith, affiliate professor of computer science & engineering. Also nominated is Nathan Myhrvold's recipe for almond ice cream made from liquid nitrogen, demonstrated during a talk in the UW's Allen Center.




Dec. 24, 2009   |  Xconomy
Seven computer science game-changers from the 2000’s, and seven more to come

Computer scientist Ed Lazowska nominates his 7 most influential trends of the past 10 years, and some for the coming decade -- including smart homes, smart cars and smart bodies.




Dec. 1, 2009   |  Seattle Magazine
Seattle Magazine: Best of '09

One of this year's "Best local iPhone apps" is One Bus Away, created by UW computer science & engineering PhD student Brian Ferris and civil & environmental engineering PhD student Kari Watkins. The free app will find the closest bus route, nearby stops and exactly what time the bus will arrive.

Bus left you waiting in the cold? Use your cell phone to track it down  |  Feb. 10, 2009




Dec. 24, 2009   |  The Seattle Times
Postscripts: Where are they now?

The Seattle Times follows up on the subjects of some Pacific Northwest magazine articles published in 2009. Computer scientist Yoky Matsuoka is featured.

UW computer engineer wins MacArthur Foundation 'genius' award  |  Sept. 24, 2007




Dec. 31, 2009   |  BBC News
The past is the future for hi-tech

BBC commentator Bill Thompson is confident that at some point around 2020 we will be using smart contact lenses that draw images directly onto the retina using low-powered micro-lasers. Such devices are under development at the University of Washington, where electrical engineer Babak Parviz has a prototype with a single red LED powered by radio frequency transmissions. Cyber-security research on implanted medical devices, co-authored by computer scientist Yoshi Kohno, is also mentioned.

Contact lenses with circuits, lights a possible platform for superhuman vision  |  Jan. 13, 2006




Dec. 6, 2009   |  Sydney Morning Herald
The future before your eyes

Imagine a world where your contact lenses double as a personal computer display, superimposing information in front of you. The technology is some years off, but electrical engineer Babak Parviz and his colleagues at the University of Washington last week unveiled a prototype at a Beijing biomedical conference.

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




Dec. 17, 2009   |  Popular Mechanics
The (last and next) decade in gadgets

The smartphone, and specifically the touchscreen smartphone, have proven to be the most influential gadget of the last decade. What about the next decade? What's the one key gadget we'll be using that we've never used before? Video contacts. (Try not to laugh.)

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




Dec. 30, 2009   |  CNN
The future of brain-controlled devices

In the shimmering fantasy realm of the hit movie "Avatar," a paraplegic Marine leaves his wheelchair behind and finds his feet in a new virtual world thanks to "the link," a sophisticated chamber that connects his brain to a surrogate alien, via computer. Off-screen, computer scientist Rajesh Rao is using a brain-computer interface to help paralyzed people manipulate robots to fetch items or move things around the house.

Researchers demonstrate direct brain control of humanoid robot  |  Dec. 14, 2006




Dec. 8, 2009   |  TechNewsWorld
VSS Enterprise to take adventurous and affluent on space jaunts

Billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has officially unveiled the V.S.S. Enterprise, its first spacecraft designed to take paying customers into commercial suborbital flights. Aeronautical engineer Adam Bruckner believes commercial spaceflight today is at about the same stage of development where the general aviation industry was during the Wright Brothers' day.




Dec. 14, 2009   |  Discovery Channel
Dog ball launcher solves sensor dilemma

What's going on in the mountains? Is there snow or what? A dog-ball launcher and some sensors could give us a better idea. Civil engineer Jessica Lundquist came up with a rather brilliant--and cheap--way to monitor snow-pack in the mountains.

Low-cost temperature sensors, tennis balls to monitor mountain snowpack  |  Dec. 14, 2009




Dec. 28, 2009   |  The Seattle Times
Decaying levees magnify Green River flood risk

The rows of giant sandbags designed to prevent flooding along the Green River rest atop aging levees in serious decay. The right mix of storms could wipe them out and flood the valley before the river even hits its crest. Derek Booth, affiliate professor of civil and environmental engineering, is quoted at the end of the article.

Rainfall records falling: Background experts available on flooding, landslides  |  Jan. 13, 2006




Dec. 13, 2009   |  The Seattle Times
Climate change stirs much heat
Politicians are convening in Copenhagen for climate-treaty talks this week. Civil engineer Dennis Lettenmaier says the recent e-mail scandal has been damaging to the image of science, which may have political fallout. But it hasn't changed a thing about the current scientific understanding of global warming.

Water planners call for fundamental shift to deal with changing climate  |  Jan. 31, 2008




Dec. 23, 2009   |  Sightline Daily blog
Put a LID on it

A stroll down a stretch of 2nd Avenue Northwest in Seattle is practically a walk in the park. The street was the city’s first experiment in what it calls “natural drainage systems.” Research by civil engineer Derek Booth is cited.




Dec. 28, 2009   |  WLOX (ABC) News
Chaining and chunking: Ways to improve your memory

Are you happy with your memory skills? Most people would probably say they could stand some improvements. Bioengineer Eric Chudler says you can sharpen your memory with a little practice.




Dec. 31, 2009   |  New Scientist
Computer-aided design for life itself
As synthetic biologists attempt to build artificial life forms, a CAD system has been developed to allow them to redesign the stuff of life much faster and more easily. Deepak Chandran, a PhD student with bioengineer Herbert Sauro, developed Tinkercell to allow biologists to meddle with the components of, say, a bacterium.




Dec. 18, 2009   |  The Seattle Times
Is Big Brother watching your ORCA card?

The new ORCA transit fare card raises questions about privacy. For instance, employers have the right to view trip details if they subsidize a worker's fare card. Early on, the UW intended to mine fare-card data to deter misuse. But computer-science students urged the university to avoid seeking it, said Karl Koscher, a grad student who researches privacy issues.




Dec. 14, 2009   |  The New York Times
A deluge of data shapes a new era in computing

A collection of essays pays tribute to Jim Gray, a database software engineer who disappeared off the California coast almost three years ago. Ed Lazowska, professor of computer science and engineering, is quoted.




Dec. 7, 2009   |  Technology Review
Google takes search real-time

Search engines are undergoing changes. Computer scientists Dan Weld comments on Google Labs' visual search tool, which lets users take a photo of a landmark or a store sign and then searches billions of images for matches, and for Web pages providing relevant information.

Pinning down the fleeting Internet: Web crawler archives historical data for easy searching  |  Nov. 17, 2008




Jan. 1, 2010   |  Seattle Business Magazine
Seattle: Mobile mecca

The confluence of software and wireless technology in the Pacific Northwest has put the region in a favorable position as it moves toward an anytime-anywhere mobile computing society. Computer scientist Ed Lazowska is quoted.




Dec. 22, 2009   |  Crosscut
How budget cuts short-changed the UW
Computer scientist Ed Lazowska researches the 2009-11 biennial budget and argues that the University of Washington was one of the biggest losers in the nation, and the state.




Dec. 25, 2009   |  The Seattle Times
Opinion: Investing in research is what it takes to truly be a winning university

The University of Oregon Ducks might have made it to the Rose Bowl while the Huskies and Cougars languished, but Washington's two research universities bring their A game to win competitions for research dollars. These Technology Alliance leaders urge the state not to disinvest in research.




Dec. 16, 2009   |  Yakima Herald-Republic
Engineering students have designs on the future

Toppenish and East Valley high schools are the only two high schools currently offering Project Lead the Way curriculum in Central Washington, according to Loueta Johnson, director of the University of Washington GEAR UP chapter. Eventually, she would like to see all 14 school districts in her program -- a dozen of which are in Central Washington -- offer the engineering courses.




Nov. 30, 2009   |  The UW Daily
Good vibrations?

One UW mechanical engineering class has taken the initiative to find a solution to Husky Stadium’s camera vibrations that appear during especially loud moments during a game. In Mechanical Engineering 395, 16 engineering students, divided into groups of four, will brainstorm possible methods to combat vibrations. Such a project, however, leaves some wondering if those vibrations are such a bad thing after all.




Dec. 21, 2009   |  Lake Stevens Journal
LSHS grad shares magical talent

Lake Stevens High School graduate Tylor Jones, who is currently attending the University of Washington and studying Engineering and Business, has been a magician since the age of six.



If you have a newsworthy result about one month from publication, presentation or demonstration, please contact Hannah Hickey, Notice of student and faculty awards and grants is also welcome.




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