University of Washington College of Engineering





CoE NewsFlash  |  Vol. 3, No. 8  |  December 3, 2009  

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,


Nov. 24, 2009   |  The Associated Press
NW power grid project gets $89M from DOE
A project to examine how high technology can improve the Pacific Northwest's electric power grid has received an $88.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Among those taking part in the project are the campuses of the University of Washington in Seattle and Washington State University in Pullman.

UW to be pilot site for smart grid technology  |  Nov. 24, 2009




Nov. 12, 2009   |  The Chronicle of Higher Education: Wired Campus blog
Android cell phones dial up African health in university project

Computer scientists at the UW have developed an application based on Google's open-source mobile operating system, Android, that turns phones into vital data-recording devices.

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




Nov. 2, 2009   |  ArsTechnica
Getting developing world data with Android and Open Data Kit

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a complete software stack called Open Data Kit that turns an Android cell phone into a portable data collection device that works even in the absence of a network infrastructure.

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




Nov. 3, 2009   |  Xconomy
UW scientists, backed by Gates Foundation, enter 'put up or shut up' phase with portable diagnostic

An instrument called the DxBox, which looks a little like the popular video game console with a similar name, is taking shape under the direction of bioengineer Paul Yager. This particular box is entering a delicate phase in which big decisions are being made about whether it is really ready for a prime time commercial push, in which it could help health-care workers better diagnose millions of people.

'Astronaut food approach' to medical testing: Dehydrated, wallet-sized malaria tests promise better diagnoses in developing world  |  Jan. 20, 2009




Nov. 12, 2009   |  New Scientist
Contact lenses to get built-in virtual graphics

Realizing that display size is increasingly a constraint in mobile devices, electrical engineer Babak Parviz hit on the idea of projecting images into the eye from a contact lens. A prototype contact lens that harvests radio waves to power an LED is paving the way for a new kind of display.

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




Nov. 23, 2009   | Danger Room blog
Rabbits get self-assembling contact lenses; soldiers next?

Researchers at the University of Washington are inching closer to the next step in head-up displays: contact lenses as display devices.

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




Nov. 2, 2009   |  PBS Nova blog
What your eyes know
Electrical engineer Babak Parviz has been developing a digital contact lens that has miniature antennas, control circuits, and an LED integrated in it, aiming at in-eye health monitoring, since 2004.

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




Nov. 14, 2009   |  PC World
Augmented reality: Coming to a device near you

A PC World video looks at recent developments in augmented reality, including a project that puts repair data on the inside car mechanics' glasses, an iPhone app that provides location-based information, an augmented reality-assisted GPS system, and UW electrical engineer Babak Parviz's efforts to display data on contact lenses.

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




Nov. 5, 2009   |  Technology Review
A battery-free implantable neural sensor

Thanks to the shrinking size of electronics, researchers have been exploring increasingly sophisticated implantable devices, paving the way for new prosthetics and brain-machine interfaces. But a big challenge has been how to deliver power to electronic components embedded within the body. A tiny radio chip created by electrical engineer Brian Otis harvests power and senses neural activity in a moth.




Nov. 15, 2009   |  Scientific American
Nanodevices bend under the force of light

Researchers at Cornell University have engineered minute structures that deform by 20 nanometers when light passes through them. It builds on work last year by Yale researchers and UW electrical engineers Michael Hochberg and Tom Baehr-Jones, which showed that laser light routed through a tiny bridge-shaped resonator induced the bridge to vibrate up and down within a range of a few nanometers.




Oct. 29, 2009   |  Popular Science
Muscle-based PC interface lets you literally point and click, no mouse required

A research collaboration between UW computer scientist James Landay and graduate student Scott Saponas, Microsoft Research and the University of Toronto is developing a muscle-controlled interface enabling Minority Report-esque, gesture-driven interaction with computers. It's perhaps the most promising of the billion or so Minority-Report-aspiring prototype interfaces.




Nov. 22, 2009   |  The New York Times
Supercomputing for the masses

For decades, the world’s supercomputers have been the tightly guarded property of universities and governments. But what would happen if regular folks could get their hands on one? Bill Howe, a senior scientist at the eScience Institute at the University of Washington, urges research organizations to reveal their information to help so-called citizen scientists.

Harnessing cloud computing for data-intensive research on oceans, galaxies  |  April 14, 2009




Nov. 25, 2009   |  Wired UK
Mind-controlled robot works while you wait

James Cameron's movie "Avatar" is still a few weeks away from opening, but there already exist real-life systems for controlling another body remotely. UW computer scientist Rajesh Rao has developed an elegant mind-controlled robot that takes care of the boring, low-level stuff so the controller can concentrate on more interesting, higher level goals.

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




Nov. 5, 2009   |  MSNBC
What happens when good robots go 'bad'?

A study by computer scientist Yoshi Kohno and graduate student Tammy Denning says home 'bots could be hacked by some with not-good intentions

Household robots do not protect users' security and privacy, researchers say  |  Oct. 8, 2009




Nov. 10, 2009   |  Technology Review
Keeping pacemakers safe from hackers

Communicating with ultrasound could help make implantable medical devices safe from attack, say French and Swiss researchers. Their work was prompted by research by computer scientist Yoshi Kohno and colleagues showing that radio communication is vulnerable to attack.

Researchers find implantable cardiac defibrillators may expose patients to security and privacy risks; potential solutions suggested  |  March 11, 2008




Oct. 29, 2009   |  NPR
Digital data makes for a really permanent record

Roxana Geambasu is a computer science graduate student working on self-destructing data. The simplest application is a form of e-mail that comes with a finite life span.

This article will self-destruct: A tool to make online personal data vanish  |  July 21, 2009




Nov. 9, 2009   |  Chicago Sun-Times
Want to make your e-mail disappear?

Software in the works at the UW erases sensitive data from Internet after a specified time -- so it doesn't last forever.

This article will self-destruct: A tool to make online personal data vanish  |  July 21, 2009




Nov. 24, 2009   |  NPR
The mysterious disappearance of Phil Agre

Charlotte Lee, an assistant professor in the UW College of Engineering's Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, is one of several people mobilizing online efforts to find Phil Agre, a UCLA information studies professor who has been missing for more than a year.




Nov. 22, 2009   |  Fox News (via the Associated Press)
Scientist discovers way to cut an open refrigerator's energy
Keeping food cold in open store display cases is an ongoing challenge for designers. Researchers at Michigan's Kettering University are working with UW aeronautical engineer Dana Dabiri to make refrigerated cases more energy-efficient.




Nov. 14, 2009   |  Skagit Valley Herald
Faster than the wind

When it races in America’s Cup this February, the BMW Oracle Racing team's trimaran will sport a wing instead of a cloth sail. The 190-foot-tall wing made in Skagit County is by far the largest wing ever created. Not only does the Oracle sail look like a wing, it acts like one, says UW professor Bob Breidenthal, who studies aerodynamics, fluid mechanics and turbulence.




Nov. 1, 2009   |  Seattle Business Monthly
The top 25 innovators and entrepreneurs

Meet the new pioneers of Washington's idea factory. UW udergraduate Sunil Garg and classmates had a unique idea for their final project in the computer science capstone course: attack the shortage of computers in developing countries by allowing students to share computers. The CEO of Skytap, a startup co-founded by UW computer scientists, also made this year's list.




Dec. 2, 2009   |  Xconomy
Rested and ready, Pathway Medical founder scouts UW, gets itch to start something new

One of the Northwest’s leading medical device entrepreneurs, Tom Clement, has been sniffing around campus for the next big idea. He spent time in the UW’s bioengineering and electrical engineering departments getting a better feel for what’s happening in the labs. He says it’s also given him a sense that he can be helpful.




Nov. 4, 2009   |  Xconomy
It takes a village to raise an entrepreneur: Cultivating the emerging Seattle talent pool

Anthony Rodriguez, bioengineering doctoral student and past president of the UW's Student Engineering Business Association, writes about the entrepreneurial climate in Seattle.




Nov. 20, 2009   |  Christian Science Monitor
New Economy cities: A Seattle slew of advantages

With a vibrant entrepreneurial climate and deep pool of venture capital, Seattle capitalizes on high-tech, exports, and world health. Part of the reason is the University of Washington, a research-money magnet, that has developed and patented hundreds of ideas.




Nov. 18, 2009   |  ABC News
Five brain boosters to keep your mind sharp

A good memory can help you ace a test, work the New York Times crossword puzzle, and figure out a complex computer program. Eric Chudler, a research associate professor of bioengineering, says: "Sleep is very, very important to consolidate information that we learned the day before."




Nov. 4, 2009   |
Geek of the week: Wendy Chisholm

Wendy Chisholm, research consultant and champion of tech tools for the disabled who works on WebAnywhere, is's "Geek of the Week."




Dec. 1, 2009   |  Puget Sound Business Journal: TechFlash blog
Microsoft exec: Quitting Google as tough as quitting smoking

There were some great insights at last night's Xconomy Forum on the Future of Search and Information Discovery. Oren Etzioni and Ed Lazowska, professors of computer science and engineering, are quoted.




Dec. 2, 2009   |  Xconomy
From Swiss Army knives to smoking cigarettes: Google, Bing and startups talk future of search

In a packed UW lecture hall, five of Seattle’s most knowledgeable experts in search and computing weighed in on the future of our Web surfing habits. The UW's Ed Lazowska moderated the discussion. Computer scientist Oren Etzioni and former UW professor Brian Bershad, now on leave at Google, are quoted.




Nov. 2, 2009   |  Puget Sound Business Journal: TechFlash blog
Preview: Futuristic demos from Microsoft's 2009 college tour
Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft, will provide at glimpse into upcoming technology during his tour of several college campuses this week -- starting at Cornell University today and ending at the University of Washington on Thursday.




Nov. 7, 2009   |
Clippings from Craig Mundie's stop at UW

Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer, finished up his 2009 Microsoft College Tour at the University of Washington on Thursday. He spoke to a packed audience at Kane Hall Room 120 and demoed a few prototype technologies Microsoft Research is working on.




Nov. 6, 2009   |  The Daily
Microsoft exec visits UW

Last night, Kane 120 was filled with students in computer-related study fields as well as many local technology enthusiasts because Craig Mundie, the chief research and strategy officer of Microsoft, stopped by the UW to speak on the future state of technology that will be provided by the corporation.




Nov. 4, 2009   |  Puget Sound Business Journal: TechFlash blog
Kindle on campus: Reality check

It's been more than a month since a group of University of Washington computer science grad students each got a Kindle DX as part of a pilot project to test the device for reading course materials. Graduate students Franzi Roesner, Peter Hornyack, Michael Bayne and Adrian Sampson share their experiences so far.




Nov. 17, 2009   |  The Daily
UW students bring home gold medal in international science competition

Five UW science students spent last summer in electrical engineer Eric Klavins' lab, contributing to the next frontier in synthetic biology by building their own genetically modified biological devices.



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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