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The first wireless flying robotic insect takes off

Doctoral student Vikram Iyer and co-authors have developed an insect-sized robot that can fly without need of a tether providing power.

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Capstone Fair 2018

Capstone Fair is Friday, June 1, in the HUB! Registration for student groups is now open through Wednesday, May 16.

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Eve Riskin honored by ECEDHA with Diversity Award

Eve Riskin, professor of electrical engineering and a trailblazer in diversity and access, honored with ECEDHA award.

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Eve Riskin honored by ECEDHA with Diversity Award Banner

Researchers achieve HD video streaming at 10,000 times lower power

UW EE Professor Josh Smith, alum Saman Naderiparizi (MSEE ’17) and co-authors have developed a new HD video streaming method that doesn’t need to be plugged in.

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With new ‘shuffling’ trick, researchers can measure gene activity in single cells

A team led by Georg Seelig has developed an innovative approach to reliably track gene activity in a tissue down to the level of single cells.

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Using a laser to wirelessly charge a smartphone safely across a room

In another UW first, researchers have developed a method to charge a smartphone using a laser — safely, wirelessly and potentially as quickly as a standard USB cable.

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https://www.ee.washington.edu/capstonefair
Capstone Fair 2018

Capstone Fair 2018

Capstone Fair is Friday, June 1, in the HUB! Registration for student groups is now open through Wednesday, May 16.

http://www.ee.washington.edu/spotlight/the-first-wireless-flying-robotic-insect-takes-off/
http://www.ee.washington.edu/spotlight/eve-riskin-honored-by-ecedha-with-diversity-award/
http://www.washington.edu/news/2018/04/19/researchers-achieve-hd-video-streaming-at-10000-times-lower-power/
http://www.washington.edu/news/2018/03/15/with-new-shuffling-trick-researchers-can-measure-gene-activity-in-single-cells/
http://www.washington.edu/news/2018/02/20/using-a-laser-to-wirelessly-charge-a-smartphone-safely-across-a-room/
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                    [post_content] => Join us Friday, June 1, for our annual Capstone Fair! UW EE capstones are the culmination of a student’s electrical engineering education. At the end of the academic year, students present their projects to peers, industry professionals and faculty.
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                    [post_content] => By Sarah McQuate, UW News



Insect-sized flying robots could help with time-consuming tasks like surveying crop growth on large farms or sniffing out gas leaks. These robots soar by fluttering tiny wings because they are too small to use propellers, like those seen on their larger drone cousins. Small size is advantageous: These robots are cheap to make and can easily slip into tight places that are inaccessible to big drones.

But current flying robo-insects are still tethered to the ground. The electronics they need to power and control their wings are too heavy for these miniature robots to carry.

Now, engineers at the University of Washington have for the first time cut the cord and added a brain, allowing their RoboFly to take its first independent flaps. This might be one small flap for a robot, but it's one giant leap for robot-kind. The team will present its findings May 23 at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Brisbane, Australia.

RoboFly is slightly heavier than a toothpick and is powered by a laser beam. It uses a tiny onboard circuit that converts the laser energy into enough electricity to operate its wings.

"Before now, the concept of wireless insect-sized flying robots was science fiction. Would we ever be able to make them work without needing a wire?" said co-author Sawyer Fuller, an assistant professor in the UW Department of Mechanical Engineering. "Our new wireless RoboFly shows they're much closer to real life."

The engineering challenge is the flapping. Wing flapping is a power-hungry process, and both the power source and the controller that directs the wings are too big and bulky to ride aboard a tiny robot. So Fuller's previous robo-insect, the RoboBee, had a leash — it received power and control through wires from the ground.

But a flying robot should be able to operate on its own. Fuller and team decided to use a narrow invisible laser beam to power their robot. They pointed the laser beam at a photovoltaic cell, which is attached above RoboFly and converts the laser light into electricity.

"It was the most efficient way to quickly transmit a lot of power to RoboFly without adding much weight," said co-author Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor in the UW's Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.

Still, the laser alone does not provide enough voltage to move the wings. That's why the team designed a circuit that boosted the seven volts coming out of the photovoltaic cell up to the 240 volts needed for flight.

To give RoboFly control over its own wings, the engineers provided a brain: They added a microcontroller to the same circuit.

"The microcontroller acts like a real fly's brain telling wing muscles when to fire," said co-author Vikram Iyer, a doctoral student in the UW Department of Electrical Engineering. "On RoboFly, it tells the wings things like 'flap hard now' or 'don't flap.'"

Specifically, the controller sends voltage in waves to mimic the fluttering of a real insect's wings.

"It uses pulses to shape the wave," said Johannes James, the lead author and a mechanical engineering doctoral student. "To make the wings flap forward swiftly, it sends a series of pulses in rapid succession and then slows the pulsing down as you get near the top of the wave. And then it does this in reverse to make the wings flap smoothly in the other direction."



For now, RoboFly can only take off and land. Once its photovoltaic cell is out of the direct line of sight of the laser, the robot runs out of power and lands. But the team hopes to soon be able to steer the laser so that RoboFly can hover and fly around.

While RoboFly is currently powered by a laser beam, future versions could use tiny batteries or harvest energy from radio frequency signals, Gollakota said. That way, their power source can be modified for specific tasks.

Future RoboFlies can also look forward to more advanced brains and sensor systems that help the robots navigate and complete tasks on their own, Fuller said.

"I'd really like to make one that finds methane leaks," he said. "You could buy a suitcase full of them, open it up, and they would fly around your building looking for plumes of gas coming out of leaky pipes. If these robots can make it easy to find leaks, they will be much more likely to be patched up, which will reduce greenhouse emissions. This is inspired by real flies, which are really good at flying around looking for smelly things. So we think this is a good application for our RoboFly."



Mechanical engineering doctoral student Yogesh Chukewad is also a co-author on this paper. This research was funded by the University of Washington and a Microsoft student fellowship.

###

For more information, contact the research team at wireless_fly@uw.edu.

 


Article courtesy of the UW News Office.  Originally posted at their site. [post_title] => The first wireless flying robotic insect takes off [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-first-wireless-flying-robotic-insect-takes-off [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-05-15 14:09:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-05-15 21:09:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=12995 [menu_order] => 2 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12970 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2018-05-10 11:12:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-05-10 18:12:11 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_2314" align="alignleft" width="238"]Photo of Eve Riskin. Eve Riskin, professor of electrical engineering and associate dean of diversity and access in the College of Engineering.[/caption] Eve Riskin, professor of electrical engineering and associate dean of diversity and access in the College of Engineering, has been a tireless — and effective — champion of diversity and inclusion at the University of Washington. In recognition of her efforts, Riskin was honored with the 2017 Diversity Award by the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association (ECEDHA) during the organization’s annual conference in March. “Dr. Riskin has been a trailblazer in diversity and access well before diversity and access became common words in the academic community,” said Professor and Chair Radha Poovendran. In nominating Riskin for the award, Poovendran highlighted Riskin’s work as leading principal investigator on the Washington STate Academic RedShirt in Engineering Program — known as STARS. A two-year program with a specialized curriculum designed to build learning skills and academic preparation, STARS serves highly-motivated Washington students from economically disadvantaged and educationally underserved backgrounds who intend to major in engineering. Similar to the “redshirt” year in college athletics, in the STARS program the first year is devoted to building learning skills, academic preparation and support systems. Speaking of her work with the STARS program, Riskin said, “It is waste of talent to not provide opportunities in engineering to students, just because they come from less privileged backgrounds.” [caption id="attachment_12972" align="alignright" width="300"]Photo of Eve Riskin accepting 2017 Diversity Award. Riskin accepts the 2017 Diversity Award at the annual Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association meeting in March 2018.[/caption] Since its launch in 2013, the success of the program in providing those opportunities has been remarkable. To date, ~75% of the students in the four STARS cohorts remain enrolled in Engineering or Computer Science, and three students graduated in four years. Nationally, engineering retention numbers hover around 50%, so STARS' 75% retention rate is phenomenal. Survey data show that STARS students are much more familiar with UW support resources than students who are not in STARS. Over the first five STARS cohorts, nearly 50% are underrepresented minorities; 40% are women; 70% are first-generation college students; and 84% hold Pell Grants. Importantly, the impact of the program for STARS students ripples outward across engineering students. “The STARS program benefits not only the STARS participants,” Poovendran noted. “They share the knowledge of resources and opportunities that they gain from STARS with their non-STARS peers from similar backgrounds.” Riskin is also faculty director of the UW ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change. Originally funded by a National Science Foundation grant from 2001 to 2007, ADVANCE continues to thrive as a campus center aimed at supporting faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Thanks to the work of ADVANCE, the UW saw a 93% increase in the number of tenured or tenure-track women faculty, and specifically a 115% increase in College of Engineering women faculty, in the years 2001–2015. Today, the UW’s tenured or tenure-track engineering faculty is 23% women, compared to only 15% nationally. [caption id="attachment_13016" align="alignleft" width="500"]Photo of Riskin with other ECEDHA award winners. Riskin with other award winners at the annual Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association meeting in March 2018.[/caption] “Eve truly merits this distinguished Diversity Award because of her tireless and effective efforts to make engineering across the UW and the U.S. more welcoming and inclusive of women and underrepresented minorities,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce. A professor of psychology, Cauce is a former principal investigator of UW ADVANCE. “She not only recognizes how greater diversity of people and perspectives makes engineering stronger, she is working, through education, to make sure that others also appreciate the importance of diversity not just to equity, but to excellence.” Several other campus initiatives have benefited from Riskin’s involvement. Launching Academics on the Tenure-Track, an Intentional Community in Engineering (LATTICE), is a national program to advance early-career women in electrical engineering and computer science, and women from underrepresented groups from all fields in engineering, through symposia, peer networks and ethnographic research. LEAD and LEAD-it-Yourself! are two NSF-funded programs to provide professional development to STEM department chairs to enable them to create a positive department culture for diverse faculty. The NSF-funded Promoting Equity in Engineering Relationships (PEERs) program supported interventions to improve the experiences of women and underrepresented groups in engineering through peer education. And the On-Ramps into Academia program provided professional development to roughly 70 women STEM Ph.D.s in industry or research laboratories who were interested in academia, of whom at least 10 are now working in academic positions. [caption id="attachment_12973" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Photo of Eve Riskin and colleagues. Riskin surrounded by colleagues after receiving ECEDHA's Diversity Award for 2017. From left: Radha Poovendran, professor and chair; Bruce Darling, professor; Mani Soma, professor; Eve Riskin; Julia Liuson, BSEE '91 and corporate vice president at Microsoft; Agnieszka Miguel, Ph.D. '01 and chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Seattle University; and John Sahr, professor.[/caption] [post_title] => Eve Riskin honored by ECEDHA with Diversity Award [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => eve-riskin-honored-by-ecedha-with-diversity-award [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-05-15 12:53:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-05-15 19:53:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=12970 [menu_order] => 3 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12932 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2018-04-20 16:18:15 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-20 23:18:15 [post_content] => By Sarah McQuate, UW News [caption id="attachment_12928" align="aligncenter" width="700"] This low-power, video-streaming prototype could be used in next-generation wearable cameras, as well as in many other internet-connected devices. [Dennis Wise/University of Washington][/caption]Wearable cameras such as Snap Spectacles promise to share videos of live concerts or surgeries instantaneously with the world. But because these cameras must use smaller batteries to stay lightweight and functional, these devices can’t perform high-definition video streaming. Now, engineers at the University of Washington have developed a new HD video streaming method that doesn’t need to be plugged in. Their prototype skips the power-hungry parts and has something else, like a smartphone, process the video instead. They do this using a technique called backscatter, through which a device can share information by reflecting signals that have been transmitted to it. “The fundamental assumption people have made so far is that backscatter can be used only for low-data rate sensors such as temperature sensors,” said co-author Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. “This work breaks that assumption and shows that backscatter can indeed support even full HD video.” [caption id="attachment_12929" align="alignleft" width="300"] The University of Washington engineers behind the low-power, HD video-streaming system. From left to right: Shyam Gollakota, Saman Naderiparizi, Mehrdad Hessar, Joshua Smith. [Dennis Wise/University of Washington][/caption]The team presented these findings April 10 at the Advanced Computing Systems Association’s Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation. In today’s streaming cameras, the camera first processes and compresses the video before it is transmitted via Wi-Fi. These processing and communication components eat a lot of power, especially with HD videos. As a result, a lightweight streaming camera that doesn’t need large batteries or a power source has been out of reach. The UW team developed a new system that eliminates all of these components. Instead, the pixels in the camera are directly connected to the antenna, and it sends intensity values via backscatter to a nearby smartphone. The phone, which doesn’t have the same size and weight restrictions as a small streaming camera, can process the video instead. For the video transmission, the system translates the pixel information from each frame into a series of pulses where the width of each pulse represents a pixel value. The time duration of the pulse is proportional to the brightness of the pixel. [caption id="attachment_12931" align="alignright" width="300"] The UW team’s low-power prototype can stream 720p HD videos at 10 frames per second to a device, like a laptop, up to 14 feet away. [Dennis Wise/University of Washington][/caption]“It’s sort of similar to how the cells in the brain communicate with each other,” said co-author Joshua Smith, a professor in the Allen School and the UW Department of Electrical Engineering. “Neurons are either signaling or they’re not, so the information is encoded in the timing of their action potentials.” The team tested their idea using a prototype that converted HD YouTube videos into raw pixel data. Then they fed the pixels into their backscatter system. Their design could stream 720p HD videos at 10 frames per second to a device up to 14 feet away. [caption id="attachment_12930" align="alignleft" width="300"] The UW team also created a low-resolution, low-power security camera, shown here on a stand. It can stream at 13 frames per second to another device, such as a smartphone. [Dennis Wise/University of Washington][/caption]“That’s like a camera recording a scene and sending the video to a device in the next room,” said co-author and computer science and engineering doctoral student Mehrdad Hessar. The group’s system uses 1,000 to 10,000 times less power than current streaming technology. But it still has a small battery that supports continuous operation. The next step is to make wireless video cameras that are completely battery-free, said Smith, who is the Milton and Delia Zeutschel Professor for Entrepreneurial Excellence. The team has also created a low-resolution, low-power security camera, which can stream at 13 frames per second. This falls in line with the range of functions the group predicts for this technology. “There are many applications,” said co-author and recent UW electrical engineering alum Saman Naderiparizi. “Right now home security cameras have to be plugged in all the time. But with our technology, we can effectively cut the cord for wireless streaming cameras.”   The group also envisions a world where these cameras are smart enough to only turn on when they are needed for their specific purpose, which could save even more energy. Gollakota is excited the UW research team is at the forefront of the low-power video-streaming field and its impact on the industry. “This video technology has the potential to transform the industry as we know it. Cameras are critical for a number of internet-connected applications, but so far they have been constrained by their power consumption,” he said. “Just imagine you go to a football game five years from now,” Smith added. “There could be tiny HD cameras everywhere recording the action: stuck on players’ helmets, everywhere across the stadium. And you don’t have to ever worry about changing their batteries.” This technology has been licensed to Jeeva Wireless, a Seattle-based startup founded by a team of UW researchers, including Gollakota, Smith and Vamsi Talla, a recent UW alum and co-author on this paper. This research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Google Faculty Research Awards. ### For more information, contact the research team at batteryfreevideo@cs.washington.edu.  
Article courtesy of the UW News Office.  Originally posted at their site. [post_title] => Researchers achieve HD video streaming at 10,000 times lower power [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => researchers-achieve-hd-video-streaming-at-10000-times-lower-power [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-20 16:18:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-20 23:18:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=12932 [menu_order] => 4 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12796 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2018-03-15 14:25:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-15 21:25:54 [post_content] => By James Urton, UW News For biologists, a single cell is a world of its own: It can form a harmonious part of a tissue, or go rogue and take on a diseased state, like cancer. But biologists have long struggled to identify and track the many different types of cells hiding within tissues. Researchers at the University of Washington and the Allen Institute for Brain Science have developed a new method to classify and track the multitude of cells in a tissue sample. In a paper published March 15 in the journal Science, the team reports that this new approach — known as SPLiT-seq — reliably tracks gene activity in a tissue down to the level of single cells. “Cells differ from each other based on the activity of their genes — which genes are switched off or switched on,” said senior author Georg Seelig, a UW associate professor in both the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. “Using SPLiT-seq, it becomes possible to measure gene activity in individual cells, even if there are hundreds of thousands of different cells in a tissue sample.” [caption id="attachment_12799" align="alignright" width="233"]Artist's rendering of SPLiT-seq "shuffling." SPLiT-seq! [Image by Georg Seelig][/caption]SPLiT-seq — which stands for Split Pool Ligation-based Transcriptome sequencing — combines a traditional approach to measuring gene expression with a new twist. For more than a decade, scientists have measured gene expression in tissues by sequencing the genetic “letters” of RNA, the DNA-like molecule that is the first step in gene expression. This standard approach — known as RNA-sequencing — profiles RNA across the whole tissue. But this approach does not tell researchers how cells within the tissue differ from one another. Single-cell RNA-sequencing addresses this by sequencing RNA from isolated cells, but existing methods are costly and do not scale well. SPLiT-seq makes it possible to perform single-cell RNA-sequencing without ever isolating individual cells. The researchers put the cells through four rounds of “shuffling” — splitting them into separate pools and mixing them back together. At each shuffling step, they labeled the RNA in each pool with its own unique DNA “barcode.” At the end of four rounds of shuffling and labeling, RNA from each cell essentially contained its own unique combination of barcodes — and that barcode combination is included in the bulk sequencing of all the RNA in the tissue. “With these ‘split-pool barcoding steps,’ we solve a big problem in measuring gene expression: reliably identifying which RNA molecules came from which cell in the original tissue sample,” said Seelig, who is also a researcher in the UW Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute. “With that problem addressed, we can begin to ask biological questions about the different types of cells we define in the tissue,” said co-author Bosiljka Tasic, Associate Director of Molecular Genetics at the Allen Institute for Brain Science. The team performed SPLiT-seq on brain and spinal cord tissue samples from laboratory mice. Using SPLiT-seq, they could measure the gene activity of over 156,000 cells. Based on patterns of gene activity, they estimated that more than 100 different types of cells were present in those tissue samples – including neurons and glial cells at various stages of development and differentiation. SPLiT-seq can deliver this rich array of biological data at a cost of “just a penny per cell,” said Seelig in a story by the Allen Institute for Brain Science. This is a significantly lower cost than other single-cell RNA sequencing approaches, according to the researchers. The researchers say that SPLiT-seq could answer important questions about how tissues develop, and identify minute changes in gene expression that precede the onset of complex diseases like Parkinson’s disease or cancer. Co-lead authors on the paper are UW electrical engineering postdoctoral researcher Alexander Rosenberg and Charles Roco, a UW doctoral student in the Department of Bioengineering. Additional UW co-authors are Richard Muscat, Anna Kuchina, Paul Sample and Sumit Mukherjee in the Department of Electrical Engineering; David Peeler in the Department of Bioengineering; Wei Chen in the Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute; Suzie Pun, a professor of bioengineering; and Drew Sellers, a research assistant professor of bioengineering and scientist with the UW Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine. Additional co-authors from Allen Institute for Brain Science are Zizhen Yao and Lucas Gray. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Allen Institute for Brain Science. ### For more information, contact Rosenberg at alex.b.rosenberg@gmail.com or 773-294-4109 and Seelig at gseelig@uw.edu or 206-294-8180.  
Article courtesy of the UW News Office.  Originally posted at their site. [post_title] => With new ‘shuffling’ trick, researchers can measure gene activity in single cells [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => with-new-shuffling-trick-researchers-can-measure-gene-activity-in-single-cells [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-03 12:44:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-03 19:44:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=12796 [menu_order] => 5 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12753 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2018-02-21 09:30:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-21 17:30:56 [post_content] => By James Urton, UW News Although mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones let us communicate, work and access information wirelessly, their batteries must still be charged by plugging them in to an outlet. But engineers at the University of Washington have for the first time developed a method to safely charge a smartphone wirelessly using a laser. [caption id="attachment_12757" align="alignright" width="300"] The wireless charging system created by University of Washington engineers. The charging laser and guard lasers are normally invisible to the human eye, but red beams have been inserted in place of the guard beams for demonstration purposes. [Photo by Mark Stone/University of Washington][/caption]As the team reports in a paper published online in December in the Proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable & Ubiquitous Technologies, a narrow, invisible beam from a laser emitter can deliver charge to a smartphone sitting across a room — and can potentially charge a smartphone as quickly as a standard USB cable. To accomplish this, the team mounted a thin power cell to the back of a smartphone, which charges the smartphone using power from the laser. In addition, the team custom-designed safety features — including a metal, flat-plate heatsink on the smartphone to dissipate excess heat from the laser, as well as a reflector-based mechanism to shut off the laser if a person tries to move in the charging beam’s path. “Safety was our focus in designing this system,” said co-author Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. “We have designed, constructed and tested this laser-based charging system with a rapid-response safety mechanism, which ensures that the laser emitter will terminate the charging beam before a person comes into the path of the laser.” [caption id="attachment_12756" align="alignleft" width="300"] The University of Washington engineers behind the wireless charging system for mobile devices. Standing (left-to-right): Vikram Iyer, Shyam Gollakota, Elyas Bayati. Seated (left-to-right): Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, Arka Majumdar. [Photo by Mark Stone/University of Washington][/caption]Gollakota and co-author Arka Majumdar, a UW assistant professor of physics and electrical engineering, led the team that designed this wireless charging system and its safety features. “In addition to the safety mechanism that quickly terminates the charging beam, our platform includes a heatsink to dissipate excess heat generated by the charging beam,” said Majumdar, who is also a researcher in the UW Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute. “These features give our wireless charging system the robust safety standards needed to apply it to a variety of commercial and home settings.” The charging beam is generated by a laser emitter that the team configured to produce a focused beam in the near-infrared spectrum. The safety system that shuts off the charging beam centers on low-power, harmless laser “guard beams,” which are emitted by another laser source co-located with the charging laser-beam and physically “surround” the charging beam. Custom 3-D printed “retroreflectors” placed around the power cell on the smartphone reflect the guard beams back to photodiodes on the laser emitter. The guard beams deliver no charge to the phone themselves, but their reflection from the smartphone back to the emitter allows them to serve as a “sensor” for when a person will move in the path of the guard beam. The researchers designed the laser emitter to terminate the charging beam when any object — such as part of a person’s body — comes into contact with one of the guard beams. The blocking of the guard beams can be sensed quickly enough to detect the fastest motions of the human body, based on decades of physiological studies. [caption id="attachment_12758" align="alignright" width="300"] Illuminated in red is one of the 3-D printed retroreflectors, which reflects the low-power guard beams to diodes on the laser emitter. Interruption of the guard beams triggers a safety system which blocks the charging beam. [Mark Stone/University of Washington][/caption]“The guard beams are able to act faster than our quickest motions because those beams are reflected back to the emitter at the speed of light,” said Gollakota. “As a result, when the guard beam is interrupted by the movement of a person, the emitter detects this within a fraction of a second and deploys a shutter to block the charging beam before the person can come in contact with it.” The next generation of nano-scale optical devices are expected to operate with Gigahertz frequency, which could reduce the shutter’s response time to nanoseconds, added Majumdar. The beam charges the smartphone via a power cell mounted on the back of the phone. A narrow beam can deliver a steady 2W of power to 15 square-inch area from a distance of up to 4.3 meters, or about 14 feet. But the emitter can be modified to expand the charging beam’s radius to an area of up to 100 square centimeters from a distance of 12 meters, or nearly 40 feet. This extension means that the emitter could be aimed at a wider charging surface, such as a counter or tabletop, and charge a smartphone placed anywhere on that surface. [caption id="attachment_12755" align="alignleft" width="300"] The UW team’s prototype laser emitter. The high-powered guard beam is emitted from the central port. Four low-powered guard beams are emitted from ports surrounding the guard beam. Next to each guard beam port are clear photodiodes, which detect the guard beams when they’re reflected back to the emitter by retroreflectors on the phone. [Photo by Mark Stone/University of Washington][/caption]The researchers programmed the smartphone to signal its location by emitting high-frequency acoustic “chirps.” These are inaudible to our ears, but sensitive enough for small microphones on the laser emitter to pick up. “This acoustic localization system ensures that the emitter can detect when a user has set the smartphone on the charging surface, which can be an ordinary location like a table across the room,” said co-lead author Vikram Iyer, a UW doctoral student in electrical engineering. When the emitter detects the smartphone on the desired charging surface, it switches on the laser to begin charging the battery. “The beam delivers charge as quickly as plugging in your smartphone to a USB port,” said co-lead author Elyas Bayati, a UW doctoral student in electrical engineering. “But instead of plugging your phone in, you simply place it on a table.” [caption id="attachment_12759" align="alignright" width="300"] The UW team’s prototype heatsink assembly, which can be attached to the back of a smartphone, consists of a photovoltaic cell (silver square, top) attached to a thermoelectric generator (in white). The generator is mounted on top of an aluminum heatsink. The entire assembly is only 8mm thick and 40mm wide. [Photo by Mark Stone/University of Washington][/caption]To ensure that the charging beam does not overheat the smartphone, the team also placed thin aluminum strips on the back of the smartphone around the power cell. These strips act as a heatsink, dissipating excess heat from the charging beam and allowing the laser to charge the smartphone for hours. They even harvested a small amount of this heat to help charge the smartphone — by mounting a nearly-flat thermoelectric generator above the heatsink strips. The researchers believe that their robust safety and heat-dissipation features could enable wireless, laser-based charging of other devices, such as cameras, tablets and even desktop computers. If so, the pre-bedtime task of plugging in your smartphone, tablet or laptop may someday be replaced with a simpler ritual: placing it on a table. Co-author is Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, a UW doctoral student in the Allen School. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Google Faculty Research Awards. ### For more information, contact the team at laserpower@cs.washington.edu. Grant numbers: CNS-1452494, CNS-1407583.  
Article courtesy of the UW News Office.  Originally posted at their site. [post_title] => Using a laser to wirelessly charge a smartphone safely across a room [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => using-a-laser-to-wirelessly-charge-a-smartphone-safely-across-a-room [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-21 09:31:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-21 17:31:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=12753 [menu_order] => 6 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [_numposts:protected] => 6 [_rendered:protected] => 1 [_classes:protected] => Array ( [0] => view-block [1] => block--spotlight-robust-news ) [_finalHTML:protected] =>
https://www.ee.washington.edu/capstonefair
Capstone Fair 2018

Capstone Fair 2018

Capstone Fair is Friday, June 1, in the HUB! Registration for student groups is now open through Wednesday, May 16.

http://www.ee.washington.edu/spotlight/the-first-wireless-flying-robotic-insect-takes-off/
http://www.ee.washington.edu/spotlight/eve-riskin-honored-by-ecedha-with-diversity-award/
http://www.washington.edu/news/2018/04/19/researchers-achieve-hd-video-streaming-at-10000-times-lower-power/
http://www.washington.edu/news/2018/03/15/with-new-shuffling-trick-researchers-can-measure-gene-activity-in-single-cells/
http://www.washington.edu/news/2018/02/20/using-a-laser-to-wirelessly-charge-a-smartphone-safely-across-a-room/
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UW EE capstones are the culmination of a student’s electrical engineering education. At the end of the academic year, students present their projects to peers, industry professionals and faculty. [post_title] => Capstone Fair 2018 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => capstone-fair-2018 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-05-14 17:40:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-05-15 00:40:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=13005 [menu_order] => 1 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12995 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2018-05-15 09:33:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-05-15 16:33:56 [post_content] => By Sarah McQuate, UW News Insect-sized flying robots could help with time-consuming tasks like surveying crop growth on large farms or sniffing out gas leaks. These robots soar by fluttering tiny wings because they are too small to use propellers, like those seen on their larger drone cousins. Small size is advantageous: These robots are cheap to make and can easily slip into tight places that are inaccessible to big drones. But current flying robo-insects are still tethered to the ground. The electronics they need to power and control their wings are too heavy for these miniature robots to carry. Now, engineers at the University of Washington have for the first time cut the cord and added a brain, allowing their RoboFly to take its first independent flaps. This might be one small flap for a robot, but it's one giant leap for robot-kind. The team will present its findings May 23 at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Brisbane, Australia. RoboFly is slightly heavier than a toothpick and is powered by a laser beam. It uses a tiny onboard circuit that converts the laser energy into enough electricity to operate its wings. "Before now, the concept of wireless insect-sized flying robots was science fiction. Would we ever be able to make them work without needing a wire?" said co-author Sawyer Fuller, an assistant professor in the UW Department of Mechanical Engineering. "Our new wireless RoboFly shows they're much closer to real life." The engineering challenge is the flapping. Wing flapping is a power-hungry process, and both the power source and the controller that directs the wings are too big and bulky to ride aboard a tiny robot. So Fuller's previous robo-insect, the RoboBee, had a leash — it received power and control through wires from the ground. But a flying robot should be able to operate on its own. Fuller and team decided to use a narrow invisible laser beam to power their robot. They pointed the laser beam at a photovoltaic cell, which is attached above RoboFly and converts the laser light into electricity. "It was the most efficient way to quickly transmit a lot of power to RoboFly without adding much weight," said co-author Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor in the UW's Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. Still, the laser alone does not provide enough voltage to move the wings. That's why the team designed a circuit that boosted the seven volts coming out of the photovoltaic cell up to the 240 volts needed for flight. To give RoboFly control over its own wings, the engineers provided a brain: They added a microcontroller to the same circuit. "The microcontroller acts like a real fly's brain telling wing muscles when to fire," said co-author Vikram Iyer, a doctoral student in the UW Department of Electrical Engineering. "On RoboFly, it tells the wings things like 'flap hard now' or 'don't flap.'" Specifically, the controller sends voltage in waves to mimic the fluttering of a real insect's wings. "It uses pulses to shape the wave," said Johannes James, the lead author and a mechanical engineering doctoral student. "To make the wings flap forward swiftly, it sends a series of pulses in rapid succession and then slows the pulsing down as you get near the top of the wave. And then it does this in reverse to make the wings flap smoothly in the other direction." For now, RoboFly can only take off and land. Once its photovoltaic cell is out of the direct line of sight of the laser, the robot runs out of power and lands. But the team hopes to soon be able to steer the laser so that RoboFly can hover and fly around. While RoboFly is currently powered by a laser beam, future versions could use tiny batteries or harvest energy from radio frequency signals, Gollakota said. That way, their power source can be modified for specific tasks. Future RoboFlies can also look forward to more advanced brains and sensor systems that help the robots navigate and complete tasks on their own, Fuller said. "I'd really like to make one that finds methane leaks," he said. "You could buy a suitcase full of them, open it up, and they would fly around your building looking for plumes of gas coming out of leaky pipes. If these robots can make it easy to find leaks, they will be much more likely to be patched up, which will reduce greenhouse emissions. This is inspired by real flies, which are really good at flying around looking for smelly things. So we think this is a good application for our RoboFly." Mechanical engineering doctoral student Yogesh Chukewad is also a co-author on this paper. This research was funded by the University of Washington and a Microsoft student fellowship. ### For more information, contact the research team at wireless_fly@uw.edu.  
Article courtesy of the UW News Office.  Originally posted at their site. [post_title] => The first wireless flying robotic insect takes off [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-first-wireless-flying-robotic-insect-takes-off [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-05-15 14:09:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-05-15 21:09:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=12995 [menu_order] => 2 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12970 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2018-05-10 11:12:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-05-10 18:12:11 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_2314" align="alignleft" width="238"]Photo of Eve Riskin. Eve Riskin, professor of electrical engineering and associate dean of diversity and access in the College of Engineering.[/caption] Eve Riskin, professor of electrical engineering and associate dean of diversity and access in the College of Engineering, has been a tireless — and effective — champion of diversity and inclusion at the University of Washington. In recognition of her efforts, Riskin was honored with the 2017 Diversity Award by the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association (ECEDHA) during the organization’s annual conference in March. “Dr. Riskin has been a trailblazer in diversity and access well before diversity and access became common words in the academic community,” said Professor and Chair Radha Poovendran. In nominating Riskin for the award, Poovendran highlighted Riskin’s work as leading principal investigator on the Washington STate Academic RedShirt in Engineering Program — known as STARS. A two-year program with a specialized curriculum designed to build learning skills and academic preparation, STARS serves highly-motivated Washington students from economically disadvantaged and educationally underserved backgrounds who intend to major in engineering. Similar to the “redshirt” year in college athletics, in the STARS program the first year is devoted to building learning skills, academic preparation and support systems. Speaking of her work with the STARS program, Riskin said, “It is waste of talent to not provide opportunities in engineering to students, just because they come from less privileged backgrounds.” [caption id="attachment_12972" align="alignright" width="300"]Photo of Eve Riskin accepting 2017 Diversity Award. Riskin accepts the 2017 Diversity Award at the annual Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association meeting in March 2018.[/caption] Since its launch in 2013, the success of the program in providing those opportunities has been remarkable. To date, ~75% of the students in the four STARS cohorts remain enrolled in Engineering or Computer Science, and three students graduated in four years. Nationally, engineering retention numbers hover around 50%, so STARS' 75% retention rate is phenomenal. Survey data show that STARS students are much more familiar with UW support resources than students who are not in STARS. Over the first five STARS cohorts, nearly 50% are underrepresented minorities; 40% are women; 70% are first-generation college students; and 84% hold Pell Grants. Importantly, the impact of the program for STARS students ripples outward across engineering students. “The STARS program benefits not only the STARS participants,” Poovendran noted. “They share the knowledge of resources and opportunities that they gain from STARS with their non-STARS peers from similar backgrounds.” Riskin is also faculty director of the UW ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change. Originally funded by a National Science Foundation grant from 2001 to 2007, ADVANCE continues to thrive as a campus center aimed at supporting faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Thanks to the work of ADVANCE, the UW saw a 93% increase in the number of tenured or tenure-track women faculty, and specifically a 115% increase in College of Engineering women faculty, in the years 2001–2015. Today, the UW’s tenured or tenure-track engineering faculty is 23% women, compared to only 15% nationally. [caption id="attachment_13016" align="alignleft" width="500"]Photo of Riskin with other ECEDHA award winners. Riskin with other award winners at the annual Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association meeting in March 2018.[/caption] “Eve truly merits this distinguished Diversity Award because of her tireless and effective efforts to make engineering across the UW and the U.S. more welcoming and inclusive of women and underrepresented minorities,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce. A professor of psychology, Cauce is a former principal investigator of UW ADVANCE. “She not only recognizes how greater diversity of people and perspectives makes engineering stronger, she is working, through education, to make sure that others also appreciate the importance of diversity not just to equity, but to excellence.” Several other campus initiatives have benefited from Riskin’s involvement. Launching Academics on the Tenure-Track, an Intentional Community in Engineering (LATTICE), is a national program to advance early-career women in electrical engineering and computer science, and women from underrepresented groups from all fields in engineering, through symposia, peer networks and ethnographic research. LEAD and LEAD-it-Yourself! are two NSF-funded programs to provide professional development to STEM department chairs to enable them to create a positive department culture for diverse faculty. The NSF-funded Promoting Equity in Engineering Relationships (PEERs) program supported interventions to improve the experiences of women and underrepresented groups in engineering through peer education. And the On-Ramps into Academia program provided professional development to roughly 70 women STEM Ph.D.s in industry or research laboratories who were interested in academia, of whom at least 10 are now working in academic positions. [caption id="attachment_12973" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Photo of Eve Riskin and colleagues. Riskin surrounded by colleagues after receiving ECEDHA's Diversity Award for 2017. From left: Radha Poovendran, professor and chair; Bruce Darling, professor; Mani Soma, professor; Eve Riskin; Julia Liuson, BSEE '91 and corporate vice president at Microsoft; Agnieszka Miguel, Ph.D. '01 and chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Seattle University; and John Sahr, professor.[/caption] [post_title] => Eve Riskin honored by ECEDHA with Diversity Award [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => eve-riskin-honored-by-ecedha-with-diversity-award [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-05-15 12:53:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-05-15 19:53:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=12970 [menu_order] => 3 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12932 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2018-04-20 16:18:15 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-20 23:18:15 [post_content] => By Sarah McQuate, UW News [caption id="attachment_12928" align="aligncenter" width="700"] This low-power, video-streaming prototype could be used in next-generation wearable cameras, as well as in many other internet-connected devices. [Dennis Wise/University of Washington][/caption]Wearable cameras such as Snap Spectacles promise to share videos of live concerts or surgeries instantaneously with the world. But because these cameras must use smaller batteries to stay lightweight and functional, these devices can’t perform high-definition video streaming. Now, engineers at the University of Washington have developed a new HD video streaming method that doesn’t need to be plugged in. Their prototype skips the power-hungry parts and has something else, like a smartphone, process the video instead. They do this using a technique called backscatter, through which a device can share information by reflecting signals that have been transmitted to it. “The fundamental assumption people have made so far is that backscatter can be used only for low-data rate sensors such as temperature sensors,” said co-author Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. “This work breaks that assumption and shows that backscatter can indeed support even full HD video.” [caption id="attachment_12929" align="alignleft" width="300"] The University of Washington engineers behind the low-power, HD video-streaming system. From left to right: Shyam Gollakota, Saman Naderiparizi, Mehrdad Hessar, Joshua Smith. [Dennis Wise/University of Washington][/caption]The team presented these findings April 10 at the Advanced Computing Systems Association’s Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation. In today’s streaming cameras, the camera first processes and compresses the video before it is transmitted via Wi-Fi. These processing and communication components eat a lot of power, especially with HD videos. As a result, a lightweight streaming camera that doesn’t need large batteries or a power source has been out of reach. The UW team developed a new system that eliminates all of these components. Instead, the pixels in the camera are directly connected to the antenna, and it sends intensity values via backscatter to a nearby smartphone. The phone, which doesn’t have the same size and weight restrictions as a small streaming camera, can process the video instead. For the video transmission, the system translates the pixel information from each frame into a series of pulses where the width of each pulse represents a pixel value. The time duration of the pulse is proportional to the brightness of the pixel. [caption id="attachment_12931" align="alignright" width="300"] The UW team’s low-power prototype can stream 720p HD videos at 10 frames per second to a device, like a laptop, up to 14 feet away. [Dennis Wise/University of Washington][/caption]“It’s sort of similar to how the cells in the brain communicate with each other,” said co-author Joshua Smith, a professor in the Allen School and the UW Department of Electrical Engineering. “Neurons are either signaling or they’re not, so the information is encoded in the timing of their action potentials.” The team tested their idea using a prototype that converted HD YouTube videos into raw pixel data. Then they fed the pixels into their backscatter system. Their design could stream 720p HD videos at 10 frames per second to a device up to 14 feet away. [caption id="attachment_12930" align="alignleft" width="300"] The UW team also created a low-resolution, low-power security camera, shown here on a stand. It can stream at 13 frames per second to another device, such as a smartphone. [Dennis Wise/University of Washington][/caption]“That’s like a camera recording a scene and sending the video to a device in the next room,” said co-author and computer science and engineering doctoral student Mehrdad Hessar. The group’s system uses 1,000 to 10,000 times less power than current streaming technology. But it still has a small battery that supports continuous operation. The next step is to make wireless video cameras that are completely battery-free, said Smith, who is the Milton and Delia Zeutschel Professor for Entrepreneurial Excellence. The team has also created a low-resolution, low-power security camera, which can stream at 13 frames per second. This falls in line with the range of functions the group predicts for this technology. “There are many applications,” said co-author and recent UW electrical engineering alum Saman Naderiparizi. “Right now home security cameras have to be plugged in all the time. But with our technology, we can effectively cut the cord for wireless streaming cameras.”   The group also envisions a world where these cameras are smart enough to only turn on when they are needed for their specific purpose, which could save even more energy. Gollakota is excited the UW research team is at the forefront of the low-power video-streaming field and its impact on the industry. “This video technology has the potential to transform the industry as we know it. Cameras are critical for a number of internet-connected applications, but so far they have been constrained by their power consumption,” he said. “Just imagine you go to a football game five years from now,” Smith added. “There could be tiny HD cameras everywhere recording the action: stuck on players’ helmets, everywhere across the stadium. And you don’t have to ever worry about changing their batteries.” This technology has been licensed to Jeeva Wireless, a Seattle-based startup founded by a team of UW researchers, including Gollakota, Smith and Vamsi Talla, a recent UW alum and co-author on this paper. This research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Google Faculty Research Awards. ### For more information, contact the research team at batteryfreevideo@cs.washington.edu.  
Article courtesy of the UW News Office.  Originally posted at their site. [post_title] => Researchers achieve HD video streaming at 10,000 times lower power [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => researchers-achieve-hd-video-streaming-at-10000-times-lower-power [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-20 16:18:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-20 23:18:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=12932 [menu_order] => 4 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12796 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2018-03-15 14:25:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-15 21:25:54 [post_content] => By James Urton, UW News For biologists, a single cell is a world of its own: It can form a harmonious part of a tissue, or go rogue and take on a diseased state, like cancer. But biologists have long struggled to identify and track the many different types of cells hiding within tissues. Researchers at the University of Washington and the Allen Institute for Brain Science have developed a new method to classify and track the multitude of cells in a tissue sample. In a paper published March 15 in the journal Science, the team reports that this new approach — known as SPLiT-seq — reliably tracks gene activity in a tissue down to the level of single cells. “Cells differ from each other based on the activity of their genes — which genes are switched off or switched on,” said senior author Georg Seelig, a UW associate professor in both the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. “Using SPLiT-seq, it becomes possible to measure gene activity in individual cells, even if there are hundreds of thousands of different cells in a tissue sample.” [caption id="attachment_12799" align="alignright" width="233"]Artist's rendering of SPLiT-seq "shuffling." SPLiT-seq! [Image by Georg Seelig][/caption]SPLiT-seq — which stands for Split Pool Ligation-based Transcriptome sequencing — combines a traditional approach to measuring gene expression with a new twist. For more than a decade, scientists have measured gene expression in tissues by sequencing the genetic “letters” of RNA, the DNA-like molecule that is the first step in gene expression. This standard approach — known as RNA-sequencing — profiles RNA across the whole tissue. But this approach does not tell researchers how cells within the tissue differ from one another. Single-cell RNA-sequencing addresses this by sequencing RNA from isolated cells, but existing methods are costly and do not scale well. SPLiT-seq makes it possible to perform single-cell RNA-sequencing without ever isolating individual cells. The researchers put the cells through four rounds of “shuffling” — splitting them into separate pools and mixing them back together. At each shuffling step, they labeled the RNA in each pool with its own unique DNA “barcode.” At the end of four rounds of shuffling and labeling, RNA from each cell essentially contained its own unique combination of barcodes — and that barcode combination is included in the bulk sequencing of all the RNA in the tissue. “With these ‘split-pool barcoding steps,’ we solve a big problem in measuring gene expression: reliably identifying which RNA molecules came from which cell in the original tissue sample,” said Seelig, who is also a researcher in the UW Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute. “With that problem addressed, we can begin to ask biological questions about the different types of cells we define in the tissue,” said co-author Bosiljka Tasic, Associate Director of Molecular Genetics at the Allen Institute for Brain Science. The team performed SPLiT-seq on brain and spinal cord tissue samples from laboratory mice. Using SPLiT-seq, they could measure the gene activity of over 156,000 cells. Based on patterns of gene activity, they estimated that more than 100 different types of cells were present in those tissue samples – including neurons and glial cells at various stages of development and differentiation. SPLiT-seq can deliver this rich array of biological data at a cost of “just a penny per cell,” said Seelig in a story by the Allen Institute for Brain Science. This is a significantly lower cost than other single-cell RNA sequencing approaches, according to the researchers. The researchers say that SPLiT-seq could answer important questions about how tissues develop, and identify minute changes in gene expression that precede the onset of complex diseases like Parkinson’s disease or cancer. Co-lead authors on the paper are UW electrical engineering postdoctoral researcher Alexander Rosenberg and Charles Roco, a UW doctoral student in the Department of Bioengineering. Additional UW co-authors are Richard Muscat, Anna Kuchina, Paul Sample and Sumit Mukherjee in the Department of Electrical Engineering; David Peeler in the Department of Bioengineering; Wei Chen in the Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute; Suzie Pun, a professor of bioengineering; and Drew Sellers, a research assistant professor of bioengineering and scientist with the UW Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine. Additional co-authors from Allen Institute for Brain Science are Zizhen Yao and Lucas Gray. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Allen Institute for Brain Science. ### For more information, contact Rosenberg at alex.b.rosenberg@gmail.com or 773-294-4109 and Seelig at gseelig@uw.edu or 206-294-8180.  
Article courtesy of the UW News Office.  Originally posted at their site. [post_title] => With new ‘shuffling’ trick, researchers can measure gene activity in single cells [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => with-new-shuffling-trick-researchers-can-measure-gene-activity-in-single-cells [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-03 12:44:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-03 19:44:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=12796 [menu_order] => 5 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12753 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2018-02-21 09:30:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-21 17:30:56 [post_content] => By James Urton, UW News Although mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones let us communicate, work and access information wirelessly, their batteries must still be charged by plugging them in to an outlet. But engineers at the University of Washington have for the first time developed a method to safely charge a smartphone wirelessly using a laser. [caption id="attachment_12757" align="alignright" width="300"] The wireless charging system created by University of Washington engineers. The charging laser and guard lasers are normally invisible to the human eye, but red beams have been inserted in place of the guard beams for demonstration purposes. [Photo by Mark Stone/University of Washington][/caption]As the team reports in a paper published online in December in the Proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable & Ubiquitous Technologies, a narrow, invisible beam from a laser emitter can deliver charge to a smartphone sitting across a room — and can potentially charge a smartphone as quickly as a standard USB cable. To accomplish this, the team mounted a thin power cell to the back of a smartphone, which charges the smartphone using power from the laser. In addition, the team custom-designed safety features — including a metal, flat-plate heatsink on the smartphone to dissipate excess heat from the laser, as well as a reflector-based mechanism to shut off the laser if a person tries to move in the charging beam’s path. “Safety was our focus in designing this system,” said co-author Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. “We have designed, constructed and tested this laser-based charging system with a rapid-response safety mechanism, which ensures that the laser emitter will terminate the charging beam before a person comes into the path of the laser.” [caption id="attachment_12756" align="alignleft" width="300"] The University of Washington engineers behind the wireless charging system for mobile devices. Standing (left-to-right): Vikram Iyer, Shyam Gollakota, Elyas Bayati. Seated (left-to-right): Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, Arka Majumdar. [Photo by Mark Stone/University of Washington][/caption]Gollakota and co-author Arka Majumdar, a UW assistant professor of physics and electrical engineering, led the team that designed this wireless charging system and its safety features. “In addition to the safety mechanism that quickly terminates the charging beam, our platform includes a heatsink to dissipate excess heat generated by the charging beam,” said Majumdar, who is also a researcher in the UW Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute. “These features give our wireless charging system the robust safety standards needed to apply it to a variety of commercial and home settings.” The charging beam is generated by a laser emitter that the team configured to produce a focused beam in the near-infrared spectrum. The safety system that shuts off the charging beam centers on low-power, harmless laser “guard beams,” which are emitted by another laser source co-located with the charging laser-beam and physically “surround” the charging beam. Custom 3-D printed “retroreflectors” placed around the power cell on the smartphone reflect the guard beams back to photodiodes on the laser emitter. The guard beams deliver no charge to the phone themselves, but their reflection from the smartphone back to the emitter allows them to serve as a “sensor” for when a person will move in the path of the guard beam. The researchers designed the laser emitter to terminate the charging beam when any object — such as part of a person’s body — comes into contact with one of the guard beams. The blocking of the guard beams can be sensed quickly enough to detect the fastest motions of the human body, based on decades of physiological studies. [caption id="attachment_12758" align="alignright" width="300"] Illuminated in red is one of the 3-D printed retroreflectors, which reflects the low-power guard beams to diodes on the laser emitter. Interruption of the guard beams triggers a safety system which blocks the charging beam. [Mark Stone/University of Washington][/caption]“The guard beams are able to act faster than our quickest motions because those beams are reflected back to the emitter at the speed of light,” said Gollakota. “As a result, when the guard beam is interrupted by the movement of a person, the emitter detects this within a fraction of a second and deploys a shutter to block the charging beam before the person can come in contact with it.” The next generation of nano-scale optical devices are expected to operate with Gigahertz frequency, which could reduce the shutter’s response time to nanoseconds, added Majumdar. The beam charges the smartphone via a power cell mounted on the back of the phone. A narrow beam can deliver a steady 2W of power to 15 square-inch area from a distance of up to 4.3 meters, or about 14 feet. But the emitter can be modified to expand the charging beam’s radius to an area of up to 100 square centimeters from a distance of 12 meters, or nearly 40 feet. This extension means that the emitter could be aimed at a wider charging surface, such as a counter or tabletop, and charge a smartphone placed anywhere on that surface. [caption id="attachment_12755" align="alignleft" width="300"] The UW team’s prototype laser emitter. The high-powered guard beam is emitted from the central port. Four low-powered guard beams are emitted from ports surrounding the guard beam. Next to each guard beam port are clear photodiodes, which detect the guard beams when they’re reflected back to the emitter by retroreflectors on the phone. [Photo by Mark Stone/University of Washington][/caption]The researchers programmed the smartphone to signal its location by emitting high-frequency acoustic “chirps.” These are inaudible to our ears, but sensitive enough for small microphones on the laser emitter to pick up. “This acoustic localization system ensures that the emitter can detect when a user has set the smartphone on the charging surface, which can be an ordinary location like a table across the room,” said co-lead author Vikram Iyer, a UW doctoral student in electrical engineering. When the emitter detects the smartphone on the desired charging surface, it switches on the laser to begin charging the battery. “The beam delivers charge as quickly as plugging in your smartphone to a USB port,” said co-lead author Elyas Bayati, a UW doctoral student in electrical engineering. “But instead of plugging your phone in, you simply place it on a table.” [caption id="attachment_12759" align="alignright" width="300"] The UW team’s prototype heatsink assembly, which can be attached to the back of a smartphone, consists of a photovoltaic cell (silver square, top) attached to a thermoelectric generator (in white). The generator is mounted on top of an aluminum heatsink. The entire assembly is only 8mm thick and 40mm wide. [Photo by Mark Stone/University of Washington][/caption]To ensure that the charging beam does not overheat the smartphone, the team also placed thin aluminum strips on the back of the smartphone around the power cell. These strips act as a heatsink, dissipating excess heat from the charging beam and allowing the laser to charge the smartphone for hours. They even harvested a small amount of this heat to help charge the smartphone — by mounting a nearly-flat thermoelectric generator above the heatsink strips. The researchers believe that their robust safety and heat-dissipation features could enable wireless, laser-based charging of other devices, such as cameras, tablets and even desktop computers. If so, the pre-bedtime task of plugging in your smartphone, tablet or laptop may someday be replaced with a simpler ritual: placing it on a table. Co-author is Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, a UW doctoral student in the Allen School. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Google Faculty Research Awards. ### For more information, contact the team at laserpower@cs.washington.edu. Grant numbers: CNS-1452494, CNS-1407583.  
Article courtesy of the UW News Office.  Originally posted at their site. [post_title] => Using a laser to wirelessly charge a smartphone safely across a room [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => using-a-laser-to-wirelessly-charge-a-smartphone-safely-across-a-room [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-21 09:31:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-21 17:31:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=12753 [menu_order] => 6 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 6 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 13005 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2018-05-14 17:40:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-05-15 00:40:03 [post_content] => Join us Friday, June 1, for our annual Capstone Fair! UW EE capstones are the culmination of a student’s electrical engineering education. At the end of the academic year, students present their projects to peers, industry professionals and faculty. [post_title] => Capstone Fair 2018 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => capstone-fair-2018 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-05-14 17:40:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-05-15 00:40:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ee.washington.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=13005 [menu_order] => 1 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 601 [max_num_pages] => 101 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => 1 [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 0f87fe429e20a1f4e53778b54d8d4588 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) ) )
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