University of Washington College of Engineering
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Welcome to the Distributed Microsystems Lab!

What are we about?

Our Research:

Our goals as a research lab are dual-track: focusing both on sensors systems research and engineering education research.

In sensor systems, our goal is to integrate sensors and microdevices into viable microsystems in such a way that the whole becomes more than the sum of the parts. Many, many outstanding sensor technologies are available in the world today, but often do not achieve commercial viability because of the lack of an appropriate system design to fit the sensor technology. For similar reasons, sensors are not often applied to critical ecosystem and environmental health problems because of the gap between their capability and their usability. As a group, we seek to optimize sensor systems to the task at hand, with particular emphasis on environmental monitoring applications and on portable systems. To this end, our projects include organic solar cell systems for optimizing energy harvesting in portable sensor systems, portable fluorescence and surface plasmon resonance systems, and sensor signal processing for efficient interpretation of arsenic, formaldehyde, and other environmental health threats.

Research experiences in our lab provide technical expertise in analog and digital circuit design at both discrete (PCB) and integrated (VLSI) levels. Students also learn about the theory of operation and practical use of a wide variety of sensors, including some exposure to chemistry and biology.

We also host a program in engineering education dedicated to improving the affective, community, and professional development experiences of undergraduate engineers. Students working in our engineering education effort learn about a mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods and are able to translate engineering research results to effective interventions and changes within the engineering curriculum.

Our Lab Environment

The lab environment is one "without walls". Educationally and pedagogically, we seek to enhance learning by providing an open, positive, and healthy community for students to share ideas, to seek help, and to rely on each other during high stress periods. It is our goal that the lab feel like family and that EE159 seem very much like a home away from home.