This page contains links to information and resources about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 for UW faculty, staff, students and community members, and serves to highlight some of the COVID-19 related research efforts that several of our ECE faculty are currently working on at the UW and with industry partners.
If you are interested in providing financial support for the Electrical & Computer Engineering department’s COVID-19 research efforts, click here.
For other donations or gifts to support the UW’s COVID-19 efforts, such as the UW COVID-19 Emergency Student Fund, the UW Medicine COVID-19 Response Fund & equipment donation, or the Husky hunger relief fund, please click here.
ECE professor and department chair Eric Klavins is involved in two large DARPA-funded projects, one to create protein therapeutics, and two to build a rapidly deployable molecular biology field lab for testing. Visit http://klavinslab.org/ for more information.
ECE professor, NanoES Institute director and Washington Nanofabrication Facility director Karl F. Böhringer is working with Matchstick Technologies, a UW CoMotion startup, to utilize WNF equipment to prepare components for their PIXUL (PIXelated ULtrasound) instrument. This instrument is currently being evaluated for high throughput COVID-19 diagnostic testing. PIXUL, Matchstick’s premier product, is a tool that processes each and every well of a 96-well microplate consistently and quickly. PIXUL was designed completely from the ground up to provide the end user with an easy to use tool that is simple to set up, simple to use, and generates consistent results day in and day out.
ECE professor Blake Hannaford and UW ME Ph.D. student Andrew Lewis are working on a dynamic new COVID-19 ventilator technology project as part of a coordinated effort with PATH Foundation, UW Medicine, GIX and several other UW units. The projects also involves a team of external ventilator experts and several undergraduate UW students.
Geographic Disease Tracking
As part of his current Office of Naval Research (ONR) funded project, ECE professor Les Atlas and his team are working on a COVID-19 “weather mapping” project using results from analogous problems in acoustic and radar tracking to identify COVID-19 geographic direction of transmission. More details to follow.
Working with the Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and Microsoft Research, ECE adjunct associate professor Sham Kakade has created a COVID-19 contact-tracing app. More details to follow.
Disease Monitoring and Accurate Screening
Researchers in the UbiComp Lab led by Allen School and ECE professor Shwetak Patel developed a smartphone-based system called RDTScan that uses computer vision techniques to assist the user in capturing a high-quality image of their completed test, combined with an algorithm that automatically analyzes the result. This improves the accuracy and consistency of test results while also enabling researchers and public health officials to gather data about community-level disease prevalence. After initially focusing on infectious diseases such as malaria and influenza, the team is currently building out a new open-source RDTScan library that will enable developers to extend these capabilities to new COVID-19 RDTs as they come onto the market. The development team can be reached at RDTScan(at)cs.washington.edu.
Professor Patel is also developing a smartphone-based app for monitoring patient coughs — a frequent symptom of COVID-19 — to aid patient recovery and to identify potential new cases of the disease. The project, which is a collaboration with clinicians at UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s Hospital and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and National Institutes of Health (NIH), builds on the lab’s previous work on CoughSense and will employ a combination of the phone’s microphone and an algorithm capable of distinguishing coughs from other sounds to measure their frequency. The team is in discussions with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control about the project, which aims to alleviate capacity pressures on the health care system by enabling providers to remotely monitor the condition of patients recovering at home. The app could also be used to monitor the condition of persons under investigation (PUI) who have had contact with confirmed cases but have not yet begun displaying symptoms. The researchers are currently inviting people to participate in an online study collecting human coughs and other vocalizations to refine the algorithm that powers the app. For more information, see coverage by UW News, Slate, PBS NewsHour, and KING5 News.