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Research

Health

There has never been a more opportune time for researchers, engineers, clinicians and entrepreneurs to contribute to the development of health technology for the purpose of lowering costs and improving the quality of care. Our programs and partnerships bridge boundaries between engineers and health-care practitioners by integrating research, student projects, clinical practice and commercialization to train leaders in healthcare innovation. The new technological solutions being developed in our labs will help improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare while reducing costs.

UW Mechanical Engineering has a rich history of advancements in biomechanics and health technologies, thanks to the work of pioneers in the field, including emeritus faculty Colin Daly and Albert Kobayashi and alumni Wayne Quinton and Savio Woo. Today, nearly half of ME’s core faculty research in this area.

Key research areas

  • Assistive design technology and accessible design
  • Biomechanics, biotechnologies and human movement
  • Bio-microelectromechanical systems (BioMEMs), cell mechanics and nanotechnology
  • Blood, tissue and organ interaction
  • Cryopreservation and biobanking technologies
  • Innovation in health and biomedical device development
  • Nano and biologically inspired robotics
  • Photonics – diagnostic imaging, surgical guidance and laser therapy
  • Point-of-care diagnostics
  • Prosthetics, orthoses and exoskeletons

Research highlights

ME researchers are advancing cancer detection and treatment through innovations in nanorobotics, optical technologies and biomedical diagnostics.

Engineering Innovation in Health is a year-long program in which engineering students and faculty partner with clinicians to design medical devices aimed toward lowering costs and improving care.

Focused on amplifying human and robotic interaction, the AMP Lab advances understanding of the dynamics and control of movement to design treatment strategies and assistive technologies that improve function and quality of life.

ME’s 15-year partnership with the Seattle VA’s Center for Limb Loss and MoBility has resulted in hands-on research opportunities for students and has helped propel UW biomechanics research in new directions.

Award-winning student projects

MedsForAll, an affordable alternative to the epinephrine auto-injectors currently on the market, developed for communities worldwide.

MistEase, a device that makes it easier for elderly people with glaucoma to administer their eye drops.

PlayGait™, a pediatric exoskeleton that helps children with gait disorders walk more, so they can build muscle strength and increase independent mobility.

Related News

Headshot of Shawn Swanson

Thu, 09/30/2021 | UW News

Spotlight: Shawn Swanson pursues medical innovations through social entrepreneurship

Shawn Swanson - ME PhD, Engineering Innovation in Health all star, MedsForAll founder and Population Health Social Entrepreneurship Fellow - is profiled by the UW Population Health Initiative.

Artistic rendering of a person wearing a VR headset, shown from the neck up, with swirls of color and things around him

Mon, 09/13/2021 | ASME

A Virtual River for Mental Health

Research in VR for mental health featured by ASME.

On the right is a man with a short beard and wearing a VR headset, to the left is a helicopter flying over an explosion drawn in yellow and black to make it look like he's seeing that simulation in VR

Sat, 09/11/2021 | The Washington Post

How virtual reality therapy can help make bad memories more manageable

Research in using VR to treat PTSD featured by the Washington Post.

Headshot photo of an Asian male with glasses, well-combed hair and a black button-up shirt

Thu, 08/19/2021

Shen Ren wins Society for Cryobiology award

Shen Ren, a postdoctoral fellow in UW ME and the UW Center for Dialysis Innovation, has been named winner of the 2021 Peter L. Steponkus Crystal Award for his work in cryopreservation.