The Department of Electrical Engineering is honored to have two 2016 CoMotion Innovation Fund winners. Professor Karl Böhringer, along with PhD student, Di Sun, received an award for their project, entitled: “Self-cleaning Solar Panels with Anisotropic Micro-texture.” Laura Adam, a doctoral student in Professor Eric Klavins’ lab, received an award for her project, entitled: “ebioHUB.”
CoMotion (formerly C4C) provides tools and resources to innovators throughout the UW community. The 2016 CoMotion Innovation Awards recognizes individuals with unique projects that have the potential for commercialization, but lack current funding.
For Böhringer and his students, the self-cleaning solar panels offer a practical and inexpensive solution in remote arid regions. Because more panels are installed in dry and sandy climates, their efficiency will deplete over time. The device, with a unique micro-pattern and anisotropic (uneven surface) effect, offers a solution and, concurrently, improved solar energy management.
The idea for Adam’s project originated from her individual experience. As a synthetic biologist, there was a lack of effective and accurate tools when programming DNA. Adam developed a toolbox to integrate and manage the numerous sources of information that accompanies experiments. EbioHub will reduce the probability of error and increase efficiencies among researchers.
For both Böhringer and Adam, what’s next is a series of testing and applications. Böhringer’s team will develop a detailed, dynamic model, manufactured at a low cost with high volume and high durability. The will then test the device in a variety of weather conditions. Adam is excited to use the Innovation Fund to hire a front-end developer to begin crafting a beta version of the software.
CoMotion seeks to inspire those who want to “change the world.” Although differing on macro and micro levels, both Böhringer’s and Adam’s projects shape a future dedicated to research and sustainability. From there, the research can only expand.