UW Bothell grows reputation in medical device technology

Daniel Schossow

Daniel Schossow in UW Bothell electrical engineering lab. (Photos by Marc Studer)

By Douglas Esser
Millions of people depend on a heart pacemaker, powered by an implanted battery. Every six or seven years the battery has to be replaced surgically. What if the battery could be recharged from outside the body, without surgery? That’s one possible application of wireless power transfer – a field where University of Washington Bothell electrical engineering students are becoming experts.

Two of those students were recently honored by an international technology association. Daniel Schossow won a Wireless Power Transfer for Biomedical Applications Award, and Manuja Sharma won a $1,500 Microwave Theory and Techniques Society undergraduate scholarship at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) International Microwave Symposium 2017. Both Schossow and Sharma are members of the research group led by Assistant Professor Hung Cao of the School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics.

The biomedical wireless power award means a lot to graduate students nationwide, said Cao. Schossow, left, also was invited to publish a peer-reviewed article on his design in IEEE Microwave Magazine, adding to a curriculum vitae that includes being lead author on one other journal paper and co-author on several other papers from Cao’s research group.

This summer, Schossow is attending another conference in San Diego to present work related to Cao’s research in monitoring tiny zebrafish to study how heart tissue can regenerate. Schossow also has worked with a local physician researching a wireless electroencephalogram. Imagine an EEG with a headband instead of wires attached to the scalp to record brain waves. Schossow will graduate this fall with a master’s in electrical engineering and a reputation as an award-winning specialist in wireless power transfer.

Sharma, left, will use the scholarship to work this summer on a proposal for a flexible Bluetooth antenna. Sharma will graduate in August with a degree in electrical engineering and start a Ph.D. program in electrical engineering at the UW in Seattle. Last year Sharma won a $7,500 fellowship from the Washington Research Foundation for her work with Cao.

Schossow’s biomedical applications award was the prize in a six-month design competition with students from five other countries, including Brazil, China and South Korea. The challenge was to improve the efficiency of transferring power wirelessly to sensors or devices in the human anatomy, represented by saline bags.

Electricity transfers wirelessly through inductive coupling, the process of inducing a current from one magnetic coil to another. The method is well-known, but usually less than 10 percent of the electricity reaches the implanted target. Schossow’s winning design achieved about 30 percent efficiency.

As a result of the symposium, a team from Brazil has expressed interest in collaborating with Cao’s research group on wireless power transfer. Another contact from the event led to a job interview for Schossow with Apple Inc.

Opportunities to lead research, to help teach undergrads and to work with people in the community are all the result of “the great thing about UW Bothell that I really appreciate,” says Schossow, “the professors, including Cao, take a demonstrable interest in their students.”

Schossow also received a $750 prize and Sharma a $1,000 travel award at the symposium, held in early June in Hawaii. It identifies itself as the largest international conference devoted to the research, development and application of radio frequency and microwave theory and techniques. Drawing thousands of participants from hundreds of universities and companies around the world, the annual conference is sponsored by the Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S) of IEEE, recognized as the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology.

Manuja Sharma
Daniel Schossow
Daniel Schossow, Hung Cao, Manuja Sharma

Left to right, Daniel Schossow Hung Cao and Manuja Sharma. (Courtesy photo)

Read more recent news

See all news