Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Usman Khan

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Autumn 2020

Research Project:  Data-driven Wireless Power Field Characterization for Neural Implants

Project Description: I’m working on a tool that helps accelerate the design and prototyping process for magnetic resonance wireless power systems, specifically for neural implants used in medical applications. Creating safe and precise systems for these and other biomedical implants is a very difficult design problem because the magnetic fields used are too complex to simulate or derive theoretically. To solve this problem, I’m using a combination of theory and machine learning to derive governing equations for these magnetic fields using data collected from a robotic scanning system I previously worked on. We can then use these equations to understand, optimize, and design better-performing systems.

What have you learned throughout your research project?

The best thing you can do is talk to people! If you’ve got a problem you’re struggling with, find someone at UW who works on similar stuff and pick their brain. Often the best research breakthroughs and opportunities come from conversations.

What piece of advice do you have for future applicants?

Ask questions, talk to (many) people, and don’t be afraid to look “dumb”! If you find some professor’s work interesting, email and see if you can have a quick chat with them. Attend research talks when you have time. Lastly, persevere! I was rejected from this scholarship twice before winning it. Too often we see the achievements without the work and pitfalls it took to get there.