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University of Washington

Science

Synthesizing human genome in lab could lead to "ultrasafe" cell line

Since the human genome was completely sequenced in 2003, the field of genetics has zipped along at a mind-boggling pace, helping us do everything from detecting cancer earlier to offering new hope to diabetics. Now we can even cut-and-paste sequences of DNA in our own kitchens. So the just-announced project to chemically produce an entire human genome in a lab seems like a logical next step – even if it could one day lead to lab-made humans with no biological parents.Read More

Robotics

Autonomous learning puts human-like dexterity within robotic reach

Although humans perform intricate hand movements like rolling, pivoting, bending and grabbing different shaped objects without a second thought, such dexterity is still beyond the grasp of most robots. But a team of computer scientists at the University of Washington has upped the dexterity stat of a five-fingered robotic hand that can ape human movements and learn to improve on its own.Read More

Medical

Breathe easy: Over-the-phone lung monitoring is just a 1-800 call away

Back in 2012, researchers from the University of Washington (UW) introduced a new tool for those suffering from respiratory problems in the form of a smartphone app that measures lung health. While this may have improved access to care for many, it didn't mean a great deal to those without a smartphone. The team is now looking to expand the reach of its technology by designing a system that allows patients to call in from anywhere in the world, from any phone, to gauge the health of their lungs.Read More

Energy

Power dense zinc-manganese power unit as cheap as a car battery

A team of scientists working on analyzing energy flows in prototype zinc-manganese batteries have stumbled upon a new way to make these power cells much more reliable, with many more recharge cycles than the humble lead-acid car battery, but costing around the same to produce. The creators claim that the new battery could become an inexpensive, ecologically-sound alternative for storing energy from renewable sources and a high-density solution for storing excess energy from the power grid.Read More

Mobile Technology

Mobile sonar tech moves fingers off the screen

Using your big ol' fingers to perform tasks on a smartphone's touchscreen can be difficult enough, with the smaller screen of a smartwatch presenting even more of a challenge. It was with this in mind that scientists at the University of Washington created FingerIO. The technology turns mobile devices into sonar systems that are capable of tracking the user's finger movements on nearby surfaces such as desk tops, or even in mid-air.Read More

Electronics

Passive Wi-Fi more energy efficient than conventional Wi-Fi, ZigBee and Bluetooth LE

While it's become a necessity of modern life, Wi-Fi is also an energy hog, draining the batteries of all those connected devices surrounding us. That may change with the recent demonstration by University of Washington researchers of Wi-Fi transmissions generated using 10,000 times less power than conventional methods. Known as Passive Wi-Fi, the system also uses 1,000 times less power than current energy-efficient wireless communication platforms, like ZigBee and Bluetooth LE.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

HIV-prevention vaginal ring proves effective in African trial

While condoms and preventative drugs are effective at blocking HIV transmission, for women in developing regions like sub-Saharan Africa, such methods can be too expensive or impractical for continual use. A new treatment, which provides patients with a more long-term protective solution in the form of a drug-releasing vaginal ring, has proved partially effective in a new study.
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Health & Wellbeing

NutriRay3D uses laser light and your phone to count calories

There are already plenty of apps that let people estimate how many calories are in the foods they're eating. However, most of these programs require users to either guess at their portion sizes, or actually weigh the food. That's where the University of Washington's NutriRay3D comes in. It's a smartphone device/app combo, that uses lasers to ascertain how many calories are sitting on the plate.Read More

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