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University of Washington

— Science

Direct brain-to-brain interface between humans improved

Direct brain-to-brain communication has been a long-held ambition of scientists and science fiction fans alike. Recently, University of Washington (UW) researchers brought that ambition a step closer to reality by successfully conducting a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of volunteers over the internet by transmitting signals from one person’s brain to another to directly govern the motions of the receiving person’s hand. Read More
— Energy

University of Washington fusion reactor promises "cheaper than coal" energy

In the 21st century, the world lives with two futures ahead of it – one of looming energy shortages, and another of godlike energy abundance. The key to this whether it’s possible to turn fusion reactor technology from a laboratory exercise into a real-world application. Engineers that the University of Washington are working on a fusion reactor that, when scaled up, could produce energy on a practical scale, yet at a cost rivaling that of a conventional coal-powered plant. Read More
— Mobile Technology

SideSwipe lets phones read hand gestures using reflected wireless signals

Imagine if your smartphone was ringing away in your bag or pocket, and you were able to silence it simply by waving your hand in the air – without even taking the phone out. Well, that could soon be a reality, thanks to technology being developed at the University of Washington. Known as SideSwipe, the experimental system allows a phone to recognize gestures via the manner in which the user's hand reflects back the phone's own wireless transmissions. Read More
— Electronics

Researchers eliminate need for external power in Wi-Fi connectivity system

One of the advantages of the "connected world" is that myriad different devices can interact with each other over Wi-Fi to exchange data, control equipment, and generally lay the foundations of the Internet of Things of the not-too-distant future. Unfortunately, on the downside, all of the Wi-Fi connections need power to operate, and this severely restricts the pervasiveness of this technology. However, researchers at the University of Washington have developed a system that they say eliminates the need for power supplies for these connections by using what is known as radio frequency (RF) backscatter technology. Read More
— Health & Wellbeing

Vive aims to help avoid alcohol-fueled social dangers

Like a lot of us, young people like to party. But being under the influence of alcohol in an unfamiliar environment or in crowds of strangers can reduce their ability to protect themselves or make safe choices, particularly when they become separated from their friends. In an attempt to reduce the danger, a group of University of Washington students have designed a smart wearable that automatically alerts friends if something may be wrong. Read More
— Robotics

Crowdsourcing could help robots learn new tasks faster

If robots are going to work alongside humans, the machines are going to need to swallow their pride and learn to ask for help. At least, that’s the thinking of computer scientists at the University of Washington (UW), who are working on ways for robots to crowdsource their problems when learning new tasks. If successful, this approach points the way toward future robots that are capable of asking for assistance to speed up their learning when it comes to figuring out how to carry out household tasks. Read More
— Computers

New computer program wants to teach itself everything about any subject

Word-picture association is one of the basic mechanisms of human memory. As children, it helps us to learn language by verbalizing what we see, as adults it is an invaluable aid to visualizing broader concepts or perhaps helping those with an LBLD (Language-Based Learning Disability). Now researchers from the University of Washington and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence have created the first fully automated computer program named LEVAN that teaches itself everything there is to know about a visual concept by associating words with images. Read More
— Medical

In-eye sensor to keep a watch on changes in intraocular pressure

The fluid pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure (IOP), is an important metric for evaluating a person's risk of glaucoma. There are currently two different ways to measure IOP, both of which require a trip to the ophthalmologist. A prototype sensor developed by engineers at the University of Washington is designed to be placed permanently in a person's eye to track changes in eye pressure and more effectively manage the disease. Read More