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University of Washington

— Robotics

Crowdsourcing could help robots learn new tasks faster

By - June 29, 2014 3 Pictures
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

By - June 17, 2014 1 Picture
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

By - June 16, 2014 2 Pictures
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
— Good Thinking

Gizmag checks out Survival Capsules' tsunami survival pods

By - May 22, 2014 16 Pictures
The 2011 Tohoku earthquake and the tsunami that followed count as one of the worst disasters of the 21st century. When it struck off the southern coast of Japan with a force of magnitude 9, it was the most powerful ever to hit Japan, and the tsunami with a maximum height of 40.5 m (133 ft) resulted in 15,885 deaths, 6,148 injured, and 2,623 people missing. In anticipation of a similar disaster, Survival Capsules LCC of Mukilteo, Washington has developed a steel and aircraft-grade aluminum sphere designed to protect against both fire and flood. Gizmag paid a visit to the company to learn more about it. Read More
— Medical

Human stem cells used to repair damaged monkey hearts

By - May 2, 2014 4 Pictures
In what could mark a significant breakthrough in the treatment of heart disease, researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have successfully repaired damaged tissue in monkey hearts using cells created from human embryonic stem cells. The findings demonstrate an ability to produce these cells on an unprecedented scale and hold great potential for restoring functionally of damaged human hearts. Read More
— Science

New software accurately predicts what your children will look like as adults

By - April 11, 2014 6 Pictures
If you're a parent wondering what your child will look like as an adult, now you don't need to wonder anymore. Researchers at the University of Washington claim to have developed software that can accurately predict what a child will look like as an adult, up to the age of 80. The technique can even work from poorly lit photos, and could prove a big help in missing persons cases. Read More

Scientists create world's thinnest LEDs

In regular microchips, work is performed via the movement of electrons within the chip. Thanks to the recent creation of the thinnest-ever LEDs, however, such chips may one day be able to use light instead of electrons, saving power and reducing heat. Of course, those LEDs could also just be used as a really flat form of lighting, in any number of applications. Read More
— Mobile Technology

AllSee prototype puts gesture recognition in your pocket

By - March 2, 2014 3 Pictures
Current gesture recognition technology seen in devices such as Samsung's Galaxy S4 generally rely on the device's camera. This not only creates a drain on the device's battery, but means users need to retrieve the phone from their pocket or handbag to make use of the technology. The new AllSee system developed at the University of Washington (UW) overcomes both these problems by using wireless signals not only as a power source, but also to detect user gestures when the phone is tucked away out of sight. Read More
— Good Thinking

Crashing rockets could lead to novel sample-return technology

By - November 27, 2013 2 Pictures
The terms "auger in" and "lawndart" refer to rather exciting and decidedly dangerous methods of recovering a rocket, during which the screaming rocket buries its pointy end deep in the ground. Such over-enthusiastic landings provided a group of research students from the University of Washington (UWash) the inspiration for a new approach to collecting samples from hostile environments, such as the crater of an erupting volcano or a melting nuclear reactor. Read More
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