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University of Washington

A drop of liquid sits on the textured silicon surface that has arced rungs to guide the dr...

Lately we’re hearing more and more about tiny medical and environmental diagnostic devices, that can perform a variety of tests using very small fluid samples. Working with such small samples does present a challenge, however – how do you thoroughly mix tiny amounts of different fluids, or wrangle individual drops for analysis? According to a team of scientists from the University of Washington, the answer lies in the lotus leaf.  Read More

HD 189733 b transiting its parent star, the 8th magnitude HD 189733 (Image: NASA/JPL-Calte...

Today's weather on HD 189733 b: It will be hazy with high wispy clouds. The wind will be steady from the east at speeds approaching 6000 miles per hour. Daytime temperatures will average a balmy 800 degrees C (1,472 degrees F), while the equatorial hot spot at 30 degrees longitude is expected to top 900 degrees C (1,652 degrees F). But, there is a high chance of silicate snow showers, with accumulations expected except in the vicinity of the hot spot.  Read More

Three of the Raven II surgical robots (Photo: UW)

A couple of years ago, the Willow Garage robotics company gave ten of its PR2 robots away to deserving research groups. The idea behind the project was that these groups would use the PR2s for robotics research, then share their discoveries with each other, thus advancing the field farther than would be possible if they each had to build their own unique robots from scratch. Now, a similar but unrelated project is underway, and this time the robots are designed specifically to perform surgery.  Read More

Microsoft and the University of Washington are developing an electronic contact lens that ...

We've heard of experimental contact lenses that can non-invasively monitor the blood sugar levels of diabetes sufferers before, but where prior research relied on chemical reactions inducing color-change in the lens, new joint research by the University of Washington and Microsoft Research aims to incorporate electronics into such lenses to report blood sugar levels wirelessly. Gizmag spoke to Desney Tan, Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research Connections, to find out what sets this work apart.  Read More

Scientists have created a contact lens that can can project an image onto the wearer's ret...

Fans of the original film in the Terminator franchise will recall how various bits of data were shown to be overlaid on the cyborg's vision - in particular, they might remember the list of possible responses that could be used when someone was angrily knocking on its door (for those who don't remember, its chosen response wasn't very polite). Such augmented vision systems are now a little closer to reality, thanks to work being done by a team of scientists at the University of Washington and Aalto University, in Finland. They have created a contact lens that displays information, which is visible to the wearer.  Read More

Squids have provided the key ingredient for a proton-conducting transistor, that may allow...

When it comes to sending and receiving information, man-made devices utilize negatively-charged particles commonly known as electrons. Biological systems such as human bodies, on the other hand, use protons via positively charged hydrogen atoms or ions. This would indicate that there is something of a language barrier, when we try to develop electronic devices that can communicate with living systems. That barrier could be on its way down, however, as scientists from the University of Washington have developed a transistor that can conduct pulses of protons - and they've done it with some help from our friends the cephalopods.  Read More

Players of the online game Foldit have helped determine the structure of an enzyme, which ...

It was a puzzle that had thwarted scientists for almost a decade, but a collection of gamers was able to solve it in just three weeks. What the scientists wanted to know was the structure of retroviral proteases, a class of enzymes that play a key part in the maturation and proliferation of the AIDS virus. The mystery was crowd-sourced to the gaming community within an existing online game known as Foldit, by researchers from the University of Washington. The game challenges players to collaborate and compete in predicting the structure of protein molecules.  Read More

A University of Washington study has found hazardous chemicals from scented laundry produc...

Recent research from the University of Washington (UW) has revealed that freshly-scented laundry comes with an unexpected price. In the first study to examine dryer vent exhaust, fragrance components in some of the best-selling liquid clothing detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets were found to infuse the vented air with a veritable rogue's gallery of hazardous pollutants, including two known carcinogens.  Read More

An experimental wireless power system could reduce infections in patients with implanted h...

While implantable heart pumps may buy some time for people waiting to undergo heart transplants, such implants have at least one serious drawback – because they receive their power from an external source, a power cord must protrude through the skin of the patient’s belly. About 40 percent of patients experience infections of that opening, which often require rehospitalization, and in extreme cases can even cause death. The presence of that cord also makes it impossible for patients to swim or take baths. Researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center are attempting to put an end to the troublesome cords, however, by developing a system that wirelessly transmits power to heart pumps.  Read More

EnerJ is a power-saving system that allocates less voltage to regions of computer chips th...

As computers, data centers and mobile devices become more powerful, their energy requirements are likewise generally increasing. Possible solutions to the problem include power-saving sleep modes, devices that keep computers from drawing a current when supposedly turned off, and water-cooled processors. EnerJ, a new solution created at the University of Washington, takes a different approach – it supplies less power to regions of the chip that are performing processes that don’t require absolute precision. In lab simulations, it has already cut power consumption by up to 50 percent, although that amount could potentially reach as high as 90 percent.  Read More

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