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University of Washington


— Marine

Cyclops has its eye on the deep blue sea

In three years, if you happen to be 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) beneath the surface of the ocean, keep an eye out for the Cyclops. No, not the hairy giant, but the 5-passenger submersible. Once it’s commercially available in 2016, it should be “the only privately owned deep-water manned submersible available for contracts.” As for why it’s called the Cyclops, just check out its one-big-eye-like 180-degree borosilicate glass observation dome. Read More
— Electronics

Ambient backscatter tech allows devices to communicate, sans batteries

In order for the Internet of Things to become a reality, devices will need to be able to communicate with the internet and with one another. If they have to be powered up in order to so, however, a lot of electricity is going to be wasted. That’s where a new technology known as “ambient backscatter” comes into the picture. Developed by engineers at the University of Washington, it uses ever-present existing TV and cellular signals to provide the power and medium for battery-less communications. Read More
— Science

New material could lead to cheaper, more eco-friendly LEDs

LED light bulbs may be more energy-efficient and longer-lived than their incandescent equivalents, but they’re also considerably more expensive to purchase. This is largely because rare earth elements (REEs) are used in their phosphors. There are hazards involved in the mining and processing of REEs, plus China is responsible for almost the entire world’s supply, so they’re becoming increasingly pricey. Now, however, scientists have come up with a plentiful alternative material that they say is much more environmentally friendly, and that should drive down the price of LEDs. Read More
— Electronics

WiSee system recognizes user gestures in other rooms

By now, even if they’ve never used one themselves, most people are pretty familiar with the idea behind gesture control systems such as the Kinect – the user makes a movement, the device “sees” that movement, and interprets it. However, what would happen if the user was in another room, blocked from the device’s cameras and depth sensors? Well, as long as there was a Wi-Fi signal available, it wouldn’t be a problem ... at least, not if the WiSee system was being used. Read More
— Space

Researchers developing fusion rocket to slash travel time of Mars missions

Traveling through deep space is a hazardous undertaking and choosing the right engine can mean the difference between a fast, successful mission and a slow one with mounting dangers of radiation sickness, equipment failures and personal conflicts. A team of researchers from the University of Washington (UW) and Redmond, Washington-based MSNW are aiming to expand the options by developing a new fusion drive rocket engine that promises to make possible a manned spacecraft that could reach Mars and return to Earth in months rather than years. Read More
— Medical

Beer compounds could hold the key to better pharmacueticals

A beer a day might not keep the doctor away but hops, one of the basic ingredients in beer brewing, could be good for you. In a development that could lead to better drug treatments of diabetes and cancer, University of Washington research associate professor of chemistry, Werner Kaminsky, has determined the exact structure of humulones and their derivatives – the acids in hops that give beer its distinctive bitter taste. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Nanostructured fabric could protect women against pregnancy and HIV

While condoms are the only things that protect against both unwanted pregnancies and HIV, a lot of people aren’t big fans of stopping to put them on. Additionally, women are sometimes put in an awkward role, needing to pressure the man to use the thing – although female condoms certainly do exist, their bulkiness makes them rather unpopular. Now, however, a team of scientists from the University of Washington are working on a type of dissolvable fabric that could be used by women both for contraception and HIV protection. Read More
— Medical

New tech converts regular paper into powerful medical diagnostic tool

A group of researchers at the University of Washington has found a way to isolate and identify medically interesting molecules using little more than scraps of office paper, a Ziplock bag and a cheap diluted solvent. If properly developed, the system – which requires minimal costs and know-how to build and operate – could be made to administer a wide range of medical tests nearly free of charge. Read More
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