University of Washington

Battery-Free Wireless Sensor Technology

We’ve been hearing about the “Internet of things” for years, a network of smart devices and sensors that connect all of your appliances and toys and equipment that will allow you to access (or at least monitor) just about everything. One problem holding back this ubiquitous connectivity is that most sensors require some sort of power source. If the sensor is attached to something that is already powered (like a refrigerator), that’s not a problem; but if you’ve got hundreds of sensors in a remote location, you’d need batteries. Continue reading

University of Washington Readies Fusion Spaceship

Humanity can reach Mars, though nine months stuck in a ship doesn’t sound like much fun to me. Testing has shown it won’t be much fun for the astronauts either, so what we really need is a faster way to explore space. Until we can manage warp drive, we’ll have to stick with sub-light propulsion.

The University of Washington (UW), in cooperation with MSNW, has been working to develop a functional fusion propulsion system. If the system ends up working, it could cut down the trip to Mars from nine months to about 30 days. The trick is getting it to work. Continue reading

Microsoft Eyes Augmented Reality

In a move that makes eye color correction seem boring, Microsoft and the University of Washington have made major advances in bringing augmented reality to contact lenses. The augmented reality lens receives radio signals and transmits them via optical nerves directly to the brain. The process was successfully tested on a rabbit, and the research team has the go-ahead to begin human trials.

While augmented reality has thus far been treated as something of a fad by corporations not involved with video games or marketing, Microsoft insists that incorporating the technology into a lens will make it practical for multiple applications. Possible uses include using facial recognition technology to assist security and police forces, or a virtual desktop that retrieves and displays information in the blink of an eye.

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