Univ. of Washington computer scientists have built a low-cost gesture recognition system that runs without batteries and lets users control their electronic devices hidden from sight with simple hand movements. The prototype, called “AllSee,” uses existing TV signals as both a power source and the means for detecting a user’s gesture command.
Pancreatic cancer is a particularly devastating disease. At least 94% of patients will die...
The latest observations of Jakobshavn Glacier show that Greenland’s largest glacier is moving...
The same physics that gives tornadoes their ferocious stability lies at the heart of new Univ....
A substantial fraction of the Neanderthal genome persists in modern human populations. A new approach applied to analyzing whole-genome sequencing data from 665 people from Europe and East Asia shows that more than 20% of the Neanderthal genome survives in the DNA of this contemporary group, whose genetic information is part of the 1,000 Genomes Project.
Millions of people each year remove wrinkles, soften creases and plump up their lips by injecting a gel-like material into their facial tissue. These cosmetic procedures are sometimes called “liquid facelifts” and are said to be minimally invasive. It’s rare, but sometimes things go wrong. In a matter of minutes, patients’ skin can turn red or blotchy white and the injected area becomes painful.
Four Univ. of Washington School of Dentistry faculty members have received a patent for a new way of using titanium-based materials to fight oral bacteria. The patent culminates several years of work in which the group studied a novel class of substances called titanates and peroxotitanates, which can inhibit bacterial growth when bound to metal ions.
Seismologists say Seahawks fans shook the ground under Seattle's CenturyLink Field during Saturday's defeat of the New Orleans Saints, causing another fan-generated earthquake even stronger than Marshawn Lynch's famous "beast quake" touchdown run three years ago. That quake registered a magnitude 1 or 2.
Vaccines combat diseases and protect populations from outbreaks, but the life-saving technology leaves room for improvement. Vaccines usually are made en masse in centralized locations far removed from where they will be used. They are expensive to ship and keep refrigerated and they tend to have short shelf lives. However, Univ. of Washington engineers have developed hope for on-demand vaccines.
Pine Island Glacier is one of the biggest routes for ice to flow from Antarctica into the sea. The floating ice shelf at the glacier’s tip has been melting and thinning for the past four decades, causing the glacier to speed up and discharge more ice. Understanding this ice shelf is a key for predicting sea-level rise in a warming world.
Virulent, drug-resistant forms of E. coli that have recently spread around the world emerged from a single strain of the bacteria. The strain causes millions of urinary, kidney and bloodstream infections a year. It could have a far greater clinical and economic impact than any other strain of bacteria, including the so-called MRSA superbug.
An atmospheric peculiarity the Earth shares with Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune is likely common to billions of planets, Univ. of Washington astronomers have found, and knowing that may help in the search for potentially habitable worlds. The paper uses basic physics to show why this happens, and suggests that tropopauses are probably common to billions of thick-atmosphere planets and moons throughout the galaxy.
Quantum entanglement, a perplexing phenomenon of quantum mechanics that Albert Einstein once referred to as “spooky action at a distance,” could be even spookier than Einstein perceived. A team of physicists believe the phenomenon might be intrinsically linked with wormholes, hypothetical features of space-time that in popular science fiction can provide a much-faster-than-light shortcut from one part of the universe to another.
A new computational method has been shown to quickly assign, order and orient DNA sequencing information along entire chromosomes. The method may help overcome a major obstacle that has delayed progress in designing rapid, low-cost—but still accurate—ways to assemble genomes from scratch. Data gleaned through this new method can also validate certain types of chromosomal abnormalities in cancer, research findings indicate.
During spring break the last five years, a Univ. of Washington class has headed to the Nevada desert to launch rockets and learn more about the science and engineering involved. Sometimes, the launch would fail and a rocket smacked hard into the ground. This year, the session included launches from a balloon that were deliberately directed into a dry lakebed.
For many, music is a universal language that unites people when words cannot. But for those who use cochlear implants hearing music remains extremely challenging. Univ. of Washington scientists hope to change this. They have developed a new way of processing the signals in cochlear implants to help users hear music better.
Similar to using Java to write code for a computer, chemists soon could be able to use a structured set of instructions to “program” how DNA molecules interact in a test tube or cell. A Univ. of Washington team has developed a programming language for chemistry that it hopes will streamline efforts to design a network that can guide the behavior of chemical-reaction mixtures in the same way that embedded electronic controllers guide cars.
Computer-designed proteins that can recognize and interact with small biological molecules are now a reality. Scientists have succeeded in creating a protein molecule that can be programmed to unite with three different steroids. The achievement could have far wider ranging applications in medicine and other fields, according to the Protein Design Institute at the Univ. of Washington.
Univ. of Washington researchers have performed what they believe is the first noninvasive human-to-human brain interface, with one researcher able to send a brain signal via the Internet to control the hand motions of a fellow researcher. Using electrical brain recordings and a form of magnetic stimulation, Rajesh Rao sent a brain signal to Andrea Stocco on the other side of campus, causing Stocco’s finger to move on a keyboard.
Each year, millions of people in the U.S. get a tuberculosis skin test to see if they have the infection. But the standard diagnostic test is difficult to give, because a hypodermic needle must be inserted at a precise angle and depth in the arm to successfully check for tuberculosis. Now, a team has created a microneedle patch that can penetrate the skin and precisely deliver a tuberculosis test.
It is well known to scientists that the three common phases of water (ice, liquid and vapor) can exist stably together only at a particular temperature and pressure, called the triple point. Scientists now have made the first-ever accurate determination of a solid-state triple point in a substance called vanadium dioxide, which is known for switching rapidly from an electrical insulator to a conductor.
Reservoirs of silica-rich magma can persist in Earth’s upper crust for hundreds of thousands of years without triggering an eruption, according to new modeling research. That means an area known to have experienced a massive volcanic eruption in the past, such as Yellowstone National Park, could have a large pool of magma festering beneath it and still not be close to going off as it did 600,000 years ago.
We might be one step closer to an Internet-of-things reality. Univ. of Washington engineers have created a new wireless communication system that allows devices to interact with each other without relying on batteries or wires for power. The new communication technique, which the researchers call “ambient backscatter,” takes advantage of the television and cellular transmissions that already surround us around the clock.
Organic solar cells that convert light to electricity using carbon-based molecules have shown promise as a versatile energy source but have not been able to match the efficiency of their silicon-based counterparts. Now, researchers have discovered a synthetic, high-performance polymer that behaves differently from other tested materials and could make inexpensive, highly efficient organic solar panels a reality.
There may be more kinds of stuff than we thought. A team of researchers has reported possible evidence for a new category of solids, things that are neither pure glasses, crystals nor even exotic quasicrystals. Something else. The research team analyzed a solid alloy that they discovered in small discrete patches of a rapidly cooled mixture of aluminum, iron and silicon.
The chemical components crucial to the start of life on Earth may have primed and protected each other in never-before-realized ways, according to new research led by Univ. of Washington scientists. It could mean a simpler scenario for how that first spark of life came about on the planet.
In the runaway greenhouse stage, a planet absorbs more solar energy than it can give off to retain equilibrium. As a result, the world overheats, boiling its oceans and filling its atmosphere with steam, which leaves the planet glowing-hot and forever uninhabitable, as Venus is now. Recent research shows this scenario might be more easily reached than previously thought.
It is not unusual for swarms of small earthquakes to precede a volcanic eruption. They can create a signal called harmonic tremor, which resembles that generated by musical instruments but at a much lower frequency. A new analysis of an eruption sequence at Alaska’s Redoubt Volcano in March 2009 shows that the harmonic tremor glided to substantially higher frequencies and then stopped abruptly just before erupting.
Doctors have a new way of thinking about how to treat heart and skeletal muscle diseases. Body builders have a new way of thinking about how they maximize their power. Both owe their new insight to high-energy x-rays, a moth and cloud computing. The basics of how a muscle generates power remain the same, but the power doesn't just come from what's happening straight up and down the length of the muscle, as has been assumed for 50 years.
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