The Seaglider autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) was developed by a large team in the UW School of Oceanography and the UW Applied Physics Laboratory. The Seaglider AUV makes oceanographic measurements traditionally collected by research vessels or moored instruments, but at a fraction of the cost. They fly through the water with extremely modest energy requirements using changes in buoyancy for thrust, coupled with a stable, low-drag, hydrodynamic shape. Seaglider AUVs can also be commanded to alter their sampling strategies throughout a mission from a base station on land.
The technology was initially licensed to iRobot. When iRobot decided to exit the maritime business, CoMotion recaptured the rights, and later licensed them to Kongsberg Underwater Technology, Inc. (KUTI), then a subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime. KUTI’s sister company, Hydroid, now a subsidiary of Huntington Ingalls, is the current holder of the license. CoMotion helped the team identify and vet interested companies, and executed the licenses, adapting over time to the changing needs of UW and licensees. The Seaglider AUV is used by the Navy, researchers, and the oil and gas industry.
Plant microbiologist and UW Professor of Environmental & Forest Sciences Sharon Doty develops improved phytoremediation methods, a process in which plants that thrive in metallic soil or water eliminate environmental pollutants. Professor Doty has identified microbes that naturally colonize poplars and breakdown toxic water into carbon dioxide and chloride and other non-harmful byproducts. UW CoMotion licensed these strains of microbes to Intrinsyx Bio, a California-based company that designs integrated biological systems to remediate pollutants in soil, groundwater, and surface water, and improve the speed and efficacy of phytoremediation through proprietary biology. Read more about a recent project in Mountain View, CA in this New York Times article, and other projects for the government and Fortune 100 clients in the energy and technology sectors on the Intrinsyx Bio website.
Mike Gelb, the Professor and Boris and Barbara L. Weinstein Endowed Chair in Chemistry and an Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry, studies enzymes–the protein catalysts that break down food, eliminate toxins and build new molecules to keep our bodies in good working order. Dr. Gelb led a multidisciplinary team that developed a technology that screens newborns for certain lysosomal storage diseases that are caused by key enzyme deficiencies and result in severe and hard to diagnose symptoms in young children.
There are, however, treatments for some of these disorders and damage can be prevented if the disease is caught early enough. Dr Gelb’s technology provides for such early detection and is now recommended for every newborn. It is conducted in most US states, as well as some foreign countries, as part of a battery of tests done using blood spots from neonatal heel pricks. Professor Gelb was selected to give the prestigious UW Faculty Lecture in 2018 for his work on newborn screening for genetic diseases.
The technology was licensed to Perkin Elmer, the leader in the field, to develop and widely deploy the test with safeguards to ensure broad affordable access.