(Matt Hagen Photo / UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship) A team that wants to make batteries more environmentally friendly won $15,000 at a competition for environmental innovation at the University of Washington. MOtiF Materials invented a way to making batteries degrade less quickly over time. “If you can fix batteries, it has an impact on so many other clean energy technologies,” said , who founded MOtiF. Rasmussen, a doctoral student of mechanical engineering at the University of Washington, said the broader aim of the project is to make next-generation materials and manufacture them in a way that is scalable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly. She was drawn to the project as a way to use her mechanical engineering knowledge to create a process that helps the environment. “It’s something that everyone can get behind,” Rasmussen said. Specifically, she wants to find ways to synthesize a class of materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) at scale without damaging the planet. A recent Scientific American article , saying they “are poised to be the defining material of the 21st century.” Rasmussen is securing intellectual property for the technology and working on a paper manuscript based on her work. She’s received grant funding from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and financial support through a fellowship with the Clean Energy Institute. MOtiF does not have a website yet. The team also includes graduate students of mechanical engineering Stuart Moore and Courtney Otani, as well as undergraduate student Molly Foley. The winners for the were selected by more than 150 entrepreneurs, investors and environmental advocates. $10,000 2nd Place Prize: Atomo Coffee (Matt Hagen Photo / UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship) What’s coffee without the beans? For , it’s a better cup o’ joe. The startup, which is rethinking how coffee is made from molecular level using naturally sustainable ingredients. Atomo launched a in February and has raised more than $25,000 so far. and are the co-founders of Atomo. Kleitsch is a tech vet who once worked at Amazon and currently leads entrepreneur workshops at the University of Washington. The second-place prize was sponsored by Herbert B. Jones Foundation. $5,000 3rd Place Prize: Chibage Chip (Matt Hagen Photo / UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship) Biochemistry doctoral student Tamuka Chidyausiku invented a device called the Chibage Chip to help farmers detect when plants are thirsty. Chidyausiku is from Zimbabwe and wants farmers in developing nations to benefit from the device. In addition to winning the $5,000 third-place prize, which was sponsored by the Port of Seattle, Chibage Chip also won the $5,000 community impact prize. AeroSpec, which developed a way to monitor air pollution on a large scale, and NanoPrint, which is creating a zero-waste manufacturing process, both won $1,000 for the “Judges Also Really Liked” awards.
BigStock Photo China wants to become the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030 — but by Seattle’s , or AI2, suggests that Chinese researchers are on track to take the lead well before that. The analysis is based on a tally of the most impactful research papers in the AI field, as measured by AI2’s academic search engine. “If current trends continue, within five years, China will surpass us in terms of the top, highest-impact papers,” the institute’s CEO, Oren Etzioni, told GeekWire. “The other thing to realize is that citations are what you might call a lagging indicator, because the paper has to be published, people have to read it, and they have to write their own paper and cite it.” Thus, the analysis is likely to understate China’s current influence in AI research, Etzioni said. “The bottom line is, Chinese AI research is startling in quantity and quality,” he said. AI2’s findings are consistent with what tech analysts have been saying over the past year or two. Last year, found that 48 percent of the $15.2 billion invested in AI startups globally in 2017 went to China, with just 38 percent going to U.S. startups. Oren Etzioni is the CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle) That’s just the start: China’s State Council has by 2030 — and put that expertise in the service of what’s becoming a . Etzioni said the AI2 analysis shows that research in artificial intelligence has grown dramatically over the past three decades, from 5,000 published papers in 1985 to 140,000 in 2018. Over that time, there have been many studies tracking the progress of AI research, but Etzioni said Semantic Scholar provides new perspective. “First of all, this is the most up-to-date result, because we’ve analyzed papers through 2018,” he said. “Secondly, what’s unique is we looked at this notion of most-cited papers, because we’re after impact.” The analysis shows that, in terms of sheer volume of research papers, China surpassed the U.S. back in 2006. Since then, China’s trend line has gone through ups and downs (and ups), but never fell below the U.S. totals. Semantic Scholar told a different story when it came to the top 50 percent, the 10 percent and the top 1 percent of academic studies, as measured by citation counts. Those charts show a gradual decline in the percentage of papers attributed primarily to U.S. authors, and an accelerating rise in the Chinese percentage. The Chinese Academy of Sciences led the list of China’s research institutions when it came to citations, followed by Nanyang Technological University, Tsinghua University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. If the trend lines are extended, China should surpass the United States this year for the top 50 percent, next year for the top 10 percent, and by 2025 for the top 1 percent. This chart shows the market share for the top 1 percent of AI papers, as determined by citation impact. Extending the trend lines suggests that Chinese researchers will produce more of the “cream of the crop” in AI research by 2025. (AI2 Graphic / Field Cady / Oren Etzioni) China’s AI rise has already sparked concerns in Washington, D.C., leading to the establishment of a as well as a at the Pentagon. The White House budget proposal for fiscal year 2020, , would set aside $208 million for the AI center. Etzioni argued that the federal government’s AI strategy should put more emphasis on basic research. “We need to stop what the Trump administration has been doing, which is using various ways to discourage immigration of students and scholars into this country,” he said. “We need more of those talented people, like we always have. AI2 is highly international, and that’s been a huge boon for us.” Setting aside more money for basic research in AI will also be essential, Etzioni said. Last month, President Donald Trump , and this week’s budget proposal made . But those documents didn’t provide specifics. “We need those specifics,” Etzioni said. “And we need them even sooner than we had thought.” Authors of the AI2 analysis, ” are Field Cady and Oren Etzioni. The researchers used to classify AI papers for the purpose of the study. Check the full analysis for details about the methodology.
Nanodropper team members Jennifer Steger, Mackenzie Andrews and Allisa Song. (Matt Hagen / UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship Photo) What if something as simple as a more precise eyedropper could cut the cost of glaucoma medication by more than half? That’s the idea behind the startup Nanodropper, which won the $15,000 grand prize at the University of Washington Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge on Wednesday night. The team also won a $2,500 medical device consulting award. created an FDA-approved adapter for eyedrop bottles that aims to reduce waste in the delivery of medication, especially for patients with glaucoma, which causes blindness. Here’s how it works: Take any eyedropper medication, screw on Nanodropper’s device, and you’ll get drops that are much smaller — but still large enough to deliver the medication effectively. Eyedroppers often deliver more medication than the eye can physically absorb, and the Nanodropper reduces the size of drops by a quarter or more. The team was inspired by about how larger-than-necessary eyedrops were increasing costs for glaucoma patients, who can spend $500 per month on medication. The issue is , in which patients sued massive drug companies like Allergan, Bausch & Lomb, Merck and Pfizer. “The problem is that the companies have no incentive to reduce the size of their drops, because then they would be selling less medication,” Nanodropper’s Allisa Song, a medical student at the Mayo Clinic, told GeekWire. Nanodropper’s team also includes UW graduate students Jennifer Steger and Mackenzie Andrews, as well as Elias Baker, a mechanical engineer who has worked with SpaceX and Spacelabs. Following its launch a year ago, Nanodropper has raised $60,000 primarily from healthcare providers. The grand prize was sponsored by Seattle-based life science incubator Intuitive X. Nanodropper said five eye care clinics are interested in presales and that it’s in talks with Premera Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente and Bartell Drugs. The startup will use the cash to start making the product, which is manufactured in Minnesota and will sell for $12.99. The device has received class I FDA approval with a 510(k) exemption. $10,000 2nd Place Prize: Appiture (Washington State University) (Matt Hagen / UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship Photo) Appiture is developing a mobile-based hardware and software system to detect autism spectrum disorder in children. The team, which includes students from Washington State University’s chemical engineering, bioengineering and veterinary medicine departments, also won a $2,500 digital health prize. The Herbert B. Jones Foundation sponsored the second-place prize. (GeekWire Photo) $5,000 3rd Place Prize: Pulmora (University of Washington) Pulmora created an autonomous ventilator that can easily be applied to patients who have stopped breathing. The company, comprised of UW bioengineering students, said that it hopes to make ventilators common and easy to use, in the same way that defibrillators are today. The third-place prize was sponsored by WRF Capital, the investment arm of the Washington Research Foundation. $1,000 “Judges Also Really Liked” Award: DopCuff and Insulin Anywhere In addition to the top prizes, the judges gave $1,000 to DopCuff, which is working on a better blood pressure device for patients with end-stage heart failure. Insulin Anywhere also won the “Judges Also Really Liked Award” for its system that is both an insulin-cooling chamber and a compact needle kit, which was designed to get insulin to diabetics in emergency situations such as natural disasters.