UW engineers gear up for SmartAmerica Challenge

Story by Clare LaFond
Photos by Conrado Tapado

Uw start-up BluHaptics demonstrated their telerobotics technology May 13 at a SmartAmerica Challenge preview at UW.

Using technology developed by Dr. Howard Chizeck’s lab in the UW Department of Electrical Engineering, a team of UW scientists and engineers is creating a control system for underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). ROVs can perform a variety of undersea tasks too dangerous – or even impossible – for humans. The BluHaptics team joined eight other organizations May 13 at UW as part of the SmartAmerica Challenge team, each demonstrating telerobotics technology that could make disaster response faster and more efficient.

It’s all part of the SmartAmerica Challenge, an initiative designed by two of this year’s Presidential Innovation Fellows to encourage new technologies that help society in our increasingly connected world. UW engineers and partner organizations demonstrated their telerobotics technology for the news media and the UW community at a SmartAmerica Challenge preview event held in the Electrical Engineering Building atrium. The team, which formed about six months ago at an initial brainstorming gathering in Washington, D.C., will present their projects in D.C. in June.