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Seattle Startups Unveil Futuristic Products To Potential Investors

KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Startup companies from the University of Washington showed off their innovative products to potential investors and industry advisors Tuesday.

The UW launched a record 18 startups last fiscal year with the support from the UW Center for Commercialization.

During the event, Washington Governor and UW alumni Jay Inslee spoke about the importance of bringing the state's great ideas to market. In the speech, he gave a hat tip to one of Seattle’s more familiar innovations. “We even invented the $4 cup of coffee here,” Inslee said.

Tim Dardis, a Ph.D candidate for UW’s Mechanical Engineering department, presented a newly designed football helmet that could help reduce head injuries on the football field.

His department partnered with the Neurological Surgery Department to design the helmet, which uses a flexible shell and polymer rods to absorb impact. They’re meeting with a local industrial design group to make it more marketable.

“My job is to make the helmet be safe. Their job is to make the helmet look cool," Dardis said. "So when you walk into the store, not only is it the safest helmet on the rack, it’s the coolest helmet on the rack.”

There was also a company that developed a remotely operated vehicle that can perform underwater tasks. Another developed a special polymer that can be added to paint or industrial coatings to help discharge static buildup.

Ultimately the goal is to get these innovative ideas to market. And the odds are better than most.

UW Center for Commercialization was recognized recently for its ability to produce startups with higher survival rates and successful fundraising. The UW New Ventures Facility was named in the 2014 University Business Incubators Global Index as emerging incubator of the year.