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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

December 11, 2012 at 9:00 AM

UW sensor spinoff SNUPI takes flight

Low-power, wireless sensor technology developed at the University of Washington and Georgia Institute of Technology is the basis of a new startup that’s emerging today with $1.5 million in venture funding.

Called SNUPI – for sensor network utilizing powerline infrastructure – the company will be led by longtime Seattle tech entrepreneur Jeremy Jaech.

Co-founders are Duke University Professor Matt Reynolds and UW Professor Shwetak Patel, who in 2010 sold a previous home monitoring company spun out of his research. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2011.

Also co-founding the company is UW grad student Gabe Cohn, who is advised by Patel. SNUPI draws on research done for his PhD thesis.

At public events over the last several months, Patel has been providing updates about the potential of sensors that can be embedded in the walls of buildings to stream measurements to online collection systems. Sensor networks are expected to proliferate as the price of equipment falls and demand grows for more sophisticated energy management systems.

SNUPI received $1.5 million from Madrona Venture Partners, making it the 11th UW spinoff funded by the Seattle firm.

“SNUPI is an incredibly innovative technology that promises to provide low cost and reliable sensing technology that everyday people can take advantage of,” Jaech said in the release. “As our day-to-day lives become increasingly measured and recorded, SNUPI will make people’s lives better by providing insight into what is happening in their home and alerting them to potential hazards.”

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