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The UW's Richard Johnston

I spent a good portion of my Wednesday afternoon hanging around the University of Washington’s new startup incubator, a 23,000 square-foot facility in Fluke Hall with room for up to 25 startup companies. After listening to remarks from UW president Michael Young (watch full video here) and taking a tour with UW vice provost for commercialization Linden Rhoads, I have a feeling that I’ll be spending a lot of time here in the future digging up exciting new entrepreneurial stories.

It didn’t take me long to find one yesterday. Tucked in a largely unoccupied laboratory space on the second floor of Fluke Hall, I was introduced to Richard Johnston. The UW researcher showed off an amazing imaging technology known as a scanning fiber endoscope. The 1.2 millimeter device, which uses lasers and an optical fiber instead of a camera chip, creates a detailed, color image that doctors can use while investigating the esophagus or bile duct.

More than 30 patents have been filed on the technology, which shows 600 line images at 30 frames per second.

Johnston tells us that he’s in the early stages of forming a company as he works alongside the UW’s Center for Commercialization or C4C. (He’s still looking for a name for the startup, asking for suggestions).

Here’s Johnston giving us a demo of the product, even going inside his mouth to show the level of detail of the instrument.

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