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Jeremy Jaech (Technology Alliance photo)

It may be several months before we get to see the new home sensor technology that Jeremy Jaech and his team of engineers are working on. But the Seattle entrepreneur, best known for helping to start Aldus and Visio, has already lined up some key support.

Today, Madrona Venture Group, Radar Partners and others are announcing that they’ve pumped $1.5 million into SNUPI Technologies, which is the new name of Jaech’s latest startup. (Yes, they’ve wisely dropped the placeholder name of WatchFrog, which we previously wrote about here).

Formed with technology from researchers at the University of Washington and Georgia Institute of Technology, SNUPI is utilizing existing power sources in homes in order to help detect potential hazards.

The new name of the startup stands for Sensor Network Utilizing Powerline Infrastructure.

“SNUPI is an incredibly innovative technology that promises to provide low cost and reliable sensing technology that everyday people can take advantage of,” said Jaech. “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.”

Jaech tells GeekWire that they’ve had non-academic engineers working on the technology for about six weeks, taking the things learned in the academic lab setting and attempting to build a commercial product. They hope to have test units available next summer, with a full product available later next year.

UW professor Shwetak Patel. (Photo via John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

“We’ll be raising more money to manufacture units, build inventory, and market the products in 2013,” he said. SNUPI likely will draw most comparisons to Nest, maker of the so-called “learning thermostat” system. In fact, former UW computer science professor, Yoky Matsuoka, serves as vice president of technology at Nest. Silicon Valley-based Next counts Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Google Ventures; Lightspeed Venture Partners, Venrock and others among its backers.

Co-founders at SNUPI include the UW’s Shwetak Patel and Duke University’s Matt Reynolds. The two professors previously co-founded Zensi, a home-sensor technology startup that was purchased by Belkin in 2010.

“This team combines Jeremy’s business acumen with technological brilliance from highly esteemed professors and institutions. SNUPI is positioned for growth in this emerging market of advanced sensor technology,” said Madrona’s Tom Alberg. It marks the 11th investment that Madrona has made in a startup company with ties to the UW.

Previously on GeekWireUW’s Shwetak Patel wins MacArthur Genius Award, and $500,000 to go with it

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