ECE Honored with Two Innovation Awards
North Carolina State University researchers make meaningful advances in science, medicine and engineering that could have a significant impact on everything from human health to the business of brewing beer.
September 9, 2015 NC State ECE
North Carolina State University researchers make meaningful advances in science, medicine and engineering that could have a significant impact on everything from human health to the business of brewing beer. But moving from the lab to the marketplace takes more than research smarts.
For the past five years, the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund has helped NC State innovators by providing the financial support necessary to develop research findings into viable business opportunities.
During that time, the fund has awarded $1.8 million to 28 NC State projects. The return on investment is significant, including $4.9 million in external follow-on funding; nine commercialization agreements; eight startup companies and $926,000 in license revenue.
Five research teams received funding from the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund for the 2015-16 fiscal year, including two teams led by ECE faculty:
Textile-Integrated Biomedical Sensors
Keeping tabs on your health may soon be as simple as slipping on a shirt and picking up a smartphone. Fabrics with conductive textiles have a wide range of biomedical applications, from monitoring the health of expectant moms to providing real-time data for athletes.
Researchers Tushar Ghosh and Alper Bozkurt are working on a second-generation prototype of their Fabric-based Integrated Sensing Technology (FIrST). The textile structure they’ve designed enables sensors to form at intersections in durable, washable synthetic fabric. Conductive threads in the fabric allow the sensors to form networks. The team is focusing on improving the user interface, the next step in moving the technology to market.
Millimeter-wave cameras are used in full-body scanners, biomedical imaging devices, aircraft navigation and surveillance systems. Existing cameras, however, are not cheap – some cost up to $180,000 – and are large and heavy. Now electrical and computer engineer Brian Floyd has developed a technique to allow off-the-shelf radios to be reconfigured as millimeter-wave cameras.
His approach takes advantage of multi-antenna systems, or “phased arrays.” These low-cost components can provide the main sensors needed for a millimeter-wave imager, allowing the construction of exponentially lower-cost cameras – think $100 to $1,000. This innovation combines imaging approaches from radio astronomy with coding approaches from wireless communications. The end result is a kind of “miniaturized radio telescope” that is drastically less expensive than the existing technology.
Source: NC State News Article, “Guiding Ideas from the Research Lab to the Business World.”