A new research lab with radar that will be among the most precise in the world was dedicated Tuesday afternoon at the University of Dayton.
The radars give UD researchers at the Mumma Radar Laboratory the ability to accurately measure to within about one-tenth of a micron, according to Guru Subramanyam, chair of the University of Dayton department of electrical and computer engineering. A human hair is about 100 microns across.
With transmit-and-receive points attached to four, seven-axes robotic arms, the radars can be used to improve sensing for medical imaging and aid manufacturing by detecting defects in materials and objects. The technology can also be put to use in environmental and autonomous applications such as in unmanned aerial vehicles, according to Michael Wicks, the lab’s director and Ohio Research Scholars Endowed Chair in Sensors Exploitation and Fusion.
“With these kinds of sensors we are imbedding in robotics, we’ll be able to sense, without the need of human intervention, flaws in processes and maybe even self-correct it afterward,” Wicks said.
Some of the lab’s equipment is still undergoing calibration but once fine-tuned will provide a unique capability that will bring further investment and employment to the region, according to Lorenzo Lo Monte, the lab’s radar systems engineer.
“The lab provides the necessary support to perform unconventional, exotic research that will bring money and jobs once the lab is fully running,” said Lo Monte.
The lab was established with $1.5 million in funding from the Ohio Third Frontier Scholars Program.
The lab is one more win for the university and those working in sensors research in Ohio, said Larrell Walters, Sensors Systems division head at the University of Dayton Research Institute and director of IDCAST. Walters said UD has been awarded $55 million in the past seven years in various sensor research projects.
“That $55 million has turned into 335 jobs in southwest Ohio. That $55 million has ended up having over the last seven years a $400 million impact for the state of Ohio. And that impact just gets expounded today through the opening of the Mumma Lab,” Walters said.
Walters said the lab will provide an unparalleled learning and research environment for undergraduate through post-doctoral students while supporting commercial and military testing.
“Our students will have opportunities that no other students will be able to have throughout the whole natination.”
The Mumma Radar Lab has evolved from the former Mumma Radio Laboratory established by a $1.2 million endowment from Retha Mumma in 1988 following the death of her husband. Marvin Mumma took some formal classes at UD but never earned a degree. He amassed a small fortune during a career as a radio and electronics technician.
©2014 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)