Chrisopher Davis wins ECE Faculty Venture Fair for cell phone radiation measurement

ISR-affiliated Professor Christopher Davis (ECE) was the winner and Professor Carol Espy-Wilson (ECE/ISR) was the runner up in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department's Faculty Venture Fair, held in conjunction with ECE's Research Review Day, Oct. 9.

Davis pitched a new technology that measures the radiation absorbed into the human body from cell phones faster and for far less money than current methods. The invention uses 12 laser beams to measure the full specific absorption rate (also known as SAR, a measurement used by the cell phone industry) of a cell phone’s radiation into the human body in less than a minute. The cost of his system, Davis says, could be as little as $20,000, down from the $300,000 price tag of current equipment.

“I was very surprised and delighted to win, because our technology is a little different, it is nearer to the ground than the other inventions presented,” said Davis. “Cell phone certification is vital to the manufacturers of wireless devices. Improved testing equipment is needed that is accurate and fast. Current testing capabilities are expensive and slow and potentially subject to error.”

Espy-Wilson’s invention, called Tidy Talk, filters noise out of a sound sample to make any speaker’s speech sound clear. Tidy Talk can even pull out the speech of secondary speakers, or those that are not as loud as the primary speaker. The technology could filter out sounds such as wind or truck noise when talking on a cell phone.

The fair was sponsored by the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTECH) and the University of Maryland's Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC). It allows faculty the opportunity to present technology they feel has the greatest commercial potential to a group of venture capitalists and leaders in the region’s entrepreneurial community.

Immediately before the fair, Professor John Baras (ECE/ISR) and his former student, ISR alumnus Paul Yu (EE Ph.D. 2008), were presented with the ECE Department's Jimmy Lin Award for Innovation and Invention. Baras and Yu won the award for their invention, "Wireless Communication Method and System for Transmission Authentication at the Physical Layer." | Previous story about this award |

Published October 13, 2009