Monday July 13, 2015

Expanding Sensors Research

The University of Dayton Research Institute's venture into sensors research in 2007 has proved a good gamble for the Institute. Eight years and 100 new employees later, the Institute's sensor systems division is spinning off a new office.

The office, which will begin operating as the Sensor Accelerated Processing and Exploitation (APEX) July 16, will focus on a highly specialized area of sensors research and development for surveillance applications. It will comprise all 32 full-time researchers currently working in the remote sensing group of UDRI's sensor systems division, along with four researchers currently housed in other groups in the division. Bill Turri, currently group leader for remote sensing, will serve as acting head of the new office.

Researchers in the Sensor APEX office will develop, test and integrate advanced signal-, image- and data-processing technologies for high-performance sensing systems. Improved technologies will accelerate the speed at which data is transmitted from sensing systems to those who monitor and analyze it; they can also be used to tailor that data to meet the needs of the user.

"In recent years, sensor systems for image collection and processing have exploded in terms of the variety and amount of data they can collect," Turri said. "The challenge has been to process and compress massive amounts of sensor data, so images and information can be quickly transmitted but also be of high quality. Having quick access to accurate information allows analysts and decision-makers to react to what they're seeing in real time."

Turri said researchers in his group have already made significant strides in data- and image-compression and enhancement technologies, and will continue to make this a focus area.

"We're also going to step up our research and development of systems that will automatically tailor data processing to the needs of the user," Turri said. "For instance, if you're monitoring an image feed of a large area, but you're only interested in seeing moving objects, your computer can be programmed to deliver only information on where those moving objects are located. It's more efficient for your computer and you, because sections of the imagery where there are no moving objects won't need to be processed or viewed."

Allan Crasto, associate director for the Research Institute, said elevating a research group to the status of an office allows its researchers greater freedom and authority to plot their own business strategy and pursue additional research programs, as well as allowing them to be more flexible and responsive to their customers' needs.

"It also demonstrates to our sponsors that we are dynamic, healthy and growing," Crasto said. "More than that, it shows that we are flexible, that we are not so rigid in our structure that we can't take advantage of the best opportunities to help our employees and business grow."

Fore media interviews, contact Pamela Gregg at 937-229-3268 or pamela.gregg@udri.udayton.edu.

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