ECE Faculty Receive Funding for Projects from Chancellor's Innovation Fund

September 25, 2013

 

Chancellor Supports ECE Research Advancements

NC State continues its commitment to moving research results to the marketplace with six projects funded by the 2013 Chancellor's Innovation Fund. "The range of topics reflects the diversity of real world issues that our research teams tackle," says Kelly Sexton, Office of Technology Transfer director. Two of this year's selected projects were proposed by faculty within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Sensors in a wireless headband can monitor bloodflow and oxygen levels. 
Sensors in a wireless headband can monitor bloodflow and oxygen levels.

Monitoring Your Sleep

Getting a good night's sleep is important. ECE professor Dr. Alper Bozkurt has developed new technology to help researchers detect and understand sleep disorders by monitoring blood flow oxygenation in the brain.

The SleepiBand, developed in Bozkurt's iBionicS lab, is a wireless headband that contains sensors to monitor blood flow and the oxygen level in the blood using near-infrared light. The headband units also include a power supply and radio to send the monitoring data to a laptop or a smartphone. Bozkurt is collaborating with researchers in Duke Medical Center's Sleep Disorders Laboratory and will be using his award to bring SleepiBand closer to the clinical study stage of research.

"CIF is a very competitive and privileged opportunity provided us to bring our ideas closer to the real life.", says Dr. Bozkurt. "Unfortunately, many people of this day and age considers sleep as an optional daily life activity where it is a required process for rejuvenation. We are hoping to increase the awareness about sleep hygiene through the SleepiBand system and help medical professionals to diagnose sleep disorders more efficiently and accurately."

James Dieffenderfer, a graduate student in the ECE department has worked with Dr. Bozkurt on this project.

Improving RFID Systems

A new chip design would allow RFID readers to be farther than 10 meters from the chip. 
A new chip design would allow RFID readers to be farther than 10 meters from the chip.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems use centralized readers to collect data from small tags, which can be attached to a wide variety of electronic sensors. But the use of RFID tags has been  limited by the fact that they need to be within 5 to 10 meters of a reader to work. Until now.

A research team led by ECE professor Dr. Paul Franzon -- and including NC State ECE students Peter Gadfort, Josh Ledford and Shep Pitts -- has developed circuit technology that will allow the creation of RFID tags that can operate at greater distances from RFID readers. And, because the technology requires less silicon, they will be less expensive to produce than existing RFID tags.

"We'll be using the funding to validate the performance of our circuit technology and to develop technical plans for incorporating the technology into RFID tags," Franzon says.

Credit: ECE article based on Results press release "Sharing Solutions"