[05/10/07] Mark Johnson, RFID Tribe|
Have you ever wandered what happens when wireless technology meets product innovation? Take a peek at a Texas-based university research center and see products created from the intersection of wireless, academia and industry in the Dallas-Ft.Worth area.
Everything is big in Texas , including the name for the research center - the Texas Radio Frequency Innovation and Technology Center . Most people shorten the research center's name, referring to it as the " Texas Center ."
The multi-disciplinary, multi-university research program is headquartered at the University of Texas at Arlington 's College of Engineering . The Texas Center focuses on bringing emerging communication capabilities, sensing, telemetry and intelligence to objects and devices.
Daniel Engels, associate professor of electrical engineering at UT Arlington, is the Center's director. Dr. Engels was formerly the director of research at MIT's Auto-ID Center . "Our primary mission at the Texas Center is to provide research and development services for small-to-midsize companies that don't have the necessary resources, manpower and expertise in-house," said Engels. "We take ideas, evaluate them and develop prototypes and techniques that will have immediate use in the marketplace." The Texas Center provides companies access to Ph.D.'s and graduate students who can develop products and perform services such as antenna design, antenna simulation, sensor fabrication and wireless product testing.
Current projects at the Texas Center involve development of medical devices that use wireless radio frequency technology. One such device is a wireless acid reflux sensor. The device measures acid reflux (commonly known as heartburn) in the esophagus of patients. Passive RFID technology eliminates the need for a battery to power the device, reducing the size and weight of the sensor. "There are no comfortable, yet accurate methods for diagnosing acid reflux in patients" says Jung-Chih Chiao, associate professor at UT Arlington. This sensor enables medical professionals to insert a temporary sensor using a simple procedure. The sensor monitors acid levels in the esophagus for 24-48 hours, after which the sensor is removed.
Another project is an implantable oxygenator designed to provide oxygen support to human lungs. The device has a wireless sensor, which is implanted into the large vein leading to the heart. The sensor monitors blood oxygenation that occurs through the device and communicates this information to the attending physician.
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