NASA grants KU researcher $638K to design advanced data collection systems

Lawrence,KS (08-18-2006)

From University Relations
By Brandis Griffin

Somewhere in the Earths orbit, a satellite sensor measuring the speed of an Antarctic ice sheet moving toward the water notices the ice sheet has sped up.

It deploys an unmanned, flying vehicle into the area to measure the thickness of the ice. The information collected by the two sensors is then sent to scientists studying ice sheets. So far, this situation only happens in the minds of scientists.

But University of Kansas researcher Costas Tsatsoulis just received a $638,000 NASA grant to help bring that futuristic scenario into the present.

"The ice sheets are an extremely important indicator of global climate and change. Also, if they break off into the sea, its going to raise sea water level," said Tsatsoulis, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

NASAs Science Mission Directorate, Earth Science Division, selected him to help support the agencys Advanced Information Systems Technology.

Tsatsoulis said the sensors, or pods, are already used by NASA in stationary situations. His research will help to improve them and make them more widely used. Long-term goals include using pods that are land-, space- and sea-based.

"The goal is for the sensors to become smart," he said. "So instead of just collecting data, they can predict what data they can collect, collaborate to collect better data, identify interesting events on the planet, so they can focus their attention to it."

For example, Tsatsoulis said with current technology, it could take up to a year for scientists to first notice the change in ice sheet speed, then request deployment of an unpiloted autonomous vehicle to measure thickness and finally, months later, receive the data when it returns for scientists to use. Smarter pods speed up the process.

Tsatsoulis said the grant helps to further research hes been working on for the past six years, but it also serves another purpose.

"I think were making a contribution to the study of the Earths environment, which as we know is in trouble right now,"he said. "So the ability to generate better data for the scientists to analyze and understand interaction between phenomena and the planet, I think is a very important thing."

The pods are also able to collect a variety of other Earth-based information, from soil moisture to land cover to desertification.

The three-year, renewable grant is scheduled to officially start Dec. 1. Research will take place at KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC) .

For more information, contact ITTC.

Current News | More News | ITTC Newsletter

Partner with ITTC

The Information and Telecommunication Technology Center at the University of Kansas has developed several assistance policies that enhance interactions between the Center and local, Kansas, or national companies. 

ITTC assistance includes initial free consulting (normally one to five hours). If additional support is needed, ITTC will offer one of the following approaches: 

Sponsored Research Agreement

Individuals and organizations can enter into agreements with KUCR/ITTC and provide funds for sponsored research to be performed at ITTC with the assistance of faculty, staff and students.

Licensing and Royalty/Equity Agreement

An ITTC goal is the development of investment-grade technologies for transfer to, and marketing by, local, Kansas, and national businesses. To enhance this process, the Center has developed flexible policies that allow for licensing, royalty, and equity arrangements to meet both the needs of ITTC and the company.

Commercialization Development

Companies with a technology need that can be satisfied with ITTC's resources can look to us for assistance. We can develop a relationship with interested partners that will provide for the development of a technology suited for commercialization.

ITTC Resource Access

ITTC resources, including computers and software systems, may be made available to Kansas companies in accordance with the Center's mission and applicable Regents and University policies.

ITTC Calendar
There are no upcoming events at this time.