Sometimes tiny problems require big thinking. That was the case when electrical engineering professor Ramesh Harjani and his students were tasked with building a radio for use in sensors, hearing aids and other applications, which require very little power.
For example, hearing aids are getting extremely small and must be accommodated within the ear canal. Such devices can fit only a tiny battery, one that needs to be changed about once a week. So Harjani’s team set out to design a transceiver that automatically powers down when it’s not processing information — significantly extending the battery life of the radio.
As opposed to existing, frequency-synchronized radio technology, this ultra wideband receiver is based on impulse radio technology that’s synchronized in time. The University of Minnesota recently earned a patent on the invention, and Harjani’s team expects to have a working prototype by the year’s end.
Ultra wideband receiver
Inventors: Ramesh Harjani, Byung-Hoo Jung, Mi Kyung Oh
The road from research to commercialization can be a long one, and obtaining a patent on intellectual property is a key milestone along the way. Congrats to Harjani and other U of M faculty, students and colleagues who were issued patents this quarter.
Exchange-assisted spin transfer torque switching
Inventors: Randall Victora, Xi Chen
Cell delivery catheter and method
Inventors: John Kucharczyk, George Gillies, William Broaddus, Helen Fillmore
Inventors: Timothy Olsen, Paul Loftness, Art Erdman
Load balancing in wireless local area networks
Inventor: Ahmed Tewfik
Ranging in multi-band communication systems
Inventors: Ahmed Tewfik, Ebrahim Saberinia
High-bandwidth over-the-air signal processing
Inventors: Jaekyun Moon, Hui Jin
Stay tuned for part 2 of our patent roundup, and see details on reporting inventions.