Notre Dame Research attends Naval Future Force Science and Technology Expo

Author: Brandi Klingerman

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The Wireless Institute, FlowPAC, and Notre Dame researchers showcase latest work

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Researchers from the University of Notre Dame will participate in the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) biennial 2017 Naval Future Force Science and Technology Expo. The expo is described as the premier science and technology event for the Navy and Marine Corps, drawing several thousand attendees that come to hear from technical experts and senior naval leaders.


In discussing the event, Richard E. Billo, associate vice president for research and professor of computer science and engineering, said, “The University of Notre Dame has a long, respected history with the Navy, and currently a number of our faculty are collaborating on ONR-funded projects or research aligned with ONR priorities. By attending this event, our goal is to learn from other science and technology experts and explore additional opportunities to work together.”


Several University faculty and research groups will share their work at the event. Affiliated faculty of the Notre Dame Wireless Institute (NDWI), Jonathan Chisum, assistant professor of electrical engineering, Bertrand Hochwald, the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Electrical Engineering and co-director of the NDWI, and Thomas Pratt, research professor of electrical engineering, will provide information on four of their projects: coherent multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) communications, field research vehicles, gradient-index (GRIN) lenses, and RadioHound. Coherent MIMO systems customized to Notre Dame specifications are being used for radar, remote sensing, and communications research. These systems enable processing capabilities not achievable by conventional MIMO systems. University of Notre Dame field research vehicles (FRVs) have been equipped to support coherent MIMO research in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), wireless communications, radar, electronic support measures (ESM), and remote sensing.


GRIN lenses and transformation optics are being used by the NDWI to design low-power, low-cost, and compact beam-steering antennas that could be integrated into a variety of devices including 5G mobile phones, small cells, and small unmanned aircraft systems. Additionally, these researchers are developing a custom spectrum-sensing network called RadioHound, whose goal is spectrum awareness and management using very small, low-cost, portable devices. The device would then be used to identify and reliably access empty parts of the spectrum without interfering with its intended use.


Additionally, Thomas Corke, the Clarke Equipment Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and director of the Institute for Flow Physics and Control (FlowPAC), will showcase FlowPAC’s progress on building the country’s largest quiet Mach 6 hypersonic wind tunnel. Using a proprietary nozzle design, the new tunnel will feature a quiet zone test area that is nearly six feet long compared to the 8-10 inches permitted in current Mach 6 tunnels.


Pinar Zorlutuna, assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, will also highlight two of her projects, biorobots and cell-based circuits, at the ONR expo. Biorobots, in contrast to mechanical robots, have the advantages of self-sustainability beyond current battery life times, self-repair and regeneration, acoustic quietness, and an ability to operate under conditions that are potentially damaging to electrical circuit elements. As for cell-based circuits, Zorlutuna and her team have created a muscle cell-based diode made entirely of living cells as a proof of concept that live cells can be organized to process logic operations and, potentially, as electrical signal processors.


The University will also host a discussion of the ethics of emerging and disruptive technologies featuring Major General Robert Latiff, the Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values Research Professor. Others participating in the panel include moderator Rear Admiral Nevin Carr, USN; Denise Crimmins, Director of USW Rapid Prototyping; and George Lucas, the Stockdale Chair of Ethics at the Naval War College.


The event will showcase some of the Navy’s and Marine Corp’s latest technologies and bring together science and technology leaders around the world to share their work. The expo begins July 20, 2017 and will be held in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the conference, please visit




Brandi R. Klingerman / Communications Specialist

Notre Dame Research / University of Notre Dame / 574.631.8183 / @UNDResearch


About Notre Dame Research:


The University of Notre Dame is a private research and teaching university inspired by its Catholic mission. Located in South Bend, Indiana, its researchers are advancing human understanding through research, scholarship, education, and creative endeavor in order to be a repository for knowledge and a powerful means for doing good in the world. For more information, please see or @UNDResearch.