GTRI Announces its IRAD of the Year

Published: June 21, 2012

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Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) researchers showcased more than 90 internally funded Independent Research and Development (IRAD) projects at the annual IRAD Extravaganza held in the GTRI Conference Center on June 8, 2012.

The 2012 GTRI IRAD of the Year is awarded to Next Generation Electronic Warfare: Angry Kitten, led by Stan Sutphin and Roger Dickerson, both research engineers with the Sensors and Electromagnetic Applications Laboratory (SEAL). The IRAD spanned the lab’s technical thrusts, including team members specializing in electronic warfare (EW) system design (Stan Sutphin, Aram Partizian), RF hardware design (Johanna Lotempio, Joshua Hamilton, Alex Trzecieski), digital system design (Roger Dickerson, Ryan Bales, Sean Begley, Dana Forthoefel) and flight hardware design (Cal Jameson from GTRI's Aerospace, Transportation and Advanced Systems Laboratory). The IRAD presentation was given by Aram Partizian, chief of SEAL’s Sensor Protection Technologies Program Office (SPTPO).

With Angry Kitten, researchers sought to develop a rapid prototyping test platform for developing future EW technologies. The platform incorporates all three hardware legs of EW: electronic support (ES), electronic attack (EA) and electronic protection (EP). Its open architecture digital systems and software-defined EA, ES and control subsystems allow for future upgradeability.  The hardware is capable of recording data during tests and networking for telemetry and will use active sensing and grading metrics to select and evolve EA techniques during an engagement. “The system will be cognitive and adaptive,” Partizian explained. “It will be able to act in real time.”

The platform will provide a hardware environment for a rapidly reprogrammable and reconfigurable EW system to aid in EA/ES algorithm development, threat emulation, and sensor/communication system vulnerability assessment.  GTRI will utilize this tool to continue to push the envelope in advanced electronic attack technologies, enabling jammers that not only sense their environment but adapt to control the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS).  

While nearly 100 IRAD projects were shown, seven finalists were considered for IRAD of the Year. Several had received funding for multiple years, but the winner had just received funding for Fiscal Year 2012.

Five independent judges graded the projects based on the following: Quality of the Research Approach; Execution to the Plan; Communication of Results; Value of the Research; and Potential for Follow-On Work. Judges included College of Computing Associate Dean Charles Isbell, School of Electrical and Computing Engineering Associate Chair Paul Steffes, GTRI Consultant Kathleen Harger, Georgia Tech Associate Vice President for Research Ravi Bellamkonda and GTRI Chief Scientist Dennis Folds.

The other finalists included:

  • Structure, Function and Applications of Remora-Inspired Adhesion Mechanisms, presented by Allison J. Mercer and Jason H. Nadler, with the Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory.
  • Apiary: Community-Driven Threat Intelligence, presented by Chris Smoak, with the Cyber Technology and Information Security Laboratory (formerly Titan). Other collaborators include George Macon, Al Brzeczko, Eric Sherouse and Scott Franks, also with CTISL.
  • Brain-based Cognitive Architecture for Training, presented by Elizabeth Whitaker, with the Information and Communications Laboratory. Other team members include Christopher Hale, with the Electronic Systems Laboratory; Ethan Trewhitt, with the Information and Communications Laboratory; Eric Schumacher and Savannah Cookson, with the Georgia Tech School of Psychology; and Mark Riedl, with the Georgia Tech College of Computing.
  • High-fidelity Transport through a Microfabricated X-junction Surface Electrode Ion Trap, presented by Kenneth E. Wright, with the Signature Technology Laboratory. Other team members include Jason M. Amini, Daniel L. Faircloth, Curtis Volin, S. Charles Doret, Harley Hayden, C-S Pai, David W. Landgren, Douglas Dennison, Tyler Killian, Richart E. Slusher, and Alexa W. Harter, all with STL.
  • iCare4U, presented by Leanne West, with the Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory. Other team members included Brian Parise, with EOSL.
  • A Robotic System for Autonomous Medication and Water Delivery, presented by Alan R. Wagner with the Aerospace, Transportation & Advanced Systems Laboratory. Other team members included Victor Emeli, also with ATAS, and Charles Kemp, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.