Michelle Ward
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Department of Defense issues KU $450,000 technology grant

Tue, 01/14/2014

LAWRENCE — Streamlining communication and improving intelligence-gathering capabilities are the goals of a grant to the University of Kansas from the U.S. Department of Defense. Along with improving troop safety and military operations, KU researchers are developing technology that could pave the way for the next generation of high-speed wireless devices and services. 

Sarah Seguin, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, is the principal investigator on a $450,000 grant that will enable KU to purchase equipment to conduct research on increasing the availability on the currently usable portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. These federally regulated airwaves, which are licensed to cell phone companies as well as radio and TV stations, are in high demand. 

As smartphones and tablets increasingly devour bandwidth, there is a growing need for additional space on the spectrum for high-speed mobile networks. Since regulators cannot create more of this finite resource, they must take it from another user, placing military bandwidth in the cross hairs of reallocation.

 “Military organizations have been one of the largest users of spectrum, with radar in particular using a wide swath of frequencies.  When that technology was first invented, there were not competing interests at these frequencies like there are today. Thus, the research focused more on increasing range and accuracy rather than being spectrally efficient, “ said Seguin, who is an investigator in KU’s Radar Systems and Remote Sensing Lab (RSL). “Our new equipment will help us test and refine concepts regarding spectral efficiency that will benefit both the military as well as private enterprises, such as companies focused on communications.”

Seguin is working with four co-principal investigators: EECS Associate Professors Shannon Blunt and Erik Perrins and EECS Professors Christopher Allen and Ron Hui.

KU researchers are attempting to exploit time, frequency and other variables to maximize data transmission. Think of it as designing a well-packed delivery truck, said Seguin. Different types of independent signals can coexist if packed together just right. This allows the movements of trillions of bytes of data per day, ensuring that traffic flows smoothly with minimal delays.

In addition to maximizing efficiency, KU researchers are attempting to allow radar and wireless communications to share spectrum. Traditionally, the government has allocated swaths for a single purpose, but with advances in technology, many are calling for portions of military spectrum to be open for shared use.  Wireless carriers would be able to use military frequencies, which cover congested urban areas, when vacant to provide Internet broadband or cellular service.

“There are many challenges in this research. First, we need to make sure that we are looking for and exploiting efficiencies in the technology, but not degrading the capabilities in any meaningful way,” said Seguin, an expert in preventing interference among electronic devices, which is the field known as electromagnetic compatibility.  “Our new equipment will allow us to experiment with various techniques and measure their effectiveness. We can recommend them for adoption as well as understand the specific interference and interoperability issues between radar and communications systems with real-world data.” 

Matt Menzenski, a graduate student in Slavic languages & literatures, took this photo during President Obama’s speech at KU Thursday. Menzenski says he was struck by how relaxed the president was in his delivery. He missed a chance to hear former President Bill Clinton speak in his hometown in 2004, but finally got to see a sitting president this week at KU. “The opportunity to hear the president speak is just one of many great opportunities I've had at KU. So many interesting talks and events happen here all the time. I try to attend at least one a week-- it's never hard to find something interesting to go to.” Tags: University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences KU School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures KU Dept of Slavic Languages - Friends & Alumni Barack Obama The White House #exploreKU #POTUSatKU

#KUstudents , today is the last day to receive a 90% refund on a dropped class. #AcademicDeadline
Explore KU: The Bells of Mount Oread KU’s Campanile, a 120-foot-tall timepiece that tolls automatically on the hour and quarter-hour, not only sounded in the 2015 New Year at midnight with 12 mighty gongs, but also regularly rings up memories for many Jayhawks – the 277 faculty and students who gave their lives during World War II, the graduates who walk through its doors at commencement, and aspiring students who have strolled through the Lawrence campus. (See For nearly 60 years, KU’s 53-bell carillon has been tolling the sounds of peace and serenity across Mount Oread since it was installed in June 1955 inside the landmark World War II Memorial Campanile, which was dedicated in 1951. (See The carillon is also a four-octave musical instrument, which is played with a giant keyboard and foot pedals. University Carillonneur Elizabeth Egber-Berghout (, associate professor of carillon and organ, climbs 77 steps up a spiral staircase in the bell tower to perform recitals several times a month.

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