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Winners to share $1 million prize in Office of Naval Research challenge

ARLINGTON, Va. The Office of Naval Research announced Feb. 28 that it selected 10 finalists from its Chief of Naval Research (CNR) Challenge, which was featured at the organization's recent science and technology (S&T) conference.

A highlight of the 2010 ONR Naval S&T Partnership Conference, the CNR Challenge offers each winner a $100,000 research grant for the best and brightest science and technology ideas, which could significantly contribute to building future naval forces.

"ONR program officers reviewed the entries and selected 10 very promising ideas from nearly 100 white papers," said Rear Adm. Nevin Carr, chief of naval research. "As always, final selection was tough, but the winners were ultimately chosen based on potential and how well the idea supports the needs of the Navy."

The recipients, whose projects range from autonomous systems to mitigation of fish flow noise, will apply the funds toward their research area, said Dr. Lawrence Schuette, who as ONR's Director of Innovation oversees the CNR Challenge program.

Moeness Amin, a first-time CNR Challenge winner from Villanova University, said the Navy's interest in his signal-processing research is opening new doors for his work.

"We are conducting pioneering research that will enable through-wall sensing," Amin said. "Electromagnetic waves create images like radar, so the user can see if there are people inside the building and maybe if they are armed. Our work increases the speed [with which] that data is collected, without reducing the quality of the image."

The winners and their research initiatives are:

  • Babak Fahimi, University of Texas at Dallas "Double Stator Switched Reluctance Machines: A Transformative Technology"
  • Moeness Amin, Villanova University " Effective Urban Radar Imaging Based on Compressive Sensing"
  • Juliet Gopinath, University of Colorado at Boulder "Individually Addressable Pptofluidic Lens Arrays for Boundary Layer Distortion Compensation"
  • Mark Rosenblum, Lockheed Martin "A High-Function, Low-Cost Autonomy Kit"
  • Byron Zollars, Nanohmics "Clandestine Plenoptic Rangefinder for Autonomous Vehicle Guidance and Obstacle Avoidance"
  • Ming Han, University of Nebraska-Lincoln "Miniature and Durable Fiber-Optic Microphone for Accurate Measurement of High-Level Noise"
  • Michael Thomas, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory "HEL Absorption Around 1 um in the Maritime Environment"
  • James McGrath, Virginia Tech "Chlorine Resistant Membranes for RO, FO, Nanofiltration and Waste Water Purification"
  • Dave Trivett, Georgia Institute of Technology "Mitigation of Flow Noise Effects by Fish"
  • Xin Wang, Stony Brook University "Concurrent Exploration of Compressive Sensing and Networked MIMO Radars for High Quality and Robust Detection and Tracking"


Contact: Peter Vietti
Office of Naval Research

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