Spotlight on: Umit Ogras
Umit Ogras veers easily back and forth from the pragmatic to the idealistic when he talks about his work and what he hopes it will make possible.
Ogras received a Young Faculty Award from the research arm of the U.S. Department of Defense, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, commonly called DARPA.
The agency’s funding will enable Ograsto concentrate more intensely on technologies that enable “wide-area sensing” using the internet of things devices to monitor, gather data and communicate within surrounding environments.
What Ogras aims to provide are low-cost, zero-maintenance “energy-harvesting” and wireless sensing and communications tools that won’t require charging or replacement — made by printing tiny electrical circuits on small, physically flexible polymer platforms on which commercially available computer processing chips can be mounted.
Those technologies are being designed to enable real-time analysis of an array of situations in areas of active nationaldefense operations.
Ogras hopes to see the impact of his contributions to that trend reach beyond enhancing defense capabilities and applying the kinds of sensors he is developing to produce assistive devices.
“My main motivation is to improve quality of life in general and empower people with physical disabilities,” he says.