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 says he chose to leave a high-tech industry job with Intel to join Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering because its research strengths aligned with his varied interests in flexible technologies, human-machine interaction and energy-efficient computation and communication.
The chance to explore these and other topics made the move to ASU “a big opportunity to follow my dreams,” he says, because “they are open to new ideas and thinking big here.”
In the five years since then, Ogras has seen that promise blossom.
Progress in the pursuits of his eLab led in 2017 to a highly sought-after National Science Foundation CAREER Award, which supports research of young faculty members who are seen as potential leaders in areas of engineering, science and technology deemed important to the nation’s interests.
The value of his labors was further validated this year with 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 Ogras to concentrate more intensely on technologies that enable “wide-area sensing” using internet of things devices to monitor, gather data and communicate within surrounding environments.