The University of Dayton's new Mumma Radar Laboratory opened, not with bangs, but with lots of blips.
The state-of-the-art facility, in Kettering Laboratories, contains perhaps the most precise radars in the world, accurate to 1/10th of a micron or within a fraction of a human hair. They also don't take a lot of power. Lab Director Dr. Michael Wicks says they only need the power equivalent to 1/100th of a Christmas tree bulb.
In the lab, four robotic arms rotate, while, a custom-made eight-channel analyzer collects data from eight antennas. On June 10, researchers put the machinery to music for a demonstration. Visiting Pakistani Journalist Fasiha Sharif took this iPhone video:
Dr. Wicks says the hope is students or companies can experiment and develop groundbreaking techniques. Here are some of the possible applications:
- Better medical imaging (detecting skin cancer earlier, for example)
- Better weather prediction (detecting tornados sooner in Southwest Ohio)
- Making the manufacturing process autonomous
- Detecting defects in 3-D printed objects
There is a cost element. The university has purchased marine radars for $6,000 each, far less expensive than the multi-million dollar aircraft and weather radars being used. Take a look at UD's radars: