This Partnerships for Innovations (PFI) project partners Dartmouth College investigators and students with small businesses in the research and research translation of novel mechanisms and associated computational platforms for low power, high throughput signal processing that will translate to new technologies and products for sensory enhancement and for mobile sensor systems. The intellectual merit of this project derives from its focus on research and translation of the novel signal processing mechanisms of neuronal systems to low power analog and mixed-signal devices and the subsequent use and reuse of these mechanisms across applications that demand low power and high throughput. Example applications include a new imaging device that substantially improves image quality by sensing single photons and moving signal processing functions close to the sensor; an auditory device for focused listening in noisy environments; body-worn devices for biomedical monitoring and enhancing biomechanics performance (e.g., in athletes, disabled, or elderly people); remote, wireless monitoring of machines and structures (e.g., wind turbines, aircraft, bridges); and wireless sensor networks.
The broader impacts of this research are the strengthening of Ph.D. level education to include training in entrepreneurship and new venture creation; the economic impact on Knowledge Enhancement Partners (KEPs) associated with broadening markets for their products; and an impact on regional small technology companies through increased visibility in attracting and hiring technical staff. The effort builds on a strong foundation in innovation within the academic programs of the Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College. Thayer School offers the nation's first doctoral-level Engineering Innovation Program designed to provide Ph.D. graduates with the entrepreneurial training needed to turn research discoveries into marketable technologies. Grant funds are leveraged by internal fellowship funding, providing these students with a five-year opportunity for collaborative research with partners, for research translation, and for technology development stemming from PFI activities. Activities with local non-governmental organizations that support regional economic development focus on programs, promotional materials, and websites to attract and retain intellectual capital within New Hampshire and Vermont and to attract new small technology companies to the region, thereby promoting economic development on both sides of the Connecticut River.
Partners at the inception of the project include the Knowledge Enhancement Partnership (KEP) unit, consisting of Dartmouth College's Thayer School of Engineering and five small businesses: Forza Silicon (Pasadena, CA), MicroStrain, Inc. (Williston, VT), Neuromorfix, Inc. (Atlanta, GA), Simbex, LLC. (Lebanon, NH), Sound Innovations Inc. (White River Junction, VT). In addition, there are other partners. These partners include a large corporation: Maxim Integrated Products (Sunnyvale, CA) and two local non-profit, non-governmental organizations: Grafton County Economic Development Council (NH) and Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation (VT).