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  • Wireless Center at IPFW Sparks Technological Innovation
For Immediate Release
August 04, 2015

Wireless Center at IPFW Sparks Technological Innovation

Wireless Center at IPFW Sparks Technological Innovation Image 1
Todor Cooklev Print-quality image

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Growth of technological innovation has been shown time and again to be a solid foundation for turning economic downturn into economic prosperity. The Wireless Technology Center at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) is developing technology that has led to the creation of the first university start-up company in Fort Wayne. Such activity, if sustained and expanded on a larger scale, can translate into engineering and manufacturing jobs for local industry.

The mission of the IPFW Wireless Technology Center, one of the university’s Centers of Excellence, is broad-based leadership in research, teaching, and engagement. Todor Cooklev, ITT Associate Professor of Wireless Communication and Applied Research, has been the center's director since 2008.

Cooklev has published over 100 journal and conference papers related to wireless technology and engineering. He was attracted to Fort Wayne because of the opportunity to become founding director of the Wireless Technology Center and to interact with industry and the local community.

“Fort Wayne is one of the main centers for the defense wireless communication industry in the United States,” says Cooklev. “Wireless is currently one of the biggest high-tech industry business and it will continue to grow.”

Because of the technological implications for area industry, such as the defense and manufacturing sectors, the Wireless Technology Center has been the recipient of millions of dollars in grants, either alone or with other IPFW units, including $800,000 from the Lilly Foundation to help fund and establish the laboratory and $700,000 from the National Science Foundation to fully fund graduate students in wireless technology.

Carlos Pomalaza-Raez, interim dean of the College of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science (ETCS) at IPFW, says, “I am pleased with the progress that the Wireless Technology Center and Dr. Cooklev continue to make in technological innovation. His energy and enthusiasm for all things wireless are creating new opportunities for IPFW and the local community.”

Several years ago IPFW received a $376,000 grant from the Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board and the City of Fort Wayne demonstrating the important role that the university can play in support of the defense sector of northeast Indiana by utilizing its scholarly excellence and state-of-the-art nonlinear measurement and design facility. The project includes developing and testing a prototype of a gallium nitride microwave power amplifier, which can make a significant economic impact on the local community.

Last month, the Purdue Research Foundation announced that wireless service providers and other high-tech companies could benefit from technology that has been discovered and developed at the Wireless Technology Center and licensed to Adaptive RF, a subsidiary of Adaptive Micro-Ware Inc. The technology addresses the increasingly congested radio spectrum, which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversees.

Adaptive RF Corp., which was formed to research and commercialize advanced radio technology products and services, has licensed intellectual property developed by Cooklev.

Cooklev says the environment of innovation at IPFW could become stronger because of Adaptive RF Corp.

"This is the first startup in Fort Wayne that is licensing technology through the Purdue Research Foundation," he says. "This is an historic accomplishment by itself and it could encourage increased innovation and commercialization at IPFW."

The educational and research activities of the Wireless Technology Center have also provided several joint projects with industry as well as additional training for IPFW students.

Recent IPFW engineering graduates who have worked with the Wireless Technology Center say it has given them extensive knowledge in the wireless communication area, which in turn they are applying in the development of their own careers. Graduates are working in companies such as Raytheon, Intel, and Regal Beloit, and Cooklev says all graduates are on track for leadership positions.

IPFW graduate Andrew Marcum says his experience with the Wireless Technology Center was a gateway to bigger opportunities.

“I came to Fort Wayne in 2006 from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to work at Raytheon Company and began working toward a masters degree at IPFW,” says Marcum. “I graduated with a masters degree in 2010. In many ways, WTC solidified in my mind the kind of work I wanted to do going forward in my career.”

Marcum specifically says his masters research project taught him how to mathematically model baseband communication systems. He has applied and continued to grow in this skill at Raytheon. Marcum will graduate with a Ph.D. in engineering from Purdue this year.

“Had the WTC not been available in Fort Wayne, I would have left my job and moved elsewhere to attend grad school long ago. As a result, my involvement in the WTC led directly to me being able to achieve my long-term academic goals and dreams.”

Plans are underway for continued collaboration with northeast Indiana industry that can be applied to the development of improved military communication systems.There are also plans to bring back a Tactical Communications and Interoperability Conference.

“Understanding how wireless technologies can support network-centric operations is an important research topic," said Harry Tunnell, Col., U.S. Army, Retired, PMP, and principal at InRef, LLC who has partnered with the center as a community resource. "The IPFW Wireless Technology Center is an excellent resource for improving our understanding of these technologies and how they enable operations. The center has the right leadership and expertise to make important contributions in the field.”

"Our mission as a center is 'never ceasing to get better,'” said Cooklev. “As we advance our innovation and technological capabilities we will continue to be a resource for northeast Indiana and work to foster research and find solutions that deliver economic impact for industry and government alike.” For more information on the Wireless Technology Center, contact Cooklev at 260-481-0151 or cooklevt@ipfw.edu.

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