Discovery: SMU Team Propels Drone Communication Forward, UTA Professor Creates Sustainable City Simulations

In this weekly roundup of research and development activity in North Texas, you’ll also find out about a new collaboration between UNT and LaCore Labs that includes a $1 million gift.

Whats new, next, and reimagined in Dallas-Fort Worth ResearchEvery week, we do a little research of our own. We’re looking for scientists, professors, engineers, entrepreneurs—anybody, really—engaging in research and development across North Texas.

There’s plenty of good work being done. If you want to put R&D under your microscope, sign up for our e-newsletter.

Let’s talk: SMU team works on drone communication

Professors at Southern Methodist University are conducting ongoing research in helping drone swarms better communicate, using an $849,839 grant from the National Science Foundation they received in 2018.

Joseph Camp and Dinesh Rajan of the Lyle School of Engineering are heading the research that’s focused on building a multidimensional drone communication infrastructure framework, also called a MuDDI.

The research is aimed at making drones communicate better in groups. SMU points out that drone swarms could help in search and rescue missions and other important functions, but that can only happen once the communication issue is fixed.

Students started collecting data at SMU-in-Taso—located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico—last summer. Now, they’re helping convert an off-campus warehouse into a laboratory that would foster a controlled environment to more precisely measure wireless transmissions.

You can find out more about the research and watch a video here.

[Photo: via SMU]

UTA professor works to create more sustainable large cities

A faculty member at the University of Texas at Arlington is part of a research team creating simulations that could make for more sustainable cities.

Caroline Krejci

Industrial engineering Assistant Professor Caroline Krejci is working in collaboration with researchers from Iowa State University on developing a framework to analyze food, water, and energy systems in the greater Des Moines, Iowa, area. Those resources are what city dwellers require in massive amounts, but can’t be produced locally. 

The university said that Krejci will assist with the collection and evaluation of human behavior data, such as the preferences, beliefs, and behaviors of farmers and urban consumers regarding local food systems.

Krejci will use the data she collects to create a social simulation model of farmers and consumers who interact, learn, and make decisions about producing or buying locally sourced food, UTA said. The model will test the impact of various policies on both consumer and farmer decisions over time. 

UTA said that the results of those decisions will be linked to biophysical models created by other team members to determine their impact on the environment in and around Des Moines, especially concerning water quality—a big issue in Iowa.

Collaboration between UNT and LaCore Labs includes a $1M gift and new laboratory

A first-of-its-kind collaboration between the University of North Texas and Melissa-based LaCore Labs will produce major dividends for the university and the company.

Representatives of LaCore Labs and UNT at UNT Frisco Inspire Park. [Photo: UNT/Michael Clements]

The collaboration will include a $1 million gift that’s eligible for matching funds from the Texas Research Incentive Program, UNT said, as well as a new laboratory, sponsored research, a license to UNT technology, and real-world opportunities for students.

LaCore Labs, a developer of custom-formula health products, will establish an innovation center at UNT, too.

The five-year agreement will equip an analytical research chemistry lab at UNT’s Inspire Park, a business incubator in Frisco that hosts startup and technology companies and features classroom and laboratory spaces. LaCore signed a five-year lease and converted a space to wet labs, an investment that topped $600,000.

LaCore Labs also has licensed patented technology from UNT for an improved patch delivery system for prescription medications or nutraceuticals. The technology was developed by Guido Verbeck, a chemistry professor in the College of Science and director of the Laboratory of Imaging Mass Spectrometry at UNT.

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R E A D   N E X T

  • Lee Bratcher Texas Blockchain

    The inaugural October 8th Texas Blockchain Summit could be a watershed event for making Texas "the jurisdiction of choice" for Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Lee Bratcher, president of the Texas Blockchain Council, will host a wide array of speakers including Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis.

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    Nonprofit BUiLT is hosting the event to highlight the success and possibilities of Black tech talent in the region. “There is no talent pipeline problem,” says Peter Beasley, co-founder of the Blacks United in Leading Technology International. “Black tech talent is widely available, especially in North Texas.”

  • SMU is investing $11.5 million into a powerful new supercomputing research system featuring an NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD. Connected with the NVIDIA Quantum InfiniBand networking platform in SMU's data center, it will produce a theoretical 100 petaflops of computing power—enabling the university's network to perform "a blistering 100 quadrillion operations per second." The new capability will supercharge SMU's AI and supercomputing exploration, boosting North Texas' growth as a technology hub.

  • The NTXIA is a founding member of the new National Smart Coalitions Partnership, now one of the largest smart cities networks in the country. The organization unites more than 100 governments across seven regional smart cities consortiums. The goal? To accelerate sustainability and resilience in communities.

  • The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which passed in May, has the power to develop 20 tech hubs throughout the United States. According to Tech Titans' CEO Bill Sproull, Dallas-Fort Worth could be a strong contender for one of those spots.