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Brian Dunn & Michael Dickens

AUTHOR: ND Staff

PUBLISHED: December 19, 2011

Dunn & DickensGraduate Students
Department of Electrical Engineering

A highly reconfigurable wireless system that can communicate using almost any protocol, RFware was designed by Notre Dame faculty and graduate students to help first responders in emergency situations communicate more effectively via reliable wireless interfaces.

A team led by J. Nicholas Laneman, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, and graduate students Brian Dunn and Michael Dickens uses software radio technology for experimental research and for developing solutions to national problems.

One such challenge involves police officers and other first responders whose ability to communicate could mean the difference between life and death. Because of the nature and scope of different situations, emergency personnel rarely have the opportunity to plan and setup their radios to address specific needs prior to an event. Even radios that conform to national standards for interoperability don’t always communicate with each other consistently. Software-defined radio technology could immediately benefit police, fire, and other emergency management departments that have struggled for decades with incompatible communication devices.

RFware has received contracts from the U.S. Navy and Indiana’s 21st Century Fund in order to continue developing this technology for commercialization.