University of Vermont

College of

School of Engineering

SoE Research
Sensors and Control Systems

Research in this area focuses on distributed sensor/actuator systems and their control. Funding sources include the UVM Transportation Research Center, NASA and NSF and projects have had active participation with regional companies, including IBM and Goodrich. Application areas include biosensors, environmental sensors, mechatronics, and wireless sensor networks.

Example Projects

Advanced Dust Suppression Technology for Martian and Lunar Habitation

Mars Rover Fine dust particulates become charged in these environments by both solar wind and frictional effects, leading to rapid adhesion of dust to exposed surfaces. This dust could interfere with instruments and solar panels, penetrate spacesuits and hatches, and possibly affect human health. The research focuses on creating a "smart surface" able to clean itself of dust particles using a combination of vibration, acoustic radiation, and a sweeping electromagnetic field. The project is also developing sensing and control strategies in order to activate these surfaces when necessary but in the most energy-efficient manner.
Contact: Jeff Marshall

Smart car Emissions and Performance of Alternative Vehicles in Northern Climates

UVM's unique focus in this project is on particle number emissions, on-board sensors, low-cost sensors and public communication.
Contacts: Britt Holmén, Jeff Frolik, Dryver Huston, Bob Jenkins

SWE monitoring in the field
Snow Water Equivalent Monitoring with Wireless Sensor Networks

Monitoring snow water equivalent (SWE) — that is, the amount of water in a snowpack — is essential for natural resource planning and control, avalanche prediction, and understanding environmental transformations such as global warming. However, technology for automated remote monitoring of SWE is relatively primitive, hard to deploy, expensive, and environmentally impactful. The goal of this project is to introduce significantly cheaper and more easily deployed and maintained technologies for remote monitoring of SWE, based on wireless sensor networks and cutting-edge sensor technologies.
Contact: Jeff Frolik

Smart car
Passive, Diamagnetic Inertial Sensing Integrated with High-Sensitivity Telemetry

This research will realize a new class of wireless sensors that are near-passive in energy needs. Synergistic design practices are being used to achieve increased activation/communication ranges as compare to existing technologies. The result will enable numerous new applications in which inertial sensors are expected to have long life and must be deeply-embedded. For example, the long-term monitoring of the stability of earthen structures (e.g., dams and levees) is specifically considered in this collaborative effort. The project involves researchers from electrical and civil engineering from two Universities along with a non-profit research institute.
Contacts: Jeff Frolik, Mandar Dewoolkar