“UMass Lowell is the place to go for nanotech-based products that will work in battlefield conditions,” said Chancellor Marty Meehan. “The sensors developed will be the proverbial canary in a coalmine for soldiers – determining whether an area is free of biological or chemical substances. This life-saving work could not continue without support from Sens. John Kerry and Paul Kirk and Rep. Niki Tsongas.”
Also under development are mechanisms for detecting structural damage in vehicles like helicopters. Rather than replace helicopter rotors on a scheduled basis, for example, monitors detect when damage begins and replacement should occur, resulting in cost savings for the military.
“Under Chancellor Meehan’s leadership, UMass Lowell is leading the nanotech revolution among educational institutions. This investment will help the university continue developing cutting-edge technologies that will keep our state at the forefront of scientific discovery,” said Kerry.
“I commend UMass Lowell for its impressive leadership on multifunctional sensors,” said Kirk. “Few things are more important than coming up with better ways to ensure that our brave men and women are as safe as possible. This state-of-the-art technology will help protect our soldiers on the battlefield. I couldn’t be more pleased that federal funds are going to this worthwhile project.”
“This funding for further development of nanotechnology sensors will help better protect our servicemen and women, while simultaneously creating new opportunities for UMass Lowell students,” said Tsongas. “Chancellor Meehan should be recognized for pursuing these federal funds and helping to place the university at the forefront of this groundbreaking field.”
The Army Research Laboratory in Hyattsville, Md., and Natick Labs are partners on the sensor and health monitoring research. Commercial applications are likely to emerge. Companies that could benefit include Raytheon, Textron and Triton.
Funding will also help equip the university’s $80 million Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, which breaks ground this spring and is expected to spur about 300 new jobs over the next five years. The facility will house R&D translating the promise of nanotechnology into products.