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Espy-Wilson, Rubloff Are Top UM Inventors

At its annual Invention of the Year Awards ceremony, the UM Office of Technology Commercialization named two projects by Clark School professors as 2009's top UM inventions.

Professor Carol Espy-Wilson (ECE/ISR) and research graduate assistant Srikanth Vishnubhotla were recognized for "Multi-Pitch Tracking in Adverse Environments," which addresses a problem that sounds familiar to anyone who has used a cell phone in a public place: background noise. The novel algorithm "cleans up" speech by separating the voices of the primary speakers from their noisy environments. Espy-Wilson plans to develop the technology through her start-up company, OmniSpeech. The technology also can be used to improve sound quality in hearing aids, military sniper and subject identification, and teleconferencing.

"Nano Arrays for Energy Storage," invented by professors Gary Rubloff (materials science and engineering, Maryland NanoCenter, UMERC and ISR) and Sang Bok Lee (chemistry), research assistant Parag Banerjee and others, also won. Their invention offers high-density energy storage for vehicle and electronic device batteries. The arrays have a capacity that is 10 times higher than available products and can be produced using inexpensive materials. Rubloff and Lee plan to start a company to bring the nano arrays to market.

Finalists included Clark School faculty members Rama Chellappa (ECE) and others for "Video Précis," Ray Sedwick (AE) for "Wireless Power Transfer Using Superconducting Oscillators" and Miao Yu (ME) and others for "Surface Mountable Ultra-Miniature Fiber-Optic Pressure Sensor."

The full press release about the OTC awards is available online.

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