Grant allows world to visit Binghamton University laboratory via the Internet
Victor A. Skormin, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Binghamton University, has been awarded a $255,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop an Internet-accessible advanced laser communications research lab that can be used by engineering students across the globe.
With a few mouse clicks students half a world away have the ability to test sophisticated communications laser equipment via the Internet. Students from China, Great Britain and the Czech Republic have already taken advantage of this new resource by tapping into a website developed by Skormin and his research team. By typing in the parameters of their experiments, students are able to test their theories using a laser-aiming device, known as the piezo-electric mirror, in the laser communications research laboratory on the Binghamton University campus.
In addition to getting near instantaneous feedback from their input, the students have a 360-degree view of the equipment they are using. Skormin has also installed a control program that will prevent students from accidentally frying the equipment should they apply too much voltage. In addition, the system can only be used by one person at a time, with Binghamton University researchers having first priority.
The grant is the latest in a series from the NSF to fund the development of a new curriculum in satellite laser communications and the creation of a virtual lab to accompany the program at Binghamton University.
The equipment used is part of a $1 million cache of equipment acquired by Skormin’s research team from the U.S. Air Force’s Rome Research Lab to support research on ways to make information systems more secure through the use of laser technology.
By opening the use of this equipment to the world, Skormin hopes to give more students the opportunity to have access to high quality laboratory equipment, not just at Binghamton University but also around the globe.