University Chalks up 16th Patent with IT Invention

Posted: December 15, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Rey Banks

A military aircraft assessing critical information from more than one source in the timeliest and most efficient manner might make use of George Mason’s newest patent award, titled System and Method for Managing Sensors of a System.

The research of Kenneth Hintz, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the School of Information Technology and Engineering (IT&E), and Gregory McIntyre, Mason PhD graduate, resulted in Mason’s 16th patent to date. Their invention identifies and implements the most effective allocation of system resources through a series of mathematical computations. Utilization of their information-directed sensor management can determine a task, select one of several functions capable of completing the task, and identify the appropriate sensors needed to perform the task. Sensor management relies completely on value-weighted computations for decision making, thereby removing guesswork.

“It’s all resource management,” says Hintz. “How do you determine in any given situation what is the best use of your resources? Our system, through a series of quantitative information measures, can determine that more easily and accurately. Simply put, it is the mathematical automation of intuitiveness.”

What is not simple is the process of applying for and obtaining a patent, say Hintz and McIntyre. Their patent was awarded six years after the initial provisional application was submitted. During that time, the inventors went back and forth several times with the patent offices on details, clarifications, and changes that resulted in the final award.

The university benefits from the researchers’ persistence. Technology giant Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company has entered into a contract with the university to collaborate on uses for this new invention.

There’s more to come as well: Hintz and McIntyre are about to be awarded a second patent for another invention that will work in conjunction with the sensor management patent.

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