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Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Handheld 'T-ray' Device Earns New $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize

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Schulkin works under the guidance of Xi-Cheng Zhang, the J. Erik Jonsson '22 Distinguished Professor of Science and director of the Center for Terahertz Research at Rensselaer. "Brian's innovative approach combined the integration of materials, optics, and electronics expertise to realize aquantum leap in robustness, while reducing the size and weight of the system by an order of magnitude," Zhang said. "His miniature terahertz spectrometer project, after only one year's worth of research and development, has become the shining star on our research stage."

At the Center for Terahertz Research, more than 30 scientists actively conduct research and development in terahertz wave science and technology. Scientists and engineers from more than 100 universities, companies, medical schools, and clinics have visited Rensselaer's terahertz facilities, and theteam has helped scientists from 25 countries learn to use the technology.

The Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize is funded through a partnership with the Lemelson-MIT Program, which has awarded the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT StudentPrize to outstanding student inventors at MIT since 1995.

Nathan Ball , a graduate student in mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the 2007 winner of the $30,000Lemelson-MIT Student Prize. Ball received the award for life-saving inventions including the ATLAS Powered Rope Ascender, a portable, battery-powered device that can lift a 250-pound load hundreds of feet intothe air in a matter of seconds.

This year the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign also joined Rensselaer as a new partner institution with the announcement of the $30,000Lemelson-Illinois Student Prize. Michael Callahan is the inaugural winner of the Lemelson-Illinois Student Prize. He is a graduate student in Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering who has invented a method to intercept neurological signals near the source of vocal production and convert the signals into speech. He hopes to make it possible for people with limited speech or movement abilities to communicate.


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