Old Colorado City Communications
September 15th, 1999
$1 MILLION BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES BY WIRELESS GRANT
Dave Hughes, co-owner of Old
Colorado City Communications has won a 3 Year $1,029,000 continuing
grant by the National Science Foundation to develop models using
advanced wireless technologies to assist Biological Scientists gathering
scientific data from remote and difficult locations and communicate
it over the Internet. The first year award is $384,830, with work
starting September 15th, 1999.
The biological science by wireless grant, ANI-9909218, is officially
titled "Prototype Testing and Evaluation of Wireless Instrumentation
for Ecological Research at Remote Field Locations." The award has
been made through Hughes's small business, Old Colorado City Communications,
as the fiduciary and administrative host organization. Hughes is
the Principal Investigator and responsible for the work to be done.
He has selected several assistants, including Mike Willett of Open
Minds of Colorado Springs who specializes in wireless engineering.
Hughes' partner, Larry Fox, who has extensive experience in 3d World
countries, will administer the grant. Don Mitchell of the National
Science Foundation oversees the grant project for the NSF.
Initially the 3 years of experiments and development will take place
concurrently in the rain forests of Puerto Rico and the frozen lakes
region of Northern Wisconsin. University scientists in oth places
are involved in Long Term Ecological Research. Hughes findings will
initially be shared with the 1,200 US scientists working at 21 other
NSF funded Biological Sciences field ites across the US. However
the work will be useful for scientific field research anywhere in
the orld says Hughes. The wireless links will involve satellite
connections as well as new forms of terrestrial wireless using a
variety of solar, wind, or water generated electrical power to run
miniaturized computer systems and wireless devices.
As an example, Hughes may use small spread spectrum radios to communicate
continuously the night sounds of 'Coqui' - the thumnail-sized, unique
frogs of Puerto Rico from a mountain top in the El Junque rain forest.
Historically researchers have had to climb wet Mount Toro for hours
after dark and use tape recorders from a blind for a few hours at
a time to capture the sounds from a rare sub-species of Eleutherodactylus.
Hughes expects when he is done, that anyone connected to the Internet
in laboratories, science classes in schools, or even at home, can
listen in real time to the rare tiny frogs. "It may sound like an
adventure game," says Hughes "but it will support serious scientific
research. I'll have a ball doing it, however." Other applications
will link sensors measuring such things as chemistry, effects of
light, growth, weather, and water properties in multiple environments.
Hughes, 71, has been developing original Internet applications for
wireless communications for the past 8 years, having connected up
rural schools in the San Luis Valley, science educators to polluted
streams in Montana, public libraries in Mongolia, and the historical
web site in the Old Colorado City Colorado district of Colorado
Springs. This is the 5th National Science Foundation award for Hughes,
who was named last year by Wired Magazine as one of the most original
'Wired 25' innovators in the world. He has been most recently published
in Scientific American, and the MIT Press.
The NSF wireless field tests web site http://wireless.oldcolo.com
will be expanded to carry running reports on this new project.