KSEF R&D Excellence: Development of Embedded Processor Platform for Intelligent Sensors

Grants and Contracts Details


In 1990 the University of Kentucky developed and patented an intelligent sensor technology that has been commercialized by a Kentucky based company, Reflectronics, Inc. (www.reflectronics.com).This sensor technology consists of an optical sensor appropriately designed for use in the food industry plus an algorithm for extracting information from the signal. Reflectronics markets the sensor ($6000) to cheese val manufacturers who install it in their cheese vaL Reflectronics also provided the cheese equipment manufacturer with the patented algorithm for programming into a computer or PLC (programmable logic controller). The cheese vat manufacturer then charges about $12,000 for the system. The algorithm could be embedded in a processor and the entire unit marketed directly by Reflectronics at a significantly lower cost to the cheese industry. Three other similar sensor technologies (employing a sensor + algorithm) have been developed in the Food Engineering lab at UK during the last two years. These are the Intelligent Transition Sensor, Composition Sensor, and a Low Fat Sensor for separators. This project proposal would cover the development and validation of a common embedded processor platform for the above four sensors. A processor will be designed to handle the specified tasks, a printed circuit board\~'ill be manufactured, and the sensor system tested in the lab for the above four sensors. Reflectronics has developed the hardware that enables it to capitalize on the miniature size of optical fibers and the latest advances in optical techno.logy. Reflectronics wiII provide the necessary hardware and optics this project. The addition of an embedded processors capability would thrust the research effort at the University of Kentucky to the forefront of intelligent sensor development. There are other applications, other sensors, and other markets (environmental control, agricu.ltural, aquacultural, biotechnological, pharmaceutical and chemical process industries, erc) where intelligent sensor technologies can be applied. The development of this technology is limited only by our vision and effort. It is anticipated that Reflectronics wiII submit a parallel proposal in 2002 to cover validation of the technology in a food processing plant environment.
Effective start/end date5/1/026/30/05


  • KY Science and Technology Co Inc: $54,005.00


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