Skip to Content

INL wins technology innovation award

Are you fed up with your phone calls dropping out? Or not being able to send a video from your tablet? Well, the Idaho National Laboratory is being honored by R&D Magazine for a breakthrough in technology that offers a solution to the problems.

In a nutshell, it’s a very complex algorithm. INL officials said there are six billion cellphone users, and the growing number is pushing the limits of frequency space.

Six rounds of applause recognized the six-member INL research team honored with an R&D 100 Award for inventing Wireless Spectrum Communications. It’s a technological breakthrough two years in the making.

INL leaders called the algorithm a solution to one of the world’s biggest technical challenges: Ensuring there’s enough radio frequency space, or spectrum, for all of our cellphones, iPads and computers to operate wirelessly.

“If you’re not using your cellphone, your spectrum is available to me if I am wise enough to check and make sure you’re not using it,” said Dr. Behrouz Farhang, a WSComm team member and professor at the University of Utah. “Then, when you come, I go and use someone else’s channel that’s not being used.”

Farhang said the spectrum sharing happens so fast it won’t disrupt other communication.

Many also pointed to catastrophes like 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina when so many were trying to get a hold of loved ones, the bandwidth was clogged and communication was impossible.

“For emergency responders or military operations, it can be a matter of life and death,” said INL Associate Laboratory Director for National and Homeland Security Brent Stacey.

So, the INL’s 47th award-winning innovation could actually save lives if and when it becomes a commercial product.

“The buyer will be circuit manufacturers that provide circuitry to cellphone manufacturers, that then sell them to the wireless carriers, who you contract for service with,” said Mark Kaczor, senior commercialization manager.

INL researchers said the innovation is solving a problem before most people even realize its a problem. Don’t expect anything to happen faster, but calls should be less likely to drop out.

The R&D 100 Awards are considered the “Oscars of innovation,” identifying the 100 most significant newly introduced research and development advances.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

News Team


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content