Underwater WiFi will Have a Huge Impact - with an Armenian in the team

Recently the global and tech media have been reporting about the unprecedented success of  ”The Internet Underwater” project which is implemented by the University at Buffalo team, which is lead and directed by Professor Tommaso Melodia. ”The Internet Underwater” project has developed an underwater wireless network, which unlike normal wi-fi, uses sound waves instead of radio waves. If the project succeeds it can have many benefits such as to detect tsunamis, offshore oil and natural gas exploration, surveillance, pollution monitoring and other ocean activities. During his interview Professor Melodia said: “A submerged wireless network will give us an unprecedented ability to collect and analyze data from our oceans in real time”. This project can give thousands of possibilities to make improvements in different areas, it can even be used in monitoring fish and marine mammals. “Making the information obtained by this system available to anyone with a smartphone or computer, especially when a tsunami or other type of disaster occurs, could help save lives”, added Professor Melodia.
This is really a good news, but one of the most interesting parts of this story is that one of Professor Melodia’s leading team member is Hovannes Kulhandjian, a young and talented Armenian, born in Gyumri, Armenia. iTechnology.am was proud to connect to Hovhannes and to bring his story for our readers.

Hovannes was born in Gyumri, the second largest city of Armenia. In the year of disastrous earthquake he had to move to Georgia, then when civil war started he moved to Egypt.
“Despite living most of my life outside my home country, thanks to my parents, who always used Armenian at home, we have preserved our precious mother tongue and our Armenian culture. In addition to that, being involved in Armenian activities overseas has helped us to preserve our roots and heritage.”, says Hovhannes. After completing his secondary education he entered American university in Cairo. “We Armenians around the world do value higher education and strive by all means to support those students that cannot afford it. I would like to mention that I am grateful to a number of Armenian scholarship funds. Without their support I would not have been able to pursue my professional ambitions.”, tells Hovhannes also indicating his family’s influence on his career and educational ambitions.
After graduating with high honors from American University in Cairo, Hovannes was accepted in in the Ph.D. program in Electrical Engineering at the University at Buffalo (UB), The State University of New York (SUNY), specializing in Digital Signal Processing and Wireless Networking. Currently Hovhannes is working towards my Ph.D. degree in the Wireless Networks and Embedded Systems (WiNES) Laboratory at University of Buffalo  under the guidance of Prof. Tommaso Melodia: “My research interests are in Underwater Acoustic Wireless Sensor Networks. I am working on several projects that include The Internet underwater, analog network coding for underwater acoustic sensor networks, reconfigurable underwater acoustic networking testbed design and secure underwater acoustic communications”, tells Hovhannes.
The recent achievement of the team was the test carried out at Lake Erie, near Buffalo. The research team dropped two 18kg sensors into the water and then they were able to use a laptop to transmit information to them.

The new framework will solve that problem by transmitting data from existing and planned underwater sensor networks to laptops, smartphones, and other wireless devices in real time. ”The Wi-Fi radio signal transmits to the buoy, which converts it into acoustic waves for the underwater sensors. It’s also bidirectional. Basically, you talk to them and they talk to you.”,- said Hovannes Kulhandjian.

In the future, the team hopes the sensors could be used to help detect and solve environmental issues. The team is going to present the project during a conference to be held in Taiwan next month.
Follow iTechnology.am to learn more on “Internet Underwater” project and on the achievements of Hovhannes.

Photos by: Douglas Levere


Media coverage on: The Internet Underwater

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