Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI)


 MTRI Fabricated Sensors

MTRI designs, develops, and makes full use of sensor systems, from water quality and automotive applications to tracking glacier melt. Our expertise encompasses both low- and high-frequency radio frequency (RF) sensors along with:

  • optical
  • near infrared (NIR)
  • short wave infra-red (SWIR)
  • mid-wave infrared (MIR)
  • long wave thermal infrared (LIR)

In addition to our electro-magnetic and optical systems, MTRI also specializes in acoustic and seismic sensing. Our acoustic and seismic sensing inventory includes imaging sonar, seismic sensing arrays, and acoustic underwater arrays.

Our sensor inventory incorporates both active and passive sensors. Active RF sensors include radars (Synthetic Aperture, Real Aperture, and moving target indicator), and communication and broadcast transmit/receive links. We also have experience with classic sensors and cognitive, multi-aperture systems (multi-in multi-out, or MIMO, and  distributed multi-static). MTRI's active optical sensors include LIDAR.

Our passive RF sensors include cognitive adaptive receivers, RF radiometers, and passive SAR/GMTI—most other optical sensors are passive.

MTRI sensor capabilities also include enhanced features including polarization (optical and RF), light field cameras, high dynamic range cameras, and arbitrary waveforms for active RF.

Depending on sensor payload size, MTRI has hosted sensors on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), unmanned surface vehicles (USV) on both land and water, and underwater autonomous systems (UAS).

Projects and Products: MTRI Designed and Fabricated Sensors

  • Handheld Radiometer (Patent Pending) – The lightweight low cost MTRI-designed radiometer is embedded with customized software to dynamically optimize measurements, power, and data recording. The fully deployable radiospectrometer can be used by anyone, including citizen scientists. Coupled with smart devices, real-time water quality measurements can be generated. 
  • Characterization of Automotive Radar Reflectivity for W-Band Systems: This collaboration between Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI), the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) and Toyota's Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) is designed to better understand the variability of radar scattering from vehicles and how to develop surrogate vehicles for automotive safety tests. The surrogate vehicle in automotive safety tests must present responses to the collision avoidance radar similar to those of a vehicle. However, the surrogate vehicle must be inexpensive and present no harm to the test driver or vehicle under test.
  • Glacier Ablation Sensor System (GASS): GASS was designed, fabricated and deployed by MTRI, USGS, and BLM scientists to record, on a hourly basis, data describing the horizontal and vertical (melt) movement of a glacier, as well as corresponding meteorological data including temperature, wind speed, humidity, barometric pressure, and upward- and downward-looking light intensity. 
  • Automated Lagrangian Water Quality Assessment System (ALWAS): Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI) and the University of Michigan Marine Hydrodynamic Lab’s Automated Lagrangian Water Quality Assessment System (ALWAS) is an inexpensive,  free-floating, water quality measuring and watershed evaluation system. It is capable of making a wide range of measurements rapidly and easily, storing the results for later retrieval and analysis. 
  • Current Drogue: Measures subsurface ocean currents.