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U., Salt Lake to become living lab for wireless, mobile testing

SALT LAKE CITY — The future of wireless and mobile technology may be found by using Salt Lake City and the University of Utah as a huge test site.

A wireless living laboratory is being created on the U. campus and in part of downtown Salt Lake City.

“It’s a real-world laboratory,” said University of Utah associate professor Kobus Van der Merwe, who is part of the partnership. “People can do experiments for the next big thing, or understand the current thing that’s not working.”

Van der Merwe says the test bed will involve installing sensors and nodes or wireless network base stations on buildings, traffic signals and vehicles over the next two to three years. Then, researchers, industry officials and even the military could use the software and the cloud to test mobile systems and ideas on a large scale.

“It’s open and you can experiment with it, and look under the hood and see what’s wrong. Or build the next thing that hasn’t been done yet. That’s the gist of it,” he said.

Rice University is partnering with the U. on the project.  The National Science Foundation awarded the universities a grant for the project through its Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research.

“It’s huge. and the whole process has been so humbling, because we go to people, and they say, yes, how can we help,” said Van der Merwe.