Electrical Engineering professor to work with U.S. Navy

Professor Michael Maiuzzo will be assisting the U.S. Navy by working on a device to help fix frequencies on ships’ radios.

Maiuzzo, assistant professor of electrical engineering, was contacted by Bennett Aerospace. It is a company that, according to its website, deals with advanced technology and working with the government. The company was in the process of making a bid on a contract with the Navy. The Navy suggested contacting Maiuzzo.

The reason for this is Maiuzzo had two patents already that pertained to the project. Bennett Aerospace contacted Maiuzzo to help them build a device. This device would help provide clear and efficient communications in high frequency radios.

“When I understood what they were going to do I realized that those earlier patents were going to be off the mark. They wouldn’t be the best. So I wrote the technical proposal,” Maiuzzo said.

He began writing the technical proposal at the beginning of the summer. After six weeks of his own time, Maiuzzo had his technical proposal. During that time, Maiuzzo and Dr. Ron Sones, the dean of the School of Engineering and Computational Sciences, also submitted a new patent in Liberty University’s name, one that would be more suitable for the task.

An earlier version of this device has already been built as a result of Maiuzzo’s earlier patents concerning error correction decoding. Those were successful and lead to the need for another model.

“The Navy, in their present request for proposals, stated the success of the earlier inventions when used for similar needs when describing the present need,” Maiuzzo said.

There will be three phases of the project. The first will be the research and design phase. Rebekah Smith, Maiuzzo’s assistant, has been working around the clock to collect research. A grant of $150,000 has been designated for the project. Bennett Aerospace and Liberty will split the grant.

The second phase will involve the actual building of the prototype. It will still be mainly centered at Liberty, and at that point there will be a grant of about $1 million. It will be used in building the prototype.

“Something that won’t look pretty but it will work,” Maiuzzo said.

The third phase would be the actual production of the device. At this point Bennett Aerospace would take over in production. It will probably be 2-3 years before the device will be ready to be produced.

“At that point, Liberty and Bennett would have to come to some agreement. They would license it from Liberty and go into production,” Maiuzzo said.

Other professors and students will be working on this project with Maiuzzo. Most will be upper level classmen who are versed with different programs. Sones designed the computer control for the device. There will be practical benefits for students helping out. They will have practical experiences and possible job openings.

Maiuzzo is no stranger to the Navy. Maiuzzo has worked with them for over 30 years. He also earned an inventors award from these departments. The plaque states that the award was for his part in the largest licensing agreement the Navy and Department of Defense has ever accomplished. He estimates, based on projections by one of the companies involved, that it was worth $200 million.

“When I say it out loud I can’t believe it myself,” Maiuzzo said, holding the plaque. “Let’s hope the one for Liberty comes close.”

This is not the first patent Maiuzzo has ever submitted. He currently has seven patents pending. He has three granted patents for the Navy. Three of the patents pending have been in the last two years while he has been at Liberty.

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