August 11, 2006
ECE alumnus Tom Martin (Ph.D. 1999; M.S. 1994) was honored at the White House last month for receiving the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for his research in electronic textiles. President George W. Bush spoke to the winners, recognizing their research accomplishments and educational contributions. His science advisor, John H. Marburger, III, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, presided over the awards ceremony.
The Presidential Award is the highest honor conferred by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. According to website of the National Institutes of Health Office of Extramural Research, the awards "are intended to recognize and nurture some of the finest scientists and engineers who, while early in their research careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge during the twenty-first century."
Martin is one of 20 researchers whose work is supported by the NSF to be granted the five-year PECASE award. Last year, he received a five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant for his project in the Virginia Tech E-Textiles Laboratory designing e-textiles for potential medical applications. Lab members weave their own "smart" clothes with fabrics that look and feel normal, but provide sensing and computing capabilities that may have healthcare uses such as monitoring a jogger's speed and distance, a patient's blood pressure and heart rate, or an elderly person's balance. The e-textiles have wires, sensors, and actuators woven into the cloth and can sense their own shapes, the wearer's motions, and the position of the sensing elements.
In a NSF news release about the PECASE honorees, Martin was cited as a leader in wearable computing, having served in many leadership positions for the IEEE International Symposium on Wearable Computers. As an associate professor of ECE at Virginia Tech, he began a new curriculum on wearable and ubiquitous computing, receiving their College of Engineering Dean's award for Excellence in Teaching Innovation in 2004.
During his Ph.D. work at Carnegie Mellon, Martin was affiliated with the Wearable Computing Group in the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems (ICES) and advised by Buhl University Professor Daniel Siewiorek.
Sources: National Institutes of Health Office of Extramural Research, National Science Foundation Directorate for Education and Human Resources, Virginia Tech News
ECE alumnus Tom Martin (left) and Virginia Tech graduate student Meghan Quirk weaving e-textiles. Photo credit: John McCormick, Virginia Tech.