Lehigh University
Lehigh University


Prof. Blums unforgettable week: A new book and a new IEEE fellow

Rick Blum, the Robert W. Weiseman Chair in Electrical Engineering, has been named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), one of the highest honors in his field.

IEEE, with 360,000 members in 175 countries, is the largest professional society of its kind in the world. The organization cited Blum for his work in signal processing, image fusion and wireless communications.

The same week he became an IEEE fellow, Blum learned that a book he co-wrote, "Multi-Sensor Image Fusion and Its Applications," will be published shortly by Dekker/CRC Press.

Blum joined Lehigh's faculty in 1991 after working as a senior communications engineer for General Electric Co. in Valley Forge, Pa.

He is one of the first researchers to pioneer sensor networking, a new field in which data from a distributed group of sensors is fused, or combined, to monitor a physical process.

More recently, he has tackled image fusion using multiple cameras. He and his students have devised a system that combines a photo taken by an optical camera with a photo of the same subject taken by a millimeter-wave camera. The composite photo exposes much more than either photo reveals by itself.

In a web site describing Blum's book, Dekker/CRC Press lists concealed weapon detection, surveillance, medical diagnosis and remote sensing as a few of the potential applications of image fusion.

Blum and his students have developed image-fusion algorithms which are based on rigorous estimation theory, wavelet transforms and hidden Markov models, and which outperform all existing image-fusion algorithms.

Blum's group is one of the first to analyze and classify existing image-fusion methods, and they have also studied portable image-fusion systems using wireless communication links.

Lehigh's technology-transfer office has applied for a patent on Blum's group's algorithms, and is planning to license the technology and to create a spinoff company to commercialize the technology.

Blum has received research grants from a variety of sources, including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Army Research Office, the Army Night Vision Laboratory, AT&T, Agere and Verizon.

His work with image fusion has been featured in Discover and Prism magazines and on ABCnews.com.

Blum, the director of the Signal Processing and Communications Research Lab, 14 full-time supported Ph.D. candidates and six part-time graduate students.

Blum has been a member of IEEE since 1984 and has been active in its Signal Processing and Communications societies, serving as associate editor of each society's journal and sitting on the technical committee of each.

Blum has also played active roles with the Lehigh Valley chapter of IEEE.

In addition to his book, Blum has written five book chapters and is the author of more than 50 refereed journal articles, 90 refereed conference papers and 10 invited conference papers.

Blum's awards include the Class of 1961 Professorship from Lehigh in 1998, the Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research in 1997, and IEEE's Third Millennium Medal.

"Multi-Sensor Image Fusion and Its Applications," which will be published as part of Dekker/CRC Press' special series on signal processing and communications, was co-written by Zheng Liu of the National Research Council Canada in Ottawa.

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004

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