Defense contractor Universal Technology Corp. has hired a top University of Dayton Research Institute sensors expert to expand UTC into the commercial market.
Footprint, a digital map crime database that tracks where crime has happened and ties in with surveillance cameras and other sensors, is the part of the commercialization drive, officials said.
Larrell Walters, former UDRI leader of the sensors division, was named UTC’s senior director of commercial products.
“We’re looking at a whole host of things outside the normal box of commercialization that we could leverage,” he said.
UTC President Joe Sciabica, former executive director of the Air Force Research Laboratory, said the company wants to help entrepreneurs bring services and products to market.
“We’re looking to come alongside those folks and team up through partnerships and help get them over the hump,” he said.
The company’s commercialization push is meant to bolster the local industrial base working with companies, research institutes and entrepreneurs, officials said.
“It’s important to me personally and from a UTC perspective … for us to continue to grow things from the Miami Valley,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of potential in the relationships here with the university research institutes to market,” Sciabica said.
While at UDRI, Walters started the Institute for Development and Commercialization of Advanced Sensor Technology (IDCAST) a decade ago in Dayton with a $28 million state grant.
“UDRI is a hidden gem,” he said. “They work on lots of different things that create significant value.”
The consortium partnered with eight Ohio universities and 30 companies to commercialize sensor technology. IDCAST created nearly 350 new jobs and has had a $400 million impact in Ohio, according to UTC.
Footprint uses video forensics, real-time mapping and analytics. Smartphones, computer tablets, laptops and other devices can tap into the tracking data.
A user, for instance, can touch the screen to call up color-coded crime statistics that track everything from drug offenses to burglaries by geographic area. The system converges Google Earth maps with the data to show the location where a crime happened and the frequency of incidents in that spot.
The system also can tap into surveillance cameras and show what’s happening on the street at that moment.
Footprint analyzes an hour of surveillance video in one minute, and quickly can sort out what an investigator wants to find, Walters said. For example, a police agency trying to spot a vehicle with a certain color, such as red, could filter out all other vehicles and show only ones that are red.
The system has gained acclaim in some circles. Buzzfeed listed Footprint on its website as “12 Things You Can Thank Ohio For Later.”
Footprint was developed with Copp Integrated Systems and Oci, according to a website.
The Dayton Police Department has used the crime-tracking database for about a year, Walters said. UTC has touted the system to law enforcement, but the company says more industries could adapt the technology.