January 4, 2012
Engineer named Distinguished Kansan
Although Bill Kuhn's work is out of this world, it's right at home in Kansas.
Kuhn, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Kansas State University, was recently named by the Topeka Capital-Journal as 2011's Distinguished Kansan in science.
Along with a team of K-State research colleagues and students, Kuhn is working with NASA to create and test new wireless technology that can be used in space exploration. This includes technology for space suits that can monitor an astronaut's blood pressure, heart rate and other physical conditions and then communicate that information to short- and long-range health-monitoring systems.
Additionally, Kuhn and his graduate students, together with colleagues at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and engineers at Peregrine Semiconductor, created a micro transceiver designed to help in the search for water — and ultimately life — on Mars. The new transceivers are smaller, lighter and more energy efficient that current transceivers, making it possible for smaller and multiple scout crafts to be carried at launch in future exploration missions.
According to Kuhn, an interest in the space race and electronics set his career path into orbit.
“Having grown up during the days of the moon landings and learned about wireless technology through ham radio during my pre-college years, combining the two interests was a natural progression,” Kuhn said.
Kuhn received his bachelor's degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1979; his master's degree from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1982; and his doctorate in electrical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1996. He joined K-State in 1996.