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College of Engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

Researcher. Inventor. Professor.

COE professor David Akopian named Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Researcher. Inventor. Professor.

David Akopian, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UTSA, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). He is the second NAI Fellow for UTSA, following the appointment of C. Mauli Agrawal in 2015. The honor places Akopian among an elite group of professionals that includes presidents and senior leaders of research universities, Nobel laureates, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, and National Academies members.

“I want to congratulate David Akopian, who is extremely well deserving of this recognition,” said Agrawal, UTSA interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, who nominated Akopian for the distinction. “With 32 patents to his name, his own productivity as an inventor and researcher is exemplary.”

Agrawal added: “What is not so easily measured—and perhaps far more impactful—is [Akopian’s] legacy as a mentor to the hundreds of students who have had the great fortune of working and studying under him. Because of his industry background, he infuses a real-world, multidisciplinary perspective into his laboratory and classroom. UTSA is indeed fortunate that David Akopian has found his niche in academia.”

Akopian’s research interests are in a broad area of communication and navigation systems. He focuses on human-machine interactive mobile applications, wireless sensing, and location-finding and software-defined radio technologies. His most recent research projects have focused on mobile interactive solutions for health promotion interventions.

Akopian is the founder and director of the Software Communications and Navigation Systems Laboratory at UTSA. Since 2004, more than 80 students who trained in his lab have gone on to successful careers at a variety of companies including Apple, Google, Samsung, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Intel, and Verizon.

Over the course of his academic career, Akopian has acquired 25 issued and seven pending patents exploring various aspects of wireless localization systems, indoor wireless technologies, and human-machine wireless concepts. Several of his patents have been used in Nokia products and UTSA testbed systems serving several federal and state projects. He has received four inventor awards from UTSA and Nokia.

His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health (NIH), USAF, NAVSEA, ONR, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and CPRIT-TX, among others. Current funding comes from NIH, CPRIT-TX, San Antonio Life Sciences Institute (SALSI) and the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA).

Akopian is a prolific author whose research has resulted in more than 200 publications, including three book chapters, eight edited proceedings, 44 journal papers, and more than 150 invited and refereed conference papers and presentations. He served as associate editor for five periodicals, and he has chaired more than 10 mobile technology conferences.

Since 2003, Akopian has served as a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), where he also served as chair and vice-chair of the Central Texas Chapter of IEEE SMC Society for eight consecutive years. He is also a member of the US Institute of Navigation (ION). In 2008 his team won fourth place (honorable mention) in national AT&T’s “Big Mobile on Campus Challenge.” And, in 2015, he co-supervised the students from the UTSA College of Engineering who successfully showcased their engineering skills and solutions in the Perseus III unmanned technology demonstration held at the USAFA.

Story by Sarah Hada/Photo by Deborah Silliman

National Academy of Inventors

National Academy of Inventors

Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

With the election of the 2016 class, there are now 757 NAI Fellows, representing 229 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes. The 2016 Fellows are named inventors on 5,437 issued U.S. patents, bringing the collective patents held by all NAI Fellows to more than 26,000.

Included among all NAI Fellows are more than 94 presidents and senior leaders of research universities and non-profit research institutes; 376 members of the three branches of the National Academy of Sciences; 28 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame; 45 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation and U.S. National Medal of Science; 28 Nobel Laureates, 215 AAAS Fellows; 132 IEEE Fellows; and 116 Fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, among other awards and distinctions.

The 2016 Fellows were inducted on April 6, 2017, as part of the Sixth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Boston. U.S. Commissioner for Patents Andrew H. Hirshfeld provided the keynote address for the induction ceremony.

In honor of their outstanding accomplishments, Fellows will be presented with a special trophy, medal, and rosette pin.

The 2016 NAI Fellows will be recognized with a full-page announcement in The Chronicle of Higher Education Jan. 20, 2017 issue, and in upcoming issues of Inventors Digest and Technology and Innovation.

The 2016 NAI Fellows selection committee included 19 members, comprising NAI Fellows, recipients of U.S. National Medals, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Academies and senior officials from the USPTO, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Association of American Universities, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of University Technology Managers.

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