New VCU Engineering Testbeds Will Strengthen State NextG Security, Medical Devices and Smart Cities – VCU News
The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative has helped fund three new testbeds at Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Engineering to help researchers and industry partners analyze medical device safety, NextG applications, and smart city operations.
The testbeds were developed under the direction of Erdem Topsakal, Ph.D., Director of the CCI Regional Node in Central Virginia and Professor and Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at VCU.
“These testbeds will benefit researchers – both faculty and students – as well as the Commonwealth as a whole,” Topsakal said. “They help to support and inspire entrepreneurship and spin-off companies which will further CCI’s aim of supporting workforce development across the Commonwealth.”
The new testbeds are:
- The NextG testbed, which provides radio silence enabling 5G experiences in an isolated environment.
- The Medical Device Security Testbed, which tests commercial medical devices to locate and provide suggestions for mitigating vulnerabilities.
- The OpenCyberCity testbed, which runs experiments related to smart cities and autonomous vehicles on a realistic small-scale urban landscape.
“Cybersecurity must be integrated into the devices that connect our lives – from hospital beds to the cars we drive,” said Luiz DaSilva, Ph.D., executive director of the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative, an industry network , higher education and economic development. partners that serves as a driver for research, workforce development, and innovation at the intersection of cybersecurity, autonomous systems, and intelligence.
“VCU’s new testbeds add to the CCI network’s ability to evaluate industry and government partner technology and applications before they are in mainstream use,” DaSilva said. “The benchmarks will also provide students with meaningful experiential learning opportunities to prepare them for a career in cybersecurity.”
A 1:12 scale model, OpenCyberCity is a smart city testbed where students can experience several aspects of modern smart cities. The testbed includes data collection and processing units, database management, distributed performance management algorithms and real-time data visualization, said Sherif Abdelwahed, Ph.D., director Project Manager and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at VCU.
“The testbed provides a near-real-world platform for students to learn about the unique characteristics of smart cities and explore supporting technologies,” he said. Six graduate students are working on projects related to OpenCyberCity.
The smart city testbed’s intelligent transportation system includes self-driving cars and smart infrastructure.
“Students and researchers will be able to experiment with algorithms that ensure the safety, efficiency and security of these systems,” said Patrick Martin, Ph.D., assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at VCU. “In the future, we also plan to add micro unmanned aerial vehicles to expand the transportation use cases to include urban air mobility as well as emergency response.”
The OpenCyberCity testbed connects to the medical device security testbed through a firewall. Wearable devices, beds and other equipment with sensors could help more people age in place, said Lauren Linkous, a VCU electrical and computer engineering doctoral student who works on the device safety test bed. doctors at the university with fellow doctoral student Erwin Karincic. However, cybersecurity must be built into the design of these devices from the start. That’s not always the case, Linkous noted.
“Security is sometimes fixed at the end,” she said. This leaves an opening for bad actors to hack into sensitive systems, possibly impersonating or faking what is actually happening to a person or endangering them.
The NextG testbed is the perfect place to evaluate the networked underpinnings of many advanced applications in smart cities and medical devices. Researchers are working to characterize the signals emitted by medical devices under attack, which will help create detection systems to secure medical devices in networked healthcare environments.
In addition, NextG testbed researchers are building and characterizing new magnetic materials, which may prove useful for radio frequency shielding and power dissipation applied to telecommunications, security, medical and smart city applications. , said Jonathan Lundquist, an electrical and computer VCU. engineering doctoral student.
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