Will Flathers (ECE ’08) was one of 5 Virginia undergraduates awarded a $500 grant by the Virginia Academy of Sciences. He is developing a novel device that uses seismic vibrations to communicate with miners trapped in a tunnel collapse where conventional radio-frequency devices like cell phones cannot penetrate.

Signals are analyzed using a mathematical technique called Fourier Analysis to pull out the presence of signals buried in noise levels one million times greater.


Cadet Paul Childrey (ME ’08) advised by Maj. Jay Sullivan and Mr. Ron Chandler fabricated the unit that produces the seismic waves. Will was advised on this multidisciplinary experiment by faculty from Electrical & Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Civil Engineering.