NYC awarded $22.5 million to test ‘entirely new classes’ of wireless technology

The city will explore technologies like software-defined radio, 5G wireless, and edge computing as part of a National Science Foundation program.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded New York City $22.5 million to build the first of several wireless technology research hubs planned across the country.

The research hubs, funded under the NSF Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) initiative, are intended to allow researchers to test new ways of boosting internet speeds to accelerate the development of new technology applications in robotics, virtual reality, and traffic safety.

The New York City program, called COSMOS, will be anchored at Columbia University and City College in Upper Manhattan. It will be led by a consortium of six local universities and more than two dozen industry partners.

The test bed will cover one square mile in a densely-populated neighborhood in West Harlem and focus on 5G-related breakthroughs in high-bandwidth/low-latency data transmission, software-defined radios, millimeter wave spectrum, next-generation mobile network architecture, and edge cloud computing integration.


According to a press release, the kind of technology that will be incubated at the COSMOS test bed could lead to “technologies in 3D sensing and real-time tactile control. For example, allowing a trauma surgeon to operate remotely on a patient who is being transported in an ambulance to the hospital.”

“COSMOS is an outdoor laboratory that will allow us to test entirely new classes of wireless applications such as smart intersections that can process massive data in real-time,” said principal investigator Dipankar Raychaudhuri in the press release. 

The City of New York will work alongside COSMOS researchers to represent public interests and help guide the development of technologies geared toward addressing the needs of local communities. 

The NSF will invest $100 million into the PAWR initiative over the next seven years, and has also already distributed funding to Salt Lake City for its own version of COSMOS.

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