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Signal Processing Relocates to JHU's Montgomery County Campus

Photo of Doctor Chiman KwanSignal Processing is the latest company to locate on Johns Hopkins University’s Montgomery County Campus.

Signal Processing, led by Dr. Chiman Kwan, focuses on fault diagnostics and prognostics; speech processing; image and video processing; chemical and biological agent detection; and biometrics.

The company was previously located at the William E. Hanna Jr. Innovation Center, one of Montgomery County’s incubators. With the incubator changing its focus to cybersecurity, Signal Processing has moved to JHU – making it the third company to move from the innovation center to Hopkins this year. AnalytiCon Discovery and Opticul Diagnostics are the others.

Kwan grew up in Hong Kong and came to the United States in 1988 to start his doctoral studies in electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. He moved to Rockville in 1995, worked at Intelligent Automation and then started Signal Processing in 2006. The company began in his basement.

Now, Signal Processing has five full-time employees and several part-time employees. The company’s contracts mostly come from the federal government, including the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The company is currently working on two key projects:

  • For the U.S. Navy, the Signal Processing team is developing software to aid the Navy’s unmanned aerial vehicles on their missions. Software will help the Navy with developing routes and contingency plans in case of engine or other system failures.
  • For NASA, Signal Processing is developing software to guide the Mars Rover.

Signal Processing recently completed a project to help the Navy on speech enhancement and noise reduction software to better help the military communicate in battlefields. If a sailor needs help, Kwan said, he or she could use a radio to request air support. But the ambient noise of a battlefield could impede accurate communication. His software, Kwan said, improves that communication.

Approximately 35 companies are part of the Montgomery County Campus. Scientists and researchers here study cervical cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cell therapy, proteins and other health topics. Other companies focus on technology, children’s mental health, medical devices and consulting services.

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