IT Prof tracks neighborhood inequality using satellite technology.

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Article Summary


– Dr. Will Lewis, an IT professor at Illinois State University, is using satellite technology to track neighborhood inequality.
– His research project aims to quantify the economic impact of public good investments on neighborhood wealth gaps by analyzing high-resolution satellite images.

Article Summary

Dr. Will Lewis, an assistant professor of information systems at Illinois State University, is conducting research using satellite technology to track neighborhood inequality. His team was awarded $5,000 in funding for their project, which focuses on evaluating residential inequality by analyzing satellite images. The project aims to quantify the economic impact of public good investments on wealth distribution in neighborhoods, particularly focusing on infrastructure maintenance disparities.

Lewis and his team plan to develop a prototype system that combines artificial intelligence and satellite imagery to identify repair inequalities in neighborhoods, such as potholes and cracks in roads. The system will track these indicators over time to determine if there are disparities in response times from local government authorities. The condition of local infrastructure can impact a community’s wealth and health, as businesses are attracted to areas with sound infrastructure.

In addition to his research on neighborhood inequality, Lewis is also involved in researching CubeSat technology. CubeSats are small spacecraft used for education and space exploration. Lewis is leading a team of researchers in seeking funding for a CubeSats ground station at Illinois State University, which would enable the university to communicate with and download data from research CubeSats launched by other institutions.

Furthermore, Lewis aims to establish a cube satellites program at Illinois State, potentially within the new College of Engineering. With the support of his graduate assistant, Daniel Freburg, Lewis is taking steps towards creating a laboratory where researchers can build and assemble CubeSats. The program would provide mission communications for CubeSats launched by the university, marking a significant step towards getting ISU CubeSats into orbit.

Outside of his research, Lewis advises student organizations at Illinois State that share his passion for space, such as Redbirds in Space and the rocket team. These groups allow students to engage with CubeSats and participate in rocket landing competitions, showcasing their skills and passion for space exploration.

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