On a quiet residential street in the city of Saline, Michigan, in what was once the local high school, some amazing work is being done. Walk down hallways lined with bright blue lockers, and peer into renovated classrooms, and you’ll see teams of engineers, programmers and artists solving problems for clients ranging from the U.S. Army and Secret Service to Sony and Panasonic.
Welcome to the headquarters of Quantum Signal, a high-tech company that uses proprietary state-of-the-art algorithms and software to control robots, train staff in protective motorcades, plan and protect military bases, provide better biometric security, and drive the next generation of video games.
The company’s roots date to the late 1990s when Biomedical Engineering postdoctoral fellow Mitch Rohde and graduate student Eugene Zalubas teamed up with Electrical Engineering Professor Bill Williams to develop cutting-edge signal processing algorithms and bring them to clients in automotive, defense and more.
Among its many current projects, Quantum Signal is working with the U.S. Secret Service to investigate, analyze and stop travel document fraud by creating new scanning technologies for forensic examiners. As CEO Mitch Rohde explains, “Many printers employed to create photo-IDs use special thermal ribbon media, and residual images remain afterward. We’re building devices to recover the data from those used ribbons.” A prototype has been in use at the Secret Service since December 2012, and a second version was delivered in August 2013.
While the company was launched in 1999, it began taking off in 2002 with the help of a $2 million Advanced Technology Program (ATP) grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The team soon grew to eight employees, and, by 2006, the company’s portfolio of projects had expanded into a number of diverse application areas. Today Quantum Signal has expanded to 40 employees and has established an excellent reputation for developing and delivering new products and technologies for clients worldwide.
In July 2010, Quantum Signal purchased the historic Union School building in Saline to serve as headquarters for
its fast-growing operation. “This was one of the best investments we’ve ever made,” says CEO Mitch Rohde. “And I like the fact that we’re a part of the Saline community and its growth and success!”
[source: U-M Innovation Partnerships 2013 Impact Report]