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CEDAR CITY — For as long as he can remember, Daniel Weber has been interested in radio waves.
So, for those who know him, it's no surprise he invented something that one day could be a big deal.
"My original design ... came down to just a few components," Weber said from his Cedar City home. "You can buy it all for about a dollar at Radio Shack."
He calls his invention the Selective Sampling Receiver.
Basically it tunes in wanted radio signals and tunes out unwanted signals. Current receivers just tune out unwanted signals.
To try and explain its potential better, Weber compares current radio signals and receivers to trying to see with cataracts.
"With the Selective Sampling Receiver, it has the promise of taking those cataracts off, and being able to actually see much more of what's out there than what can be done today," Weber said.
As far as real world use, Weber believes his invention could be used for a variety of things. One could be to help airplane pilots navigate better in bad weather.
"Right now, you really can't do forward imaging of radar signals," said Weber, who currently works on long range radar sites and microwave links for the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Weather Service. "They do have radar mapping-type things, but they have to look out to the side. Looking forward is something that is not really done because it's costly and expensive."
The Selective Sampling Receiver is able to better hone in on a specific radio signal without the interference other receivers have to try and filter through. This enabling piece of technology, which can be used with radios, televisions, and even satellites, is able to take a timed sample of a repetitive radio wave and pinpoint a signal. -Dan Weber
Weber also admits it's tough to know for sure what his invention might be used for one day.
"Any receiver is an enabling technology," said Weber, who used to work on the Patriot Missile System for the Department of Defense. "Tesla never saw satellite or television when he made the frequency domain receiver. Lamarr never saw cell phones or GPS (devices) when she made hers." Weber is referring to famous inventors Nikola Tesla and Hedy Lamarr, who are both credited with inventing radio technology in use today.
However, Weber's Selective Sampling Receiver is so unique; he says the FBI started asking questions about him.
"My daughter was at work, and the FBI came in, put down their badge, and said, 'We'd like to talk to you about your dad,'" said Weber. "We later asked them for records associated with me, but we were told that they were lost in some database."
He's not surprised the FBI looked at him, but says he's just trying to make the world a better place with his invention.
He's already received one patent for his technology, and a second patent is still pending.
His first patent is a "first issuance" patent, which is extremely rare and means no other device is like it.
"There are many applications that can be used, from imaging in the RF spectrum to multiplying the usefulness of wireless spectrums that are already out there," he said.
Now, Weber would like to get corporate partners to start bringing his invention to public use.
"This is a whole new realm of receiver technology," he said. "The possible applications are endless because it can be used in any spectrum."