Resensys, Founded by ECE Alum Mehdi Kalantari (ECE Ph.D. '05), Monitors Bridges Worldwide

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Pictured: Mehdi Kalantari, founder, president and CTO of Resensys, at the Hernando de Soto Bridge.

Originally Published by Maryland Technology Enterpise Institute

Resensys LLC has grown rapidly since graduating from the Mtech Ventures incubator in October 2022 for a new, 4,000-square-foot space in Beltsville, Md.

The company, which develops and sells wireless, cloud-based sensors that constantly gauge the structural integrity of bridges and other entities, has increased its sales by 70 percent. Its sensors, called SenSpot™, now monitor 1,000 bridges spanning every state in the U.S., as well as in 30 countries worldwide.

Resensys’ products live on bridges, often in arrays, where they continuously collect and transmit data about a structure’s health. The company’s sensors reduce the need for manual inspection, saving costs, while also providing real-time status reports and critical notifications.

“Our sensors measure stress, strain, acceleration, vibration, temperature, humidity, and all of the other parameters that are needed to monitor a structure in an energy-efficient manner,” said Mehdi Kalantari, founder, president and CTO of Resensys. “No other technology monitors a structure with the precision, scale, agility, and cost-effectiveness as ours.”

Landmark bridges in the U.S. are watched by the company’s products, including the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, Hernando de Soto Bridge, Gold Star Memorial Bridge, Delaware Memorial Bridge, Arlington Memorial Bridge, and the historic Smithfield Street Bridge.

Many more of Resensys’ sensors are installed in states where over-height vehicles hitting overpasses and bridges can be a problem.

“Vehicles strike bridge beams, sometimes causing a crack or deformation, leaving substantial damage that isn’t seen until the bridge is inspected,” said Kalantari. “Now, if it is monitored by our sensors and is hit, you will know immediately.”

Last year, Resensys released three new wireless sensors to meet the challenge of monitoring bridge foundations through increased floods and hurricanes. The new products detect erosion, depth underwater, and water velocity.

“When a hurricane hits, you have bridges where the foundation is under water,” Kalantari explained. “You don’t know what’s happening there. Is the foundation good? A harmful problem known as bridge scour happens when strong currents in rivers and creeks wash away the soil and supports around bridge foundations, which might sit 50 feet or more underwater. They are not visible. You need to know immediately which ones are good or not safe to use.”

Resensys’ new sensors are installed on bridge piers close to the water’s surface, where, for instance, the depth product uses ultrasonic waves to measure how deep the foundation is.

Ten bridges in Florida and five bridges in Illinois are equipped with the new sensors.

Resensys’ products also monitor high-voltage electrical towers, industrial equipment, and commercial buildings such as warehouses. The company’s sensors are installed at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Kalantari founded the company in 2008 after the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse in 2007, which killed 13 people and injured 145. He realized that we needed a better way to monitor the health of bridges.

In 2010, Resensys moved into the Mtech Ventures incubator. Kalantari grew his company from there.

At first, he said UMD’s Chief Innovation Officer and Associate Vice President for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Dean Chang, then director of Mtech Ventures, provided essential guidance.

“Dean knew every detail of a tech startup and business development,” Kalantari explained. “He had the knowledge, and he was available. He was the kind of mentor you wanted to have.”

Resensys received a $75,000 Maryland Technology Transfer Fund award from TEDCO in 2008. In 2009, the company won both a $165,000 Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) project award and $25,000 through the SAIC VentureAccelerator Competition. The company also received three Small Business Innovation Research grants from the National Science Foundation, for a total of $1,150,000.

Since then, Resensys has been bootstrapped, growing as its sales and revenue increased.

Mtech has played a critical role.

“The Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute has been an unlimited source of mentorship for our business development, technology evaluation, and the securing of initial customers,” said Kalantari. “Mtech Ventures has been a true model of a world-class technology incubator, nurturing an idea from infancy and supporting it to become an established technology and a global player. Without a doubt, we would not be able to come this far if we did not have the support from Mtech personnel and the University of Maryland community at every step of our long journey.”

Kalantari earned his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from UMD in 2005. He has worked in the department since then as an assistant research scientist.

Resensys has 10 employees.

Published March 12, 2024