03/10/2017 11:23 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

A Young Vietnamese Professor Receives 10 US Patents

Just 34 years old, Vu Ngoc Tam, a Vietnamese professor, has received ten patents and won many technological and medical awards in the US.
Seven years after he graduated from anoi University of Science and Technology in 2006, Vu Ngoc Tam went to study in the US and received a Ph.D in computer science from Rutgers University. In 2013, he received the title of professor and became the director of the Mobile and Network Systems Laboratory at Colorado Denver University where he concentrated his research in the medical field.

Tam did his first project called “Detecting Driver Phone Use Leveraging Car Speakers” at a time when the US government called for initiatives to minimize traffic accidents caused by cell phone use while driving. The project won an award at the Annual Int' Conf' on Mobile Computing and Networking. This addressed the fundamental problem of distinguishing between a driver and passenger using a mobile phone, which is the critical input to enable numerous safety and interface enhancements.

 Prof. Tam in July 2017 when he returned Vietnam to look for outstanding Vietnamese students
to work in the US. Photo: Cong Dat/VNP
Prof. Tam talks about opportunities for cooperation and study with Vietnamese students in the US.

 Prof. Tam shares his dreams and experiences with Vietnamese students. Photo: Cong Dat/VNP.

Prof. Tam introduces Vietnamese students to his 5 Ph.D scholarships and two post-Ph.D scholarships.

 Prof. Tam talks with Vietnamese students. Photo: Cong Dat/VNP

In 2004, he continually surprised the Americans when he won the “Google Faculty Research Award” by Google with his project called “One Ring to Rule Them All” which aims at providing an ubiquitous solution for user identification and authentication through a novel technique called Capacitive Touchscreen Communication. He received financial support of 55,000 US dollars from the technology firm for the work on a security ring which helps millions of people protect their important private information.
Prof. Vu Ngoc Tam is also the leader (main researcher) of three projects funded by the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF); two projects funded by the Colorado State Fund and two projects funded by the Colorado University Foundation with a total capital of 1.7 million US dollars.

Tam said the desire to create things that are very useful for human beings was the reason he concentrated his research in the medical field. He wanted to contribute to a smart healthcare system that can improve people’s health, especially that of children. Working at the University of Colorado Denver Hospital which ranks fourth in the US in healthcare, Tam and his colleagues have developed a system of smart devices causing less inconvenience to users while being much less costly than other devices available in the market.

Tam hopes that more students from Vietnam will come to study and train in the US so he can help them become senior researchers and academics in the shortest possible time.

Tam said that most of his research in the field has been done with Vietnamese postgraduates. He has visited many universities in Vietnam, including the National University of Science and Technology and the HCM City University of Science to find students with good academic results and a passion for research. He helps such students by finding scholarships in the US.
“In most of my projects, I often select Vietnamese students who have curiosity and a strong determination which partly decides the success of the projects,” said Tam.  He always gives out interesting themes for the students to find resolutions and persuade sponsors to fund the projects.

Prof. Tam wins the SenSys 16 Best Paper Prize.

 Prof. Tam is now the director of the Mobile and Network Systems Laboratory at Colorado University Denver. 

Prof. Tam at his lap at Colorado University Denver.

Prof. Tam and excellent postgraduate Nguyen Tran Lan Anh.

Prof. Tam instructs his postgraduate in the US.
Prof. Tam (3rd from left) and Vietnamese postgraduates.

To date, he has taken seven students with hi-tech research potential to the US, including four who work directly with him. The other students work with other US professors.

So far, he and the Vietnamese students have implemented many successful projects.

LIBS, the brain wave measuring device, his latest product in cooperation with Nguyen Tran Lan Anh, a postgraduate, has won a prize at ACM SENSYS, the prestigious sensor conference held in November 2016 at Stanford University.

In October 2016, WiSpiro, the autonomous system that monitors a person’s breathing volume, created by Tam and postgraduate Nguyen Van Phuc won a prize at the Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (ACM MobiCom – S3) in October 2016.
Tam also worked to build an integrated programme between the Hanoi University of Science and Technology and the University of Colorado Denver. Under the “ 3+2” programme, after three years of learning English in Vietnam, students can choose to continue for two years in the US and get a certificate from Colorado University.

Tam has a plan to build a staff in technology and software to start up his own business in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in the field of healthcare.


Prof. Tam has 10 US patents and more than 40 articles published in prestigious journals and attended many international conferences on mobile computing, such as ACM MobiCom, ACM Mobi Sys, ACM DENSYS, ACM CCS, IEEE Infocom, CM UbiComp, Mobile Computing (TMC). He has been seen on CNN TV, and interviewed by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. 

Story: Ngan Ha - Photos: Cong Dat