Author: Becky Gillette Source: (
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Hyperion Technology Group Inc., an engineering services company in Tupelo that provides technology development support to government and industry, is helping the Discovery Channel's "Storm Chasers" better understand and track tornadoes. One of the company's projects includes building two sets of instruments to better understand the destructive force of tornadoes.
"We met Reed Timmer and his crew with "Storm Chasers" two years ago when they tracked the tornado that devastated the Enterprise community in Union County," said Geoffrey E. Carter, P.E., president of Hyperion Technology Group. "We were so impressed that when they saw the devastation, they immediately stopped filming for the show and started helping the victims get out of their homes and businesses, and offering first aid. I thought that effort was worth an email to compliment Reed and the guys from Discovery. Reed immediately responded, and we have been working together ever since."
The first instrument Hyperion Technology Group is building is a vertical profiling radar system that will be mounted to the roof of the "Storm Chasers" vehicle, and will be driven into the path of a tornado. The goal is to measure the vertical wind component and to use the data collected to create better models of the physics behind how a tornado actually destroys things like homes and other buildings. Carter said some theorize that the vertical wind component is much more destructive than the horizontal wind component. Their goal is to try to validate that theory.
The second instrument is a tornado probe that will be launched from the vehicle directly into the tornado. These probes will precisely track the wind profile within a tornado, and will also be used to collect meteorological data.
"The probes will have the ability to measure temperature, humidity, dew point and barometric pressure and will have an extremely precise GPS receiver for measuring position and altitude," Carter said. "All the data will be recorded in the probe as well as sent to the ground via a telemetry link to capture real-time data."
This data, along with additional data that will be collected for a collaborative effort with Hyperion Technology Group, NOAA, The University of Mississippi National Center for Physical Acoustics and Weather Fusion, Reed Timmer's company that actually chases tornadoes, will be used to develop a system that might be capable of providing critical information predicting when and where a tornado will form, and the approximate path that it will travel.
"We believe that the general public has become complacent and often ignores the civil defense sirens and tornado warnings that are often issued by choosing to err on the side of caution," Carter said. "Warnings are often given when radar detects a possible tornado, and not when one has actually formed or is forming, thereby creating a false alarm. The new technology that we are developing will combine radar data along with other phenomena to more accurately predict the actual development of a tornado, and thus reduce the number of false alarms."
Hyperion Technology Group is located in the Renasant Center for IDEAs, a small business incubator owned by Lee County and operated by the Community Development Foundation (CDF) of Tupelo\Lee County.
"I don't think that we would be as successful as we are without Wayne Averett and the Renasant Center for IDEAs," Carter said. "The price is extremely reasonable for such high-quality space, and the center is flexible enough to allow us to grow as our needs grow. The Renasant Center for IDEAs was the only reasonably priced location that had professional office space and manufacturing space in the same building. Wayne has also introduced us to several new clients and helped us make connections that I feel might not have ever happened if we were not a tenant here. By locating in the Renasant Center for IDEAs, our exposure was maximized while keeping our startup costs to a minimum."
Averett, CDF vice president for entrepreneurship and small business development, said companies like Hyperion Technology Group need support with business financing, particularly equipment and labor, during the early stages of their contracting periods.
"It takes careful planning to construct a business model that can operate effectively with these constraints, and they deserve the help of their communities to succeed in Mississippi," Averett said. "When Hyperion Technology Group located in the Renasant Center for IDEAs, they told us that they needed help with equipment financing, contacts with local political and business officials and highly flexible space. We have also been able to partner with other organizations such as the Mississippi Technology Alliance to help this exciting new company learn how to get off to a good start that will grow at a sustainable pace."
Averett said the company has a very broad niche providing high-level, yet affordable, electrical and mechanical engineering solutions to private business, military and governmental agency clients.
"Their team members possess expertise in different areas but they are good at working collectively to harness their talents to solve big problems with service that is fast and affordable," Averett said.
Hyperion Technology Group Inc. offers novel, high-tech solutions to computer, electrical and mechanical engineering opportunities that include prototype and product development and industrial automation solutions with a customer base that is approximately fifty percent original equipment manufacturers of commercial and industrial equipment, and fifty percent university/research institution and Department of Defense.