Neal Tanner, PhD, is director of automation at Omni Water Solutions, a technology-driven company that specializes in developing and deploying mobile water treatment systems for turning contaminated water into usable water. The explosion of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has made available vast additional reserves of oil and gas at the cost of tremendous quantities of water being consumed, contaminated, and disposed of. As part of Austin-based startup Omni Water Solutions, Neal is helping to design and control autonomous systems for cleaning and re-using this precious resource.
Previously, Neal joined Bay Area startup Hansen Medical where as an engineering fellow he focused on the design, modeling, and control of flexible robotic manipulators. Based upon this work, Neal helped commercialize multiple telerobotic catheter systems for cardiovascular applications. Neal dedicated five years to building miniature robots to explore the plumbing of the human body, before he changed fields to pursue much larger plumbing challenges; namely those of a mobile water treatment platform for recycling oilfield water.
As a Hertz Fellow, Neal received his PhD in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. His doctoral research focused on improving human perception in time-delayed telerobotics. More broadly, his research interests also included human in the loop systems, non-linear control, haptics, and medical devices. As an undergrad, he received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from The University of Texas in 2001.