Breakthrough backscatter sensor system combines low power and long range -

Breakthrough backscatter sensor system combines low power and long range

Credit: geekwire.com

  • About: 8 days ago
  • 4 views

Researchers at the University of Washington have been working for years on a radio backscatter system that can monitor ultra-low-power sensors wirelessly, and now they’ve fine-tuned the system to pick up signals from more than a mile away.

They say the technology could lead to “smart” contact lenses and skin patches that can track your vital signs and send in the data for instant medical analysis.

And that’s not all: Long-range backscatter sensors might well open up whole new frontiers for the Internet of Things.

“People have been talking about embedding connectivity into everyday objects such as laundry detergent, paper towels and coffee cups for years, but the problem is the cost and power consumption to achieve this,” Vamsi Talla, chief technology officer of Jeeva Wireless, said today in a UW news release. “This is the first wireless system that can inject connectivity into any device with very minimal cost.”

Jeeva Wireless, which was founded by Talla and other UW researchers, is aiming to commercialize the technology within the next few months.

The sensors themselves cost 10 to 20 cents and require only a tiny squirt of electrical power, which can be provided by flexible printed batteries or even ambient radio signals. They encode data by reflecting transmissions that are sent out by a signal emitter and taken in by a receiver.

The challenge has been to figure out how to read the signal reliably over significant distances.

The reflected modulations are so subtle that it’s tricky to detect them amid the background noise of other radio signals. The job gets trickier at greater distances. For example, the range for the smart contact lenses previously developed by the UW team was a mere 3 feet.

To meet the challenge, the UW team used a novel type of modulation known as chirp spread spectrum. The reflected signals were spread across multiple frequencies, which made for much greater sensitivity over longer distances. They also added technological twists to cancel out interference and make it easier for multiple devices to share the spectrum.

The long-range (“LoRa”) backscatter system can decode a sensor’s signals reliably at distances up to three-tenths of a mile (475 meters) when the sensor is placed anywhere between the signal source and the receiver. And when the sensor is placed right next to the source, the receiver can pick up the data from as far away as 1.7 miles (2.8 kilometers).

The researchers said they successfully tested contact lenses and skin patches in a one-acre farm field, a 3,800-square-foot house and a 13,000-square-foot office space.

Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor at UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering, said sensor manufacturers have had to face tradeoffs between low-power devices and long-distance communication capabilities.

“Now we’ve shown that we can offer both, which will be pretty game-changing for a lot of different industries and applications,” Gollakota said.

The researchers are presenting their paper about the technology this week at the UbiComp 2017 conference in Hawaii. In addition to Talla and Gollakota, the authors of the paper include Mehrdad Hessar, Bryce Kellogg, Ali Najafi and Joshua Smith.

Follow Us on Twitter

Related stories with Breakthrough backscatter sensor system combines low power and long range

Delta Sky Club at Sea-Tac Airport takes off with new addition of Microsoft devices and technology -World News
Delta Sky Club at Sea-Tac Airport takes off with new addition of Microsoft devices and technology 8 days ago
Travelers with access to the Delta Sky Club at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s Concourse S will now also have access to information and entertainment via Microsoft devices and technology. “Delta Sky Club, Built on Microsoft Technologie
Baseball and softball target Paris 2024 and LA 2028 -World News
Baseball and softball target Paris 2024 and LA 2028 8 days ago
LIMA: Baseball and softball's chances of continuing as Olympic sports increased considerably on Wednesday after the city of Los Angeles was awarded the 2028 Olympic Games. The two sports, which were thrown out of the Olympics after 2008, will make a one-
What you should know about privacy and Apple’s FaceID on iOS 11 -World News
What you should know about privacy and Apple’s FaceID on iOS 11 8 days ago
Your rights may differ if phone is locked via biometrics compared to a passcode.
Thousands of Elasticsearch Servers Hijacked to Host PoS Malware -World News
Thousands of Elasticsearch Servers Hijacked to Host PoS Malware 8 days ago
Over 4,000 insecure Elasticsearch servers have been hosting the point-of-sale malware Alina and JackPoS.
How Apple's iPhone Is Leading Our Grand March Into Mass Mediocrity -World News
How Apple's iPhone Is Leading Our Grand March Into Mass Mediocrity 8 days ago
Thanks to 10 years of Apple's iPhone, you no longer need to buy flashlight batteries, a camera or GPS ... but your reception still stinks! Cartoon by Ted Rall.
Hammond says rejects 'protectionist' EU agendas after Brexit -World News
Hammond says rejects 'protectionist' EU agendas after Brexit 8 days ago
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will reject "protectionist" agendas from the European Union in favour of "forward-leaning" proposals when it comes to supervising cross-border financial markets after Brexit, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said on
Two BSF jawans among five injured in Pakistan shelling along LoC, International Border -World News
Two BSF jawans among five injured in Pakistan shelling along LoC, International Border 8 days ago
They fired mortar shells along the IB, forcing the BSF to retaliate, resulting in exchange of fire, a police officer said.
Assam teacher accuses colleagues of rape and conversion threats -World News
Assam teacher accuses colleagues of rape and conversion threats 8 days ago
The teacher has accused her co-workers of threatening her with rape and murder and pressurizing her to eat beef and convert to Islam.
1 Dead, 3 Injured Washington State High School Shooting -World News
1 Dead, 3 Injured Washington State High School Shooting 8 days ago
ROCKFORD, Wash. (AP) — A shooter opened fire at a high school in Washington state Wednesday, killing one person and injuring at least three others, authorities said. Brian Schaeffer of the Spokane Fire Department told reporters that one person died at F
How Jaguar and Land Rover manage to maintain separate identities -World News
How Jaguar and Land Rover manage to maintain separate identities 8 days ago
Jaguar Land Rover just showed off a new Special Vehicle Operations product called the Land Rover Discovery SVX. They also recently released the Range Rover Velar, which is quite like the Jaguar ...
Liam Gallagher and LCD Soundsystem to perform on ‘Jools Holland’ new series premiere -World News
Liam Gallagher and LCD Soundsystem to perform on ‘Jools Holland’ new series premiere 8 days ago
First 'Later... with Jools Holland' episode line-up announced, and it includes performances from Liam Gallagher and LCD Soundsystem
IIT Bombay placements 2017: Google, Microsoft to Qualcomm in fray with big offers; see sum of average salary candidates will earn -World News
IIT Bombay placements 2017: Google, Microsoft to Qualcomm in fray with big offers; see sum of average salary candidates will earn 8 days ago
IIT Bombay placements 2017: In the latest placement season conducted at the IIT-Bombay, a large number of students were recruited by companies from across profiles that included R&D, consulting, engineering among others. The post IIT Bombay placemen