3D Localization for Sub-Centimeter Sized Devices (SenSys'18)

The vision of tracking small IoT devices runs into the reality of localization technologies — today it is difficult to continuously track objects through walls in homes and warehouses on a coin cell battery. While Wi-Fi and ultra-wideband radios can provide tracking through walls, they do not last more than a month on small coin and button cell batteries since they consume tens of milliwatts of power.

This paper presents the first localization system that consumes microwatts of power at a mobile device and can be localized across multiple rooms in settings like homes and hospitals. To this end, this paper introduces a multi-band backscatter prototype that operates across 900 MHz, 2.4 and 5 GHz and can extract the backscatter phase information from signals that are below the noise floor. Sub-centimeter sized prototypes are built, which consume 93 µW and could last five to ten years on button cell batteries. They achieved ranges of up to 60 m away from the AP and accuracies of 2, 12, 50 and 145 cm at 1, 5, 30 and 60 m respectively. The potential of the proposed design is demonstrated by deployment in two real-world scenarios: five homes in a metropolitan area and the surgery wing of a hospital in patient pre-op and post-op rooms as well as storage facilities.

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