Wireless, RF & Smart Dust

Research that includes:

  • Tuneable RF components: capacitors, inductors, transformers
  • RF microrelays
  • High frequency MEMS resonators: devices, structures, and processes

BPN546: Fully-Integrated Cell Phone Reference Oscillator

Thura Lin Naing

This project aims to achieve a fully integrated MEMS reference oscillator for cell phones, particularly the GSM standard. Integrating reference oscillators on chips reduces production cost significantly while, at the same time, MEMS resonators are able to maintain the same performance as in the current off-chip quartz-based oscillator. Low-temperature metal process for MEMS structures will be developed in order to integrate MEMS with MOS devices. In addition, phase noise performance of -117dBc/Hz at 1-kHz offset from a 60-MHz carrier and -137dBc/Hz at far-from-carrier offsets will be...

BPN561: Sensors and Capability Modeling for Palm-Sized Flying Robots

Anita Flynn

Recent breakthroughs in understanding insect flight have led to increased interest in small robotic flying aircraft which can hover and navigate through cluttered environments. MEMS inertial sensors have been an enabler in this regard. What types of additional sensors are required for autonomous flight and of what sorts of behaviors could palm-sized fliers be capable? We are performing a Multidisciplinary Design Optimization, combining constraints of propulsive technologies, powertrain efficiencies, novel sensors and communication drop-off payload to understand this space. The...

BPN479: Protocol-Agnostic Compression in Mobile Ad-hoc Networks (PACMAN)

Travis Massey

Compression of packets in wireless sensor networks and mobile ad-hoc networks is of great interest because of the substantial opportunities for power and bandwidth savings. The method of compression discussed here is protocol agnostic, meaning that it operates with any combination of MAC, NET, TRAN, and APP layer protocols in an IEEE 802.15.4 network, while all previously devised compression schemes for wireless sensor data have a more substantial protocol dependence and thus require revisions as protocols are updated, or even complete replacement. Secondly, this method is adaptive,...

BPN558: 16-Channel IEEE802.15.4 Packet Sniffer

Boyang Zhang
Thomas Watteyne

The goal of this project is to build a multi-channel sniffer capable of listening on all available channels at the same time, and which can interpret the packets it receives. In its current state, 16 Atmel IEEE802.15.4 radios are driven by software capable of parsing packets into a user defined format. A front end graphical user interface displays the content of the received packets. Frequency-agile protocols for low power wireless sensor networks, such as IEEE802.15.4E or WirelessHART, use channel hopping to increase the robustness of the wireless link. In these networks, packets...

BPN559: Interfacing Smart Phones with Low Power Wireless Devices

Nahir Sarmicanic
Thomas Watteyne

Interfacing smart phones with low power wireless radios enables the phone to interact with low power wireless devices such as individual motes of a wireless sensor network. Smart phones are ubiquitous and offer advanced user interface capabilities such as tilt sensor, accelerometer and touch screen. Combining both technologies opens up a whole new class of possibilities for a user to interact with low power wireless devices. The goal of this project is to develop applications for sending and receiving real time data to from wireless motes. This type of applications is not only useful...

BPN524: Wireless Sensor Network Scalability and Deployment in Industrial Automation

Samuel B. Zats

Analyses and simulations of a comprehensive wireless sensor network for industrial automation applications. Utilizing WirelessHART architecture, the proposed network will consist of 1 million motes within an area of 10 km2. Each mote is presumed to be single sensing and sampling vibration, pressure, temperature, or light. The project seeks to evaluate the scaling limits and challenges for deployment of a reliable (characterized by at least 99.9% reliability), frequently sensing (measuring levels every 10 secs), low power (7+ year lifetime power), secure wireless network (encrypted...

BPN437: A Low-Power Receiver Employing RF Channel-Selection

Jesse Richmond

The performance of traditional wireless receivers is limited in a large part by the lack of a narrow bandwidth, low loss, and reconfigurable filter at the RF bandwidth, which leads to designers needing to use circuit techniques to ensure adequate linearity and allow channel selection. This project aims to make use of recent developments in high quality micromechanical resonators to enable new circuit designs featuring ultra-low power consumption and an extremely small size. The receiver will be based around an array of filters to perform sub-carrier separation and allow a multi-tone...

BPN521: Passive Wireless Transducers for a Distributed High Density Neural Interface

Peter Ledochowitsch

In this project we are striving to develop biocompatible passive micro-scale transducers which are able to measure transient extracellular ion concentrations and transmit them at microwave frequencies. We are interested in fabricating implantable MEMS devices which shift their resonant frequency whenever a nearby neuron fires. When implanted up to 2 mm deep into the brain cortex, we expect these devices to enable next-generation distributed neural interfaces featuring not only superior spatial and temporal resolution of extracellular action potentials but also robust long-term...

BPN592: Workshop: Hands-On Intro to Low-Power Wireless Sensor Networking

Dr. Anita Flynn
Dr. Thomas Watteyne
Leo Keselman

This IAB we have prepared a half-day tech-transfer workshop for industrial members teaching background, fundamentals, advantages and limitations associated with standards-based low-power sensor networks. Open standards are important because they allow technologies to gain traction and industries to blossom. Open-source reference implementations take things one step further. Because standard protocols invariably allow optional configurations, a reference implementation gives people a concrete example of how to get started. The proposed IEEE802.15.4e standard prescribes time...

BPN541: High-Voltage MEMS Resonators

Brian Pepin

The use of high voltages (>100 volts) in MEMS-based resonators presents a pathway towards achieving low motional resistances while maintaining excellent linearity, as would be required, for example, in a MEMS-based power amplifier. This research demonstrates the feasibility of creating MEMS resonators which can withstand such voltages without succumbing to electrical pull-in, focusing on careful device design informed by FEM simulation.

Project end date: 02/01/11