Séminaire ICE “Wireless control and localization of terascale IoT devices using RF and ultrasound”

Thursday 7 July, 2022, 14.00. Hybrid event (online and in lecture hall: Amphi 3 at Telecom Paris)


In the more than a century since the first experimental confirmation of radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic waves, RF signals have been used with increasing effectiveness to improve wireless connectivity. Today, the total number of wirelessly connected devices is greater than the total human population, which indicates that people-to-people connectivity is no longer the chief driver of advances in wireless systems. Instead, there is now an assortment of niche applications that, when combined, are going to be increasingly important if the upward trend in the number of wireless systems is to continue into the trillions of devices. To enable this trend to continue, the design of wireless devices will need to be fundamentally rethought; there will need to be a new class of devices that are centimeter-sized or smaller, wirelessly controlled, and either rechargeable or battery-free.

This talk will first introduce our prior work in the terascale IoT devices and then present the new concept of using air-coupled ultrasound, combined with RF waves, for the control of small wireless devices. The primary advantages of ultrasound over RF derive from its low wave speed in air (allowing operation at low frequencies and small wavelengths simultaneously), while secondary advantages stem from how the emission of ultrasound is regulated (a single intensity limit without transmitter power or gain restrictions). I will present our work on the combined use of RF and ultrasound in a parametric approach for the localization of small, battery-free tags; measurements with a proof-of-concept system show sub- decimeter accuracy out to several meters away from a reader, with future work predicted to achieve sub-cm accuracy for cm-sized tags.


Amin Arbabian received the Ph.D. degree in EECS from UC Berkeley in 2011. From 2007 to 2008, he was a part of the Initial Engineering Team at Tagarray, Inc., Palo Alto, CA, USA (now acquired by Maxim Integrated Inc.). In 2010, he joined Qualcomm’s Corporate R&D Division, San Diego, CA, USA, where he designed circuits for next-generation ultralow power wireless transceivers. In 2012, he joined Stanford University, where he is now an Associate Professor of EE and a faculty co-director of the Stanford SystemX Alliance. He is also the co-founder of Plato Systems, building a new Spatial Intelligence HW-enabled SaaS platform for Digital Transformation of industries across manufacturing and supply chain operations. His current technical interests include mm-wave and high-frequency circuits and systems, imaging & perception technologies, Internet-of-Everything devices including wireless power delivery techniques, and medical implants.

Dr. Arbabian was a recipient or co-recipient of the Stanford University Tau Beta Pi Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the NSF CAREER Award, the DARPA Young Faculty Award including the Director’s Fellowship in 2016, the Hellman Faculty Scholarship, the 2010–2011, 2014–2015, and 2016–2017 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowships, and best paper awards for the 2020 IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems, the 2017 IEEE Biomedical Circuits and Systems Conference, the 2016 IEEE Conference on Biomedical Wireless Technologies, Networks, and Sensing Systems, the 2014 IEEE VLSI Circuits Symposium, the 2013 IEEE International Conference on Ultra-Wideband, the 2010 IEEE Jack Kilby Award for Outstanding Student Paper at the International SolidState Circuits Conference, and two-time second place best student paper awards at 2008 and 2011 RFIC Symposiums.