University of Utah

Welcome to the Sensing and Processing Across Networks (SPAN) lab! The SPAN lab is part of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Utah.

The SPAN lab develops inventions for wireless networks which improve their security, reliability, self-awareness, and sensing capabilities. Research applies statistical signal processing, networking, and radio propagation techniques. The innovations have application in localization and tracking, secret key generation for wireless networks, network design and deployment, modeling and analysis. The lab, directed by Neal Patwari, is a combination of the efforts of several graduate and undergraduate researchers.

SPAN Announcements and News

Chris Anderson Presentation at the U

Chris R. Anderson

Prof. Chris R. Anderson will present a seminar titled "Integrated Terrain and Clutter Propagation Modeling for 1.7 GHz Spectrum-sharing" on Friday 26 January 2018, from 3:05 - 3:55 PM in WEB 1230.

Abstract: In 2015, the FCC conducted the Advanced Wireless Service 3 (AWS-3) auction, which sold 50MHz of spectrum from 1695-2180 MHz for commercial use. This spectrum was auctioned to meet the ever-increasing demand of spectrum from mobile LTE users. This spectrum, however, overlaps with dozens of military communication systems, including over 40 Navy air-to-ground systems. Although these systems are to be transitioned out of the band, many will not fully depart until 2025 and their operation would be degraded by the presence of in-band interference from LTE networks. To support commercial operators during the transition period, an Early Entry Portal Analysis Capability (EEPAC) was created to provide a mechanism for commercial operators to begin deploying their networks if propagation modeling and aggregate interference analysis could demonstrate that their network would not cause harmful interference to DoD systems. The initial analysis setup, however, proposed highly conservative model parameters in an effort to ensure protection of DoD systems. Despite ongoing measurement campaigns that support less conservative assumptions, many questions remain concerning the dominant propagation mechanisms, clutter effects, and aggregate interference modeling between DoD and commercial users.

This talk presents the results of a narrowband measurement and modeling campaign for the 1.7 GHz band. The objective was to fully characterize the large-scale propagation in these bands in an effort to update current predictive propagation models and techniques. Over 350,000 received signal strength measurements were recorded in eight different geographic regions of the U. S. Measurement results were compared against empirical and semi-empirical models, including Log-Distance, the Alpha/Beta/Gamma, Specific Attenuation, and the Irregular Terrain Model (Longley-Rice). Results indicated that the classical models provided a very poor fit to the measured dataset, with mean and RMS errors in the range of 15-30 dB. A simple Attenuation Factor model using publicly available Geographic Information Systems (GIS) datasets, however, was demonstrated to significantly outperform all of these models, suggesting that significant revision to AWS-3 propagation modeling should be undertaken.

SPAWC Plenary Talk Slides Posted

SPAWC Slides

Neal Patwari presented the plenary talk, "One decade of sensorless sensing: Wireless networks as human context sensors", at the IEEE Signal Processing and Wireless Communications (SPAWC) conference in Stockholm, Sweden. Slides from his talk are now posted.

Piss Off! The System

Piss Off! The System Video

Khanh Nguyen, a summer intern at the SPAN Lab, created and tested a system to water your lawn after your dog has done its business on it, to prevent future urine burn spots. You can now watch a video on her system, called "Piss Off! The System".

Utah Modified Dylos Sensor work wins Best in Session award

Utah Modified Dylos Sensor

Congratulations to Kyeong T. Min, whose poster was awarded "Best In Session" at the 2015 American Industrial Hygiene Association Conference & Expo, held here in Salt Lake City, Utah. Kyeong designed and built the "Utah Modified Dylos Sensor", an air quality sensing server and Android app which form a unified sensing, wireless interface, database, and user interface for use in human subjects air quality sensing research. The poster is titled "Development of a low-cost environmental sensor with remote real-time monitoring of indoor particulate, temperature and relative humidity", and its authors are Ben S Cryder, Darrah K Sleeth, Yue Zhang, Kyeong T Min, Chong Zhang, and Scott C Collingwood.

NSF Grant Awarded to Investigate the "Science of Temporal Fading"

NSF Logo NSF Logo The NSF has funded our research project "Advanced Radio Frequency (RF)-based Environmental Monitoring Systems" to be performed collaboratively at Georgia Tech and the University of Utah. Prof. Neal Patwari and the SPAN lab will conduct the research at the University of Utah, and Prof. Gregory D. Durgin and the Propagation Lab will conduct the research at Georgia Tech.

The award is an investigation in the science of temporal fading as it is useful for new radio frequency (RF) environmental monitoring (REM) systems. Temporal fading is the change in the radio channel between a transmitter and receiver, for example, a fluctuating "number of bars" or signal strength between a laptop and access point, even when neither are moving. Past research in temporal fading treats it only as a problem that degrades wireless communication. Emerging research has shown that temporal fading can be exploited to locate, automatically recognize the activity or gesture, and monitor the health of people in the vicinity of a wireless network. These localization, recognition, and monitoring systems are called RF-based environment monitoring (REM) systems. Improvements in REM technologies could aid in the design of police and search-and-rescue systems that locate breathing people in dangerous or collapsed buildings. As another example, REM technologies deployed in a home could detect falls and detect signs of cognitive or physical decline as part of an aging-in-place sensor system. REM technologies could allow people to diagnose disordered sleeping via wireless devices (e.g., cell phones) left on their bedside. Finally, REM systems could revolutionize indoor and outdoor security systems, helping to protect areas and buildings which are difficult to monitor with existing technologies. To date, no fundamental research in temporal fading mechanisms has been performed to support REM applications. Research in this project considers temporal fading and seeks to establish how it is affected by the movements of people in the environment so that it can be exploited for environmental monitoring.

Best Paper Award at IPSN 2014

IPSN 2014 logo

Congratulations to Ossi Kaltiokallio, Hüseyin Yigitler, Riku Jäntti, and Neal Patwari! Their paper, "Catch a Breath: Non-invasive Respiration Rate Monitoring via Wireless Communication", was awarded the Best Paper Award at the 13th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks (IPSN 2014), held April 15-17 in Berlin, Germany. Ossi Kaltiokallio, Hüseyin Yigitler, and Riku Jäntti are affiliated with Aalto University in Espoo, Finland. Ossi was a visiting researcher in the SPAN lab in 2012.

SPAN Research Featured at IEEE RFID 2014

DFL Demo at IEEE RFID 2014 Neal Patwari was the keynote speaker at the 2014 IEEE RFID Conference in Orlando, Florida, on April 10, 2014. He presented a talk, "Tracking Without Tags: Environmental Awareness Using RF Tomography", including a demonstration of the types of changes in signal strength experienced on a static link when a person walks through the link. The talk slides are now available.

Brad Mager presents at PIMRC 2013 on Fall Detection

PIMRC 2013 logo

Brad Mager presents his paper, "Fall Detection Using RF Sensor Networks", at the 24th Annual IEEE Symposium on Personal, Indoor, and Mobile Communications Conference (PIMRC '13) in London, on Tuesday September 3. His paper is the first presented paper in the "Event Sensing and Localization" Session at 11am - 12:40pm. His paper is co-authored by Neal Patwari and Maurizio Bocca.

Merrick McCracken presents at SECON 2013

Award Merrick McCracken presents his paper, Joint ultra-wideband and signal strength-based through-building tracking for tactical operations, at the 2013 IEEE Intl. Conf. on Sensing, Communications, and Networking, on Wednesday, June 26, in New Orleans. His paper, co-authored by Maurizio Bocca and Neal Patwari, explores combining ultra-wideband impulse radar with radio tomography in order to achieve accurate localization without having sensors on all sides of an area to be covered. The idea is particularly motivated by emergency response applications.

Congratulations to Brad Mager!

Award Brad Mager had a great night at the ECE Technical Open House Award Banquet. He was awarded "Outstanding Computer Engineering Student", and also awarded one of six "Best Presentation" awards for his talk on his senior thesis, "Fall Detection Using RF Sensor Networks". His talk was also mentioned by the keynote speaker and distinguished alumnus award winner Dr. John Sutherland as an example of useful research into the "internet of things". Congrats to Brad on his awards!

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