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

Congratulations, Dr. Joey Wilson!

Joey Wilson at Dissertation DefenseThe SPAN lab congratulates Dr. Joey Wilson, who has finished the requirements for the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Utah. He successfully defended his dissertation on July 12, 2010, and has turned in his final dissertation and met the requirements of the Graduate School. Joey becomes the first Ph.D. graduate of the SPAN lab. Joey will use his Ph.D. as the CEO and Founder of Xandem, a high-tech company he started to develop device-free localization technologies and products. Congrats and best wishes to Dr. Wilson!

SPAN Dissertation Defense Coming Up

Joey Wilson will soon be defending his PhD dissertation entitled "Device-Free Localization Using Received Signal Strength Measurements in Wireless Networks." The public is invited to attend.

Monday, July 12, 2010, 9:30 AM
Merrill Engineering Building (ECE Department)
50 S. Central Campus Dr., ECE Conference Room

Croft paper presented at IPSN 2010

SPAN lab researcher Jessica Croft presented her paper, "Robust Uncorrelated Bit Extraction Methodologies for Wireless Sensors" at the 9th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks (IPSN 2010) conference in Stockholm, Sweden on April 13, 2010. Her paper was one of only 20 papers accepted out of 117 submitted papers to IPSN, a 17% acceptance rate.

Radio Tomographic Imaging Data Set Now Available

The SPAN lab has published a public data set for radio tomographic imaging. This data is free to use for academic purposes. In publications using this data set, you must cite:

Commercial use of this data is strictly prohibited without written consent from the SPAN lab.

If you use this data set, we'd appreciate hearing how you used it. Please contact Joey Wilson and Neal Patwari.

"Locating the Nodes" Wins Best Paper Award

The IEEE Signal Processing Society has announced that the article, "Locating the Nodes: Cooperative Localization in Wireless Sensor Networks", authored by Neal Patwari, Joshua N. Ash, Spyros Kyperountas, Alfred O. Hero III, Randolph L. Moses, and Neiyer S. Correal, has been awarded the 2009 Signal Processing Magazine Best Paper Award.

Utah Applied Math Seminar on Radio Tomographic Imaging: Jan 25, 2009

For those of you who are interested in RTI, Joey Wilson will be presenting at the Applied Mathematics Seminar at the University of Utah. Here's the details:

Speaker: Joey Wilson, SPAN PhD Candidate and Founder of Xandem Technology
When: January 25, 2009, 4:15PM-5:15PM (see
Title: Radio Tomographic Imaging: Using Simple Wireless Networks to See Through Walls and Locate People

Abstract: Radio Tomographic Imaging (RTI) is an emerging technology that is capable of detecting and locating humans behind walls and through obstructions. This presentation will discuss how RTI works, specifically detailing the inverse mathematical models and solutions. Current research and ideas for future mathematical research will be discussed.

SPAN lab hosts 4th graders from Jackson Elementary

The SPAN lab team hosted a class of 4th graders from Jackson Elementary School on Friday, Dec. 11. The 4th graders learned generally what electrical engineers do, and specifically, the mathematics and engineering of tomography. Tomography can be explained as finding numbers to solve addition problems, and the class worked on finding images given their row and column sums. Then, they conducted experiments using the radio tomographic imaging testbed. We thank the Adelante program and the students who visited for spending their time with us. Our tomography activity plan, slides, and worksheets are posted, along with photos from the event.

YouTube Video Surpasses 100,000 Views

The video of SPAN researcher Joey Wilson conducting a variance-based radio tomographic imaging (VRTI) and tracking experiment has surpassed 100,000 views. As of Monday, Nov. 16, 2009, the video had 100,729 views, according to's statistics. The first large wave of views came after's Kim Zetter published a story on the technology and linked to the video. International press also led to many views of the video, including Der Spiegel, The Economist, and the Finnish Science magazine Tiede.

Come see radio tomography at COE Day, Oct 31

The University of Utah is holding College of Engineering Day on October 31st in the Warnock Engineering Building (map), and the SPAN lab will perform a live demonstration of our radio tomographic imaging system. Yes, it's Halloween, but its no trick! We are actively recruiting the next generation of engineering students. COE Day is a half-day event, 9:00am - 12:30pm, open to high school students, undecided majors and transfer students interested in engineering. This event is designed to introduce students to a variety of engineering disciplines, and the SPAN demo is just one of many that you can see.

SPAN gets press for networks that "See Through Walls"

A new SPAN technical report on Variance-based Radio Tomography posted on Wednesday September 30 to was reported on by a variety of local, national, and international media. The report was first picked up by the MIT Technology Review Physics Blog, with later stories from The Economist, Slashdot and Gizmodo. Other articles on the technical report appeared in Ars Technica,, Discover, and On Sunday, October 4, a report by KSL TV in Salt Lake City appeared during the local news broadcast.

Video Courtesy of

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