Our interconnected and automated world increasingly demands ways to monitor objects in a contactless way. With a variety of wireless sensing and monitoring technologies readily available, a number of crucial applications still lack adequate solutions due to highly challenging operating requirements, e.g., when there is a need to operate in extremely cluttered environments, such as at sea or underground, or when the object of interest is very small. In such cases, conventional tracking methods with active, battery-powered, tags or tag-less approaches using regular radar or camera sensors often prove to be inapplicable and there is a pressing need for alternative solutions. A possible answer is offered by the nonlinear radar technology.
In contrast to conventional radar, in a nonlinear radar system the object of interest produces a nonlinear (e.g., harmonic or intermodulation) response. This is typically enabled by attaching a passive, battery-less, harmonic transponder tag to the target. The main advantage of nonlinear operation is that the background clutter is greatly reduced, since RF reflections from most objects are linear. This enables sensing functionality in situations where traditional methods perform poorly. Another advantage is that the tag can be made fully passive (no battery) which facilitates its miniaturization, reduces its price and removes maintenance challenges typical for active tags. These attributes make it an attractive technology for such applications as insect tracking, search and rescue, and buried infrastructure control.
The goal of this project is to develop innovative solutions for nonlinear radar systems that maximize the operational range, ensure accurate tag localization and enable multitarget tracking.
The main tasks in this position will be to
- develop a theoretical framework for a distributed multi-node nonlinear radar system that utilizes low-cost, low-power transmitters;
- investigate tag localization algorithms and design an optimal localization strategy;
- design and test a system prototype, e.g., based on the software-defined radio.