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Distinguished Seminar:  Indoor Localization or - How I learned to stop worrying and love the clock

Date:April 4, 2016 
Talk Title:Indoor Localization or - How I learned to stop worrying and love the clock
Speaker:Anthony Rowe
Time & Location:12:00pm - 1:00pm
DEC, CIC Building, Pittsburgh


Over 300 years ago, an English carpenter realized that the key to safely navigating the ocean was being able to precisely measure time.  He dedicated his life to building clocks that remained steady in rough water and across a wide range of temperatures. Since then, timing and localization technologies have continued to push the limits of technology resulting in systems like GPS and instruments that are able peer into the nature of gravitational waves.   Unfortunately, existing localization technologies based on satellites and WiFi tend to perform poorly indoors or in urban environments. In the context of enclosed spaces, precise synchronization and localization has the potential to enable applications ranging from asset tracking, indoor navigation and augmented reality all the way to highly optimized beam forming for improved spatial capacity of wireless networks and enhancing network security.

In this talk, I will provide a brief overview of the state-of-the-art with respect to indoor location tracking and discuss two new systems that that are able to precisely localize mobile phones as well as low-power tags.  The first is a hybrid Bluetooth low-energy and near ultrasonic beaconing platform that is able to provide sub-meter accuracy to standard smartphones.  The platform leverages the phone’s IMU as well as constraints derived from building floor plans to not only localize its self, but also apply range-based SLAM techniques for bootstrapping its own infrastructure. The second platform leverages emerging Chip Scale Atomic Clocks (CSACs) and ultra wide-band (UWB) radios to create distributed networks that are able to coordinate at a level that used to be only possible with large, power-hungry and cost prohibitive atomic clocks. With sub-nanosecond time synchronization accuracy and extremely low drift rates, it is possible to dramatically reduce communication guard-bands and perform accurate speed-of-light Time-of-Arrival (TOA) measurements across distributed wireless networks.

Speaker Bio

Anthony Rowe is an Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University. His research interests are in networked real-time embedded systems with a focus on wireless communication. His most recent projects have related to large-scale sensing for critical infrastructure monitoring, indoor localization, building energy-efficiency and technologies for microgrids. His past work has led to dozens of hardware and software systems, four best paper awards and several widely adopted open-source research platforms. He earned a Ph.D in Electrical and Computer Engineering from CMU in 2010, received the Lutron Joel and Ruth Spira Excellence in Teaching Award in 2013 and the CMU CIT Early Career Fellowship and the Steven Ferves Award for Systems Research in 2015.