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Internet of Things Internship


Location: Cambridgeshire

Job Type: Full time



Qualcomm Technologies International Ltd

Job Area:

Interns Group, Interns Group > Interim Intern

General Summary:

Project Overview and Aim

In the Internet of Things sector, one of the key interests is to automatically and accurately estimate the location of an object indoors. There are a number of ongoing research works for this purpose. One approach is to use a combination of RF and ultrasonic signals, where the RF signals are used to provide the time reference and the ultrasound propagation time difference is used to calculate the distance between the source and receiver. It is known that whilst this approach helps by utilising ultrasound being more accurate and less prone to multi-path problem compared to RF signal, ultrasonic transducers consume more power than the RF counterparts. Therefore, minimising the power consumption is considered as an important goal in this hybrid approach. One study in this direction [1] made use of a battery-less RFID tag with a sizeable ultrasonic ceramic transducer connected. The ultrasonic transducer was almost as large as and much thicker than the RFID tag itself.

This project will attempt to replicate the abovementioned study, particularly using a low-cost, low-power, and low-profile transducer. The RFID tag is available as a research platform called WISP (Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform). And one of the potential candidates for the transducer is piezoelectric transducers that can work both as the signal source and receiver. Since a piezoelectric transducer can be made very thin and lightweight, if the feasibility of this configuration can be checked, it would help to develop further indoor location solutions towards low cost, low power and small size.

Project Outline

Firstly the reference research work [1] will be thoroughly reviewed, along with related background information, including the WISP platform. The tools required to program and control the WISP will be provided. Additional background study will involve investigating into the trade-offs between the transducer specifications (e.g., power, size, directivity, cost) and the measurement performance (e.g., signal strength, measurable distance). Then the piezoelectric transducers will be connected and tested for the distance measurement as described in [1]. The important information is whether the piezoelectric transducer would be good enough for the required measurement ranges. Depending on the progress and findings, it would be possible to introduce other types of ultrasonic transducer or non-battery-less platform.


[1] Yi Zhao and J. R. Smith, "A battery-free RFID-based indoor acoustic localization platform," 2013 IEEE International Conference on RFID (RFID), 2013, pp. 110-117, doi: 10.1109/RFID.2013.6548143.

*References to a particular number of years experience are for indicative purposes only. Applications from candidates with equivalent experience will be considered, provided that the candidate can demonstrate an ability to fulfill the principal duties of the role and possesses the required competencies.

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