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Department of Computer Science Colloquium
2015 Series

Real-Time Tracking of Mobile RFID Tags to Millimeter-Level Accuracy Using COTS

Prof. Xiang-Yang Li
Department of Computer Science
Illinois Institute of Technology

Date: March 12, 2015 (Thursday)
Time: 10:00 - 11:00 am
Venue: RRS905, Sir Run Run Shaw Building, Ho Sin Hang Campus

In many applications, we have to identify an object and then locate the object to within centimeter- or millimeter-level accuracy. Legacy systems that can provide such accuracy are either expensive or suffer from performance degradation resulting from various impacts, e.g., occlusion for computer vision based approaches. In this talk, we present an RFID-based system, Tagoram, for object localization and tracking using COTS RFID tags and readers. Tracking mobile RFID tags in real time has been a daunting task, especially challenging for achieving millimeter-level accuracy. Our system achieves these goals by leveraging the phase value of the backscattered signal, provided by the COTS RFID readers, to estimate the location of the object. In Tagoram, we exploit the tag’s mobility to build a virtual antenna array by using readings from a few physical antennas over a time window. Our system is robust to device diversity and multipath impact.

We have implemented the Tagoram system using COTS RFID tags and readers. The system has been tested extensively in the lab environment and used for more than a year in real airline applications. For lab environment, we can track the mobile tags in real time with accuracy to a median of 5mm along the moving direction. In our year-long large-scale trial studies in real luggage sortation systems of two airports, our results show that Tagoram can achieve accuracy to a median of 63.5mm in these real deployments. We also will show other related applications using our techniques.

Dr. Xiang-Yang Li is a professor at Computer Science Department of IIT, an IEEE fellow (2015), an ACM Distinguished Scientist (2014), and an EMC Visiting Chair Professor at Tsinghua University (2013-2016). He is a recipient of China NSF Outstanding Overseas Young Researcher (B). Dr. Li received MS (2000) and PhD (2001) degree at Department of Computer Science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received a Bachelor degree at Department of Computer Science and a Bachelor degree at Department of Business Management from Tsinghua University, P.R. China, both in 1995. He published a monograph "Wireless Ad Hoc and Sensor Networks: Theory and Applications". He also co-edited the book "Encyclopedia of Algorithms". The research of Dr. Li has been supported by USA NSF, HongKong RGC, and China NSF.

His research interests include wireless networks, mobile computing, privacy and security, cyber physical systems, social networking, and algorithms. He has published more than 120 papers in top-tier journals, and 200 papers in well-known international conferences. His Google-scholar citation is more than 10,000, and H-index is >50. Dr. Li and his students won four best paper awards (IEEE IPCCC 2014, ACM MobiCom 2014, COCOON 2001, IEEE HICSS 2001), one best demo award(ACM MobiCom 2012) and was selected as best paper candidates twice (ACM MobiCom 2008, ACM MobiCom 2005).

Dr. Li has served or is serving as an editor of several journals, including IEEE Transaction on Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transaction on Mobile Computing. He served at various capacities (conference chair, TPC chair, or local arrangement chair) in a number of conferences, including TPC chair of ACM MobiHoc 2014. His research has been supported by NSF, NSFC, and RGC HongKong. He has graduated eleven PhD students since 2004. For more information about Prof. XiangYang Li, please check his webpage and

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