Monday, October 02, 2017
12:00 PM
1400 Wegmans Hall
Alanson Sample
Disney Research, Associate Lab Director & Principal Research Scientist
Hacking the RF Phy: Wireless power transfer, RF sensing, battery-free communication and beyond
Harnessing the power of electromagnetic waves has changed how we live, work and play. While the semiconductor industry has focused on enabling faster, cheaper, and lower power wireless devices, there is the opportunity to use this underlying technology to re-examine the RF physical layer and explore novel means of using electromagnetic waves for sensing, communication, and energy transfer. This talk presents an overview of ongoing projects in the Wireless Systems Group at Disney Research, which focuses on creating new interactive experiences through innovations in sensing, circuit design, and signal processing. This includes the use of signal processing techniques that turn battery-free, long-range RFID tags into minimalistic sensors capable of human object interaction detection and connecting everyday objects to the Internet of Things. A smartwatch prototype that measures the EMI noise emitted by common electronic devices to enable real-time touch based device classification and identification. Ultra-wide band ambient backscatter techniques that use the radio waves present throughout our environment as a medium for communication. Along with a new form of wireless power transfer based on quasi-static cavity resonance which enables room wide wireless power delivery to mobile devices contained nearly anywhere within.

Alanson Sample is an Associate Lab Director & Principal Research Scientist at Disney Research in Pittsburgh and leads the Wireless Systems group. His research focuses on enabling new guest experiences and sensing and computing devices by applying novel approaches to electromagnetics, RF and analog circuits, and embedded systems. Prior to joining Disney, he worked at Intel Labs in Hillsboro on energy harvesting for wearable and Internet of Things applications. He also held a postdoctoral research position in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. There he developed methods of wirelessly powering implanted heart pumps, known as LVADs. Alanson received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2011 from the University of Washington. Throughout his graduate studies, he worked full-time at Intel Research Seattle where he published several articles and patents on the use of magnetically coupled resonance for wireless power delivery, as well as RFID, and ambient RF energy harvesting. Alanson was one of the key contributors to the Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform, which was open-sourced in 2009 as part of Intel's WISP Challenge. His research interests lie broadly in the areas of wireless communication, RF and analog circuit design, embedded systems, and novel sensors.