Wireless Center Previews Next Generation Technology

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On Monday, October 7, the MIT Center for Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing (Wireless@MIT) hosted a one-day event showcasing new advances in wireless systems and mobile technology. The event featured talks by MIT faculty and researchers, as well as demonstrations of next generation wireless and mobile systems.
Launched in October 2012, Wireless@MIT is focused on addressing the most important challenges facing the wireless industry. A year after the center launched, researchers are making strides in addressing the key issues plaguing the field, including the spectrum crunch, energy efficiency, and security and privacy, as well as with developing new mobile applications, explained Wireless@MIT Co-Director Hari Balakrishnan. “We’re excited to share the results of our work with you,” he said.
CSAIL graduate student Haitham Hassanieh presented new technology that tackles the spectrum crunch, or the exhaustion of radio spectrum caused by the popularity of wireless systems. The new technology, dubbed BigBand, allows cheap devices like Wi-Fi radio, to capture GHz radio waves using the sparse Fourier transform developed by Wireless@MIT Co-Director Dina Katabi, Professor Piotr Indyk, Hassanieh and Eric Price.
Professor Daniela Rus, director of CSAIL, described her work with deploying and ensuring quality wireless communications for mobile clients. Rus and her team developed a new algorithm that allows mobile routers to connect to all clients and yield a network that remains functional and operational despite the location of users. The team tested their technique by deploying a communication network for thousands of taxicabs that operate in downtown San Francisco. The wireless network was serviced by three base stations and provided by five robots. Using Rus’ new system, the network was able to effectively maintain quality, wireless communications for taxicabs as they roamed throughout downtown San Francisco and even to the outskirts of the city.
Meanwhile, Professor Li-Shiuan Peh explained her work aimed at providing new techniques for easing traffic congestion. Peh’s new system monitors traffic via vehicle-to-vehicle communications that allows for accurate tracking thanks to fast response times, long-range service, and a high mobility system. Professor Sam Madden, faculty director of the MIT Big Data Initiative at CSAIL, described new work with large-scale visualization of Twitter feeds.
CSAIL graduate student Jue Wang presented new work with localization tracking using radio-frequency identification (RFID), a wireless tracking technique. While RFID can be useful in creating smarter, more energy efficient homes and workplaces by tracking movement and altering energy usage, it can also be useful in manufacturing, Wang explained. The new RFID localization technique developed by Wang and Katabi allows for localization that is accurate on the centimeter scale, and could be useful in allowing fixed-position robots on the factory floor to transition to more mobile additions to the workforce.
The event wrapped up with demonstrations of new wireless and mobile systems, including a new technique that allows robots to follow Wi-Fi signals, automated mobile app testing at scale and new wireless security techniques.
Wireless@MIT, based out of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), is focused on addressing the most important challenges facing the wireless and mobile computing fields. Researchers aim to develop new techniques for overcoming the exhaustion of radio spectrum caused by the popularity of wireless systems, reduce power consumption and extend battery lifetimes on mobile devices, and invent new applications that gracefully accommodate mobility and network variability, ending the freezes, glitches, and stalls that are common with today’s wireless networks.
For more information on Wireless@MIT, please visit: http://wireless.csail.mit.edu/.

-Story by Abby Abazorius, CSAIL
-Photo by Jason Dorfman, CSAIL