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RF systems for identifying node locations in indoor & outdoor scenarios associated with a dwelling

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

Applications are invited for a fully-funded 3 year Ph.D. studentship on the theme described below, as part of the Communications Research Group.

Details
Several technologies exist for identifying the location of a transmitting node indoors. These vary from extremely precise, physically large and power-demanding (e.g. Ultra-Wideband systems), to low cost and low complexity, general approximate presence detection (e.g Bluetooth Smart beacons). There are also research-grade implementations of signal processing algorithms, such as MUSIC (MUltiple SIgnal Classification).

As an example application, there is a commercial need in Social Care Systems to quickly identify the location of a patient in one of two scenarios, in an unobtrusive and cost-effective way:
1) In which indoor room is the patient? (e.g. in a multi-room, care facility)
2) Is the patient indoor or outdoor? (i.e. does the attending emergency service need to break down the front door or go into the back garden)
The University is working with Tunstall Healthcare Ltd who operates in this business area.

Two differing radio technology techniques have been devised, that require further research. Both use a combination of novel yet low-cost RF hardware, combined with DSP to process the initial radio signals from the patient’s node, as detected by multiple local base stations. These processed signals could then to be used, for example, in a Cloud-based expert system employing signal pattern matching against a database, to identify the location of the patient.
The purpose of this research project is to first understand the limitations of the two concept systems so far investigated and then select a relevant topic to investigate further, ideally leading to a new technology demonstrator based on one of the existing concepts. The research topic could be from one or more of (but not limited to):-
• Novel and low resource DSP algorithms for the multiple base station RF signal detection, as associated with angle of arrival or received signal power level assessment
• Novel RF hardware for the patient node and Base station (including antenna design), possibly including wearable technology for the patient node.
• Signal pattern matching techniques for application to the multiple base station concept, including techniques to minimise initial pattern matcher training and subsequent re-training.

Researchers can expect to become involved in designing hardware and software for their proposed system(s) and then trialling them in real world scenarios. The expectation is that the researcher’s project will contribute to a positioning technology test bed, focused on the Social Care application.

Funding Notes

Awards for UK students cover tuition fees and a maintenance allowance at the standard RCUK rate - currently £14,057 per annum. EU applicants who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years immediately preceding the start of their course are eligible for awards that cover tuition fees and provide a maintenance allowance. EU applicants that do not meet this residency criterion are eligible for a fees-only award.
The position is available immediately and will be open until it is filled.

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials?
Electronic and Electrical Engineering

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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