OPEN Scientific reports | 7 Jan 2016
H Huang, PY Chen, CH Hung, R Gharpurey and D Akinwande
Autonomous liquid-volume monitoring is crucial in ubiquitous healthcare. However, conventional approach is based on either human visual observation or expensive detectors, which are costly for future pervasive monitoring. Here we introduce a novel approach based on passive harmonic transponder antenna sensor and frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) pattern analysis, to provide a very low cost wireless μL-resolution liquid-volume monitoring without battery or digital circuits. In our conceptual demonstration, the harmonic transponder comprises of a passive nonlinear frequency multiplier connected to a metamaterial-inspired 3-D antenna designed to be highly sensitive to the liquid-volume within a confined region. The transponder first receives some FHSS signal from an interrogator, then converts such signal to its harmonic band and re-radiates through the antenna sensor. The harmonic signal is picked up by a sniffer receiver and decoded through pattern analysis of the high dimensional FHSS signal strength data. A robust, zero power, absolute accuracy wireless liquid-volume monitoring is realized in the presence of strong direct coupling, background scatters, distance variance as well as near-field human-body interference. The concepts of passive harmonic transponder sensor, metamaterial-inspired antenna sensor, and FHSS pattern analysis based sensor decoding may help establishing cost-effective, energy-efficient and intelligent wireless pervasive healthcare monitoring platforms.
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