BackPos: High Accuracy Backscatter Positioning System

Tianci Liu, Yunhao Liu, Lei Yang, Yi Guo, Cheng Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology has been widely adopted in a variety of applications from logistics to access control. Many applications gain benefits from knowing the exact position of an RFID-tagged object. Existing localization algorithms in wireless network, however, can hardly be directly employed due to tag's limited capabilities in terms of energy and memory. In this paper, we propose BackPos, a fine-grained backscatter positioning technique using the commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) RFID products with detected phases. Our studies show that the phase is a stable indicator highly related to tag's position and preserved over frequency or tag orientation, but challenged by its periodicity and tag's diversity. We attempt to infer the distance differences from phases detected by antennas under triangle constraint. Further, hyperbolic positioning using the distance differences is employed to shrink the tag's candidate positions until finding out the real one. In combination with interrogation zone, we finally relax the triangle constraint and allow arbitrary deployment of antennas by sacrificing the feasible region. We implement a prototype of BackPos with COTS RFID products and evaluate this design in various scenarios. The results show that BackPos achieves the mean accuracy of 12.8 cm with variance of 3.8cm.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7089262
Pages (from-to)586-598
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • BackPos
  • feasible region
  • hyperbolic positioning
  • RFID

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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