Making sense of mechanical vibration period with sub-millisecond accuracy using backscatter signals

Lei Yang, Yao Li, Qiongzheng Lin, Xiang Yang Li, Yunhao Liu

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Traditional vibration inspection systems, equipped with separated sensing and communication modules, are either very expensive (e.g., hundreds of dollars) and/or suffer from occlusion and narrow field of view (e.g., laser). In this work, we present an RFlD-based solution, Tagbeat, to inspect mechanical vibration using COTS RFID tags and readers. Making sense of micro and high-frequency vibration using random and low-frequency readings of tag has been a daunting task, especially challenging for achieving sub-millisecond period accuracy. Our system achieves these three goals by discerning the change pattern of backscatter signal replied from the tag, which is attached on the vibrating surface and displaced by the vibration within a small range. This work introduces three main innovations. First, it shows how one can utilize COTS RFID to sense mechanical vibration and accurately discover its period with a few periods of short and noisy samples. Second, a new digital microscope is designed to amplify the micro-vibration-induced weak signals. Third, Tagbeat introduces compressive reading to inspect high-frequency vibration with relatively low RFID read rate. We implement Tagbeat using a COTS RFID device and evaluate it with a commercial centrifugal machine. Empirical benchmarks with a prototype show that Tagbeat can inspect the vibration period with a mean accuracy of 0.36ms and a relative error rate of 0.03%. We also study three cases to demonstrate how to associate our inspection solution with the specific domain requirements.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MOBICOM
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781450342261
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2016
Event22nd Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MobiCom 2016 - New York, United States
Duration: 3 Oct 20167 Oct 2016


Conference22nd Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MobiCom 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York


  • Backscatter
  • RFID
  • Sensing
  • Vibration
  • Wireless

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Software

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