Tagbeat: Sensing Mechanical Vibration Period with COTS RFID Systems

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

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 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 paper, we present an RFID-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 paper 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
Pages (from-to)3823-3835
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • backscatter communication
  • RIFD
  • vibration sensing
  • wireless

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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