Tagspin: High Accuracy Spatial Calibration of RFID Antennas via Spinning Tags

Chunhui Duan, Lei Yang, Qiongzheng Lin, Yunhao Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Recent years have witnessed the advance of RFID-based localization techniques that demonstrate high precision. Many efforts have been made locating RFID tags accurately with a mandatory assumption that the RFID reader's position is known in advance. Unfortunately, calibrating reader's location manually is always time-consuming and laborious in practice. In this paper, we present Tagspin, an approach using COTS tags to pinpoint the reader (antenna) quickly and easily with high accuracy. Tagspin enables each tag to emulate a circular antenna array by uniformly spinning on the edge of a rotating disk. We design an SAR-based method for estimating the angle spectrum of the target reader. Compared to previous AoA-based techniques, we employ an enhanced power profile modeling the relative signal power received from the reader along different spatial directions, which is more accurate and immune to ambient noise as well as measurement errors caused by hardware characteristics. Besides, we find that tag's phase measurements in practice are related to its orientation. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to point out this fact and quantify the relationship between them. By calibrating the phase shifts caused by orientation, the positioning accuracy can be improved by 3.7×. We have implemented Tagspin with COTS RFID devices and evaluated it extensively. Experimental results show that Tagspin achieves mean accuracy of 7.3\; \mathrm{cm}with standard deviation of 1.8\; \mathrm{cm}in 3D space.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8264990
Pages (from-to)2438-2451
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • reader localization
  • RFID
  • tagspin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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