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SBIR Phase I: Smart Skins for shipping containers tracking and identification

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1843302
Agency Tracking Number: 1843302
Amount: $224,996.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: I
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-02-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-01-31
Small Business Information
3076 RANLO DR, ATLANTA, GA, 30340
DUNS: 081243877
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jimmy Hester
 (260) 622-8730
Business Contact
 Jimmy Hester
Phone: (260) 622-8730
Research Institution
The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will be to, firstly, shed light on the benefits and limitations of mm-wave backscatter technologies in challenging industrial environments. More importantly, the lessons learned during this project could, if successful, bring about the emergence of breakthrough energy-autonomous real-time tracking technologies that would significantly increase the efficiency and reduce the costs of worldwide container shipping as well as provide a direct value that could bring about the adoption of the smart container. The container shipping industry stands as one of the unsung heroes of the modern world which, from its birth in the 1960s, cut the cost of shipping goods across the globe by several orders of magnitude, thereby enabling global trade on a massive scale and catalyzing the world?s economic development. Nevertheless, this industry has remained largely unmoved by the advent of big data and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. This innovation could empower the general introduction and leveraging of such tools, further lower the costs and increase the accessibility of worldwide shipping, and significantly benefit the world and the United States? economies. The proposed project will require, on the road towards commercialization, the exploration of the properties of backscatter mm-wave localization approaches and channels in complex highly cluttered environments such as that of metallic-parts-crowded repair facilities and terminals covered with container stacks. While significant research efforts are currently invested in the characterization and mapping of mm-wave transmission channels necessary to the planning and rolling out of upcoming cellular 5G networks, no such work has yet been reported for their backscatter counterparts, nor for localization purposes. In addition, although the influence of channels for standard Radio Frequency IDentification-based localization systems has benefited from decades of investigation, that of its higher-frequency correspondent is virtually unexplored and should display different properties and present novel challenges and opportunities, due to major differences in clutter diffraction and absorption. The work will start with the finalization of tag and reader hardware in view of the gathering of detection data in the aforementioned environments, followed by the formulation of the high-performance signal processing schemes used to retrieve tag positions and identities, developed hand in hand with optimized communications modulation schemes for the tags. Finally, a tuning of the devised numerical processing schemes for high-speed embedded processing will take place. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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