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STTR Phase I: Microwatt-scale GPS Tracking and Timing Platform

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1449006
Agency Tracking Number: 1449006
Amount: $224,973.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: EW
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2014
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-01-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2015-12-31
Small Business Information
1301 Beal ave, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109
DUNS: 078450096
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Michael Henry
 (734) 707-7339
Business Contact
 Michael Henry
Phone: (734) 707-7339
Research Institution
 University of Michigan Ann Arbor
 David Wentzloff
 3003 South State St. Room 1062
Ann Arbor, MI, 48109
 Nonprofit college or university
The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is to provide more efficient GPS-based location awareness for next-generation devices. Within the last 20 years, GPS devices have shrunk from brick-sized receivers to cell phones, wrist-watches, and pet collars. This project introduces a transformative approach to GPS tracking that will greatly lower the average power consumption. This will allow for GPS tracking devices that can last weeks on a single small battery. There would be a tangible societal benefit in many aspects of commerce and day-to-day life: compact freight tracking tags can ensure shipments do not get lost; embedded merchandise and asset tags can track stolen items and alert authorities to its location; hikers and search and rescue can rely on portable navigation devices that lasts weeks on a single charge; personal fitness devices can track fitness goals over days and weeks instead of hours; law enforcement can use GPS tags to safely track suspects from a distance; cell-phones can provide always-on background GPS positioning, allowing apps to expand their capabilities. All of these benefits, and more, are realizable with the proposed 100 uW GPS platform. This Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Phase I project establishes the feasibility of a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver microchip that provides continuous real-time positioning and timing at 100 uW average power - a 10x improvement over the current state-of-the-art. The proposed techniques leverages state-of-the-art advances in radio-frequency (RF) and baseband hardware design that can benefit many aspects of receiver research and design. The microwatt-scale crystal oscillator allows more for accurate timekeeping in an RF system when the RF unit is off. This can lead to smarter RF protocols that wake-up exactly when needed to transmit or receive. The fast start-up front end technology can also benefit devices that employ time-multiplexing frequency sharing schemes. The platform could allow for a clocks that are synchronized to microsecond accuracy across all devices in a geographic area. This opens new avenues of research in wireless sensor network synchronization and communication protocols. Further research could investigate a non-GPS source of synchronization as well for indoor use: the proposed approach would work if a local node were instead broadcasting a. These local nodes could themselves synchronize with GPS through an external antenna, leading to complete indoor and outdoor synchronization of a wireless sensor network.

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

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