Singing posters and talking shirts: UW engineers turn everyday objects into FM radio stations

UW Today » Engineering

Engineering  |  News releases  |  Research  |  Science  |  Technology

March 1, 2017

UW researchers used FM radio signals to broadcast music and data notifications from a Simply Three band poster at a Seattle bus stop to a smartphone. An antenna made of copper tape was embedded on the back of the poster.University of Washington

Imagine you’re waiting in your car and a poster for a concert from a local band catches your eye. What if you could just tune your car to a radio station and actually listen to that band’s music? Or perhaps you see the poster on the side of a bus stop. What if it could send your smartphone a link for discounted tickets or give you directions to the venue?
Going further, imagine you go for a run, and your shirt can sense your perspiration and send data on your vital signs directly to your phone.
A new technique pioneered by University of Washington engineers makes these “smart” posters and clothing a reality by allowing them to communicate directly with your car’s radio or your smartphone. For instance, bus stop billboards could send digital content about local attractions. A street sign could broadcast the name of an intersection or notice that it is safe to cross a street, improving accessibility for the disabled. In addition, clothing with integrated sensors could monitor vital signs and send them to a phone.
“What we want to do is enable smart cities and fabrics where everyday objects in outdoor environments — whether it’s posters or street signs or even the shirt you’re wearing — can ‘talk’ to you by sending information to your phone or car,” said lead faculty and UW assistant professor of computer science and engineering Shyam Gollakota.

The researchers also demonstrated receiving the backscattered audio on FM receivers built into cars.University of Washington

“The challenge is that …

Read More

click
tracking
Share
Share