SBIR Phase I: Through-Building Device-free Localization for Emergency and Tactical Operations

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Xandem Technology LLC
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will investigate the rapid deployment of wireless networks for the purpose of device-free localization (DFL) in tactical through-building surveillance applications. DFL locates people inside of a building using only simple radio devices deployed on the outside of the building. In a police or military operation, these devices are thrown or launched around the building, and then measure the received signal strength (RSS) between many pairs of devices. Within seconds of deployment, the DFL system shows a map tracking people and objects within the building. Such a system requires rapid deployment techniques and real-time operator-free network configuration. This project will advance the state-of-the-art in self-configuring and adaptive wireless networks. Methods for using reconfigurable antennas to direct the antenna pattern through the building regardless of how a sensor lands will be developed. For operator-free deployment, the network will have devices which self-localize, and learn the statistics of the particular radio channels to be measured. The combined results will show that tactically deployed wireless devices can be used to rapidly obtain intelligence regarding occupants before entering a dangerous building. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project are significant, as lives are lost every year because law enforcement officers do not know what is happening on the other side of a wall. If successful, this project will enable a product for police/SWAT and military special operations forces (SOF) which will save lives by providing actionable intelligence prior to entering a dangerous building. Existing radar technology for through-wall imaging is too expensive ($100k) for all but the most cost-insensitive applications. We plan a product that, because of its low cost, small size, and ease of use, will be standard equipment in police departments and in SOF teams. We will thus capture a portion of an $78 billion surveillance equipment market, which is growing at a 10-13% annual rate. Development of rapid deployment technologies for wireless networks will benefit a wide range of environmental monitoring and "internet-of-things" systems.