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Assistant Professor Kaushik Chowdhury Receives NSF CAREER Award

Northeastern University's Assistant Professor in Electrical & Computer Engineering, Kaushik Chowdhury, has been awarded a $489,731 NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for his  project, “IDEA: Integrated Data and Energy Access for Wireless Sensor Networks.”

The award provides a five year grant to support Assistant Professor Kaushik’s project in realizing the promise of powering wireless sensors with the help of electromagnetic radio frequency (RF) waves. The IDEA project incorporates modeling, analysis, protocol design, so that sensors may store energy from TV stations and controllable energy transmitters, and communicate data at the same time. 

The ECE department offers our warm congratulations to Dr. Chowdhury.

Project Abstract from NSF:

The proposed Integrated Data and Energy Access (IDEA) framework will help realize the promise of jointly powering and communicating with wireless sensors with the help of electromagnetic radio frequency (RF) waves. This research will result in a cross-layer protocol suite, modeling tools, and experimental systems that will be instrumental in building future RF energy harvesting networks for healthcare, wearable electronics, smart homes, and embedded implants with extended lifetimes. The controllable and predictable nature of RF energy and the lack of dependence on environmental conditions distinguish this form of energy harvesting over other renewable sources. IDEA will directly support national and institutional level energy-efficiency related program goals by reducing dependence on batteries and enhancing sustainability in networking. The project involves an integrated education plan involving demonstrations at public museums, pedagogical tools for K12 students, a summer school focused on RF energy harvesting, continuing education for industry personnel, along with dedicated outreach efforts to attract students from under-represented groups. 

IDEA will define new protocol designs for coordinating actions of dedicated omnidirectional and beamforming energy transmitters (ETs). At the link layer, it will research methods for sharing the channel for the charging and data communication functions in the network, while addressing challenges posed by phase variance and the constructive and destructive interference of energy signals in space. IDEA proposes new routing metrics and protocols for creating energy paths, which will charge only selected sensors to ensure data delivery to the sink occurs timely over these pathways. It will yield concrete insights on the relationship between the number of ETs, their placement, the network lifetime, and the data communication capacity given the energy transfer requests within the network. IDEA will answer fundamental questions on how much energy can be obtained through indoor ETs, as well as outdoors from the ambient RF environment in the TV band, leading to the creation of spatiotemporal energy maps. Finally, IDEA will transform the concept of RF harvesting sensors to a platform for network deployment through a testbed of software-defined radio ETs and circuit designs for RF harvesting boards.

Related Faculty: Kaushik Chowdhury

Related Departments:Electrical & Computer Engineering