Surface MIMO: Using Conductive Surfaces For MIMO Between Small Devices

Authors:
Justin Chan University of Washington
Anran Wang University of Washington
Vikram Iyer University of Washington
And Shyamnath Gollakota University of Washington

Introduction:

As connected devices continue to decrease in size, the authors explore the idea of leveraging everyday surfaces such as tabletops and walls to augment the wireless capabilities of devices. Specifically, the authors introduce Surface MIMO, a technique that enables MIMO communication betthe authorsen small devices via surfaces coated with conductive paint or covered with conductive cloth.

Abstract:

As connected devices continue to decrease in size, we explore the idea of leveraging everyday surfaces such as tabletops and walls to augment the wireless capabilities of devices. Specifically, we introduce Surface MIMO, a technique that enables MIMO communication between small devices via surfaces coated with conductive paint or covered with conductive cloth. These surfaces act as an additional spatial path that enables MIMO capabilities without increasing the physical size of the devices themselves. We provide an extensive characterization of these surfaces that reveal their efect on the propagation of EM waves. Our evaluation shows that we can enable additional spatial streams using the conductive surface and achieve average throughput gains of 2.6-3x for small devices. Finally, we also leverage the wideband characteristics of these conductive surfaces to demonstrate the ifrst Gbps surface communication system that can directly transfer bits through the surface at up to 1.3 Gbps.

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