WISP: Wireless Identification and Sensing PlatformDeadline extended! Please consider contributing a chapter to the forthcoming book, Wirelessly Powered Sensor Networks, to be published by Springer in 2010. Click here for article templates and contribution information.
We are still accepting proposals for the second round of the Wisp Challenge, with awards to be made on a rolling basis. To apply, please send proposals to "wispchallenge at gmail" (addtional detail at the bottom of this page).
February 13, 2010: Thank you for a successful WISP Summit, held Nov. 3, 2009, in Berkeley, CA, in conjunction with Sensys 2009! See this page for information about the Summit, including videos.
What is WISP?
WISP stands for Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform. The term "Identification" comes from "Radio Frequency Identification" (RFID). WISPs have the capabilities of RFID tags, but also support sensing and computing. Like any passive RFID tag, WISP is powered and read by a standard off-the-shelf RFID reader, harvesting the power it uses from the reader's emitted radio signals. WISPs have been used to sense quantities such as light, temperature, acceleration, strain, liquid level, and to investigate embeddeded security. Most of the work on WISP so far has involved single WISPs performing sensing or computing functions. We think the next phase of WISP work will involve the interaction of many WISPs, and thus allow an exciting exploration of a new battery-free form of wireless sensor networking.
Most people are familiar with RFID tags. Most common are passive RFID tags, where a battery-less IC device harvests power from a nearby RFID reader and uses it to respond to the reader with an identification number. Two broadly adopted standards for this technology are the Electronic Product Code (EPC) Class 1 Generation 1 and Class 1 Generation 2 standards, which operate in the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) bands. The standard is led by EPCGlobal.
WISPs are powered by harvested energy from off-the-shelf UHF RFID readers. To a RFID reader, a WISP is just a normal EPC gen1 or gen2 tag; but inside the WISP, the harvested energy is operating a 16-bit general purpose microcontroller. The microcontroller can perform a variety of computing tasks, including sampling sensors, and reporting that sensor data back to the RFID reader. WISPs have been built with light sensors, temperature sensors, and strain gauges. WISPs can write to flash and perform cryptographic computations.
WISP is a project of Intel Research Seattle with significant input from students and faculty of the University of Washington. The lead investigator of the WISP project is Joshua R. Smith, Principal Engineer at Intel Research Seattle. The key WISP design and development personnel are Alanson Sample (Intel Research Seattle & UW EE Grad student), Dan Yeager (UW EE Grad student), and Polly Powledge (Intel Research Seattle engineer). The publications list below documents contributions from others at Intel and UW.
WISPs have these features:
- Up to 10ft range with harvested RF power
- Ultra-low power MSP430 microcontroller
- 32K of program space, 8K of storage
- Light, temperature and 3D-accelerometers
- Backscatter communication to reader
- Reader to WISP communication (ASK)
- Real-time clock
- Storage capacitor (to sense without reader)
- Voltage sensor (measures stored charge)
- Extensible hardware (to add new sensors)
- HW UART & GPIO for external connections
- Works with select EPC Class 1 Gen 2 readers
- WISP software to sense and upload data
- Reader application to drive WISP
- Industry standard development tools
- Access to hardware design and source code
For more information about WISP hardware and software, see our WISP Wiki. You'll find schematics, instructions for getting the source code, demo reader applications, and lots of other WISP resources there.
Research and Publications
- NeuralWISP: A Wirelessly-Powered Neural Interface with 1-m Range, D. Yeager, J. Holleman, R. Prasad, J. Smith, B. Otis IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems.
- A Capacitive Touch Interface for Passive RFID Tags Alanson P. Sample, Daniel J. Yeager, Joshua R. Smith. Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE International Conference on RFID. Winner of Best Paper Award!
- NeuralWISP: An Energy-Harvesting Wireless Neural Interface with 1-m Range, Jeremy Holleman, Dan Yeager, Richa Prasad, Joshua R. Smith, and Brian Otis, Proceedings of BioCAS 2008.
- Demonstration: RFID Sensor Networks with the Intel WISP. Michael Buettner, Ben Greenstein, Richa Prasad, Alanson Sample, Joshua R. Smith, Daniel Yeager, David Wetherall. Sensys 2008. Winner of best demo award!
- RFIDs and Secret Handshakes: Defending Against Ghost-and-Leech Attacks and Unauthorized Reads with Context-Aware Communications, Alexei Czeskis, Karl Koscher, Joshua R. Smith, Tadayoshi Kohno. 15th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, October 27-31, 2008.
- Revisiting Smart Dust with RFID Sensor Networks Michael Buettner, Ben Greenstein, Alanson Sample, Joshua R. Smith. Seventh ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks (HotNets-VII), Alberta, Canada, Oct 6-7 2008.
- Wirelessly-Charged UHF Tags for Sensor Data Collection, Daniel Yeager, Richa Prasad, David Wetherall, Pauline Powledge, Joshua Smith. IEEE International Conference on RFID 2008.
- Maximalist cryptography and computation on the WISP UHF RFID tag, Hee-Jin Chae, Daniel J. Yeager, Joshua R. Smith, Kevin Fu. In Proceedings of the Conference on RFID Security, July 2007.
- RFID-Based Techniques for Human Activity Recognition, [pdf] Joshua R. Smith, Kenneth P. Fishkin, Bing Jiang, Alexander Mamishev, Matthai Philipose, Adam Rea, Sumit Roy, Kishore Sundara-Rajan. Communications of the ACM, v48, no. 9, Sep 2005.
WISP & RFID Technology, etc
- WISP: A Passively Powered UHF RFID Tag with Sensing and Computation Daniel J. Yeager, Alanson P. Sample, Joshua R. Smith in S.A. Ahson, M. Ilyas Eds. RFID Handbook: Applications, Technology, Security, and Privacy, CRC Press.
- Design of an RFID-Based Battery-Free Programmable Sensing Platform Alanson P. Sample, Daniel J. Yeager, Pauline S. Powledge, Alexander V. Mamishev, Joshua R. Smith. IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, Vol. 57, No. 11, Nov. 2008, pp. 2608-2615.
- RFID MAC Performance Evaluation Based on ISO/IEC 18000-6 Type C You-Chang Ko, Sumit Roy, Joshua R. Smith, Hyong-Woo Lee, and Choong-Ho Cho, IEEE Communications Letters, Vol. 12, No. 6, June 2008.
- An Empirical Study of UHF RFID Performance Michael Buettner and David Wetherall. 14th International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (MobiCom 2008).
- An Enhanced RFID Multiple Access Protocol for Fast Inventory. You-Chang Ko, Sumit Roy, Joshua R. Smith, Hyung-Woo Lee, Choong-Ho Cho, IEEE Globecom 2007.
- Design of a Passively-Powered, Programmable Sensing Platform for UHF RFID Systems, Alanson P. Sample, Daniel J. Yeager, Pauline S. Powledge, Joshua R. Smith. IEEE International Conference on RFID 2007, March 26-28.
- Energy scavenging for inductively coupled passive RFID systems, B. Jiang, J. R. Smith, M. Philipose, S. Roy, K. Sundara-Rajan, and A. Mamishev. IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, February 2007, Vol. 56, No. 1, pp. 118-125.
- A wirelessly powered platform for sensing and computation, [pdf] Joshua R. Smith, Alanson Sample, Pauline Powledge, Alexander Mamishev, Sumit Roy. Proceedings of Ubicomp 2006: 8th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing. Orange Country, CA, USA, September 17-21 2006, pp. 495-506.
- ID Modulation: Embedding Sensor Data in an RFID Timeseries, [pdf] Joshua R. Smith, Bing Jiang, Sumit Roy, Matthai Philipose, Kishore Sundara-Rajan, Alexander Mamishev. Proceedings of Information Hiding 2005, LNCS 3727, pp. 234-246.
- Energy Scavenging for Inductively Coupled Passive RFID Systems, [pdf] Bing Jiang, Sumit Roy, Kishore Sundara-Rajan, Matthai Philipose, Joshua R. Smith, and Alexander V. Mamishev. Proceedings of the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference, Ottawa, Canada, May 17-19 2005, pp. 984-989.
- Battery-Free Wireless Identification and Sensing, [pdf] Matthai Philipose, Joshua R. Smith, Bing Jiang, Kishore Sundara-Rajan, Alexander Mamishev, Sumit Roy. IEEE Pervasive Computing, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 37-45, January-March 2005.
SupportWISP research supported in part by NSF ECS Award 0824265.
The combination of RFID and sensing will embed computing deeply in the physical world. To explore new applications, we have developed the Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform (WISP), a programmable, battery-free UHF RFID tag equipped with sensors. We are now calling for research proposals so that we may give WISPs to collaborators in the academic research community.
- Object state monitoring, e.g., for cold-chains
- Instrumented environments
- Activity inference
- Lightweight privacy and security
- RFID protocols for sensor data
- Intermittent power and RFID OS issues
- Novel user interfaces, e.g., gestures
- Physically embedded sensing
- Novel sensor devices
- Non-intrusive physiological monitoring
- Low-power communication
- Measurement of RFID systems
- Educational projects
Flexible RFID Reader
We have also developed a programmable RFID reader using the USRP software radio platform. We will make it available as source code. This reader can be used with standard EPC Class 1 Gen 2 RFID tags, or with the WISP to create a system in which both tag and reader can be re-programmed from the physical layer on up.
How to Apply for WISP Challenge Round 2
Send us a 2-4 page proposal in PDF format. It should include specific research objectives, potential or planned applications, and a time-line. We will make awards in units of five WISPs, with all the necessary infrastructure to program them. You will need to purchase your own RFID reader. We are also willing to work with parties who want access to larger numbers of WISPs on a case-by-case basis.
We aim to grow a community and hope that WISP users will contribute results and share new software and hardware functionality at the wisp wiki.
Send proposals to:
"wispchallenge at gmail"
Submission period: February 2010 to June 2010
Awards will be made on a rolling basis starting February 2010
If you submitted to the old email address (at intel-research.net), that has become clogged with spam. We are crawling through to pull out the actual proposals, but it may be faster for you to resubmit to the gmail site.