Research and Education
Time Domain has forged a unique relationship with the academic community through the years, a natural partnership that has pushed the limits of our PulsON UWB technology while fostering the innovative spirit of a new generation of researchers and product developers. From the pioneering work in the 1990s with Dr. Robert Scholz at USC to helping the West Virginia Mountaineers win the NASA Return Robot Challenge, we have welcomed the opportunity to learn and explore with the brightest young minds in radio and radar technology.
Time Domain’s UWB technology has tremendous value both as an educational tool for undergraduate students and as a research platform for professors and doctoral candidates, either in electromagnetics, signal processing, radar, precision range measurement and location, and ad hoc network formation. Its performance opens the doors to addressing a number of cutting edge applications in areas like robotics and unmanned vehicles, industrial automation, mining, rail, defense, and many more.
Our technology is currently being used by over 60 universities and colleges throughout the world, including MIT, Georgia Tech, University of Texas at Austin, The Ohio State University, Kyoto University, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Sydney for undergraduate labs, interim projects, senior projects, graduate studies, and research.
In 2014 we held a contest geared towards our academic users called the PulsON Education Challenge. We awarded prizes to students who created compelling experiments based on our UWB hardware. The experiments have since been posted to our website and are free for anyone to use.
The PulsON Lab has consistently been our most popular package for academic users. The current version of the Lab bundles ten P440 UWB platforms with a variety of software tools intended to support product development, postgraduate research, and undergraduate labs.
Research: The Lab has been used for a variety of research activities, including:
- Development of UWB networks
- Robotic navigation and tracking
- Radar Imaging
- Development of multistatic radar sensor fields
- Fused radar/communications/ranging applications
- RF channel modeling
- MIMO radars
- Gait analysis
Undergraduate Education: The Lab is a powerful teaching tool and can be used to help bridge the gap between theory, as presented in lecture and text, and practice, as demonstrated in a laboratory exercise. It is our view that the more often theory can be supported and reinforced by a tactile (and dare we say it? FUN) laboratory experience, the more the student will come to understand the theory.
The PulsON Lab can be used to teach:
- Electromagnetics and RF propagation
- Principles of communications
- Range measurement systems for navigation
- RF image processing
- Target Tracking based on either radar or two-way ranging
Key Features of the PulsON Lab
The Lab is also ideal for Senior and Capstone projects.
- Up to a dozen systems can be independently operated in a typical lab without mutual interference
- High performance operation over short ranges (10 cm – 400 m)
- Transmit powers are safe and do not interfere with others
- Collected data logged to MATLAB-compatible files
- Sample C and MATLAB code provided with the Lab allow the user to develop custom applications
The Lab consists of ten P440 UWB modules with accessories (antennas, enclosure, battery, and charger) plus Time Domain’s Ranging and Networking, Monostatic Radar, and Channel Analysis / Bistatic Radar software, along with 10 hours of engineering / technical support.
The following is a suggested list of experiments for use in an undergraduate lab environment. These experiments are offered as a starting point and should be tailored to match specific curricula.
1. Introduction to the P410 Platform: Introduction to basic equipment, block diagram, user interface, capturing data, reading data, basic lab procedures & precautions.
2. Transmit Characteristics: Measure peak power, average power, energy, pulse width, bandwidth, PRF/PRI, center frequency.
3. Receiver Characteristics: Noise, EMI, sampling (interval, under, over, Nyquist), FFT, IFFT, complex sampling, range measurement, range resolution, computation of SNR, I&Q data, range gates and range straddle.
4. Antenna Characteristics: Omni-directional and directional, beamwidth, gain, sidelobes, time gating, front to back ratios.
5. Radar Target Characteristics (RCS): System calibration, measure RCS of various shapes, consider impact of materials, polarization, monostatic & bistatic operation.
6. Radar Range Equation: SNR, SNI, integration (coherent, non-coherent), matched filter, pulse compression.
7. Radio Communications and Ranging: SNR, propagation, bit error rate (BER), packet error rate (PER), Eb/No, probability of closing the link, BER vs. Eb/No. (Performed on cables.)
8. Radio Signal Propagation and Range Measurement: Antenna gain, multipath effects, Fresnel effects, co-site interference, inter-symbol interference, channelization. (Performed on antennas.)
9. Probability of Detection (Pd) & Probability of False Alarm (Pfa): Show how the performance of a system can be quantified and optimized for specific target characteristics.
10. Clutter: Develop an understanding of the impact and ramification of clutter to a radar system.
11. Doppler: Use Doppler processing to determine the velocity of a pendulum as a function of time.
12. Imaging: Implement a synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Collect a data set. Develop an image of the target. Using a subset of the data, demonstrate the impact on image quality of over and under sampling.
The resources on this page are provided as an additional reference for those wishing to introduce the concepts of UWB technology into the classroom. We hope the example lab exercises section will be of particular help in curriculum planning. Please note: only a small selection of white papers are included here – for a full listing, please visit our Technology page.
ICUWB 2014: Ultra Wideband: A Tool for Teaching UndergraduatesDownload
IEEE RADARCON 2012: A Practical High-Performance UWB Radar PlatformDownload
APS/URSI 2012: High-Fidelity Peer-to-Peer UWB Propagation Measurements in High Multipath Environments using the PulsON 400 UWB Transceiver
APS/URSI 2012 Lab PresentationDownload
Example Lab Exercises
PulsON Education Challenge Winners' ExperimentsView
Example Pendulum Doppler ExperimentView
Example UAHuntsville Senior ProjectView