Multichannel ultrasonic data communications in air using range-dependent modulation schemes

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Jiang, Wentao
Wright, William M. D.
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Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
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There are several well-developed technologies of wireless communication such as radio frequency (RF) and infrared (IR), but ultrasonic methods can be a good alternative in some situations. A multichannel airborne ultrasonic data communication system is described in this paper. ON-OFF keying (OOK) and binary phase-shift keying (BPSK) modulation schemes were implemented successfully in the system by using a pair of commercially available capacitive ultrasonic transducers in a relatively low multipath indoor laboratory environment. Six channels were used from 50 to 110 kHz with a channel spacing of 12 kHz, allowing multiple 8-bit data packets to be transmitted simultaneously. The system data transfer rate achieved was up to 60 kb/s and ultrasonic wireless synchronization was implemented instead of using a hard-wired link. A model developed in the work could accurately predict ultrasonic signals through the air channels. Signal root mean square (rms) values and system bit error rates (BERs) were analyzed over different distances. Error-free decoding was achieved over ranges up to 5 m using a multichannel OOK modulation scheme. To obtain the highest data transfer rate and the longest error-free transmission distance, a range-dependent multichannel scheme with variable data rates, channel frequencies, and different modulation schemes, was also studied in the work. Within 2 m, error-free transmission was achieved using a five-channel OOK with a data rate of 63 kb/s. Between 2 and 5 m, six-channel OOK with 60 kb/s data transfer rate was error free. Beyond 5 m, the error-free transmission range could be extended up to 10 m using three-channel BPSK with a reduced data rate of 30 kb/s. The situation when two transducers were misaligned using three-channel OOK and BPSK schemes was also investigated in the work. It was concluded that error-free transmission could still be achieved with a lateral displacement of less than 7% and oblique angles of less than 7°, and three-channel BPSK proved to be more robust than three-channel OOK with transducer misalignment.
Receivers , Air-coupled ultrasound , Bit error rate , BER , Capacitive ultrasonic transducer , Multichannel communication , OOK , Binary phase-shift keying , BPSK , Modulation , Wireless synchronization , ON-OFF keying , Acoustics , Transducers , Atmospheric modeling , Frequency modulation
Jiang, W. and Wright, W. M. D. (2016) 'Multichannel ultrasonic data communications in air using range-dependent modulation schemes', IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, 63(1), pp. 147-155. doi:10.1109/TUFFC.2015.2498479