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07.31.19 - Developing a miniaturized indoor mapping system app

UCI engineering professor and SURF-IoT (Summer Undergraduate
Research Fellowship in the Internet of Things) mentor Andrei Shkel


At a lunchtime seminar Thursday at CALIT2, UCI engineering professor and SURF-IoT (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in the Internet of Things) mentor Andrei Shkel introduced summer fellows to one of the program’s 14 current research projects.

Known as a Personal Navigation System (PNS), the project is an innovative framework designed to monitor and communicate the location of emergency responders or others inside buildings or uncovered outdoor environments where GPS is unavailable. The system is self-contained and small enough to be embedded into the sole of a pair of shoes, and because it doesn’t rely on GPS satellite signals, it can’t be jammed or hacked by outside interference.

The PNS uses ultra-miniaturized microchips, created by a process that facilitates glass blowing on a wafer level.

Years ago on a family vacation in Spain, Shkel observed a glassblowing demonstration, and came upon the idea of employing this 2,000-year-old art technique in the fabrication of microchips.

The process is based on etching cavities in silicon, followed by anodic bonding of a thin glass wafer to the etched silicon wafer. The bonded wafers are then heated inside a furnace at a temperature above the softening point of the glass, and due to the expansion of the trapped gas in the silicon cavities, the glass is blown into three-dimensional spherical shells.  SURF-Iot fellow and computer engineering student Anthony Skoury is responsible for building an android-app interface that transforms the streaming data from the system into visual geographic information that can be displayed and tracked in real time.

While working alongside graduate mentors, Skoury will integrate and test the developed app with the system in both indoor and outdoor environments and perform experimental measurements.

SURF-IoT is co-sponsored by UROP and CALIT2. The program is designed to help students develop the knowledge and skills that will propel them into graduate studies or careers in various multidisciplinary fields related to IoT. Under the personal guidance of a UCI faculty mentor, students gain firsthand experience and training in state-of-the-art facilities and techniques.

A series of lunchtime seminars featuring presentations by SURF-IoT mentors is aimed at enhancing dialogue about IoT systems and applications. These seminars are held on Thursdays in CALIT2 Room 3008 and are open to the public. For dates and times, please visit the CALIT2 event listings.

At the conclusion of the 10-week program, on August 29, SURF-IoT fellows will present their research findings at the SURF-IoT Symposium in the CALIT2 Auditorium.

For more information about SURF-IoT visit UROP.

- Sharon Henry