Ultra Low Power Data Transfer


Executive Summary


The number of devices connected to the internet (smartphones, tablets, sensors, etc.) is estimated to grow to approximately 50 billion by 2020. In addition to the devices that the user interacts with directly (phone, PC, etc.) there is a large number of autonomous entities including temperature sensors, home security systems, garage doors, etc., which all gather and act on collected information (i.e. internet of things). One major challenge is to design low power sensors that require little or no battery power and low power means to transmit their data. Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have developed a novel communication protocol between individual sensors and sensor networks, resulting in an ultra-low power data transfer mechanism.

Description of Technology


MSU researchers have developed a new approach towards data transfer over a wired or wireless link using position-modulated pulses, resulting in an ultra-low power data transfer mechanism. This approach avoids transmitting traditional packet based protocol data units, which requires many bit-transmissions and often involves high energy consumption. This new invention targets sensing applications in which energy is scarce or limited. 


Key Benefits

  • Ultra-low power communication: Requires a maximum of three bits transmissions for a single unit of data
  • Ultra-low power data transfer mechanism: Multiple-node to multiple-node communication
  • Code a data value for the time gap between two transmitted pulses: This approach allows sending any value, with bounds, using just two pulses, which is not possible using traditional packet based transports
  • Methods have been developed for: 1) medium access protocols for point-to-point links, 2) medium access protocols for multi-access links, 3) interleaving protocols for packing multiple data values in order to reduce overall transmission delays, and 4) a compression protocol to reduce the overall energy and delay budgets.
  • Complete protocol architecture: Specific protocols, extensive simulation and analytical models are available for evaluating the performance of the system relative to comparable packet based traditional solutions have been developed



  • Energy-limited data collection
  • Internet of Things low power communication protocol
  • Remote or in field sensing
  • Structure health monitoring
  • Airplane wing and fuselage structure integrity monitoring
  • Underground infrastructure monitoring 
  • Remote sensing from locations with limited-access, such as buoys and oil rigs

Patent Status:


Published Patent Application  US#20170171889


Licensing Rights Available


Full licensing rights available


Inventors: Subir Biswas, Dezhi Feng, Faezeh Hajiaghajani, Saptarshi Das


Tech ID: TEC2015-0094



Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Raymond Devito
Technology Manager
Michigan State University