Invited Presentation: “Wireless Beyond RF: From Underwater to Intra-body Ultrasonic Software Defined Radios”

There is increasing interest in applications that require deploying networks in environments where traditional electromagnetic radio-frequency (RF) wireless technologies do not work at all or work very poorly. Examples include underwater surveillance systems, tactical networks affected by heavy RF jamming, or networks of implantable medical devices in the human body.

In this talk, I will give an overview of our ongoing work exploring a different approach, i.e., establishing wireless networks that use acoustic waves (at ultrasonic frequencies) as a carrier of information in challenged environments. I will focus on work that has developed software-defined ultrasonic “radios” that adapt their behavior to cope with the uncertainty and fast variability of the acoustic propagation environment underwater and in the human body. I will then discuss our research on designing and prototyping ultrasonic networking protocols through a closed-loop combination of mathematical modeling, simulation, and experimental evaluation.


Tommaso Melodia is an Associate Professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2007. He  is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award, and coauthored a paper that was recognized as the ISI Fast Breaking Paper in the field of Computer Science for February 2009 and of ACM WUWNet 2013 and 2015 Best Paper Awards. He serves in the Editorial Boards of IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, and Computer Networks (Elsevier). His current research interests are in modeling, optimization, and experimental evaluation of networked communication systems, with applications to ultrasonic intra-body networks, cognitive and cooperative networks, multimedia sensor networks, and underwater networks.