Although interest in connected devices has surged in recent years, barriers still remain to realizing the dream of the Internet of Things (IoT). There are two main challenges in delivering IoT systems. The first challenge is throughput. There will be billions of connected devices that need to send their data to the cloud, while our Wi-Fi and LTE networks are already congested. The second challenge is energy. Many IoT devices will be placed in inaccessible locations, and hence their lifetime will depend on how efficiently they use their batteries. Other IoT devices may be very small and must operate using a limited energy source. My work addresses both challenges by developing custom software-hardware systems for the Internet of Things. In this talk, I will present two examples of this research. The first example tackles the throughput challenge by developing new millimeter wave devices and protocols. My work addresses two main problems that prevent the adoption of millimeter wave frequencies in today’s networks: signal blockage and beam alignment. I show how my approach enables many new IoT applications, including untethered high-quality virtual reality. The second example tackles the energy challenge by introducing Caraoke, a smart city sensor that enables traffic management, speeding detection, and smart parking. The sensor is small, low-cost and low-power, and hence can be easily deployed on street lamps. Caraoke was deployed on Cambridge streets for 6 months and recently won the Boston smart city competition.
Omid Abari is a Ph.D. candidate in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. He works on wireless networks and IoT systems. During his Ph.D., he designed, built, and deployed new software-hardware systems that deliver ubiquitous sensing, computing, and communications at scale. His research has been featured in Wired, Engadget, Techcrunch, and New Scientist. He was awarded the Merrill Lynch Fellowship in 2011 and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postgraduate Scholarships in 2011 and 2013. He won the ACM Student Research Competition (SRC) in 2014 and 2016. He received a Bachelor’s degree with high distinction in Communications Engineering from Carleton University in Canada, where he was awarded the Senate Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement.