ANU engineers awarded for innovative research

Thursday 6 October 2016

A team engineers from the Research School of Electrical, Energy and Materials Engineering at ANU have been awarded for their innovative research on transferring power and information through wireless signals.

Dr Ali Nasir, Dr Sean Zhou, Dr Salman Durrani and Dr Rod Kennedy have been awarded the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Communications Society Asia-Pacific Outstanding Paper Award, for their paper Relaying protocols for wireless energy harvesting and information processing.

Research undertaken by the team discovered that it was feasible to equip low-power communication devices with rechargeable batteries which harvest energy from ambient radio frequency signals, such as signals from TV towers and mobile phone base stations.

Their awarded paper took this idea a step further.

“This paper goes one step deeper than research in this area has before. When we use wireless signals to transfer power, we can also transfer information. The paper is one of the first works that recognises the novel idea of bringing these two ideas together, looking at how wireless power transfer helps to enable wireless information transfer and how they interact with one another,” said Dr Sean Zhou.

Wireless sensors are used in various Australian sports, such as rowing, to collect performance data from athletes. They are also used for condition monitoring of structures such as bridges and machinery in factories.

In 10 to 15 years’ time the application of this research could improve our quality of life, says Dr Salman Durrani.

“If we can use energy harvesting to solve the battery replacement problem for wireless sensors, we can implement long-lasting monitoring devices for health, agriculture, mining, wildlife and critical national infrastructure."

The society is the premier international platform for the exchange of ideas on communications technologies and information networking. The award honours outstanding original papers published in the IEEE Communications Society journals and conferences over the last three years, authored by members in the Asia-Pacific region.

Since publication, the Paper has received nearly 400 Google Scholar citations.

“We are excited to receive this award, but what matters more is the significant impact this paper has already had. It is being used by other researchers, which brings attention to the idea.”

Professor Elanor Huntington, Dean of the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science has commended the team for their award and high-quality of research.

“This is an excellent award that recognises the outstanding quality of research our colleagues have produced.”

A representative from the team will travel to Washington DC in December to attend the IEEE Global Communications Conference and collect the award. 

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