ESR4. Applications of Visible Light Communications (VLC) to the IIoT

Main supervisor profile and contact: Dr. Josep Paradells Aspas and Dr. Marisa Catalan Cid

Institution: i2CAT

Description of the job: The focus of the PhD consists in proposing, designing and validating applications of Visual Light. As the existing RF spectrum becomes more crowded, new frequency bands are needed. mmWave is the next band to explore but light (visible and non-visible) can offer even higher bit rates using different transmitter and receiver technologies. Light based communications, in addition to the data rate improvement are more suitable for industrial scenarios since they are no prone to RF interference and are easier to confine avoiding leaking information and being jammed. Light Communications feasible and valuable for Industrial IoT environments. The PhD will investigate on energy-efficiency technologies and the use of hybrid VLC-RF solutions to improve indoor positioning.

Mission: The selected candidate will carry out a PhD at the Mobile Wireless Internet group in i2CAT, Barcelona. The topic of the PhD is “Applications of Visible Light Communications (VLC) to the IIoT.” and is funded by the ITN MSCA H2020 project 5GSmartFact (webpage-TBD). The selected candidate will be part of a network of 14 Early-Stage Researchers (ESR) funded by the project, benefiting from multiple training and research activities. The objectives of the PhD include: 1) Design, implementation and validation of energy self-sufficient VLC IoT motes tailored for industrial environments. 2) Design, implementation and validation of VLC-only and hybrid RF-VLC prototypes. 3) Design of energy-efficient and harvesting solutions. 4) Development of cm-level tracking and positioning algorithms that use VLC emitting devices as reference markers in a 3D environment. 5) Development of positioning solution that can be used in dark spaces based on Time Difference Of Arrival (TDOA). This solution is able to work with photodiodes instead of cameras and provide location even without line of sight. This solution is going to be compared with mmWave based solution. 6) Study and implement precise synchronization system needed to implement scalable and precise TDOA. 7) Characterization of mmWave technology to achieve high precision localization through AoA and ToF in industrial environments. 8) Algorithms to fuse localization data coming from RF and VLC systems, robust to non-LoS situations, that will be used for assisting robot navigation, and tools tracking.

Main functions: The expected outcomes of the PhD include: 1) The design and validation of two energy self-sufficient VLC IoT motes, including one RF-VLC hybrid mote, where VLC is used to wake up the device but communication is done using an RF modem, and one pure VLC where both wake-up and communications are done using VLC. Devices using photovoltaic panels will be used to harvest energy and receive downlink data. 2) Demonstration of cm-level tracking positioning solutions using VLC emitting devices. 3) Demonstration of positioning mechanisms based on hybridation of RF and VLC applied to industrial environments. 4) Publications in top-tier conferences and journals. 5) Patents in collaboration with the industrial advisors.

Secondments: The selected candidate will take part in two secondments of 9 months each, hosted by BOSCH in Germany (advised by Dr. Andreas Muller), and ING in Portugal (advised by Dr. Micael Couceiro).

Doctoral programme: The ESR will be enrolled in the UPC Doctoral programme on Network Engineering.

Requirements of the candidate

  • Education level: Master on Engineering

  • Degree/speciality: Electrical Engineering, Telecommunications, or Computer Science

  • Language skills: Fluency in English (written and oral). Spanish or Catalan are considered a plus.

  • Research experience: 1) Preliminary experience working with embedded devices and IoT. 2) Preliminary experience in IoT prototyping. 3) Preliminary experience in applying research methodology during Master’s Thesis. 4) Preliminary experience in developing analytical models to research problems

  • Other skills: 1) Understanding of 3GPP and IEEE802.15 TG7 technologies. 2) Understanding of electrical engineering and harvesting technologies. 3) Understanding of IoT technologies. 4) Analytical thinking. 5) Team-work, proactivity

Apply: Job application form and i2CAT vacancies website . Please remember to send your application to both websites