Highlights: SenSys19 best paper; mmwave

Authors: Zhengxiong Li (University at Buffalo); Baicheng Chen (University at Buffalo); Zhuolin Yang (University at Buffalo); Huining Li (Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications); Chenhan Xu (University at Buffalo); Xingyu Chen (University at Buffalo); Kun Wang (Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications); Wenyao Xu (University at Buffalo)

Paper: link

Slides/Video: link

Abstract: Inventory management is pivotal in the supply chain to supervise the non-capitalized products and stock items. Item counting, indexing and identification are the major jobs of inventory management. Currently, the most adopted inventory technologies in product counting/identification are using either the laser-scannable barcode or the radio-frequency identification (RFID). However, the laserscannable barcode is entangled by an alignment issue (i.e., the laser reader must align with one barcode in line-of-sight), and the RFID is economically and environmentally unfriendly (i.e., high-cost and not naturally disposable). To this end, we propose FerroTag which is a paper-based mmWave-scannable tagging infrastructure for the next generation inventory management system, featuring ultra-low cost, environment-friendly, battery-free and in-situ (i.e., multiple tags can be simultaneously processed outside the line-of-sight). FerroTag is developed on top of the FerroRF effects. Specifically, the magnetic nanoparticles within the ferrofluidic ink reply to probing mmWave with classifiable features (i.e., the FerroRF response). By designating the ink pattern and hence the location of particles, the related FerroRF response can be modified. Thus, a specifically designated ferrofluidic ink printed pattern, which is associated with a unique FerroRF response, is a remotely retrievable (a.k.a., mmWave-scannable) identity. Furthermore, we augment FerroTag by designing a high capacity pattern system and a fine-grained identification protocol such that the capacity and robustness of FerroTag can be systematically improved in mass product management in inventory. Last but not least, we evaluate the performance of FerroTag with 201 different tag design patterns. Results show that FerroTag can identify tags with an accuracy of more than 99% in a controlled lab setup. Moreover, we examine the reliability, robustness and performance of FerroTag under various real-world circumstances, where FerroTag maintains the accuracy over 97%. Therefore, FerroTag is a promising tagging infrastructure for the applications in inventory management systems.



  • Claim to be even cheaper than RFID with 99%+ accuracy
  • The use case is inventory management but there are more scenarios to be explored. For example, medication management, patient management, device localization in hospital.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *