Alanson Sample

Associate Lab Director & Principal Research Scientist at Disney Research in Pittsburgh and leads the Wireless Systems group. His research focuses on enabling new user experiences by applying novel approaches to sensing, electromagnetics, radio systems.


”Hacking the RF Phy: Wireless power transfer, RF sensing, battery-free communication and beyond”

Harnessing the power of electromagnetic waves has changed how we live, work and play. While the semiconductor industry has focused on enabling faster, cheaper, and lower power wireless devices, there is the opportunity to use this underlying technology to re-examine the RF physical layer and explore novel means of using electromagnetic waves for sensing, communication, and energy transfer.

This talk presents an overview of ongoing projects in the Wireless Systems Group at Disney Research, which focuses on creating new interactive experiences through innovations in sensing, circuit design, and signal processing. This includes the use of signal processing techniques that turn battery-free, long-range RFID tags into minimalistic sensors capable of human object interaction detection and connecting everyday objects to the Internet of Things. A smartwatch prototype that measures the EMI noise emitted by common electronic devices to enable real-time touch based device classification and identification. Ultra-wide band ambient backscatter techniques that use the radio waves present throughout our environment as a medium for communication. Along with a new form of wireless power transfer based on quasi-static cavity resonance which enables room wide wireless power delivery to mobile devices contained nearly anywhere within.