What has the ATTRACT seed funding enabled you to do so far?
Lighting is present in most indoor areas. Apart from illumination, lighting infrastructure can be also used for data communication using Visible Light Communication (VLC) technology. Within VLADIMIR, we aim at detecting variations on the received optical power resulting from different “events” taking place in the room. This way, security and privacy concerns related to the capture, storage and manipulation of actual images/videos of people are avoided, as well as Electro-Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) problems and low-accuracy limitations that Radio-based counterpart systems face.
So far, ATTRACT seed funding has enabled an active collaboration between a centre of fundamental research based in Finland (AALTO University) and a centre of applied research based in Spain (CTTC). Thanks to the complementary expertise that these two institutions have, it has been possible to derive the theoretical modelling of the optical wireless scenario, as well as the software-defined testbed that is required to collect the actual status of the VLC channel, which will be used to train the classification algorithm that will estimate the most likely “target” events that are taking place in the room.
What challenges have you faced so far?
Although the use of visible light for wireless communication has existed for many year, the status of the technology is far from matured. Due to that, there are many technical details that are not completely yet defined, including the technical specifications of the Hardware (LEDs) and Physical-layer parameters that will be used. Since the aim of the project is to propose a low-cost solution, commercial components have been utilized so far the development of the VLC demonstrator; the practical limitations that these off-the-shelf components introduce have been addressed using the vast experience on signal processing for communications that the members of the VLADIMIR team have.
Where does your ATTRACT journey go from here?
After VLADIMIR concept is validated in a controlled “laboratory” setting, the plan is to move forward into the development of the technology and its testing in few experimental pilots more connected to real-world use-cases. In addition, we will provide support to researchers of applied research team, which have already contacted us and expressed their interest in finding solutions for the monitoring the status of an indoor environments accurately, to put in practice their own technological solution to the problem that they have identified.
Sum up in two sentences the advantages of the ATTRACT Programme over other research funding schemes.
The seed funding opportunity offered by ATTRACT was unique. Participation requirements were flexible, as well rules that defined the way in which the funding could be spent. If ATTRACT project had not existed, it would have been very difficult to secure the funding for this innovative concept that has been developed so far between CTTC (Spain) and Aalto (Finland), setting the framework for fruitful collaboration.