An ultrasonic through-wall communication (UTWC) system model

Sebastian Roa-Prada, Henry A. Scarton, Gary J. Saulnier, David A. Shoudy, Jonathan D. Ashdown, Pankaj K. Das, Andrew J. Gavens

Research output: Articles / NotesScientific Articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Ultrasonic waves at 1 MHz are used to send information across solid walls without the needs for through wall penetrations. A communication channel is established by attaching a set of three ultrasonic transducers to the wall. The first transducer transmits a continuous ultrasonic wave into the wall. The second transducer is mounted on the opposite side of the wall (inside) and operates as a receiver and signal modulator. The third transducer, the outside receiving transducer, is installed on the same side as the first transducer where it is exposed to the signal reflected from the blended interface of the inside wall and inside transducer. Inside sensor data is digitized and the bit state is used to vary in time the electrical load connected to the inside transducer, changing its acoustic impedance in accordance with each data bit. These impedance changes modulate the amplitude of the reflected ultrasonic signal. The modulated signal is detected at the outside receiving transducer, where it is then demodulated to recover the data. Additionally, some of the ultrasonic power received at the inside transducer is harvested to provide energy for the communication and sensor system on the inside. The entire system (ultrasonic, solid wall, and electronic) is modeled in the electrical domain by means of electro-mechanical analogies. This approach enables the concurrent simulation of the ultrasonic and electronic components. A model of the communication system is implemented in an electronic circuit simulation package, which assisted in the analysis and optimization of the communication channel. Good agreement was found between the modeled and experimental results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number011004
JournalJournal of Vibration and Acoustics, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


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