First Advisor

Suresh Singh

Date of Publication

Spring 5-30-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Computer Science


Computer Science




Three-dimensional modeling, Ultra-wideband devices, Interior walls, Signal processing -- Digital techniques



Physical Description

1 online resource (xii, 144 pages)


This thesis studies the problem of estimating the interior structure of a collapsed building using embedded Ultra-Wideband (UWB) radios as sensors. The two major sensing problems needed to build the mapping system are determining wall type and wall orientation. We develop sensing algorithms that determine (1) load-bearing wall composition, thickness, and location and (2) wall position within the indoor cavity. We use extensive experimentation and measurement to develop those algorithms.

In order to identify wall types and locations, our research approach uses Received Signal Strength (RSS) measurement between pairs of UWB radios. We create an extensive database of UWB signal propagation data through various wall types and thicknesses. Once the database is built, fingerprinting algorithms are developed which determine the best match between measurement data and database information. For wall mapping, we use measurement of Time of Arrival (ToA) and Angle of Arrival (AoA) between pairs of radios in the same cavity. Using this data and a novel algorithm, we demonstrate how to determine wall material type, thickness, location, and the topology of the wall.

Our research methodology utilizes experimental measurements to create the database of signal propagation through different wall materials. The work also performs measurements to determine wall position in simulated scenarios. We ran the developed algorithms over the measurement data and characterized the error behavior of the solutions.

The experimental test bed uses Time Domain UWB radios with a center frequency of 4.7 GHz and bandwidth of over 3.2 GHz. The software was provided by Time Domain as well, including Performance Analysis Tool, Ranging application, and AoA application. For wall type identification, we use the P200 radio. And for wall mapping, we built a special UWB radio with both angle and distance measurement capability using one P200 radio and one P210 radio.

In our experimental design for wall identification, we varied wall type and distance between the radios, while fixing the number of radios, transmit power and the number of antennas per radio. For wall mapping, we varied the locations of reference node sensors and receiver sensors on adjoining and opposite walls, while fixing cavity size, transmit power, and the number of antennas per radio.

As we present in following chapters, our algorithms have very small estimation errors and can precisely identify wall types and wall positions.


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