Commodity Devices refer to mass-produced, widely available, and relatively inexpensive hardware components or devices that are not specialized or customized for specific applications. These devices are designed for general use and are often produced in large quantities for a broad consumer market. The term “commodity” in this context implies that these devices are standard, interchangeable, and easily accessible.


Redefining Passive in Backscattering with Commodity Devices

Redefining Passive in Backscattering with Commodity Devices The recent innovation of frequency-shifted (FS) backscatter allows for backscattering with commodity devices, which are inherently half-duplex. However, their reliance on oscillators for generating the frequency-shifting signal on the tag, forces them to incur the transient phase of the oscillator before steady-state operation. We show how the oscillator’s transient phase can pose a fundamental limitation for battery-less tags, resulting in significantly low bandwidth efficiencies, thereby limiting their practical usage.To this end, we propose a novel approach to FS-backscatter called xSHIFT that shifts the core functionality of FS away from the tag and onto the commodity device, thereby eliminating the need for on-tag oscillators altogether. The key innovation in xSHIFT lies in addressing the formidable challenges that arise in making this vision a reality. Specifically, xSHIFT’s design is built on the construct of beating twin carrier tones through a non-linear device to generate the desired FS signal – while the twin RF carriers are generated externally through a careful embedding into the resource units of commodity WiFi transmissions, the beating is achieved through a carefully-designed passive tag circuitry. We prototype xSHIFT’s tag, which is the same form factor as RFID Gen 2 tags, and characterize its promising real-world performance. We believe xSHIFT demonstrates one of the first, truly passive tag designs that has the potential to bring commodity backscatter to consumer spaces.