Acoustic Sensing and Communication Using Metasurface


Yongzhao Zhang, Yezhou Wang, and Lanqing Yang, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Mei Wang, UT Austin; Yi-Chao Chen, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Microsoft Research Asia; Lili Qiu, UT Austin and Microsoft Research Asia; Yihong Liu, University of Glasgow; Guangtao Xue and Jiadi Yu, Shanghai Jiao Tong University


Acoustic sensing is increasingly popular owing to widely available devices that support them. Yet the sensing resolution and range are still limited due to limited bandwidth and sharp decay in the signal at inaudible frequencies. Inspired by recent development in acoustic metasurfaces, in this paper, we first perform an in-depth study of acoustic metasurface (AMS) and compare it with the phased array speaker. Our results show that AMS is attractive as it achieves a significant SNR increase while maintaining a compact size. A major limitation of existing AMS is its static configuration. Since our target may be at any possible location, it is important to support scanning in different directions. We develop a novel acoustic system that leverages a metasurface and a small number of speakers. We jointly optimize the configuration of metasurface and transmission signals from the speakers to achieve low-cost dynamic steering. Using a prototype implementation and extensive evaluation, we demonstrate its effectiveness in improving SNR, acoustic sensing accuracy, and acoustic communication reliability over a wide range of scenarios.

NSDI '23 Open Access Sponsored by
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

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@inproceedings {286455,
author = {Yongzhao Zhang and Yezhou Wang and Lanqing Yang and Mei Wang and Yi-Chao Chen and Lili Qiu and Yihong Liu and Guangtao Xue and Jiadi Yu},
title = {Acoustic Sensing and Communication Using Metasurface},
booktitle = {20th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-33-5},
address = {Boston, MA},
pages = {1359--1374},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = apr,

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