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Demba Komma awarded Microsoft Research Ada Lovelace Fellowship for research on IoT localization technologies

Komma, a PhD student, is working to develop robust low powered localization technology for Artificial Intelligence enabled Internet of Things in locations where GPS is limited or blocked. | Short Read
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ECE PhD student Demba Komma has been awarded a 2021 Ada Lovelace Fellowship by Microsoft Research for his research on advancing localization technologies, which could improve the safety of activities such as driving, firefighting rescue operations, remote surgery, and traversing harsh environments.

“Our very low cost, low power system provides a much better localization accuracy in indoor environments than technologies that rely on GPS,” Komma says.

Our very low cost, low power system provides a much better localization accuracy in indoor environments than technologies that rely on GPS.Demba Komma, ECE PhD student

Komma focuses on developing robust low powered localization technology for Artificial Intelligence enabled Internet of Things in locations where GPS is limited or blocked. He relies on trained neural networks and machine learning models to improve localization accuracy and enhance performance.

Specifically, Komma uses a narrow-band radio frequency hopping scheme for both line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight conditions, which ensures frequency diversity, so the system is less prone to interference in a shared environment. The localization is accurate to within tens of centimeters, and the design is robust enough to work even in environments where GPS is limited or blocked. This is particularly important in crisis situations, such as a firefighting mission. So long as each firefighter wears a tag, the localization technology will be able to accurately and quickly track their movements through a burning building. Should something go wrong, it would be easier and faster to locate firefighters and provide help.

“This research is important to me, as it delves into working on a key technology that can be used to ensure safety and improve the lives of people and our planet,” Komma says.

Komma, who earned his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Mississippi, is co-advised by Mingyan Liu, the Peter and Evelyn Fuss Chair of ECE, and Prof. Hun-Seok Kim. He is an active member of the ECE Graduate Student Council where he runs BuddEEs, an ECE PhD Peer Mentoring program. He also serves as Treasurer of the Graduate Society of Black Engineers and Scientists.

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Hayley Hanway

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Hayley Hanway
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