Approaches for Inaudible Acoustic Communication

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Edmund Noval PhD Thesis: "Security and Provacy for Ubiquitous Mobile Devices". The author has developed an ultrasonic communication protocol (based on binary phase/frequency shift keying), see Chapter 4 for details. It has a theoretical transmission rate of 4.6kbps and operates between 18 and 22kHz. It uses phase and frequency coding.
Lee, H., Kim, T. H., Choi, J. W., & Choi, S. (2015, April). Chirp signal-based aerial acoustic communication for smart devices. In 2015 IEEE Conference on Computer Communications (INFOCOM) (pp. 2407-2415). IEEE. Smart devices such as smartphones and tablet/wearable PCs are equipped with voice user interface, i.e., speaker and microphone. Accordingly, various aerial acoustic communication techniques have been introduced to utilize the voice user interface as a communication interface. In this paper, we propose an aerial acoustic communication system using inaudible audio signal for low-rate communication in indoor environments. By adopting chirp signal, which is widely used for radar applications due to its capability of resolving multi-path propagation, the proposed acoustic modem supports long-range communication independent of device characteristics over severely frequency-selective acoustic channel. We also design a backend server architecture to compensate for the low data rate of chirp signal-based acoustic modem. Via extensive experiments, we evaluate various characteristics of the proposed modem including multi-path resolution and multiple chirp signal detection. We also verify that the proposed chirp signal can deliver data at 16 bps in typical indoor environments, where its maximum transmission range is drastically extended up to 25 m compared to the few meters of the previous research. Basis for encoding the informationa are chirp sounds. Frequency range: 19.5-22kHz, range: up to 25 meters
T. Hosman, M. Yeary, J. K. Antonio, and B. Hobbs, ―Multitone FSK for ultrasonic communication,‖ in Proc. Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference IEEE, 2010, pp. 1424–1429. Traditional radio frequency communication schemes are not capable of transmitting signals through metal enclosures. However, in some applications it is necessary to transmit information to/from devices located inside metal enclosures, e.g., a closed shipping container in transit. A conformal ultrasonic communication system based on multi-tone FSK (MFSK) has been developed and evaluated using steel corner posts from shipping containers as the communication medium. The communication system is configurable, consisting of two or more modules. A module is mounted to a metal surface and utilizes an inexpensive ultrasonic transducer to send and receive modulated signals through the metal channel. A module also makes use of an inexpensive DSP chip for modulating and demodulating MFSK signals. For the shipping container application, experiments were conducted that achieve data rates of approximately 800 bps. Experiments related to two scenarios for the shipping container application were investigated: (1) communicating through one container and (2) communication between stacked containers. For the second case, experiments were conducted with modules on two separate corner posts that are under compressive load. Application: communication inside shipping containers
C. Li, D. Hutchins, and R. Green, ―Short-range ultrasonic digital communications in air,‖ IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, vol. 55, no. 4, pp. 908–918, 2008. The use of ultrasound in air as a means of communicating digital signals is demonstrated. The work uses capacitive transducers with a useful bandwidth to transmit digitally coded signals across an air gap in the laboratory, using three of the common methods used in digital communications. These are on-off keying (OOK), binary frequency-shift keying (BFSK), and binary phase shift keying (BPSK). All three methods are simulated numerically using the available bandwidth of the transducer systems and are compared to results obtained experimentally. It is demonstrated that BPSK can be used to transmit signals with a low bit error rate. 3 types of modulations are evaluated: on-off keying, binary frequency shift keying and binary phase keying
Santagati, G. E., & Melodia, T. (2016). A Software-Defined Ultrasonic Networking Framework for Wearable Devices. IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking Wearable medical devices with wireless capabilities have become the cornerstone of many revolutionary digital health applications that promise to predict and treat major diseases by acquiring and processing physiological information. Existing wireless wearable devices are connected through radio frequency electromagnetic wave carriers based on standards, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. However, these solutions tend to almost blindly scale down traditional wireless technologies to the body environment, with little or no attention to the peculiar characteristics of the human body and the severe privacy and security requirements of patients. We contend that this is not the only possible approach, and we introduce U-Wear, the first networking framework for wearable medical devices based on ultrasonic communications. U-Wear encloses a set of physical, data link, and network layer functionalities that can flexibly adapt to application and system requirements to efficiently distribute information between ultrasonic wearable devices. U-Wear also offers reconfiguration functionalities at the application layer to provide a flexible platform to develop medical applications. We design two prototypes that implement U-Wear and operate in the near-ultrasonic frequency range using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) speakers and microphones. Despite the limited bandwidth, i.e., about 2 kHz, and COTS hardware components not optimized for operating at high frequency, our prototypes: 1) achieve data rates up to 2.76 kbit/s with bit-error-rate lower than 10⁻⁵ using a transmission power of 13 dBm (20 mW); 2) enable multiple nodes to share the medium; and 3) implement reconfigurable processing to extract medical parameters from sensors with high accuracy. Ultrasonic communication for communication between medical devices; 2.7kbit/s with error rate 10^-5
Wang, Q., Ren, K., Zhou, M., Lei, T., Koutsonikolas, D., & Su, L. (2016, October). Messages behind the sound: real-time hidden acoustic signal capture with smartphones. In Proceedings of the 22nd Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (pp. 29-41). ACM. With the ever-increasing use of smart devices, recent research endeavors have led to unobtrusive screen-camera communication channel designs, which allow simultaneous screen viewing and hidden screen-camera communication. Such practices, albeit innovative and effective, require well-controlled alignment of camera and screen and obstacle-free access. In this paper, we develop Dolphin, a novel form of real-time acoustics-based dual-channel communication, which uses a speaker and the microphones on off-the-shelf smartphones to achieve concurrent audible and hidden communication. By leveraging masking effects of the human auditory system and readily available audio signals in our daily lives, Dolphin ensures real-time unobtrusive speaker-microphone data communication without affecting the primary audio-hearing experience for human users, while, at the same time, it overcomes the main limitations of existing screen-camera links. Our Dolphin prototype, built using off-the-shelf smartphones, realizes real-time hidden communication, supports up to 8-meter signal capture distance and ±90° listening angle and achieves decoding rate above 80% without error correction. Further, it achieves average data rates of up to 500bps while keeping the decoding rate above 95% within a distance of 1m. The dolphin framework is presented for ultrasonic communication with smartphones technology behind: orthogonal frequency division multiplexin (OFDM)
Ka, S., Kim, T. H., Ha, J. Y., Lim, S. H., Shin, S. C., Choi, J. W., ... & Choi, S. (2016, October). Near-ultrasound communication for TV's 2nd screen services. In Proceedings of the 22nd Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (pp. 42-54). ACM. In this paper, we propose a near-ultrasound chirp signal-based communication for the TV's 2nd screen services. While near-ultrasound (with under 20 kHz frequency) communication has been developed for various applications recently, none of the previous work provides a perfect solution for 2nd screen services between TVs and smart devices. This is due mainly to the following real world challenges. The embedded signal in TV contents should be successfully received in a typical TV-watching environment by (i) delivering information at least at 15 bps with significantly low volume to avoid human perception, (ii) despite the presence of ambient noise, e.g., a tick, a snap, or a knock. To fulfill (i), we design chirp quaternary orthogonal keying (QOK) symbols. Especially, we aim to minimize inter-symbol interference (ISI) effects by symbol design in order to completely eliminate guard intervals. To resolve (ii), we propose the novel J-shape detection algorithms for both frame synchronization and carrier sensing. The proposed modem achieves almost zero frame error rate on a smartphone 2.7 m away from the TV even with minimal receive sound pressure level of 35 dBSPL, i.e., the noise level in a very quiet room. Moreover, throughout experiments and log analysis of 2nd screen service deployed in a nation-wide TV broadcasting system, J-shape detection algorithms are proven to achieve highly resilient performance for both frame synchronization and carrier sensing compared to previous schemes. Near-ultrasound signals; modulation: chirp quaternary orthogonal coding (QOK); Application: sync TV and smartphone (for second screen applications)
Zhang, B., Zhan, Q., Chen, S., Li, M., Ren, K., Wang, C., & Ma, D. (2014). PriWhisper: Enabling Keyless Secure Acoustic Communication for Smartphones. IEEE Internet of Things Journal, 1(1), 33-45. Short-range wireless communication technologies have been used in many security-sensitive smartphone applications and services such as contactless micro payment and device pairing. Typically, the data confidentiality of the existing short-range communication systems relies on so-called “key-exchange then encryption” mechanism. Namely, both parties need to spend extra communication to establish a common key before transmitting their actual messages, which is inefficient, especially for short communication sessions. In this work, we present PriWhisper — a keyless secure acoustic short-range communication system for smartphones. It is designed to provide a purely software-based solution to secure smartphone short-range communication without the key agreement phase. PriWhisper adopts the emerging friendly jamming technique from radio communication for data confidentiality. The system prototype is implemented and eval-uated on several Android smartphone platforms for efficiency and usability. We theoretically and experimentally analyze the security of our proposed acoustic communication system against various passive and active adversaries. In particular, we also study the (in)separability of the data signal and jamming sig-nal against Blind Signal Segmentation (BSS) attacks such as Independent Component Analysis (ICA). The result shows that PriWhisper provides sufficient security guarantees for commercial smartphone applications and yet strong compatibilities with most legacy smartphone platforms The Pre-Whisper project realizes novel NFC approaches for smartphones (among others with audio)

Lin, M. C., Huang, F. Y., & Chiueh, T. D. (2015, July). A-NFC: Two-way near-field communications (NFC) via inaudible acoustics. In Information, Intelligence, Systems and Applications (IISA), 2015 6th International Conference on (pp. 1-6). IEEE. Near Field Communication (NFC) is a technology for wireless short-range communication. The main attribute of NFC is proximity and that data transmission will take place only within a very small area. However, NFC-based applications are still not prevalent due to slow progress of NFC hardware penetration. In this paper, we present A-NFC, an NFC-like communication system, which operates on existing mobile phones. It is an inaudible acoustics-based system utilizing the microphones and speakers on mobile phones. In addition, A-NFC is purely software based and can run on different operating systems. A-NFC implements full-duplex two-way communication by designing two independent channels in the inaudible frequency band. To the best of our knowledge, A-NFC is the first acoustics communication system capable of inaudible and two-way communications on various popular platforms (Android and iOS included). Extensive experiments demonstrate that A-NFC can reliably provide NFC capability with a data rate up to 2.2 Kbps on various devices. Inaudible two-way communication for Android and iPhone

Frequency band: 15.8-20.6 KHz, Modulation: Frequency-Division Duplexing (FDD) Send and receive on different frequency channels ||