All posts by ggdowski

IEEE Future Networks: Connecting the Unconnected Challenge

Connecting the Unconnected Challenge


The IEEE Connecting the Unconnected Challenge is a new, global competition that solicits applications from early-stage projects and concepts that offer innovative ways to bridge the digital divide and connect unconnected (or under-connected) populations and regions.

Internet access is critical to education, industry, and healthy living. Unconnected populations lack access to sell goods and services online, and students lack access to schooling, which can force a decision between learning or earning a living. This digital divide is particularly impactful on women. According to UNESCO, across 10 countries in Africa, Asia, and South America, women are 30-50% less likely than men to make use of the internet, and at a global level, women are 23% less likely than men to use mobile internet.

In light of this dire and increasing need, IEEE’s Future Networks Initiative (FNI) has developed a competition that will reward projects and concepts that increase access and connectivity in less developed countries, or in areas of developed nations where connectivity is lacking. Open to start-ups, grassroots organizations, university projects, and others, the competition has two tracks that innovative solutions may fall under: a Proof-of-Concept Track and a Concept-Only Track.

Since solving connectivity issues is a multifaceted problem, each track also has different categories under which solutions may fall:

  • Technology Applications that increase broadband access or otherwise enable connectivity in innovative ways
  • Business Models that provide novel ways to make broadband connectivity more affordable
  • Community Enablement programs that increase the likelihood that populations choose to adopt available broadband access when previously they did not. (In these cases, supply and affordability are not problems, but people still don’t use the internet.)

Phase 1 of the competition will consist of a 500-word abstract, and the submission portal is scheduled to be open through 16 July. Those who advance to Phase 2 of the competition will complete longer applications in August.  Please visit the site for more information and help spread the word about this new program.

Please contact Ashutosh Dutta for more information!

Ashutosh Dutta, Ph.D.
Fellow of the IEEE
IEEE Future Networks Founding Co-Chair
IEEE Communications Society Distinguished Lecturer
Member-At-Large – IEEE Communications Society

RFID-based Backscattering for Wearable mIoT Sensors: A Feasibility Study Using a 5.8 GHz Cross-Polarized Patch Antenna, Raymond Jia, Tyler Lizzo, Annie Luo, Charles Lynch, Manos M. Tentzeris

 Title: RFID-based Backscattering for Wearable mIoT Sensors: A Feasibility Study Using a 5.8 GHz Cross-Polarized Patch Antenna


Raymond Jia, Tyler Lizzo, Annie Luo, Charles Lynch, Manos M. Tentzeris

University affiliation: Georgia Institute of Technology
Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering


Developments in the medical Internet of Things (mIoT) field have led to an increase in the need for wearable sensors with small energy and physical footprints. In this paper, RFID backscatter communication is introduced as an alternative wireless communication technique to existing WiFi and Bluetooth systems. RFID backscatter communication is known for its extreme low power consumption and small physical footprint, potentially ideal for long-term wearables. The feasibility of transmitting data via backscatter communication is investigated through analysis of data bit-error rates at varying transmission rates and distances while power consumption is compared to known consumption values of WiFi and Bluetooth to verify the energy advantage of the system.

Submitted by: Raymond Jia
Major: Computer Engineering
Degree being pursued: BS
Type of student: Senior

Mindcontrol, Bingfang (Cornelia) Chen

 Title: Mindcontrol


Bingfang (Cornelia) Chen

University affiliation: Cuny-New York City College of Technology
Department: Computer Engineering Technology


With the development of science and technology, many current research projects are focused on combining the fields of biology and computer technology to change people’s “misfortune” and improve and facilitate their lives. The focus of this research project is to design a controller to control an output device by using brain waves with the goal of creating an assistive technology device for people with physical disabilities.

In the current phase of the research project, background research is done to learn to use the Electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements of brain waves to control an electromechanical device such as a DC motor. A modified Mindflex game controller is connected to Arduino and brain activity data is passed on to Processing code running on a PC in order to track and record brain wave patterns. 

The electrical activity of the brain will be used to control the electrical toy. We try to automatically connect between master Bluetooth and slave Bluetooth without Arduino.

Future work in this research project will focus on using the mind controller as an assistive technology device to help a person with a physical disability carry out some mobility tasks. 

Submitted by: Bingfang (Cornelia) Chen
Major: Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering Technology
Degree being pursued: BS
Type of student: Senior