PassiveRETRO: Enabling Completely Passive Visible Light Localization for IoT Applications

Sihua Shao, Abdallah Khreishah, Juan Paez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

16 Scopus citations


Identifying the accurate location of small objects is a key element of Internet of Things (IoT). This paper investigates the feasibility of tracking the real-time location of a completely passive retroreflector using visible light for IoT applications. Existing ultra-low power visible light retroreflector systems modulate light with a liquid crystal display (LCD) shutter, which is powered by a solar cell. However, the solar cell costs additional space exclusively for energy harvesting, and it may not be able to supply enough power to the advanced power-hungry LCD shutter and its driver circuit. To eliminate the power supply, we design, implement and evaluate PassiveRETRO, an enhanced retroreflector-based visible light localization system. The PassiveRETRO system completely eliminates the necessity of any electronic component on the IoT devices. Polarization-based modulation and bandpass optical filters are adopted to identify the retroreflected optical signal and create multiple channels. Each IoT device operates on a specific range of the visible light spectrum. Optical rotatory dispersion is further applied to mitigate the mutual interference among different channels. Experimental results from our prototyped system show that PassiveRETRO is robust to environmental reflection and can still achieve centimeter-level location accuracy when multiple IoT devices are deployed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationINFOCOM 2019 - IEEE Conference on Computer Communications
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781728105154
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Event2019 IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, INFOCOM 2019 - Paris, France
Duration: Apr 29 2019May 2 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
ISSN (Print)0743-166X


Conference2019 IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, INFOCOM 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Internet of Things
  • Visible light localization
  • passive localization
  • polarization
  • retroreflection


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