University of Cape Town

TitleCape Town uni

Inexpensive non-radiating 'radar' System, for use in Elderly Care and other domains


University of Cape Town


Dr. Amit Kumar Mishra and Mr. Abhishek Bhatta

3rd Party Hardware and Software used

  • Lime microsystems SDR
  • Open source GNURadio

Current State

A working GSM based PoC is demonstrable. It predicts correctly on an average of about 75-80% of the situations, and therefore suffers from multiple false alarms. Current plans are to increase the sensitivity of the system using the LimeSDR, and use a directional antenna as opposed to an omnidirectional antenna, to enable a particular region to be observed.


Every digital communication system uses a channel equalization technique to eliminate the channel interference and increase the signal to noise ratio to provide high throughput. We started with the hypothesis that these channel equalization blocks can be used to sense the immediate environment near the receiver. The system that we named CommSense extracts these channel interferences and uses it to learn about specific events. We have tested this on two different communication protocols Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) and Long-Term Evolution (LTE). For the current demonstration we have implemented it on GSM systems to show that it can sense the intrusion of a person in the vicinity of the receiver. We intend to apply this system to monitor undesired movements within a house, specifically focussing on elderly care as a start.

Links & video

Video: GSM-CommSense - A GSM based environment sensing system using Software Defined Radio

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