Please tell us about yourself
Dinesh Bharadia, a 28-year-old Stanford PhD, currently a researcher at MIT, has been honoured with the 2016 Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award, for his work that makes full duplex radios a reality.
Bharadia’s research disproved a long-held assumption that it is generally not possible for a radio to receive and transmit on the same frequency band because of the interference that results.
Describe your work in layman’s terms
“Let’s say you are shouting at someone and they are shouting at you,” Bharadia explains. “Neither of you can hear the other, because you are both shouting in the same frequency. The noise in your ears (interference) from your own shout prevents you from hearing the other person.
That’s a good analogy for why radios have needed to use two frequencies to transmit and receive simultaneously. It’s also why ‘full duplex radios’ effectively double the amount of available spectrum.”
Bharadia will receive the award at a ceremony at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, on November 2.
What did you study? How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career?
For his PhD at Stanford, Dinesh Bharadia decided he was not going to choose a problem that was “trivial“. So he settled in on solving a problem that had stumped scientists for 150 years how to turn radio communication two-way .
Bharadia grew up in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, before completing his electrical engineering in IIT-Kanpur
Please tell us about your research experience
According to Bharadia, the problem is more difficult than it sounds. First, the interference is extremely strong—nearly a hundred billion times stronger than the signal that the radio might be trying to receive — and the resulting interference depends on the environment, changing in real-time as people move around. Plus, typical radios (e.g., Wi-Fi) span many frequencies and use multi-antenna systems.
He overcame all these obstacles and turned full-duplex radios into a commercial reality by inventing new formulas that can be applied to known transmitted signals and cancel the self-interference.
How will your work benefit the industry
Asked how he thought his work could help leverage communications in a developing scenario like India, Bharadia says: “India has much denser users when it comes to cellular data connectivity and very few cellular towers. In simple words, if I can talk and listen at the same time in the context of wireless radio, then one can double the data we can service.”
Says Bharadia’s PhD advisor at Stanford, Prof. Sachin Katti: “Dinesh’s work enables a whole host of applications. It has the potential to be used for future applications such as wireless imaging, which can enable driverless cars in severe weather scenarios and it can help blind people to navigate indoors.”
For Bharadia, the Marconi Young Scholar award is especially rewarding: “Marconi, invented the radio but couldn’t solve the problem of duplexing,” he says.
What are your future plans?
The current analog device looks like a 4*4 inch circuit board, and is being miniaturized at Kumu Networks, a company founded by a team of Stanford University professors and PhD graduates with a mission to commercialize research on wireless full duplex. “Kumu has conducted successful field trials of a miniature version which can be incorporated into a mobile phone. That could have a huge impact on the communication industry . The duplex radio connected to any network, can double the network’s performance,“ says Bharadia.“India has much denser users when it comes to cellular data connectivity and very few cellu lar towers. This technology can be used easily to build relays which can listen to the signal from the cellular tower and transmit it instantaneously , which would help us to extend the range very easily in India.This means we don’t need to put in entire infrastructure for the cellular towers,“ he says.