Battery-free computational RFID platforms, such as WISP (Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform), are intermittently-powered devices designed for replacing existing sensor networks. Accordingly, synchronization appears as one of the crucial building blocks for collaborative and coordinated actions in these platforms. However, intermittent power leads to frequent loss of computational state and short-term clock frequency instability that makes synchronization challenging. In this article, we introduce WISP-Sync protocol that provides synchronization among WISP tags in the communication range of an RFID reader. WISP-Sync overcomes the aforementioned challenges by employing a Proportional-Integral (PI) controller-inspired algorithm which (i) is adaptive---reactive to short-term clock instabilities; (ii) requires only a few computation steps---suitable for limited harvested energy; and (iii) keeps a few variables to hold the synchronization state---minimum overhead to recover from power interrupts. Evaluations in our testbed showed that WISP-Sync ensured an average synchronization error of approximately 1 ms among the tags with an average energy overhead of 1.85 micro-Joule per synchronization round.
- Time Synchronization
- Computational RFIDs
- Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform (WISP)