Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Gap Sense: Lightweight Coordination of Heterogeneous Wireless Devices

Technology #5468

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Kang G. Shin
Managed By
Drew Bennett
Associate Director - Software Licensing 734-615-4004
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

A heterogeneous network enables the connection of computers and other devices that have different operating systems or protocols. Heterogeneous network devices are typically built to service specific application types that are not capable of communicating with one another directly even though they may share the same ISM radio band (i.e. use of WiFi for mobile Internet access versus use of ZigBee for home-area networking). Several challenges exist in the use of heterogeneous networks, including the preemption of low-speed devices by high-speed ones and inability to implement protocols that attempt to save energy by having the receiver in a narrower spectrum compared to the transmitter. Establishment of coordination between heterogeneous network devices is needed without enforcement of common modulation schemes and message formats, which requires modification of existing communication algorithms on heterogeneous devices, causing loss of their unique advantages.

Gap Sense: Lightweight Coordination of Heterogeneous Wireless Devices

Coordination of communication among heterogeneous wireless communication devices in a wireless network can be achieved using a computer-implemented method through the creation of a side channel between the devices. A customized preamble consisting of energy pulses separated by a gap is appended to a data payload, with coordination data for the receiving device encoded based on the duration of the gap. The data is extracted at the receiver after detection of the preamble, allowing for communication between the transmitting and receiving devices to be coordinated.


  • Coordination of heterogeneous wireless devices


  • Lightweight mechanism that does not require modification of existing hardware or communication algorithms
  • Compatible with MAC/PHY heterogeneity in legacy devices