Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

02/26/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/26/2021 19:26

Huawei Demonstrated Millimeter-Level Imaging at THz

[Shanghai, China, February 26, 2021] During the MWC Shanghai 2021, in the Future Zone booth, Huawei showcased its prototype for integrated sensing and communication (ISAC) with a mobile terminal at terahertz (THz) bands. Leveraging communication waveforms, this prototype can sense and image a blocked object with millimeter-level resolution, introducing brand-new capabilities for next-generation wireless communications.

Digital transformation is set to be further improved and expanded upon in the intelligent connectivity era, and applications such as interactive immersive experience, robots collaboration in unmanned factories, smart healthcare with real-time sensing, and ultimately autonomous driving will be a reality on a large scale during the next decade. However, this will drive significantly higher network performance requirements, such as Tbit/s communication rates and millimeter-level sensing precision. With this in mind, Huawei has proposed and promoted the ISAC vision. In higher-frequency and higher-bandwidth scenarios, communications systems will natively integrate wireless sensing capabilities which can explore the physical world by analyzing radio wave transmission, echo, reflection, and scattering. As a result, communications systems will possess high-resolution sensing, positioning, imaging, and environment reconstruction capabilities, which not only improve communications performance and unlock new network service scenarios but also lay a data foundation for building an intelligent digital world.

THz lies between the mmWave and infrared frequencies, and is considered an important alternative solution for achieving Tbit/s communication rates thanks to its ultra-large communication bandwidth. In addition, higher frequencies allow THz to utilize millimeter or even sub-millimeter wavelengths, enabling small handheld or wearable devices to implement functions such as high-precision positioning, high-resolution 3D imaging of blocked targets, and spectrogram analysis of substances. As such, THz has the potential to be used in many future day-to-day and production scenarios, such as non-invasive health and food safety detection, high-precision manufacturing defect detection, environmental pollution monitoring, and machine vision assistance. Compared with optical cameras, THz can penetrate obstacles and achieve high-precision imaging in obstructed scenarios, while also supporting all-weather sensing and facilitating privacy protection. Compared with X-ray or large CT devices, THz-based ISAC systems offer a number of important advantages, including enhanced portability and non-ionizing radiation. Furthermore, communications networks can help the systems further improve their sensing precision, solidifying THz as one of the most promising solutions for integrating communication and sensing in the future.

The THz-based ISAC prototype showcased at the MWC Shanghai 2021 is the result of Huawei's continuous innovations in wireless technologies. This prototype supports outdoor medium- and long-distance line-of-sight (LOS) transmission through a 210 Gbit/s air interface. Thanks to technologies such as integrated waveforms, virtual apertures, compressed sensing, and tomography, this prototype, mimicking future handheld terminal, can also conduct millimeter-level imaging. Through interactions with visitors, the showcase demonstrated how a blocked object in a carton was imaged at the millimeter level in real time.

Huawei ISAC prototype performing imaging of a blocked object with millimeter level resolution (3mm resolution achieved)

ISAC is an important future-oriented vision, and its applications are not limited to THz bands. Huawei looks forward to cooperating with partners in this field to jointly build a better, more convenient, and more intelligent world by 2030, and ultimately achieve connected intelligence in support of sustainable human development.