Matt Reynolds' Photo
Nortel Networks Assistant Professor
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Duke University
3473 FCIEMAS // Box 90291
Durham, NC 27708
matt's email
RFID systems Everest ORCA sub GPS sheep

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Brief Bio

Matt Reynolds is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. He is also co-founder of the RFID systems firm ThingMagic Inc (acquired by Trimble Navigation), the energy conservation firm Zensi (acquired by Belkin), and the home sensing company SNUPI Inc. Matt's research interests include RFID, energy efficiency at the physical layer of wireless communication, and the physics of sensing and actuation. Matt holds a Ph.D. from the MIT Media Lab, where he was a Motorola Fellow, as well as S.B. and M.Eng. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. Matt has 13 issued and over 30 patents pending before the USPTO.

Research Interests
By 2005, more transistors were grown (~1018) than grains of rice, representing approximately 150 million transistors per human [1]. These transistors are omnipresent in the developed world, appearing primarily in the form of computing systems ranging in scale from the simple microcontroller that controls a toaster to the billions of transistors in each of the world's hundreds of millions of PCs. We already live among the machines. How can we live together more cooperatively?

My work is focused on connecting people and machines from a physical and logical layer perspective, and allowing them to live and work cooperatively in the physical world. I explore this new frontier of computing through the design and field use of systems ranging from automated weather probes that communicate by satellite the weather on the South Col of Mt. Everest, to a system for tracking, classifying, and visualizing the motion of stage performers as they juggle, dance, and play musical instruments, and most recently the design of ultra-low power and cost RFID tags and readers for identifying and tracking millions of goods as they pass through the supply chain.

The common technology thread is the acquisition, communication, and classification of the identity, state, and location of people and objects. I span the traditional boundary between analog and digital systems, and am beginning to tackle the boundary between the digital and biological worlds...


[1] Semiconductor Industry Association Annual Report, 2005,



Beyond RFID
I am working on extending RFID beyond identification, to include fine grained location information, as well as peer-to-peer communication among tags and readers. This will open up a new way for computers to interact with the world- a form of non-optical vision that is not subject to traditional line of sight.

Smart Materials
When we think of computing devices, we usually think of plastic cases full of circuit boards. It's an often overlooked fact that digital is not necessarily synonomous with electronic. Bulk materials can perform computational functions, both in the classical and quantum domains. I seek new engineered materials and structures that perform computation, sensing, and actuation tasks. One day your desktop will be made of computer...

Innerspace Computing
A typical RFID tag's circuitry is only 250 square microns- that's a quarter square millimeter in area. In that tiny speck of silicon, you can engineer memory, logic, power harvesting circuitry, and a rudimentary radio for communicating with the outside world. These are the building blocks for an Innerspace Computer- a wearable computer that you wear inside you. How can Innerspace Computers help us be healthier, happier, more secure, and more productive?