Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Room's ambience fingerprinted by phone

28.09.2009
Your smart phone may soon be able to know not only that you're at the mall, but whether you're in the jewelry store or the shoe store.

Duke University computer engineers have made use of standard cell phone features – accelerometers, cameras and microphones – to turn the unique properties of a particular space into a distinct fingerprint.

While standard global positioning systems (GPS) are only accurate to 10 meters (32 feet) and do not work indoors, the new application is designed to work indoors and can be as precise as telling if a user is on one side of an interior wall or another.

The system, dubbed SurroundSense, uses the phone's built-in camera and microphone to record sound, light and colors, while the accelerometer records movement patterns of the phone's user. This information is sent to a server, which knits the disparate information together into a single fingerprint.

"You can't tell much from any of the measurements individually, but when combined, the optical, acoustic and motion information creates a unique fingerprint of the space," said Ionut Constandache, graduate student in computer science. He presented the details of SurroundSense at the 15th International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking in Bejing on Sept. 25.

For example, in a bar, people spend little time moving and most time sitting, while the room is typically dark and noisy. In contrast, a Target store will be brightly lit with vibrant colors – especially red – with movement up and down aisles. SurroundSense can tell these differences.

Students of Romit Roy Chouhury, Duke assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and senior member of the research team, fanned out across Durham, N.C. with their cell phones, collecting data in different types of businesses. So that they would not bias the measurements, the students "mirrored" the actions of selected customers.

"We went to 51 different stores and found that SurroundSense achieved an average accuracy of about 87 percent when all of the sensing capabilities were used," Constandache said.

As more people use the application, it gets "smarter."

"As the system collects and analyzes more and more information about a particular site, the fingerprint becomes that much more precise," said Roy Choudhury. "Not only is the ambience different at different locations, but also can be different at different times at the same location."

SurroundSense collects data at different time points, so it would be able to distinguish a Starbucks store at the morning rush when there are many customers from the slower period in mid-afternoon.

"We believe that SurroundSense is an early step toward a long-standing challenge of improving indoor localization," Roy Choudhury said.

Currently, in order for the phone to collect data, it must be held with the camera facing down, though the researchers are working on strategies for the application to work if the phone is in a pocket, case or handbag. However, as the researchers pointed out, phones are now coming onto the market that are worn on the wrist or around the neck on a necklace.

As in many technical advances, it appears that batteries can be an Achilles' heel. The Duke researchers are now considering the tradeoffs between having the application "on" all the time, which drains the battery faster, or having it take measurements at regular intervals. They are also trying to determine whether the entire application should be housed on the server, the phone, or some combination of the two.

Roy Choudhury's research is supported by the National Science Foundation, Nokia, Verizon and Microsoft Research. Duke undergraduate Martin Azizyan also participated in the project.

Richard Merritt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.duke.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Stable magnetic bit of three atoms
21.09.2017 | Sonderforschungsbereich 668

nachricht Drones can almost see in the dark
20.09.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA'S OSIRIS-REx spacecraft slingshots past Earth

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

MRI contrast agent locates and distinguishes aggressive from slow-growing breast cancer

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>