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Seminar:  Locating Mobile Devices with Sound and Light

Date:April 1, 2013 
Talk Title:Locating Mobile Devices with Sound and Light
Speaker:Anthony Rowe
Time & Location:12:00pm - 1:00pm
CIC Building, Pittsburgh


Location tracking on mobile devices like smartphones has already begun to revolutionize personal navigation. Highly accurate indoor location tracking would enhance a wide variety of applications including: building navigation (malls, factories, airports), augmented reality, location-aware pervasive computing, targeted advertising and social networking. Unfortunately, existing location tracking services based on GPS and WiFi tend to perform poorly indoors, especially when trying to define semantic (logical as opposed to physical) locations within a space. For example, if a person is standing close to a wall in a room, normal quantitative errors could result in placing the person in the wrong room (or even in mid-air, outside the building).

In this talk, I will provide a brief overview of the state-of-the-art with respect to indoor location tracking and discuss two new techniques that apply specifically to smart-phones. The first technique called ALPS, utilizes a near-ultrasound communication channel in the audio bandwidth just above the human hearing frequency range where mobile devices are still sensitive. In open-spaces, this technique can achieve centimeter-level accuracy running on current off-the-shelf cellphones. The second approach demonstrates how future LED lighting systems can be used to transmit location data to mobile devices in a way that is not perceivable to humans. We investigate both approaches in terms of fundamental communication limits as well as their ability to support practical mobile applications.

Speaker Bio

Anthony Rowe is an Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University. His research interests are in networked real-time embedded systems with a focus on wireless communication. His most recent projects have related to large-scale sensing for critical infrastructure monitoring, indoor localization, building energy-efficiency and technologies for microgrids. His past work has led to dozens of hardware and software systems, four best paper awards and several widely adopted open-source research platforms. He earned a Ph.D in Electrical and Computer Engineering from CMU in 2010, received the Lutron Joel and Ruth Spira Excellence in Teaching Award in 2013 and the CMU CIT Early Career Fellowship and the Steven Ferves Award for Systems Research in 2015.