Rulers on Our Arms : Waving to Measure Object Size through Contactless Sensing

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationACM Transactions on Sensor Networks
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


This paper proposes a system, Aware, which turns our wearable or mobile device into a ruler. It can estimate the size of objects that are too tall to reach or too far to touch. Such a design will enable a rich set of applications which count on the size information of surrounding environments/objects. Aware purely utilizes the motion sensors on the device for object size measures. It can also integrate with the crowdsourcing feature for both performance improvement and result sharing. We propose a series of key techniques to address three major challenges in the Aware design: 1) user's angle of line-of-sights to the object is used in the size measure but motion sensors track only the angle of arm's waving, 2) motion sensors are noisy that require novel and effective data processing techniques, otherwise the errors could easily overwhelm the final result, and 3) in the crowdsourcing mode, Aware needs to identify vicinal objects of similar sizes and effectively fuse the measured sizes that correspond to the same object. We consolidate above designs and implement Aware on Android platforms. Extensive experiments with four users show that Aware can achieve accurate measurement performance for the objects of various sizes.

Research Area(s)

  • Contactless sensing, Mobiles, Object size measure, Wearables