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3rd International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services — Abstract

Pp. 191–204 of the Proceedings

WALRUS: Wireless Acoustic Location with Room-Level Resolution Using Ultrasound

Gaetano Borriello, University of Washington and Intel Research Seattle, USA; Alan Liu, Tony Offer, and Christopher Palistrant, University of Washington, USA; Richard Sharp, Intel Research Cambridge, UK


In this paper, we propose a system that uses the wireless networking and microphone interfaces of mobile devices to determine location to room-level accuracy. The wireless network provides a synchronizing pulse along with information about the room. This is accompanied by an ultrasound beacon that allows us to resolve locations to the confines of a physical room (since audio is mostly bounded by walls). We generate the wireless data and ultrasound pulses from the existing PCs in each room; a PDA carried by a user listens for both signals. Thus, our approach does not require special hardware. We do not use ultrasound to send data. As a result we dramatically reduce the computational burden on the mobile device while also decreasing the latency of location resolution. Our results indicate that (i) ultrasound detection is robust even in noisy environments with many reflective surfaces; and (ii) that we can determine the correct room within a couple of seconds with high probability even when the ultrasound emitting PCs are not synchronized.
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