Pervasive Computing | SMU Research
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Pervasive Computing | SMU Research

(♫) I’m Archan, Archan Misra. I’m a Professor in the School of
Information Systems at SMU. I also currently serve as our
Associate Dean of Research, and I direct a centre on
smart nation analytics. So I think the big idea is that, for the last 20-30 years,
we have thought of computation as something we do,
first with desktop machines and then more with our mobile phones and maybe our smart watches. But computation and sensing
is now moving to what’s called a pervasive world,
where it’s all around us. So the table that on which we work,
will have computing embedded in it. The coffee maker, or fridge,
is going to have computing in it. So this requires new ways of sensing, and new ways of humans
to interact with these devices, and that is what excites me
most about my research. We recognise going forward,
that one of the big challenges as sensors proliferate around us, is that we just won’t be able
to recharge them continuously. Nobody likes to take a
wearable device off their hand and then recharge it twice a day. So, a lot of my new work
is looking at the possibility of building ultra-low energy wearable devices,
or battery-less wearable devices. So one of the projects that I’m
really fascinated by right now, is this ability to build a wearable
device that really has no battery. And the way it’s charged,
it’s charged by the transmissions from a regular Wi-Fi access point. Now the big innovation in that,
is that most access point transmissions, because they’re omnidirectional,
they spread all around you. The amount of energy you can harvest
is no more than one to two micro watts. That’s too minuscule for anything realistic. However, if you’re able to direct the beam using
some electronic beamforming technologies, you are able to harvest almost
hundred times more power. So what we have demonstrated recently, is the
ability to build a wearable device that’s on your wrist,
that has no battery, that is charged by this
beamforming technology from conventional Wi-Fi access points, but that you can run,
and it can capture all the various hand movements you do
in your office during the day. So whether you’re typing,
whether you’re having a drink of water, whether you’re sort of pointing
at things on a whiteboard, you are able to capture all of these
and understand human behaviour, without ever needing to
replace the battery. One of the other projects
that is actually going on, and I’m very pleased that it is also
being implemented in our SMU gym. So, in the gym, what we have taken is,
you have these weight stacks. We put a very simple sensor,
it’s a magnetometer, which is a magnetic sensor and
accelerometer which measures the vertical up and down movement. And by using the data from
this simple sensor, we are able to figure out,
with pretty high, over 95% accuracy, the amount of weight you lift, the exercise you do, whether
you are doing a bicep curl, or shoulder push/press or so on. Also, most interestingly, the user, or the individual
who is actually doing the workout, because it turns out, each of us has a
unique way of performing this workout. Now, the reason this excites me,
is this opens up the possibility that with just instrumenting
a few devices, and you not having to wear
anything to the gym, we can begin to digitally track,
sort of quantify, the workout that you are going
through, and after that, one can start to personalise
the recommendations. So you can think of this as an
electronic digital coach for you, telling you that maybe
you are working out too fast, or you are lifting too much weight. It can give you more accurate target feedback,
so it reduces a risk of injury, maximises the effectiveness of your workout,
and in general, by engaging with you, it makes it more likely that
you will continue to work out. So I think healthy living,
and distraction-free living are two benefits of all
these pervasive technology, for individual consumers. (♫)

One Comment

  • Diego Fernando Sanchez Vivas

    it's very interesting research and job!, congratulations!!.. I'm agronomist in Colombia – South america, and I'm working in research of Internet of Things applications in different challenges in agriculture… I want to keep in contact with your university. Salut from Colombia!!

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