Alumni Present Technical Paper at International Workshop

November 12, 2012

A technical paper by Carnegie Mellon alumni Divya Vavili, Dilip Gudlur and Pallav Vyas (MS22), doctoral student Faisal Luqman and faculty member Dr. Pei Zhang was accepted at the fourth ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Indoor Spatial Awareness (ISA). Gudlur and Vavili presented Nov. 6 in Redondo Beach, Calif., on behalf of the team.

"To find so many brilliant ideas at one venue on a topic that interests you so much was an exhilarating experience!" reported Gudlur. "The presentation itself went very smoothly, our ideas and research were taken very positively by the audience. In all, the whole experience was very encouraging."

The ISA workshop explores technologies that are used indoors while offering similar geographic and location-based information as popular outdoor mapping applications. The accepted technical paper, titled "SMILAS – Sensor-based Map Generation for Indoor Location Aware Systems," details a system that generates an indoor map on a handheld device, such as a smartphone. Indoor spatial issues offer researchers an interesting challenge.

"Indoor localization is hard because one can't assume the existence of a uniform infrastructure like GPS. In addition, things such as furniture and walls all affect measurements differently. Therefore, measuring location and topology in an indoor space has been a really hard nut to crack without the use of expensive sensors," explained Dr. Zhang, assistant research professor with the Information Networking Institute and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Through the SMILAS technology, the Carnegie Mellon team could provide a cursory survey of an indoor space using a small infrared sensor. The project explored "the tradeoff space between speed and accuracy while minimizing sensing capability," described Dr. Zhang.

"The most valuable aspect of this project is the immense scope of extensibility. The project lays a test bed for further research and integration with other research in the field of indoor localization," said Gudlur.

All three alumni are recent graduates of the INI's Pittsburgh-Silicon Valley Master of Science in Information Technology-Mobility. They completed the technical paper for Dr. Zhang's course, Mobile Hardware for Software Engineers, with additional insight from Luqman.

"Indoor localization is one of the hottest research topics around. That coupled with upcoming research on smart homes was what drove us toward this area," said Gudlur. "With Professor Zhang's guidance, not to forget Faisal Luqman's mentorship, our combined ideas and efforts finally culminated into a research paper."