Applications Suggested by Students
- Indoor Localization: Detecting the presence of people, identifying their locations, and storing such information can be important for security
purposes, to account for all workers in a building, or even to efficiently
manage a building (turn up AC or heat only in rooms with people). The many sensors available today, carried by persons or embedded in their clothes or the
walls around them, can cooperate to accurately identify the locations, display them in real-time, and log them for retrospective surveillance.
- Real-Time Strategy Game: Distributed games are a popular
group of real-time systems, with numerous challenges. Such challenges
include real-time processing and communication, reliability, and event ordering.
Other problems include pathfinding (for large maps with obstacles, etc.) and
AI for realistic gameplay. In games with large number of players, graceful
degradation will have to be considered, i.e., how to reduce the processing
and communication overheads without significant effects on performance and
- Robot Charging Station: A possible scenario in robotics is where
there are a number of mobile robots and a number of battery charging
stations (fewer stations than robots) and the problem is to schedule robots'
recharging times. The schedule is important to ensure that battery depletion
is prevented, no robot sits idle waiting for access to a charging station,
and sufficient robots are executing their mission while others are being
- Intelligent Climate Control: ACs and heating can be wasteful (especially in office buildings, public buildings, etc.), e.g., when rooms without people are cooled or heated or when thermostats are set too high/low. Thermostats that are aware of the presence of people, the current temperature in all areas of a room (not only measured by a single thermometer), and possibly other factors (e.g., barometric pressure, humidity, etc.), can more accurately (and cost-efficiently) control temperature. Toward this end, thermostats can also collaborate with embedded sensors (in the clothes of people, embedded in cell phones, etc.) to accurately determine the right settings.
- Robust Outdoor Navigation and Traffic Management: GPS systems are already available to quickly reach our destinations. However, these systems can fail in urban areas or whenever a clear view of the sky is unavailable. Such systems can be enhanced with wireless communications to wireless systems (towers, base stations) to approximate the location when GPS fails. Further, these systems can be used to communicate traffic conditions, weather and road conditions, and other incidents directly to the car and driver. A key challenge is to identify which cars should get a notification and how to prevent cars from getting flooded by unnecessary notifications.
- Multi-Sensor Mapping of Environments: The multitude of sensing technologies (camera, microphone, GPS, accelerometer, magnetometer, etc.) available in an increasing number of handheld devices can be used to generate maps of an environment. Different sensor inputs generate different maps which can be combined to generate more complex maps. These can be visualized immediately or stored for later use, e.g., to recognize previously visited locations (tools that could
potentially benefit visually or aurally impaired people).
Other Application Ideas
- Body-Sensor Networks: health monitoring, aiding senior citizens, etc.
- Distributed Games: integrate the physical world (using sensors) with virtual games (on mobile devices)
- Wii-like Computer Input: use a device with an accelerometer as an input device for a computer (to browse, enter text, scroll, click, etc.)
- Robotic Pet: make a robot do tricks (like a dog) based on your
instructions using a handheld with an accelerometer.
- Replay on your Handheld: watch football replays (touchdown, etc.)
on your handheld device while in a football stadium.
- ... plus other projects that were mentioned in class ...