Fordham Student Brings Smart Phone Research to Capitol Hill

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Jeffrey Lockhart, a junior at Rose Hill, presented
his research on smart phone “sensor mining”
in Washington, D.C. on April 23 and 24

A Rose Hill student who mines smart phones to unearth what they reveal about their owners recently brought his team’s research to Capitol Hill.

Jeffrey Lockhart, FCRH ‘13, presented his poster, “Smart Phone-Based Sensor Mining for Biometric Identification and Activity Recognition,” at the 16th annual Posters on the Hill (POH), held April 23 and 24 in Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research, the American Chemical Society, and education lobbyists from Washington Partners, the event featured 75 undergraduates from institutions around the country—a mere 8.8 percent of students who applied for the prestigious opportunity.

Lockhart presented his research during a poster session at the Rayburn House Office Building, which houses offices of U.S. Representatives and their staff.

“My sense is that our work was well-received,” Lockhart said. “Our fantastic results and National Science Foundation funding also turned heads.”

The project is an outgrowth of the Wireless Sensor Data Mining (WISDM) Project, led by Gary Weiss, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of computer and information sciences. The group, which consists of more than a dozen researchers, collects sensor data from smart phones and other mobile devices that could provide useful knowledge.

“Smart phones have devices called accelerometers, which measure acceleration in three dimensions,” explained Lockhart, who is the team’s lead server side sensor mining architect. “By monitoring the accelerometer, we are able to capture patterns that describe the way a phone is moving in space. When that phone is in a person’s pocket, it moves with the person’s leg, and so the motion pattern is the pattern of the person’s activity.”

From these patterns, the group can tell whether an individual is walking or jogging, sitting or standing, or even male or female.

“Several professors [at POH]working in fields ranging from psychology to physical therapy were very interested in how the work could be applied to their studies,” Lockhart said.

The WISDM Project has been ongoing since May 2009 and has resulted in several publications and conferences presentations. Recently, the group received a $420,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, and in July 2010, Weiss received a $25,000 faculty research grant from Google.

— Joanna Klimaski

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