ECE/WINLAB Team Receives Best Poster Award at SenSys 2011


ECE students Chenren Xu and Ben Firner, and ECE Prof. Yanyong Zhang received a best poster award at Sensys 2011, a major ACM conference on sensor networking for the paper, "Statistical Learning Strategies for RF-based Indoor Device Free Passive Localization" by Chenren Xu, Bernhard Firner, Yanyong Zhang, Richard Howard, and Jun Li. Read the official announcement at

Abstract of the paper:

Radio frequency based device-free passive localization has been proposed as an alternative to indoor localization because it does not require subjects to wear a radio device. This technique observes how people disturb the pattern of radio waves in an indoor space and derives their positions accordingly. The well-known multipath effect makes this problem very challenging, because in a complex environment it is impractical to have enough knowledge to be able to accurately model the effects of a subject on the surrounding radio links.

In addition, even minor changes in the environment over time change radio propagation sufficiently to invalidate the datasets needed by simple fingerprint-based methods.

In this paper, we develop a fingerprinting-based method using probabilistic classification approaches based on discriminant analysis. We also devise ways to mitigate the error caused by multipath effect in data collection, further boosting the classification likelihood.

We validate our method in a one-bedroom apartment that has 8 transmitters, 8 receivers, and a total of 32 cells that can be occupied. We show that our method can correctly estimate the occupied cell with a likelihood of 97.2%. Further, we show that the accuracy remains high, even when we significantly reduce the training overhead, consider fewer radio devices, or conduct a test one month later after the training. We also show that our method can be used to track a person in motion and to localize multiple people with high accuracies. Finally, we deploy our method in a completely different commercial environment with two times the area achieving a cell estimation accuracy of 93.8% as an evidence of applicability to multiple environments.