ISS2014 Abstract: Mary Baker, HP Labs

The Sound of Silence and Other Applications and Challenges for Pervasive Sensing

Dr. Mary Baker
Senior Research Scientist
HP Labs

Sensor-equipped smart phones and wearable devices have opened up a world of new applications and experiences for consumers, both individually and in social groups. New sensor types are an exciting part of this revolution, but traditional sensors such as microphones also play feature roles as a result of their new ubiquity. An example project is The Sound of Silence, in which we use audio to support easier content sharing and other group activities. I'll describe how we capture and match sensed patterns of relative audio silence, or "silence signatures," from mobile devices to determine device co-location and hence the dynamically changing membership of a group or meeting. We chose audio for this purpose, since hearing the same thing provides a human-centric notion of attending the same gathering or event. I will also describe some of the challenges we still face with the Sound of Silence, as they are shared by many other applications of sensors including battery consumption, scaling up the supporting infrastructure, and concerns over privacy and social boundaries.