Synthetic Sensors: Towards General-Purpose Sensing

Gierad Laput, Yang Zhang, Chris Harrison (CHI 2017)

The promise of smart environments and the Internet of Things (IoT) relies on robust sensing of diverse environmental facets. Traditional approaches rely on direct or distributed sensing, most often by measuring one particular aspect of an environment with special-purpose sensors. In this work, we explore the notion of general-purpose sensing, wherein a single, highly capable sensor can indirectly monitor a large context, without direct instrumentation of objects. Further, through what we call Synthetic Sensors, we can virtualize raw sensor data into actionable feeds, whilst simultaneously mitigating immediate privacy issues. We use a series of structured, formative studies to inform the development of new sensor hardware and accompanying information architecture.




Gierad Laput, Yang Zhang, and Chris Harrison. 2017. Synthetic Sensors: Towards General-Purpose Sensing. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 3986-3999. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3025453.3025773