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Face-to-Face Proximity EstimationUsing Bluetooth On Smartphones

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3 Author(s)
Shu Liu ; Dept. of Comput. Sci. & Eng., Univ. of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA ; Yingxin Jiang ; Striegel, A.

The availability of “always-on” communications has tremendous implications for how people interact socially. In particular, sociologists are interested in the question if such pervasive access increases or decreases face-to-face interactions. Unlike triangulation which seeks to precisely define position, the question of face-to-face interaction reduces to one of proximity, i.e., are the individuals within a certain distance? Moreover, the problem of proximity estimation is complicated by the fact that the measurement must be quite precise (1-1.5 m) and can cover a wide variety of environments. Existing approaches such as GPS and Wi-Fi triangulation are insufficient to meet the requirements of accuracy and flexibility. In contrast, Bluetooth, which is commonly available on most smartphones, provides a compelling alternative for proximity estimation. In this paper, we demonstrate through experimental studies the efficacy of Bluetooth for this exact purpose. We propose a proximity estimation model to determine the distance based on the RSSI values of Bluetooth and light sensor data in different environments. We present several real world scenarios and explore Bluetooth proximity estimation on Android with respect to accuracy and power consumption.

Published in:

Mobile Computing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 4 )