Ubiquitous Coded Light

Exploring technologies that encode light rays everywhere in the world.

Ubiquitous Coded Light encodes light rays in the world and uses them to facilitate automation, robot navigation, mobile printing, asset management, body/finger movement tracking, object/appliance tracking, and new user interfaces.

A localization system is a coordinate system for us to describe the world, organize the world, and control the world. Without a coordinate system, we cannot specify the world in mathematical forms; we cannot regulate processes that may involve spatial collisions; we cannot even automate a robot for physical actions. Outdoor localization system, such as GPS, has been widely used in outdoor environment to facilitate people’s daily activities. On the other hand, people stay in indoor environment most of the time, but GPS cannot be used in indoor environment and its 10-meter accuracy is not enough for many indoor activities. We believe accurate indoor localization has the potential to transform the way people navigate indoors in a similar way that GPS transformed the way people navigate outdoors.

We built our indoor localization system based on Ubiquitous Coded Light. This is quite different from WiFi based systems and Bluetooth Beacon based systems. By using this light based system, we enabled robot navigation in the building. We enabled accurate finger tracking as well as object tracking for multi-touch functionality on any object surface. We enabled association between digital information and physical objects and used that to enable new tour guide and new shopping experiences. With this technology, we also plan to transform the printing industry.

Technical Contact

Related Publications

2017
Publication Details
  • IEEE PerCom 2017
  • Mar 13, 2017

Abstract

Close
We present Lift, a visible light-enabled finger tracking and object localization technique that allows users to perform freestyle multi-touch gestures on any object’s surface in an everyday environment. By projecting encoded visible patterns onto an object’s surface (e.g. paper, display, or table), and localizing the user’s fingers with light sensors, Lift offers users a richer interactive space than the device’s existing interfaces. Additionally, everyday objects can be augmented by attaching sensor units onto their surface to accept multi-touch gesture input. We also present two applications as a proof of concept. Finally, results from our experiments indicate that Lift can localize ten fingers simultaneously with accuracy of 0.9 mm and 1.8 mm on two axes respectively and an average refresh rate of 84 Hz with 16.7ms delay on WiFi and 12ms delay on serial, making gesture recognition on noninstrumented objects possible.
2016
Publication Details
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA WITH SEMANTIC COMPUTING
  • Oct 31, 2016

Abstract

Close
Improvements in sensor and wireless network enable accurate, automated, instant determination and dissemination of a user's or objects position. The new enabler of location-based services (LBSs) apart from the current ubiquitous networking infrastructure is the enrichment of the different systems with semantics information, such as time, location, individual capability, preference and more. Such semantically enriched system-modeling aims at developing applications with enhanced functionality and advanced reasoning capabilities. These systems are able to deliver more personalized services to users by domain knowledge with advanced reasoning mechanisms, and provide solutions to problems that were otherwise infeasible. This approach also takes user's preference and place property into consideration that can be utilized to achieve a comprehensive range of personalized services, such as advertising, recommendations, or polling. This paper provides an overview of indoor localization technologies, popular models for extracting semantics from location data, approaches for associating semantic information and location data, and applications that may be enabled with location semantics. To make the presentation easy to understand, we will use a museum scenario to explain pros and cons of different technologies and models. More specifically, we will first explore users' needs in a museum scenario. Based on these needs, we will then discuss advantages and disadvantages of using different localization technologies to meet these needs. From these discussions, we can highlight gaps between real application requirements and existing technologies, and point out promising localization research directions. By identifying gaps between various models and real application requirements, we can draw a road map for future location semantics research.
Publication Details
  • 3rd IEEE International Workshop on Mobile Multimedia Computing (MMC)
  • Jul 11, 2016

Abstract

Close
Mobile Audio Commander (MAC) is a mobile phone-based multimedia sensing system that facilitates the introduction of extra sensors to existing mobile robots for advanced capabilities. In this paper, we use MAC to introduce an accurate indoor positioning sensor to a robot to facilitate its indoor navigation. More specifically, we use a projector to send out position ID through light signal, use a light sensor and the audio channel on a mobile phone to decode the position ID, and send navigation commands to a target robot through audio output. With this setup, our system can simplify user’s robot navigation. Users can define a robot navigation path on a phone, and our system will compare the navigation path with its accurate location sensor inputs and generate analog line-following signal, collision avoidance signal, and analog angular signal to adjust the robot’s straight movements and turns. This paper describes two examples of using MAC and a positioning system to enable complicated robot navigation with proper user interface design, external circuit design and real sensor installations on existing robots.
2015
Publication Details
  • ISM 2015
  • Dec 14, 2015

Abstract

Close
Indoor localization is challenging in terms of both the accuracy and possible using scenarios. In this paper, we introduce the design and implementation of a toy car localization and navigation system, which demonstrates that a projected light based localization technique allows multiple devices to know and exchange their fine-grained location information in an indoor environment. The projected light consists of a sequence of gray code images which assigns each pixel in the projection area a unique gray code so as to distinguish their coordination. The light sensors installed on the toy car and the potential “passenger” receive the light stream from the projected light stream, based on which their locations are computed. The toy car then utilizes A* algorithm to plan the route based on its own location, orientation, the target’s location and the map of available “roads”. The fast speed of localization enables the toy car to adjust its own orientation while “driving” and keep itself on “roads”. The toy car system demonstrates that the localization technique can power other applications that require fine-grained location information of multiple objects simultaneously.
Publication Details
  • International Journal of Semantic Computing
  • Sep 15, 2015

Abstract

Close
A localization system is a coordinate system for describing the world, organizing the world, and controlling the world. Without a coordinate system, we cannot specify the world in mathematical forms; we cannot regulate processes that may involve spatial collisions; we cannot even automate a robot for physical actions. This paper provides an overview of indoor localization technologies, popular models for extracting semantics from location data, approaches for associating semantic information and location data, and applications that may be enabled with location semantics. To make the presentation easy to understand, we will use a museum scenario to explain pros and cons of different technologies and models. More specifically, we will first explore users' needs in a museum scenario. Based on these needs, we will then discuss advantages and disadvantages of using different localization technologies to meet these needs. From these discussions, we can highlight gaps between real application requirements and existing technologies, and point out promising localization research directions. Similarly, we will also discuss context information required by different applications and explore models and ontologies for connecting users, objects, and environment factors with semantics. By identifying gaps between various models and real application requirements, we can draw a road map for future location semantics research.

POLI: MOBILE AR BY HEARING POSITION FROM LIGHT

Publication Details
  • ICME 2015 Mobile Multimedia Workshop
  • Jun 29, 2015

Abstract

Close
Connecting digital information to physical objects can enrich their content and make them more vivid. Traditional augmented reality techniques reach this goal by augmenting physical objects or their surroundings with various markers and typically require end users to wear additional devices to explore the augmented content. In this paper, we propose POLI, which allows a system administrator to author digital content with his/her mobile device while allows end-users to explore the authored content with their mobile devices. POLI provides three novel interactive approaches for authoring digital content. It does not change the nature appearances of physical objects and does not require users to wear any additional hardware on their bodies.