Thad Starner   

Professor | Contextual Computing Group | College of Computing | Georgia Institute of Technology
Interfaces for Augmenting
Face-to-Face Conversation >>
  • Mobile Text Entry
  • Dual-Purpose Speech
  • Augmenting Conversation between
    the Deaf and Hearing Community

  • Gesture Recognition &
    Activity Discovery >>
  • Sign Language
  • Activity
  • Gesture

  • Previous Work >>
  • Face & Handwriting Recognition
  • Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
  • Power & Heat
  • Agents & Ubiquitous Computing
  • Miscellaneous

  • Activity

    GPS Location Discovery

    GPS Multi-user Analysis

    On-body sensors provide a unique insight into the actions and behaviors of their owner. Their "first-person view" from the user's perspective greatly reduces some of the difficulties of context sensing systems embedded in the environment, such as occlusion, scale, and interference. In addition, since the sensors travel with the user, they can often record data over a longer interval than systems based in a given office or home environment. We are interested in discovering, modeling, and recognizing the user's everyday activites in an effort to create automatic diaries and meaningful indices into these diaries. Such automatic diaries may prove useful in the treatment of chronic medical conditions or in after action reporting for soldiers, emergency workers, or police. We are also interested in applying our research to develop contextually-aware, pro-active agents to aid the user in everyday tasks. Such systems could be used as reminder systems or cognitive aids for people with Alzheimer's Disease or even busy professionals. To date, we have developed systems that discover meaningful locations and patterns of travel from Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates; recognized actions performed in an assembly task in a wood workshop, identified complex procedures (specifically, the Towers of Hanoi) using computer vision, and investigated identifying indoor location from omnidirectional video and, separately, from infrared beacons.

    Location is often the focus of context awareness research. Yet raw GPS coordinates or sensor readings are not useful unless they can be mapped to meaningful activities in the user's life. However, users often do not want to invest the time specifying their own personal maps and schedules. We have developed a system that clusters GPS coordinates gathered over an extensive period of time into locations (e.g. a university campus) and sub-locations (e.g. a given building) using unsupervised learning. Once a location is established as being a common site for the user to visit, the user is asked to name the location, thus tying a semantic meaning to it. The system generates a predictive model of the wearer's movement (e.g. if the user is at work, they will visit home next with a 60% probability), establishes routine behaviors for the user (e.g. the user never goes to the grocery store on the way to work but only when traveling from work to home), and determines when a particular trip is unusual and, therefore, possibly important. In addition to GPS for outdoor positioning, we have explored recovering location from using on-body omnidirectional cameras, inertial sensors combined with proximity sensors to detect footfalls and doorways, and self-powered infrared beacons to determine the user's location indoors.

    Modeling schedules with GPS provides a relatively coarse sense of context. We are also interesting in modeling activities on a finer scale. Using the Towers of Hanoi as a sample domain, we have shown that it is possible to monitor relatively complex activities for consistency even when not all the data on the activity is available. In another experiment we used microphones and accelerometers mounted on the user's wrists and arms to show that we can recognize various actions (e.g. sawing, drilling, hammering, tightening a vice, opening a drawer, etc.) required for an assembly task in a wood workshop. Such systems could be developed into cognitive aids to remind the user of missed steps or important safety procedures. Similar systems might help track activities of daily living for clients in assisted living communities to provide feedback to caregivers as to when a client may need more or less assistance. In addition, activity sensing systems might be used to provide diagnostic tools and feedback for the effectiveness of specific medical therapies. We have begun such a project that attempts to capture self-stimulatory episodes by children with autism to assist behavioral therapists in tuning their treatment for a given child.

    Related Project

    Towers of Hanoi
    GPS Location Discovery


    Human Activity Recognition Using Body-Worn Microphones and accelerometers (submitted PAMI, May 2005)

    Recognizing Mimicked Autistic Self-Stimulatory Behaviors Using Hidden Markov Models (ISWC 2005)

    A Wearable Interface for Topological Mapping and Localization in Indoor Environments (To be submitted to Pervasive 2006)

    Recognizing and Discovering Human Actions from On-body Sensor Data (ICME, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, July 2005)

    Recognizing Workshop Activity Using Body Worn Microphones and Accelerometers, In Pervasive Computing, 2004

    Expectation Grammars: Leveraging High-Level Expectations for Activity RecognitionIn (Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference 2003, Madison, Wisconsin, June 2003)

    SoundButton:Design of a Low PowerWearable Audio Classication System (IAWC, White Plains, WA, October 2003)

    Using GPS to Learn Significant Locations and Predict Movement Across Multiple Users (Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 2003)

    Learning Significant Locations and Predicting User Movement with GPS (ISWC. Seattle, WA. October 2002)

    Enabling Ad-Hoc Collaboration Through Schedule Learning and Prediction (CHI Workshop on Mobile Ad-Hoc Collaboration. Minneapolis, MN. April 2002)

    Enabling Ad-Hoc Collaboration Through Schedule Learning and Prediction (CHI Workshop on Mobile Ad-Hoc Collaboration. Minneapolis, MN. April 2002)

    Learning visual models of social engagement (International Workshop on Recognition, Analysis and Tracking of Faces and Gestures in Real-time Systems at ICCV (RATFG-RTS 2001). Van Couver, Canada. 2001)

    Symbiotic interfaces for wearable face recognition (Human Computer Interaction International Workshop on Wearable Computing (HCII2001). New Orleans, LA. August 2001)

    Situation Aware Computing with Wearable Computers, In Fundamentals of Wearable Computers and Augmented Reality, W. Barfield and T. Caudell (editors), Lawrence Erlbaum Press, 2001

    Symbiotic interfaces for wearable face recognition.Human Computer Interaction International (HCII, New Orlearns, LA, August 2001)

    Finding location using omnidirectional video on a wearable computing platform (ISWC. Atlanta, GA. October 2000)

    Visual Contextual Awareness in Wearable Computing (ISWC, Pittsburgh, PA, October 1998)

    The Locust Swarm: An Environmentally-powered, Networkless Location and Messaging System (ISWC, Cambridge, MA, October 1997)

    Media & Press

    Gesture Pendant
    Under construction

    Gesture Panel
    Under construction

    Under construction

    Under contsruction

    Perceptive Workbench
    Under construction

    Related Project


    Perceptive Workbench

    Gesture Panel

    Gesture Pendant




    Biometric Identification Using Song-Based Eye Blink Patterns (HCII, Las Vegas NV July 2005)

    User-Centered Development of a Gesture-Based American Sign Language Game (Instructional Technology and Education for the Deaf, Rochester, NY June 2005)

    FreeDigiter: A Contact-free Device for Gesture Control ISWC, Arlington, VA November 2004)

    Recognizing Song-Based Blink Patterns: Applications for Restricted and Universal Access (Face and Gesture 2004 )

    Georgia Tech Gesture Toolkit: Supporting Experiments in Gesture Recognition (International Conference on Perceptive and Multimodal User Interfaces, 2003)

    The perceptive workbench: Computer-vision-based gesture tracking, object tracking, and 3D reconstruction for augmented desks, In Machine Vision and Applications, Volume 14 (1), pp. 59~71, 2003

    Speech and Gesture Multimodal Control of a Whole Earth 3D Visualization Environment (VisSym, Barcelona, Spain, May 2002)

    Integration of Wireless Gesture Tracking, Object Tracking, and 3D Reconstruction in the Perceptive Workbench (Computer Vision Systems, Vancouver, Canada, July 2001)

    Conversational Speech Recognition for Creating Intelligent Agents on Wearables (HCII, New Orlearns, LA, August 2001)

    Experiments in Interaction Between Wearable and Environmental Infrastructure Using the Gesture Pendant (Human Computer Interaction International Workshop on Wearable Computing (HCII2001). New Orleans, LA. August 2001)

    Towards Spontaneous Interaction with the Perceptive Workbench, In IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, Volume 20 (6), pp. 54~65, November 2000

    The Gesture Pendant: A Self-illuminating, Wearable, Infrared Computer Vision System for Home Automation Control and Medical Monitoring (ISWC. Atlanta, GA. October 2000)

    The Perceptive Workbench: Toward Spontaneous and Natural Interaction in Semi-Immersive Virtual Environments, Winner, Best Paper Award, IEEE VR2000 (Virtual Reality, New Brunswick, NJ, March 2000)

    MIND-WARPING: Towards Creating a Compelling Collaborative Augmented Reality Game (Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI) January 2000)

    Media & Press