Context/Scene/Ambience Sensing/Monitoring and Context Sharing are related topics.

We may need to broaden the scope (Walkway) and consider some industrial progress.

Localization is a special type of context and related works on localization can be found here.


  • Context sensing
  • Context-aware computing
  • Context modeling
  • Context-sensitive


  • Context:
    • Acoustic: MobiSys13-Auditeur, WWW14
    • Activity/Behavior: MobiCom14-ParkSense, SenSys14-Barometer, CHI19, Katabi19-Passive
    • Attitude: MobiCom14-A3
    • Floor/Altitude: HotMobile14,
    • Indoor/Outdoor: SenSys12-IODetector, SenSys14-CoTrain
    • Light
    • Map: KDD12, TOSN15,IPSN18
    • Semantic context: SenSys12-CrowdMon
    • Door open/close: UbiComp15
  • Sensor: Accelerometer, Barometer, Cell RSS, Compass, GPS, Gyroscope, Light, Magnetic, Microphone, Proximity, Wi-Fi, Specialized device
  • Solution: machine learning, deep learning


Special Topics

  • CrowdMon, SenSys12
    • Taxonomy: Semantic context
  • IODetector, SenSys12
    • Taxonomy: Indoor/Outdoor, Accelerometer, Cell RSS, Light, Magnetic
    • Light, cell RSS and magnetic field have different distributions indoor and outdoor.
  • Auditeur, MobiSys13
    • Taxonomy: Acoustic, Microphone
    • User upload sound fragment with tag, cloud training, online learning on phone.
    • Recognize who/where
  • Barometric Phone Sensors, HotMobile14
    • Taxonomy: Floor/Altitude, Barometer
    • Floor/Altitude sensing is difficult since pressure is affected by many factors such as temperature and time.
  • Barometric and GPS altitude sensor fusion, ICASSP14
    • Taxonomy: Floor/Altitude, Barometer
  • \(A^3\): Instantly Knowing Your Phone Attitude, MobiCom14
    • Taxonomy: Attitude, Compass, Gyroscope
  • ParkSense: Sensing System For On-Street Parking, MobiCom14
    • Taxonomy: Activity/Behavior, Wi-Fi
    • Detect the unpark activity by sensing whether driver has return and drive away.
  • Barometer for Low-Power Transportation Context Detection, SenSys14
    • Taxonomy: Activity/Behavior, Barometer
    • Use barometer to detect three types of motion: IDLE, WALKING, and VEHICLE
  • CoTrain: A Semi-Supervised Learning Approach for Robust Indoor-Outdoor Detection, SenSys14
    • Taxonomy: Indoor/Outdoor, Accelerometer, Cell RSS, Light, Magnetic
  • Local business ambience, WWW14
    • Taxonomy: Acoustic, Microphone
    • Build a updated version of Koubei to provide more context info such as occupancy/music/noise
  • SmartRoad: Crowd Sensing for Traffic Regulator Detection and Identification, TOSN15
    • Taxonomy: Map, GPS
    • Can detect and identify traffic regulators, traffic lights, and stop signs.
  • Monitoring Building Door Events using Barometer, UbiComp15
    • Taxonomy: Barometer, Door open/close
  • VitalAlley: Walkway Discovery from Large Scale Crowdsensing, IPSN18
    • Taxonomy: Map, GPS
    • Build the map of the human walkway from user GPS data
  • Enabling Identification and Behavioral Sensing in Homes, CHI19
    • Taxonomy: Activity (Monitoring), Specialized device
    • 3D identification and behavior sensing
  • Passive Monitoring at Home, Katabi19
    • Taxonomy: Activity (Monitoring), Specialized device
    • It’s not a simple activity recognition but a continuous monitoring with high definition and accuracy


[KDD12] Liu, X., Biagioni, J., Eriksson, J., Wang, Y., Forman, G., & Zhu, Y. (2012, August). Mining large-scale, sparse GPS traces for map inference: comparison of approaches. In SIGKDD (pp. 669-677). ACM.

[SenSys12-CrowdMon] Pushp, S., Min, C., Lee, Y., Liu, C. H., & Song, J. (2012, November). Towards crowd-aware sensing platform for metropolitan environments. In SenSys (pp. 335-336). ACM.

[SenSys12-IODetector] Zhou, P., Zheng, Y., Li, Z., Li, M., & Shen, G. (2012, November). IODetector: A generic service for indoor outdoor detection. In SenSye (pp. 113-126). ACM.

[MobiSys13-Auditeur] Nirjon, S., Dickerson, R. F., Asare, P., Li, Q., Hong, D., Stankovic, J. A., … & Jiang, X. (2013, June). Auditeur: A mobile-cloud service platform for acoustic event detection on smartphones. In MobiSys (pp. 403-416). ACM.

[HotMobile14-Barometric] Muralidharan, K., Khan, A. J., Misra, A., Balan, R. K., & Agarwal, S. (2014, February). Barometric phone sensors: More hype than hope!. In HotMobile (p. 12). ACM.

[ICASSP14-Barometric] Zaliva, V., & Franchetti, F. (2014, May). Barometric and GPS altitude sensor fusion. In ICASSP (pp. 7525-7529). IEEE.

[MobiCom14-A3] Zhou, P., Li, M., & Shen, G. (2014, September). Use it free: Instantly knowing your phone attitude. In MobiCom (pp. 605-616). ACM.

[MobiCom14-ParkSense] Nawaz, S., Efstratiou, C., & Mascolo, C. (2013, September). Parksense: A smartphone based sensing system for on-street parking. In MobiCom (pp. 75-86). ACM.

[SenSys14-Barometer] Sankaran, K., Zhu, M., Guo, X. F., Ananda, A. L., Chan, M. C., & Peh, L. S. (2014, November). Using mobile phone barometer for low-power transportation context detection. In SenSys (pp. 191-205). ACM.

[SenSys14-CoTrain] Radu, V., Katsikouli, P., Sarkar, R., & Marina, M. K. (2014, November). A semi-supervised learning approach for robust indoor-outdoor detection with smartphones. In SenSys (pp. 280-294). ACM

[WWW14] Wang, H., Lymberopoulos, D., & Liu, J. (2014, April). Local business ambience characterization through mobile audio sensing. In WWW (pp. 293-304). ACM.

[TOSN15] Hu, S., Su, L., Liu, H., Wang, H., & Abdelzaher, T. F. (2015). Smartroad: Smartphone-based crowd sensing for traffic regulator detection and identification. ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks (TOSN), 11(4), 55.

[UbiComp15] Wu, M., Pathak, P. H., & Mohapatra, P. (2015, September). Monitoring building door events using barometer sensor in smartphones. In UbiComp(pp. 319-323). ACM.

[IPSN18] Cao, C., Liu, Z., Li, M., Wang, W., & Qin, Z. (2018, April). Walkway discovery from large scale crowdsensing. In IPSN (pp. 13-24). IEEE.

[CHI19] Hsu, C. Y., Hristov, R., Lee, G. H., Zhao, M., & Katabi, D. (2019, April). Enabling Identification and Behavioral Sensing in Homes using Radio Reflections. In CHI (p. 548). ACM.

[Katabi19-Passive] Kabelac, Z., Tarolli, C. G., Snyder, C., Feldman, B., Glidden, A., Hsu, C. Y., … & Katabi, D. (2019). Passive Monitoring at Home: A Pilot Study in Parkinson Disease. Digital Biomarkers, 3(1), 22-30.

Industry Progress

  • Skyhook: Cooperative partner of Apple in localization. Massive dataset on GPS/Wi-FI/Cell-Tower/BLE. Provide user localization and trace analysis together with commercial value.
  • Emerald: Achieve device-free monitoring (3D movement / Sleep / other physiological signal) through specialized device (with strong sensing and variety signal transmitting capacity)
  • Advantech: Evolution of traditional industrial sensing through Wzzard (wireless sensor + self forming + configuration on cloud security gateway).
  • Other traditional sensing applications (BeanAir/VersaSense): structural health, ground vibration, environment.