6Fit-A-Part: A wearable device for physical distancing

Yifeng Cao, Ashutosh Dhekne, Mostafa Ammar

[Published in ICNP 2020] | [Paper] | [Talk] | [Presentation] | [Code]
[NSF COVID Call to Arms Talk] | [CRA - Lightening Talk] | [NSF PREPARE Workshop Poster]

The coronavirus pandemic is altering our way of life. As more establishments reopen, there is an expectation that people will follow physical distancing guidelines. The implementation, however, is poor; just putting up warning signs appealing the general public to keep a distance of 6 feet from others is hardly enough. In this paper we consider the design of a wearable device that raises an alarm if another similar device is detected within a set distance. It uses off-the-shelf ultra-wideband radio technology for real-time, accurate distance estimation from others in the vicinity. We design an one-to-all ranging protocol that is able to accurately estimate distance to neighboring devices and warn the user if the distance falls below a certain established threshold within a short time. The device must compensate for human occlusions and avoid unnecessary warnings when physical barriers exist between devices.

Poster: Physical Games in K-12 despite COVID-19

Yifeng Cao, Ashutosh Dhekne, Mostafa Ammar

[HotMobile 2021 Poster on Enabling Physical Games during COVID-19]

We present the potential of extending 6Fit-a-Part, our recently proposed physical distancing platform, to enable interactive physical games in school campuses despite COVID-19 restrictions. To minimize the risk of infection, traditional physical games must be modified such that the inter-player distance remains beyond 6 feet at all times. Our wearable electronic gadget that beeps when it approaches another similar device can facilitate such games, however, it must first solve 3 fundamental challenges: high accuracy, low delay, and high robustness. We highlight that 6Fit-a-Part adopts an improved two way ranging protocol using ultra-wideband radio (UWB) which can provide accurate inter-player distance measurements in real-time. Furthermore, 6Fit-a-Part leverages wireless channel features to perform occlusion detection continuously so that erroneous measurements caused by human occlusions can be corrected. 6Fit-a-Part is designed to be a lightweight wearable device making it a suitable accessory even during games. By compromising rules of traditional physical games, we show that 6Fit-aPart is capable of seamlessly re-enabling physical games while still maintaining physical distancing.

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