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Tam Vu   PhD candidate

Tam N. Vu

 Wireless Information Network Lab - WINLAB
 Department of Computer Science
 Rutgers University

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Capacitive Touch Communication - A Technique to Input Data Through Device's Touchscreens

As we are surrounded by an ever-larger variety of post-PC devices, the traditional methods for identifying and authenticating users have become cumbersome and time-consuming. In this paper, we present a capacitive communication method through which a device can recognize who is interacting with it. This method exploits the capacitive touchscreens, which are now used e.g. in laptops, phones, and tablets, as a signal receiver. The signal that identifies the user can be generated by a small transmitter embedded into a ring, watch, or other artifact carried on the human body. We explore two example system designs with a low-power continuous transmitter that communicates through the skin and a mechanically triggered signet ring that can provide security-levels sufficient for user authentication. Experiments with our prototype transmitter and tablet receiver show that capacitive communication through a touchscreen is possible, without hardware or firmware modifications on a receiver. This latter approach imposes severe limits on the data rate, but the rate is sufficient for differentiating users in multiplayer tablet games or parental control applications. It may also be useful for providing less obtrusive authentication with similar assurance as PIN codes or swipe patterns commonly used on smartphones today.

Press Release: MIT Technology Review, Phys.org, [Demo Video], [Long Demo Video]

Acoustic Localization of Mobile phones in Car for Driver Safety Applications

This project aims at improving the driver safety by appropriately allowing or denying calls to the driver's mobile phone. The mobile phones equipped with microphones, calibrates its location within the car to determine if it is held by the driver or the passenger and accordingly enforces call policies. The technique that we propose makes use of human in-audible acoustic signals from the car's speakers to calibrate the location of the mobile phone.

Press Release: MIT Technology Review, The Wall Street Journal, CNET News, Yahoo News,

MobilityFirst - A mobile-centric architecture for next generation Internet

Funded by the National Science Foundation's Future Internet Architecture (FIA) program started in Sept 2010, the project is aimed at design and validation of comprehensive new architectures for the next-generation Internet. This is a three-year project (2010-13) with scope including network design, performance evaluation, large-scale prototyping and end-user application trials.

DMap - A Shared Hosting Scheme for Dynamic Identifier to Locator Mappings in the Global InternetM
DMap is the foundation for a fast global name resolution service necessary to enable emerging Internet services such as seamless mobility, content delivery and cloud computing. Our approach distributes identifier to locator mappings amongst Autonomous Systems (ASs) by directly applying K>1 consistent hash functions on the identifier to produce network addresses of the AS gateway routers at which the mapping will be stored. This direct mapping technique leverages the reachability information of the underly- ing routing mechanism which is already available at the network layer, and achieves low lookup latencies through a single overlay hop without additional maintenance overheads.

EIR - Edge-aware Interdomain Routing Protocol
Initially designed for communication between fixed hosts, the Internet does not handle well various forms of the dynamic introduced by today’s mobile platforms and applications. This dynamic, which ranges from explicit end-host mobility, multi-network operations, multi-path, and multi-homing to the flexible network boundary introduced by virtual networks, emerges at the edge networks posing a new set of desirable network functions. This project proposes a new interdomain routing protocol that takes edge-network dynamism into account. The key techniques in the design of EIR include: abstracting network entities, telescopic routing event dissemination, and late name to address binding.

Press Release: [MIT Tech Review Article covering FIA projects] [Read more...]

Fine-grain angular and distance ranging for indoor environment

Accurately estimating relative angles and ranges information between nearby devices is a hard problem, yet of importance to many context-aware applications such as augmented reality, autonomous automotive systems, smart manufacturing systems, etc. Existing indoor localization techniques could not meet the applications' requirements given the resource constraints. We have started exploring a technique that integrates wireless wearable devices with hardware adjuncts to provide spatial context information at centimeter-level accuracy from objects and people for indoor environment.

Location Privacy for All - A Network Architecture for Location Privacy

Traditionally, network designers have been forced to choose from either strong privacy with low performance and scalability architecture to the one with high performance and scalability yet no privacy at all. However, with the rapid growth in number of mobile devices and their traffic, the location privacy problem becomes more and more importance. Thus ignoring the issues of location privacy is no longer a reasonable option. In this work, we explore the space between traditional strong and optimistic privacy models and their tradeoffs in terms of performance and scalability. As a result, we propose a highly scalable network architecture with a set of protocols that guarantees measurable and customizable degrees of location privacy with high performance communication.

Physical Layer Cooperation for Location Privacy Protection

Localization techniques that allow inferring the location of wireless devices directly from received signals have exposed mobile users to new threats. Adversaries can easily collect required information (such as signal strength) from target users, however, techniques securing location information at the physical layer of the wireless communication systems have not received much attention. In this project we propose Phantom, a novel approach to allow mobile devices thwart unauthorized adversary’s location tracking by creating forged locations. In particular, Phantom leverages cooperation among multiple mobile devices in close vicinity and utilizes synchronized transmissions among those nodes to obfuscate localization efforts of adversary systems. Through an implementation on software-defined radios (GNU Radios) and extensive simulation with real location traces, we see that Phantom can improve location privacy.

Vehicular Speed Estimation Using Received Signal Strength from Mobile Phones

This project focuses on estimating vehicular speeds with high accuracy at the base station using the mobile phones in vehicles without the explicit participation from the drivers. The work is founded on the principles that RSS from Mobile phones on the GSM network are stable over time and variable over space. We apply classic dynamic programming techniques to estimate vehicular speeds with very high accuracy This technique can be more robust to small scale fading and can produce more accurate speed estimation compared to the traditional technique of localizing phones over time since we are now looking at a continuous time series instead of discrete signal strength readings.