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Tracko: Ad-hoc Mobile 3D Tracking Using Bluetooth Low Energy and Inaudible Signals for Cross-Device Interaction

Haojian Jin, Christian Holz, and Kasper Hornbæk. Proceedings of ACM UIST 2015.

While current mobile devices detect the presence of surrounding devices, they lack a truly spatial awareness to bring them into the user’s natural 3D space. We present Tracko, a 3D tracking system between two or more commodity devices without added components or device synchronization. Tracko achieves this by fusing three signal types. 1) Tracko infers the presence of and rough distance to other devices from the strength of Bluetooth low energy signals. 2) Tracko exchanges a series of inaudible stereo sounds and derives a set of accurate distances between devices from the difference in their arrival times. A Kalman filter integrates both signal cues to place collocated devices in a shared 3D space, combining the robustness of Bluetooth with the accuracy of audio signals for relative 3D tracking. 3) Tracko incorporates inertial sensors to refine 3D estimates and support quick interactions. Tracko robustly tracks devices in 3D with a mean error of 6.5 cm within 0.5 m and a 15.3 cm error within 1 m, which validates Tracko’s suitability for cross-device interactions.