graduate research

A Smartwatch That Works With One Hand

Smartwatches can be handy—perhaps too “handy,” given that they require both hands to operate. That can be a problem if your other hand is full, nonfunctioning or missing.

Researchers have tried a variety of approaches to help smartwatch users who lack a free hand, such as putting acoustic sensors on the watchband to capture inputs from finger-tapping. These efforts have concentrated mostly on enabling discrete commands, such as moving down a list of songs one at a time. Voice commands also can work for such functions, although the noise of speech isn’t always welcome.

Scientists at Dartmouth College and the University of Manitoba have been working on another approach: enabling continuous input—such as drawing letters and shapes or panning across a map—of the kind more typical of using a mouse or stylus. They hope to avoid relying on a lot of arm-tilting for these motions, since that tends to take the screen out of view.

DartNets Lab's DarkLight Won Best Video Award in MobiCom'16

With the rise in wearables such as smartwatches and fitness trackers that rely on smart sensors, and the continued popularity of smartphones, smartdevices are taking our country by storm. Wireless data for such devices is typically beamed through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, yet, the new wireless communication technology of “visible light communication (VLC),” has emerged as a new option albeit with limitations due to the challenges it faces in practice, such as being easily blocked or not being able to sustain transmission when light is off. Through a new Dartmouth project called “DarkLight,” researchers have developed and demonstrated for the first-time, how visible light can be used to transmit data even when the light appears dark or off. DarkLight provides a new communication primitive similar to infrared communication, however, it exploits the LED lights already around us rather than needing additional infrared emitters.

The study, “The DarkLight Rises: Visible Light Communication in the Dark,” was presented and demonstrated at “MobiCom 2016: The 22nd Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking” by Zhao Tian, the lead Ph.D. student for the project.

Dartmouth's "Magic Wand" for home healthcare is reporting on recent research coming out of Dartmouth Prof. David Kotz's lab to improve home healthcare and prevent hackers from stealing your personal data. The system, called "Wanda," will be presented at the IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications in April.

Students win "Best Cyber Security Solution" award

Congratulations to PhD student Jason Reeves and undergrad Chris Frangieh, whose poster “TEDDI: Tamper Detection on Distributed Infrastructure” (based on Jason's thesis research) was voted one of two "Best Cyber Security Solutions" by Advanced Cyber Security Center Annual Conference attendees in November 2015.

Jason's work is part of the Department of Energy's Cyber Resilient Energy Delivery Consortium, of which Dartmouth is a member.

Navigating the Path Between Computer Science and Music

Dana Cook Grossman

In 1959, the British novelist and physicist Sir C.P. Snow gave a famous lecture ruing what he saw as a rift between society’s “two cultures”—the humanities and the sciences. Snow would surely be heartened, half a century later, by Dartmouth doctoral student Andy Sarroff. “I have one foot in the music department and one foot in the computer science department,” says Sarroff.

“I would describe myself as being in the field of music-information retrieval,” he continues. “It’s not such an old field—probably just about 15 years old. Its focus is taking music in whatever format it’s in and extracting meaningful information out of it. Usually, I’m working with digital audio—looking at the zeros and ones in digital audio and mapping the perception to the signal.”

Sarroff came to his interest in “zeros and ones” through his interest in notes and meter.

“Music was a gateway to computing for me. I’ve always played music,” he says.

He was a music major as an undergraduate at Wesleyan and then a recording engineer for eight years or so. He went on to earn a master’s degree in music technology at New York University.