Objects Calling Home: Locating Objects Using Mobile Phones

  • Christian Frank
  • Philipp Bolliger
  • Christof Roduner
  • Wolfgang Kellerer
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4480)


Locating physical items is a highly relevant application addressed by numerous systems. Many of these systems share the drawback that costly infrastructure must be installed before a significant physical area can be covered, that is, before these systems may be used in practice. In this paper, we build on the ubiquitous infrastructure provided by the mobile phone network to design a wide-area system for locating objects. Sensor-equipped mobile phones, naturally omnipresent in populated environments, are the main elements of our system. They are used to distribute search queries and to report an object’s location. We present the design of our object search system together with a set of simple heuristics which can be used for efficient object search. Moreover, such a system can only be successfully deployed if environment conditions (such as the participant density and their mobility) and system settings (such as number of queried sensors) allow to find an object quickly and efficiently. We therefore demonstrate the practicability of our system and obtain suitable system parameters for its execution in a series of simulations. Further, we use a real-world experiment to validate the obtained simulation results.


Mobile Phone Mobile Device User Mobility Mobility Model Reply Time 
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Copyright information

© Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Frank
    • 1
  • Philipp Bolliger
    • 1
  • Christof Roduner
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Kellerer
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Pervasive Computing, ETH Zurich, 8092 ZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.DoCoMo Communications Laboratories Europe, MunichGermany

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