Cory Cornelius, Ronald Peterson, Joseph Skinner, Ryan Halter, and David Kotz. A wearable system that knows who wears it. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services (MobiSys), pages 55-67, June 2014. DOI 10.1145/2594368.2594369.

Abstract: Body-area networks of pervasive wearable devices are increasingly used for health monitoring, personal assistance, entertainment, and home automation. In an ideal world, a user would simply wear their desired set of devices with no configuration necessary: the devices would discover each other, recognize that they are on the same person, construct a secure communications channel, and recognize the user to which they are attached. In this paper we address a portion of this vision by offering a wearable system that unobtrusively recognizes the person wearing it. Because it can recognize the user, our system can properly label sensor data or personalize interactions.

Our recognition method uses bioimpedance, a measurement of how tissue responds when exposed to an electrical current. By collecting bioimpedance samples using a small wearable device we designed, our system can determine that (a)the wearer is indeed the expected person and (b) the device is physically on the wearer's body. Our recognition method works with 98% balanced-accuracy under a cross-validation of a day's worth of bioimpedance samples from a cohort of 8 volunteer subjects. We also demonstrate that our system continues to recognize a subset of these subjects even several months later. Finally, we measure the energy requirements of our system as implemented on a Nexus S smart phone and custom-designed module for the Shimmer sensing platform.

Keywords: mHealth, security, privacy, wearable, biometric, bioimpedance

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