Barometric Phone Sensors – More Hype Than Hope!

  • Kartik Muralidharan ,
  • Azeem Javed Khan ,
  • Archan Misra ,
  • Rajesh Krishna Balan ,

ACM HotMobile 2014 |

The inclusion of the barometer sensor in smartphones signaled an opportunity for aiding indoor localization efforts. In this paper, we therefore investigate a possible use of the barometer sensor for detecting vertically oriented activities. We start by showing the accuracies of various commodity measurement devices and the challenges they bring forth. We then show how to use the barometer values to build a predictor that can detect floor changes and the mode (elevator, escalator, or stairs) used to change floors with nearly 100% accuracy. We validate these properties with data collected using 3 different measurement devices from 7 different buildings. Our investigation reveals that while the barometer sensor has potential, there is still a lot left to be desired.