Reality Mining: Counting your steps, guessing your speed, knowing your direction

The sensors that notice the shakings of your device also notice yourself shaking when you walk. Given the average distance you travel with every single step, one can tell how far you walked while reading a website. Combined with the direction of the compass, you could even guess where you are walking right then. Now imagine a lots of people going to a concert, checking the bands website for news updates. Most of them will face the same direction and move at a similar speed. Tracking them will give you a cluster of target audience.

Steps: 0



Look at the graph and the step counter above. With a mobile device, it should make visible all kind of shaky lines and it should count your steps more or less accurately.

ideeKnowing the movement direction and combining it with a step counter, you could tell even more about the target:

  • If they walk more than x steps in one direction, they’re probably not at home.
  • If you approximately know where they are, you can check against street maps to localize them.
  • If the device changes direction but is barely shaking, they probably travel by bus/train or something else.
  • Tracking people who move all together to a concert, you could predict what they do next and cross-sell something.

Walking while surfing the web is very convenient for path tracking.

Walking while surfing the web is very convenient for path tracking.


Paths created by counting steps + compass can localize a person.

Paths created by counting steps + compass can localize a person.

People in a crowd have a similar direction and speed.

People in a crowd have a similar direction and speed.

Determining lots of things from device movements

Now let your imagination run wild to get a sense of what could be determined by recording the movements of your smartphone.

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  • Out of the hand of a right-handed person, the phone gently slides out the open hand with a definite left tilt. A left-handed person has a right tilt.
  • When you put down you phone on a couch, there is a swinging motion at the end. If you put it down on a desk, there is no swinging but a sudden motion stop.
  • If you turn your phone to show something to someone on the display, you fulfill a rotation in one direction and then a rotation back (to you).

Let’s go into detail to see how data is collected

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1 Antwort

  1. 30. Juni 2016

    […] und auch (erstmal?) nur durch andere Apps abgefragt werden können. Im Unterschied zu der Reality Mining-Demo zur Nutzeraktivität die ich hier vor geraumer Zeit demonstriert habe ist für den Zugriff auf die Awareness-API eine […]

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