Digital Everywhere: NJIT Researchers Harness the New Media

Researchers at NJIT are looking closely at many aspects of today’s pervasive computing to see how education, business and healthcare can make use of the data that is collecting everywhere. Their studies make use of smart phones and cameras, video games  and social networks.


Smart Phone Sensing

A team of computer science researchers are studying how the collection of smart phones carried by people can be used for large scale sensing of the physical world by leveraging the cameras, microphones, GPSs, accelerometers, and other sensors on the phones. Associate Professor Cristian Borcea, Manoop Talasila, doctoral student, and Associate Professor Reza Curtmola, are collaborating with the University of Bologna, Italy, to find ways to manage and utilize the mobile crowd sensing process.

In order to verify that smartphone sensing is scalable, reliable, and cost-effective, they built and deployed McSense, a geo-social crowd sensing platform for smart cities. McSense has been deployed as an app for Android and is currently being tested by student volunteers.

Andrew Zarzycki

Augmenting Reality

Andrzej Zarzycki, associate professor of architecture and design, combines crowd sourcing with gaming to develop the concept of augmented reality. In a paper, “Urban Games: Applications of Augmented Reality,” presented at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012, he described augmented reality environments integrate history/knowledge, tourism, gaming and everyday urban life.

The project utilizes a mobile app called Mystery Spaces that encourages users to become urban explorers and discovery the mystery of abandoned public infrastructure by navigating through forgotten and underappreciated public spaces. The project “gamifies” traditional sightseeing by awarding participants experience points and discovery points and encouraging authoring of the augmented reality environment content.

Frank Shih

Detecting Image Forgery

An expert in digital forensics and steganography, Frank Y. Shih, professor of computer science, is studying image forgery, which has been facilitated by advances in image-editing software. In collaboration with Gavin Lynch, doctoral student, and researchers at the Academia Sinica in Taiwan, he has developed an algorithm to detect copy-move forgery – forgery in which one region of an image is copied to another area of the image in an attempt to cover a potentially important feature. Experimental results show the new method is effective in identifying the size and shape of the duplicated region.

Katia Passerini

Business in the Cloud

Professor of MIS Katia Passerini won a Bright Idea Award sponsored by the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University and the NJPRO Foundation for her paper entitled “The Next Web Apps Architecture: Challenges for SaaS Vendors” reviewing the dynamic evolution of the information technology industry with the advent of Cloud Computing and highlights key issues that will drive markets and business models on the cloud.

Such issues are beyond technical, and include the emergence of marketplaces for services, the advent of the “utility” and on-demand model, the competition among large and small vendors, and the sustainability of profits for multiple service providers. She co-authored the article with She co-authored the article with Stephane Gagnon, Veronique Nabelsi of the University of Quebec and Kemal Cakici of the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Cesar Bandera

Phoning It In

Cesar Bandera, assistant professor of management specializes in mobile e-learning. His company, Cell Podium, based in NJIT’s Enterprise Development Center, holds the technology to push multimedia training to cell phones regardless of the carrier or model of the phone and has a $1.2M contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish a global broadcasting center. The CDC Center for Global Health is using the broadcasting center in a polio vaccination literacy campaign in rural Afghanistan and Pakistan to help overcome suspicion of the vaccine.

 The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is using the center to promote workforce safety videos to cell phones at construction sites.  NJIT’s Warren Street Village was the first site in the nation to adopt this new mobile safety technology. The International Foundation is funding NJIT students to deploy this technology in the Dominican Republic to improve access to healthcare in rural areas.

During Superstorm Sandy, Cell Podium helped the U.S. Public Health Service Rapid Deployment Force-3 to establish Federal Medical Stations for patients from nursing homes and hospitals who could not access needed services at regular shelters. With power outages interrupting most communications, the CDC Emergency Operations Center called on the Cell Podium team to help coordinate response operations and broadcast logistics videos with mobilization instructions via cell phone. In the photos: top, the Cell Podium team: Bandera (center) Jie Mai, MBA student and project manager of the CDC contract and Jing Guo ’12, lead developer of the CDC project. Bottom, a medical station set up at Middlesex County College through the Cell Podium team.

Julia Mayer

Making Education Guesses

Julia Mayer, a doctoral student specializing in human-computer interaction, is researching social inference – the information that can be deduced about an individual’s identity, background, location and preferences from data available in social computing applications.

She is working to evaluate the risks and benefits of social inference, and to develop user interfaces that would help users to manage social inferences. She is collaborating with Richard Schuler, PhD student in information systems, and Quentin Jones, associate professor of information systems.

Quentin Jones

Creating Events on the Go

Quentin Jones, associate professor of information systems, received an NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) grant to develop a new type of location-aware mobile-social application designed to provide a new approach to event creation, discovery and management among groups. It provides user-location and social-activity aware information to users. By leveraging its end-to-end social mobile platform, users initiate activities and manage real-world attendance.

I-Corps funding is designed to foster commercialization of technology developed in NSF-funded research programs.