Using Deep Data Augmentation Training to Address Software and Hardware Heterogeneities in Wearable and Smartphone Sensing Devices

Akhil Mathur, T Zhang, S Bhattacharya, P Veličković, L Joffe, Nic Lane, F Kawsar, P Lió
in Proceedings - 17th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks, IPSN 2018, Conference paper (text)


© 2018 IEEE. A small variation in mobile hardware and software can potentially cause a significant heterogeneity or variation in the sensor data each device collects. For example, the microphone and accelerometer sensors on different devices can respond very differently to the same audio or motion phenomena. Other factors, like the instantaneous computational load on a smartphone, can cause key behavior like sensor sampling rates to fluctuate, further polluting the data. When sensing devices are deployed in unconstrained and real-world conditions, examples of sharply lower classification accuracy are observed due to what is collectively known as the sensing system heterogeneity. In this work, we take an unconventional approach and argue against solving individual forms of heterogeneity, e.g., improving OS behavior, or the quality/uniformity of components. Instead, we propose and build classifiers that themselves are more tolerant of these variations by leveraging deep learning and a data-augmented training process. Neither augmentation nor deep learning has previously been attempted to cope with sensor heterogeneity. We systematically investigate how these two machine learning methodologies can be adapted to solve such problems, and identify when and where they are able to be successful. We find that our proposed approach is able to reduce classifier errors on an average by 9% and 17% for a range of inertial-and audio-based mobile classification tasks.