HeatSight: Wearable Low-power Omni Thermal Sensing

Rawan Alharbi, Chunlin Feng, Sougata Sen, Jayalakshmi Jain, Josiah Hester, Nabil Alshurafa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Thermal information surrounding a person is a rich source for understanding and identifying personal activities. Different daily activities naturally emit distinct thermal signatures from both the human body and surrounding objects; these signatures exhibit both spatial and temporal components as objects move and thermal energy dissipates, for example, when drinking a cold beverage or smoking a cigarette. We present HeatSight, a wearable system that captures the thermal environment of the wearer and uses machine learning to infer human activity from thermal, spatial, and temporal information in that environment. We achieve this by embedding five low-power thermal sensors in a pentahedron configuration which captures a wide view of the wearer's body and the objects they interact with. We also design a battery life-saving mechanism that selectively powers only those sensors necessary for detection. With HeatSight, we unlock thermal as an egocentric modality for future interaction research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationISWC 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781450384629
StatePublished - Sep 21 2020
Event25th ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers, ISWC 2021 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Sep 21 2021Sep 26 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Symposium on Wearable Computers, ISWC
ISSN (Print)1550-4816


Conference25th ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers, ISWC 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • human activity detection
  • low-power
  • thermal sensing
  • wearable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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