Child Independent Mobility

Child independent mobility (CIM) refers to the freedom of children to move about their neighborhoods without direct adult supervision. It is widely accepted that CIM is essential to emotional, social, and physical well-being, yet CIM has dramatically declined. This project uses the Internet of Things (IoT) to foster community supported CIM. In the IoT, every "thing" can sense its surroundings and communicate wirelessly with other nearby things. When all children have a small digital beacon, adult community members carry mobile devices, and the neighborhood itself has embedded devices, the community can support safe CIM in a local and self-organizing way. The project will support CIM using local community resources, made available using increasingly common device-to-device wireless links. The project is organized along two primary research thrusts. First, we are designing novel protocols for continuous neighbor discovery that enable IoT devices to discover other nearby devices with minimal energy costs. Second, given the ability to efficiently discover other nearby devices, we are also exploring the ability for parents and other caregivers to define declarative policies for community data. These policies allow the creation of rules for assessing the state of a child's IoT device to ensure that desired safety conditions are satisfied.

Project Participants: Dr. Christine Julien (MPC director), Colin Maxfield (Ph.D. student), Chenguang Liu (Ph.D. student), Amy L. Murphy (Collaborator), Dr. Mohit Tiwari (collaborator at The University of Texas at Austin)