Compressive representation for device-free activity recognition with passive RFID signal strength

Lina Yao, Quan Z. Sheng, Xue Li, Tao Gu, Mingkui Tan, Xianzhi Wang, Sen Wang, Wenjie Ruan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding and recognizing human activities is a fundamental research topic for a wide range of important applications such as fall detection and remote health monitoring and intervention. Despite active research in human activity recognition over the past years, existing approaches based on computer vision or wearable sensor technologies present several significant issues such as privacy (e.g., using video camera to monitor the elderly at home) and practicality (e.g., not possible for an older person with dementia to remember wearing devices). In this paper, we present a low-cost, unobtrusive and robust system that supports independent living of older people. The system interprets what a person is doing by deciphering signal fluctuations using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and machine learning algorithms. To deal with noisy, streaming, and unstable RFID signals, we develop a compressive sensing dictionary-based approach that can learn a set of compact and informative dictionaries of activities using an unsupervised subspace decomposition. In particular, we devise a number of approaches to explore the properties of sparse coefficients of the learned dictionaries for fully utilizing the embodied discriminative information on the activity recognition task. Our approach achieves efficient and robust activity recognition via a more compact and robust representation of activities. Extensive experiments conducted in a real-life residential environment demonstrate that our proposed system offers a good overall performance and shows the promising practical potential to underpin the applications for the independent living of the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-306
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • activity recognition
  • RFID
  • compressive sensing
  • subspace decomposition
  • feature selection


Dive into the research topics of 'Compressive representation for device-free activity recognition with passive RFID signal strength'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this