Toward a wearable RFID system for real-time activity recognition using radio patterns

Liang Wang, Tao Gu, Xianping Tao, Jian Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Elderly care is one of the many applications supported by real-time activity recognition systems. Traditional approaches use cameras, body sensor networks, or radio patterns from various sources for activity recognition. However, these approaches are limited due to ease-of-use, coverage, or privacy preserving issues. In this paper, we present a novel wearable Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system aims at providing an easy-to-use solution with high detection coverage. Our system uses passive tags which are maintenance-free and can be embedded into the clothes to reduce the wearing and maintenance efforts. A small RFID reader is also worn on the user's body to extend the detection coverage as the user moves. We exploit RFID radio patterns and extract both spatial and temporal features to characterize various activities. We also address the issues of false negative of tag readings and tag/antenna calibration, and design a fast online recognition system. Antenna and tag selection is done automatically to explore the minimum number of devices required to achieve target accuracy. We develop a prototype system which consists of a wearable RFID system and a smartphone to demonstrate the working principles, and conduct experimental studies with four subjects over two weeks. The results show that our system achieves a high recognition accuracy of 93.6 percent with a latency of 5 seconds. Additionally, we show that the system only requires two antennas and four tagged body parts to achieve a high recognition accuracy of 85 percent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-242
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Activity recognition
  • Real-time
  • Wearable RFID


Dive into the research topics of 'Toward a wearable RFID system for real-time activity recognition using radio patterns'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this