Sonar-Based Measurement of User Attention

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Executive Summary

The authors describe a technique to determine presence and attention levels of computer users. This technique relies on sonar using hardware that already exists on commodity laptop computers and other electronic devices. It leverages the fact that human bodies have a different effect on sound waves than air and other objects. The authors conducted a user study in which 20 volunteers used a computer equipped with the ultrasonic sonar software. The results show that it is possible to detect users with near perfect accuracy after only ten seconds of measurement. The experiment is the first to demonstrate that user attention states can be differentiated using sonar.

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