Location Based Notifications for a Smartphone


Executive Summary


Different surfaces respond to the same vibration differently. Vibration based sensing is a low-cost and effective approach to recognizing different surfaces. Prior methods use custom hardware for creating and sensing vibration, making them difficult to adopt. This method uses the smartphone’s vibrator motor to cause the whole smartphone structure and the hardware inside it to vibrate in a peculiar pattern. These vibrations produce surface dependent sound waves that are detected using the smartphone’s microphone.


Description of Technology


This method is a robust and practical vibration based sensing scheme that works with smartphones with different hardware, can extract fine-grained vibration signatures of different surfaces, and is robust to environmental noise and hardware based irregularities. Vibration based surface recognition and symbolic tagging of locations can provide information about user activities and intentions without any dedicated infrastructure. This information can be enable useful services such as context aware notifications, smart reminders and smart alarms.


Key Benefits

  • Uses existing smartphone sensors
  • Detects the difference between surfaces on which the cellphone is placed.



  • Surface Recognition based smart notifications
  • Smart reminders
  • Smart alarms


Intellectual Property Status:




Licensing Rights Available


Full licensing rights available




Kamran Ali, Alex Liu


Tech ID:




Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Raymond Devito
Technology Manager
Michigan State University