A team of Indian-American scientists has developed a smart tracking system, which could very well provide an honourable alternative to the radio tags that were recently tied to the ankles of some Indian students whose California-based university was shut down on charges of visa fraud.
"We want technology to be natural and unobtrusive. We don't want you to carry around an RFID (radio frequency identification) tag and we don't want cameras everywhere. We want technology to be assistive and not become Big Brother," said Bharat Jayaraman, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Buffalo, who led the team that developed the new system.
The new smart tracking system can track people's whereabouts without the use of invasive technologies, such as constant filming or RFID tags.
Some 18 Indian students of the California-based "sham" Tri Valley University were forced to wear radio tags around their ankles after it was closed down recently on charges of immigration fraud.
The team that developed the new system also included Vivek Menon, an assistant professor of information systems at Amrita University, apart from Venu Govindaraju, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the University of Buffalo's Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
The research will also be presented next week at the "Indo-US Workshop on Developing a Research Agenda in Pervasive Communications and Computing Collaboration (PC3)," co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation, a university report said.
"When researchers ran computer simulations of the tracking system, they were able to identify and trace the whereabouts of individuals with a high degree of accuracy, even when employing images from low-quality cameras as the means of identification," it said.
"Our goal is to develop systems that could enhance quality of life at homes and hospitals, productivity at the workplace and security of critical spaces," Jayaraman was quoted as saying.
A peer-review paper, "Three R's of Cyber-Physical Spaces," describing the new tracking method, appears online in Computer, the flagship magazine of the IEEE Computer Society, and the print edition will carry the article in a future issue.