Wenqiang "Winston" Chen, a computer science Ph.D. candidate, will give the prestigious Link Lab Student Seminar in recognition of his work to advance smart devices to improve user experience. The seminar is the preeminent talk given by a student in the 280+ person lab; being chosen as the presenter is also a hallmark Link Lab award for excellence in research.

Chen’s research has created technology for next-generation smart devices, like watches and glasses. Specifically, Chen harnesses subtle on-body vibrations for intelligent interactions and has designed a novel adversarial neural network to mitigate human body variations. His new technology is called VibInt and it is able to recognize typing and writing induced vibrations with accuracy, even when users are in different states of motion or in noisy environments.

Chen's advisor is Jack Stankovic, BP America Professor of Computer Science. Stankovic is also the director of UVA Engineering's Link Lab

“Winston's work on using vibrations detected by smart watches is broad and deep and is first rate," said Stankovic. "The work enables the use of very low amplitude vibrations even in the presence of non-target vibrations, for example picking up target finger tapping vibrations on the knuckles of a hand even while walking."

Chen's work has appeared at top computer science conferences like Mobicom and Ubicomp. He has also obtained five patents, won the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers SECON 2018 Best Paper Award, and the Association for Computing Machinery SenSys 2020 Best Demo Award. His technology has had significant impact through the company he launched, VibInt AI Limited, already selling over 10,000 smart watches that embed the novel technology.

Leidos partnered with Link Lab in offering this seminar for the first time in December 2020 and is the corporate sponsor of this now annual event. In a common goal of promoting research excellence in cyber-physical systems, the seminar seeks to highlight a senior Ph.D. student conducting cyber-physical systems research in the Link Lab. The seminar, held this year on Nov. 11, also comingles Link Lab partners and Link Lab’s many research groups to foster further collaboration while offering graduate students insight into potential areas of study and research. 

Smart Watches Fueled by Human Vibration

Chen's research harnesses subtle on-body vibrations for intelligent interactions through a novel adversarial neural network.