Brocanelli earns NSF CAREER award to support research of energy efficiency in mobile augmented reality apps

Mobile augmented reality (MAR) apps use tablet and smartphone cameras to create an interactive augmented experience. These apps execute compute-intensive tasks and use artificial intelligence to blend digital elements with those of the real world. However, the limited resources of mobile devices can lead to short battery life and low user-perceived quality, inhibiting the growth potential of this technology.

“To ensure the future success of MAR, it is important not only to conduct novel research on how to enable high energy efficiency in MAR apps, but also to educate the future workforce in the best practices for energy efficient mobile software design,” said Marco Brocanelli, assistant professor of computer science in the College of Engineering and director of the Energy-aware Autonomous Systems Lab (EAS-Lab) at Wayne State University.

Marco Brocanelli
Marco Brocanelli

Brocanelli is working toward these goals with a project, “Enhancing Energy Efficiency in Mobile Augmented Reality Apps,” which earned him a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award, the organization’s most prestigious accolade for up-and-coming researchers.

The five-year, $576,099 grant will support the development of an MAR framework that exploits scalable algorithms running on edge servers and mobile devices to help improve the energy efficiency of MAR apps. The proposed research has the potential to accelerate the growth of the MAR market — which is already expected to reach $185 billion by 2030.

“By providing a framework that makes MAR apps more energy efficient, this project will help speed up the adoption of augmented reality in many different key sectors of modern society,” said Brocanelli. In addition to its entertainment value, MAR shows promise to enhance health care, retail, tourism and a host of other industries.

NSF CAREER awards emphasize the integration of research and education to build a firm foundation of leadership. According to Brocanelli, this project will stimulate the creation of new graduate-level courses, research opportunities for undergraduate students and summer camps for K-12 students. Results of the project will be published in top-tier conferences and journals, and the source code of the proposed algorithms will be made available as open source.

Brocanelli arrived at Wayne State University in 2018 after receiving his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Ohio State University, where he had been a visiting scholar between October 2010 and May 2012. He received a B.S. and M.S. in control engineering from the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy.

The grant number for this NSF award is 2142406.

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Julie O'Connor

Director, Research Communications
Phone: 313-577-8845