Robert LiKamWa
Assistant Professor
Arizona State University

AME - Arts, Media and Engineering
ECEE - Electrical, Computer
     and Energy Engineering

Office: Stauffer B201
Email: likamwa (@)

Robert LiKamWa

I am an assistant professor at Arizona State University across the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering (ECEE) and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering (AME).

I direct the Meteor Studio, which focuses on enabling Mobile Experiential Technologies through Embedded Optimization Research. We study software and hardware systems for augmented reality and virtual reality, including: (i) operating systems and sensor interfaces for visual sensing, (ii) systems for augmented senses in AR/VR, (e.g., feel, sound, smell), and (iii) mobile and mixed reality content development frameworks.

We're always recruiting talented students for M.S./Ph.D in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Media, Arts, and Sciences. Send an email with your CV if you're interested in joining the lab!

[Curriculum Vitae (PDF)] [My surname: LiKamWa]

For up to date news, check lab site

Research Highlights

SWISH: A Shifting-Weight Interface of Simulated Hydrodynamics for Haptic Perception of Virtual Fluid Vessels

Shahabedin Sagheb, Frank Liu, Alireza Bahremand, Assegid Kidane, Robert LiKamWa
to appear at ACM UIST 2019

Banner: An Image Sensor Reconfiguration Framework for Seamless Resolution-based Tradeoffs

Jinhan Hu, Saranya Rajagopalan, Alexander Shearer, Robert LiKamWa
ACM MobiSys 2019

GLEAM: An illumination estimation framework for real-time photorealistic augmented reality on mobile devices

Siddhant Prakash, Alireza Bahremand, Linda Nguyen, Robert LiKamWa
ACM MobiSys 2019

A case for temperature-driven task migration to balance energy efficiency and image quality of vision processing workloads

Venkatesh Kodukula, Sai Bharadwaj Medapuram, Britton Jones, Robert LiKamWa
ACM HotMobile 2018
[Paper PDF]

Characterizing the Reconfiguration Latency of Image Sensor Operation on the Android OS

Jinhan Hu, Jianan Yang, Vraj Delhivala, Robert LiKamWa
ACM HotMobile 2018
[Paper PDF]

Characterizing Bottlenecks towards a Hybrid Integration of Holographic, Mobile, and Screen-based Data Visualization

Alexander Shearer, Lei Guo, Junshu Liu, Ashley Megumi Satkowski, Robert LiKamWa
Immersive Analytics @ IEEE VIS 2017
[Paper PDF]

RedEye: Analog ConvNet Image Sensor Architecture for Continuous Mobile Vision [+]

Robert LiKamWa, Yunhui Hou, Julian Gao, Mia Polansky, Lin Zhong
ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) 2016
Seoul, Korea

The RedEye vision sensor architecture extracts ConvNet features in the analog domain to reduce analog-digital sensor readout overhead. The architecture promotes focal plane scalability by localizing design complexity and promotes energy efficiency by analog noise admission.
[Paper PDF]
[Talk Slides]
[Simulation framework repository]

Starfish: Efficient Concurrency Support for Computer Vision [+]

Robert LiKamWa, Lin Zhong
ACM Conf. on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services (MobiSys) 2015
Florence, Italy

Starfish retrofits vision libraries for split-process execution. This allows multiple background applications to transparently share computation results through library function caching.
[Paper PDF]
[Conference Talk]
[Conference Slides PDF]

Energy Characterization and Optimization of Image Sensing Toward Continuous Mobile Vision [+]

Robert LiKamWa, Bodhi Priyantha, Matthai Philipose, Lin Zhong, Paramvir (Victor) Bahl
ACM Conf. on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services (MobiSys) 2013
Taipei, Taiwan
Best Paper Award

We characterize the energy consumption of image sensors to reveal opportunities for energy proportionality to tradeoff quality for power consumption. We describe simple techniques to enable such proportionality.
[Paper PDF]
[Conference Talk + 5 Minute Rundown]
[Conference Slides PDF]
[MIT Tech Review Coverage]
[Patent Application]

Building a Mood Sensor from Smartphone Usage Patterns [+]

Robert LiKamWa, Yunxin Liu, Nicholas D. Lane, Lin Zhong
ACM Conf. on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services (MobiSys) 2013
Taipei, Taiwan

The MoodSense/Scope project studies the use of supervised machine learning to mine inferences from smartphone usage patterns. We analyze text, call, email, location, app usage, and website browsing patterns against mood activeness and valence.
[Paper PDF]
[Conference Slides PDF]
[Conference Talk]
[Jimmy Kimmel Late Night Comedy Sketch]
[Communications of the ACM Coverage]

Reflex: Using Low-Power Processors in Smartphones Without Knowing Them [+]

Felix Xiaozhu Lin, Zhen Wang, Robert LiKamWa, Lin Zhong
ACM Conf. on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS) 2012
London, England

Reflex is a suite of compiler and runtime support tools for energy-efficient smartphone sensing on heterogeneous architectures. Reflex not only manages deployment and execution of code that is considered for heterogeneous resources, but also creates a software shared memory among distributed code.
[Paper PDF]
[Xiaozhu Lin's Project Site]

Other Work

Rice University Doctoral Thesis, 2016: Continuous Mobile Vision: Rethinking the Vision Sensing Pipeline for Energy Efficiency [+]

Robert LiKamWa
Thesis Committee: Lin Zhong (chair), Ashok Veeraraghavan, Dan S. Wallach, Gene Frantz, Paramvir Bahl

(Invited Talk) Rethinking the Imaging Pipeline for Privacy-Preserving Energy-Efficient Continuous Mobile Vision [+]

Society for Information Display (SID) Display Week 2015, San Jose, California

(Workshop Paper) Draining our Glass: An Energy and Heat Characterization of Google Glass [+]

APSys: Asia-Pacific Workshop on Systems 2014, Beijing, China

We teardown and analyze the Google Glass power consumption to motivate and inspire system efficiency research directions.
[Paper PDF]
[Conference Talk]

(Workshop Paper) Styrofoam: A Tightly Packed Coding Scheme for Camera-based Visible Light Communication [+]

Visible Light Communication Systems Workshop @ MobiCom 2014, Maui, Hawaii

[Paper PDF]
[Authorship Note]

Styrofoam was authored by three Rice University Ph.D. students without their advisors, which may seem unusual to an outside observer.

Jason Holloway, David Ramirez, and I (Robert) regularly take short coffee breaks in the afternoons to clear our minds. On one such coffee break, having read one too many inspirational stories about the early days of Xerox PARC and Bell Labs, we embarked on a project that was driven more out of pure amusement and curiosity than usual. Perhaps we wanted to prove to ourselves that we could do research without external pressure. Perhaps we wanted to author a paper together while we were in the same place. Perhaps we just wanted to go to this workshop in Hawaii. I don't really remember. But in any case, we puzzled over ideas on napkins and whiteboards, and attacked a fundamental impediment of screen-camera visible light communication links: inter-symbol interference. The result was this work, Styrofoam.

We submitted without telling our advisors; if it got rejected, we were going to keep silent. However, upon acceptance, our advisors and department were very supportive in our endeavor and funded our travel, supplemented by ACM travel grants. I presented Styrofoam at the Visible Light Communication Systems workshop, while David presented the work at the ACM Student Research Competition at the main MobiCom conference, where he earned 4th place. We had a great time chatting with researchers about Styrofoam and its positioning in the Screen-Camera Link research world.

(Ph.D. Forum Talk) Efficient Image Processing for Continuous Mobile Vision [+]

MobiSys 2014 Ph.D. Forum, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Best Presentation Award

(Workshop Paper) MoodSense: Can Your Smartphone Infer Your Mood? [+]

PhoneSense: Workshop on Sensing Applications on Mobile Phones @ SenSys 2011, Seattle, Washington
Best Paper Award

(Demo Paper) SUAVE: Sensor-based User Aware Viewing Enhancement [+](

UIST: ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology 2011, Santa Barbara, California

Our Sensor-based User-Aware Viewing Enhancement package accounts for ambient light and viewing angle effects that impair mobile screens in many scenarios, which typically impair the quality of the display content. SUAVE uses brightness and contrast enhancements to improve mobile displays in these contextual situations, making it easier to see, read, and use mobile content.
[Paper PDF]

My Surname: LiKamWa

Most Chinese descendants have single character surnames, such as 王(Wang), 黄(Huang), or 唐(Tang). In fact, if not for my Mauritian lineage, my surname would be 李(Li). But instead, I have a unique last name which is only held by descendants of my great-grandfather.

LiKamWa is a rough European transcription of my great-grandfather's full name, which is 李金華(li3 jin1 hua4 in Mandarin pinyin). This was taken down as his surname when he emigrated from Southern China to the African island Mauritius. Ever since, this has been my family's surname. From my grandfather Louis LiKamWa, to my father Patrick LiKamWa, to me, we have proudly carried our name throughout the generations.

This means that I am the only Robert LiKamWa in the history of the world. As a result, for better or for worse, I am easily and uniquely searchable online (this is not the case with Robert Li).

I am proud of my name and I am proud of my heritage. And yes, it is extremely fun to tell people I am Chinese by blood, Mauritian through Section 20(3) and 23 of the Mauritian Constitution, British from birth, and American through citizenship (since July 2008).

Wikipedia has more info on Sino-Mauritian culture and identity.

I prefer to have my last name spelled "LiKamWa" with no spaces, but capitalization on the syllables.

In case you're curious, my Chinese name is 李荣強(li3 rong2 qiang2), given to me by my grandmother. I never use this name.