University Associate Professor, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge
Rob Harle obtained the BA and MSci degrees in Natural Sciences (Physical) at Cambridge, before going on to complete a PhD in the Cambridge University Engineering Department under the supervision of Professor Andy Hopper. He spent a few years as a Research Associate in the Digital Technology Group at the Computer Laboratory, before becoming an Assistant Director of Research in 2007 and a University Lecturer in 2010.
His research interests lie in sensor and positioning systems and mobile, ubiquitous and pervasive computing, as well as wireless sensor networks. Initially his interests were linked to physical techniques to locate people and objects, stemming from work for a local mobile phone positioning company, Cambridge Positioning Systems, and an interest in GPS. His interest then grew in how to locate people indoors – a significant challenge since buildings hinder signal penetration, degrading the location accuracy. (What is worse, we need higher accuracy indoors since we work on smaller scales; knowing where someone is to 20m is very useful outdoors, but indoors it can’t even tell you the floor they are on.) Over time his interests diversified to include the management of the location data and subsequently into the wider research areas of context-aware and ubiquitous computing. His research today concentrates on augmenting computing machinery with sensors in order to improve or optimise our environments. He has also helped found the Computing for the Future of the Planet initiative, which seeks to explore how computers might improve our world.