CS 75N
Cell Phones, Sensors, and You (Spring 2012)

Course Announcements

Jun 1, 2012The final paper is due at 23:59 on Thu, Jun 14. However, please do let us know if you have trouble finishing in time.
Content: a essay (not an academic paper) with informed opinions on any one of the 9 topics we discussed, and you are welcome draw evidences from what has been covered from the class, no citation required.
Format: single-spaced, 12pt font, 1 inch margin, and 3 page long. Please be concise and always think quality over quantity.
May 12, 2012Due to a schedule conflict, Prof. Dan Boneh is giving the lecture on security on Tue May 22. We are moving the lunch to Thu May 17.
May 8, 2012On Thu May 17, you will be given a NDA form for Facebook fieldtrip. Please read it (and possibly consult your parents) before you sign, and return on Tue May 22.
Apr 16, 2012On Thursday May 24, we are going to meet at 10am at the north tip of the oval park on Roth way (more detail on the location later). A bus will take us to and from Facebook. We will have lunch with Stanford alumni who work at Facebook. We will be back at the oval park at 2pm.
Apr 1, 2012Site Created. Classes meet on Tu/Th, 11am - 12:15pm in Gates 200.


Although the cell phone started out merely as a portable phone, it has become much more including a portable albeit limited computer that can handle email, games, etc. This class will focus on something else that cell phones have become. They are the first prevalent wearable sensors that gather information about you such as your physical location, whether the phone is being held in an upright position, how fast you might accelerate in motion, etc. This information can be used to help you in your everyday life, but it can also be used for marketing, sales, or to track whether or not you may be at home for the sake of committing a home invasion robbery. In this class we will explore this rapidly advancing field including the current state of technology, what could be accomplished in the near future, sociological and privacy implications, potential governmental regulation, etc. We will also address issues surrounding some of the other instances of this omniscient "big brother" technology in our everyday lives including radar guns used by law enforcement and the recording devices that led to the Watergate scandal.

Students will be expected to gather and compile information on various subjects and come to class ready to discuss and debate formulated opinions on the topics.


Since this is our first offering of the course, your suggestions are very important to us as they help us better shape the course material for you, and for those who take this course in the coming years. Please don't hesitate to contact Prof Fedkiw and the CA and (constructively) give us your opinion of the course.

Meeting Times

Tentative Schedule

Class discussions (debates) take place on Tuesdays, while technical lectures are held on Thursdays.

On Tuesdays, you will be graded both on your participation in the in class discussion as well as the single page of notes and attached pages which you will turn in at the end of the class. Thursday's classes are not graded but we will take attendance.

Theme Week Tuesday Discussions Thursday Technical Lectures
Cell Phones 1: Apr 3 & 5 About class Yue Yu: Hello World on Android demo
2: Apr 10 & 12 Consumer Model-View-Controller pattern
3: Apr 17 & 19 History Objective-C intro; User Interface Views (not covered)
4: Apr 24 & 26 Companies Jon Su & Yue Yu: Sensors (Video)
5: May 1 & 3 Software Apps Cameras and Digital Photography
Sensors 6: May 8 & 10 Sensors Computer Vision
7: May 15 & 17 Sensors and Cell Phones Lunch
Mixing Cell Phones,
Sensors, and You
8: May 22 & 24 Dan Boneh: Mobile Security Facebook Field Trip
9: May 29 & 31 Social Media Privacy
10: Jun 5 Politics
Five-page paper due at 23:59 on Thu, Jun 14


At the end of class on every Tuesday, Prof Fedkiw will announce and explain the topic for the next week's discussion. By the next Tuesday's class, you should have prepared one sheet of paper with notes on both sides, along with any number of auxiliary papers printed out as reference (may be underlined as notes). To get ready for discussions, you are suggested to include bullet points on the front sheet.

Every time a student speaks up, the CA grades him/her discussion in + / = / - scale. Also, please hand in your notes, stapled, after class. Prof Fedkiw and the CA will grade the notes, giving you another + / = / - .

You may discuss among yourselves before class provided the notes each of you hands in is unique.

Short paper: choose one Tuesday topic during the quarter and write a 5 page paper due at the end of the quarter before the end of finals week.

Optional project: you may demo a coding project to the CA, if you so desire in lieu of the paper. But only if that coding project is pre-approved by me and the CA. Talk to the CA about any ideas you may have.