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PhoneLab seeks participants

Published May 15, 2014

Is your phone bill too expensive? If so, then PhoneLab might be for you.

Administrators of the UB research program, which gives participants discounted use of a Galaxy Nexus 5 smartphone in exchange taking part in computer science research, will hold an informational meeting at 5 p.m. May 16 in 20 Knox Hall, North Campus.

UB engineers launched PhoneLab, funded by a $1.3 million National Science Foundation grant, in 2012. Initially recruiting student participants, they have since expanded the program to faculty and staff.

“We’re hoping to make next year our biggest and best ever,” says Geoffrey Challen, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and principal investigator of PhoneLab. “Anyone at UB can participate, and all participants will be paying a very reasonable monthly charge.”

The cost to participate in PhoneLab is $45 per month. Participants pay upfront in six month terms, so the first payment would be $270 — about 50 percent of what Sprint would charge for similar service, Challen notes.

In exchange for the discount, participants must use the Galaxy Nexus 5 as their primary phone and engage in regular research studies for roughly two hours per week. The research varies from simple tasks, such as completing a survey, to slightly more complex tasks, like using a geotagging application.

PhoneLab co-investigators are Chunming Qiao, professor; Murat Demirbas and Tevfik Kosar, associate professors; and Steven Ko, assistant professor, all from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.