Pecan Park Project

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Pecan Park Project aims at understanding the interaction between wireless mobile computing technologies and underserved urban communities and subsequently optimizing the technologies for these communities. We have finished two field studies using Windows Mobile smartphones and reported the findings in the publications listed at the bottom. We have finished of a one-year field study using iPhone 3GS with 25 participants, started in February 2010. See our HotMetrics'10 paper for details.


August 2010: Logger deployed to 10+ iPod Touch users. September 2010: Logged iPhone 3GS deployed to 10 HCC students. February 2011: all data collection finished. April 2012: web usage data released (URL). July 2012: entire smartphone usage data released (LiveLab).


Graduate Students (Team RST)


Pecan Park is a community is Southeast Houston with 5,000 single-family residences. Click here to see it on Google Map. Since 2003, Technology For All and Rice Network Group (Knightly) have built and maintained an open-access multi-tier multi-hop 802.11 network in Pecan Park. The network currently covers about 3km2 and have seen over 4000 unique users. Click here for more information.

Mobile Devices

Our research interest is in wireless broadband-ready mobile phones and their applications. Coupled with the open-access wireless network, such  phones and their applications provide an unprecedented opportunity for Pecan Park residents to access information technologies with low cost. Our research objectives are multifold, including:

  • Unique values of mobile devices to the community, in comparison with conventional personal computers
  • Impact of social/cultural factors on the use of mobile systems
  • Unique usage patterns by the community
  • Human-centered and community-driven optimization of mobile systems and its applications


  • Ahmad Rahmati and Lin Zhong, "Studying smartphone usage:lessons from a four-month field study," to appear in IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing. (related arXiv Technical Report)
  • Ahmad Rahmati, Chad Tossell, Clayton Shepard, Phil Kortum, and Lin Zhong, "Exploring iPhone usage: the influence of socioeconomic differeces on smartphone adoption, usage and usability," to appear in Proc. ACM Int. Conf. Human Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI), September 2012.
  • Chad Tossell, Phil Kortum, Ahmad Rahmati, Clayton Shepard, and Lin Zhong, "Characterizing web use on smartphones," to appear in ACM SIGCHI Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), May 2012.
  • Clay Shepard, Ahmad Rahmati, Chad Tossel, Lin Zhong, and Phil Kortum, "LiveLab: measuring wireless networks and smartphone users in the field," in Proc. Workshop on Hot Topics in Measurement & Modeling of Computer Systems (HotMetrics), June 2010. (PDF)
  • Yunxin Liu, Ahmad Rahmati, Yuanhe Huang, Hyukjae Jang, Lin Zhong, Yongguang Zhang, and Shensheng Zhang, "xShare: supporting impromptu sharing of mobile phones," in Proc. ACM/USENIX Int. Conf. Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services (MobiSys), June 2009. (PDF)
  • Ahmad Rahmati and Lin Zhong, "A longitudinal study of non-voice mobile phone usage by teens from an underserved urban community," Techical Report 0515-09, Rice University, May 2009. (PDF)
  • Ahmad Rahmati and Lin Zhong, "Usability evaluation of a commercial Pocket PC phone:  A pilot study," in Proc. ACM Int. Conf. Mobile Technology, Applications and Systems (Mobility), September 2007. (PDF)

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