HearFire : Indoor Fire Detection via Inaudible Acoustic Sensing

Zheng WANG, Yanwen WANG, Mi TIAN, Jiaxing SHEN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Indoor conflagration causes a large number of casualties and property losses worldwide every year. Yet existing indoor fire detection systems either suffer from short sensing range (e.g., ≤ 0.5m using a thermometer), susceptible to interferences (e.g., smoke detector) or high computational and deployment overhead (e.g., cameras, Wi-Fi). This paper proposes HearFire, a cost-effective, easy-to-use and timely room-scale fire detection system via acoustic sensing. HearFire consists of a collocated commodity speaker and microphone pair, which remotely senses fire by emitting inaudible sound waves. Unlike existing works that use signal reflection effect to fulfill acoustic sensing tasks, HearFire leverages sound absorption and sound speed variations to sense the fire due to unique physical properties of flame. Through a deep analysis of sound transmission, HearFire effectively achieves room-scale sensing by correlating the relationship between the transmission signal length and sensing distance. The transmission frame is carefully selected to expand sensing range and balance a series of practical factors that impact the system's performance. We further design a simple yet effective approach to remove the environmental interference caused by signal reflection by conducting a deep investigation into channel differences between sound reflection and sound absorption. Specifically, sound reflection results in a much more stable pattern in terms of signal energy than sound absorption, which can be exploited to differentiate the channel measurements caused by fire from other interferences. Extensive experiments demonstrate that HireFire enables a maximum 7m sensing range and achieves timely fire detection in indoor environments with up to 99.2% accuracy under different experiment configurations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number185
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China under Grant 62102139, the Nature Science Foundation of Hunan Province of China under Grant 2022JJ30168 and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities under Grant 531118010612. This research has benefited from financial support of Lingnan University, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Jiaxing Shen is the corresponding author). We are grateful to reviewers for their insightful comments and help.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 ACM.


  • acoustic sensing
  • channel impulse response
  • contact-free
  • Indoor fire detection


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