The general focus this quarter is on future computing environments in the home. See Home Automation Links for some pointers relating to the topic.
We will read about current work in the area and try to live out the experience in an appropriate atmosphere on or off campus.
We may also use Classroom 2000 technology as a means of recording the discussions.
Chris Atkeson and Gregory Abowd
Software Mechanisms for Communicating Appliances
Jen Mankoff (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rob Orr (email@example.com)
Tuesday's FCE meeting will focus on "the embedded internet", and specifically what microcontrollers, reliable light-weight operating systems, and embedded computer applications are doing for making computers ubiquitous and invisible to the user (ok, ok...so this is largely what the whole seminar is about). A good summary article on this topic was published in the October issue of Wired. An analogy is made there between the evolution of electric motors and one possible path for computing. The electric motor a century ago was large, had to be installed and operated by specialists, and was fairly expensive. Over the intervening decades, the motor has shrunk in size, increased in reliability, and has become so trivial to use that today we hardly notice them even though they are in widespread use. A similar phenomenon may occur in computing. Central to this possibility is the use of reliable light-weight operating systems (and accompanying microcontrollers) such as OS9, pSOS, JavaOS, and Inferno. These OSes, unlike dominant systems such as UNIX or Windows, offer reliability, small size, portability, and low cost, while like their larger progenitors allow networking of small embedded devices.
Speculative examples of devices that these technologies might help bring about are given in another October Wired article. These objects, such as interactive wallpaper and a flexible screen travel planner, are also shown at Philips "Vision of the Future" magazine. Also interesting are other issues of this magazine.
n On a more down-to-earth note, currently available kitchen cyber-devices have been sighted at www.diba.com and in a mail-order catalog. Also, home automation and networking pages can be found at www.smart-house.com and www.cnet.com.
This month's "issue" of Phillips Electronics' Vision of the Future discusses possibilities for future hospitals, including a centralized network, patient monitoring, entertainment, etc.
Also available on this page are the other issues of Vision of the Future. Last month, Gregory pointed out the issue on "Personal Touch" products, but there are also issues on the future home, and the future of public buildings and streets. They're all worth checking out.
Indoor positioning and the home
Santi Becera and Anind Dey
This paper talks about the various prototypes of the Cyberguide project done by the FCE group over the past year. There is a suggestion here of different ways to achieve positioning, both indoor and outdoor. This quarter, Anind Dey has been looking to extend Cyberguide to cover an area as large as a floor of the College of Computing. Last Spring, several FCE grad students created a prototype outdoor version, called CyBARguide. A group of 5 undergraduates is building an outdoor version of Cyberguide to provide a tour of the Georgia Tech campus in which the traveller can take pictures and automatically generate a travel diary.
We plan to spend about the first hour designing, and then depending on the state of our collective creative juices either continue designing or start presenting the ideas.
Next time you go home (or run an errand) ... start noticing all the things you have to compensate for, and start thinking about what computers could do for you.
Specifications for smart homes
The Intel perspective
Paul Osterlund, Intel
Wearable Computing and Augmented Reality
Thad Starner, MIT Media Lab
To date, personal computers have not lived up to their name. Most machines are constrained to desktops and interact with their owners for only a small fraction of the day. Smaller and faster notebook computers have made mobility less of an issue, but the same staid user paradigm persists. Wearable computing hopes to change the premises of human-computer interaction. A person's computer should be worn, much as eyeglasses or clothing are worn, and interact with the user based on the context of the situation. With heads-up displays, unobtrusive input devices, personal wireless local area networks (Personal Area Network), and a host of other context sensing and communication tools, the wearable computer can act as an intelligent assistant, whether it be through automatic memory aids (Remembrance Agent), augmented reality, or intellectual collectives.
Thad Starner is one of the premier researchers in wearable computing. After the lecture, Thad will assist us in the development of our very own wearable computer for use in Cyberguide.
Readings will either be included on this page as links or will be made available each week on the file cabinet behind Gwen Baker's desk (264 CoC).
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