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Ubiquitous computing. Spring 2008 Presented By: Ishita Trivedi. What is Ubiquitous Computing (ubicomp). Ubicomp is a post-desktop model of human computer interaction in which information processing has been thoroughly integrated into everyday objects and activities.

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Ubiquitous computing

Spring 2008

Presented By:

Ishita Trivedi

What is ubiquitous computing ubicomp l.jpg
What is Ubiquitous Computing (ubicomp)

  • Ubicomp is a post-desktop model of human computer interaction in which information processing has been thoroughly integrated into everyday objects and activities.

  • Integrate computers seamlessly into the world

    – invisible, everywhere computing.

    – Often called pervasive/invisible computing.

  • Computers are mostly not invisible , they dominate interaction with them.

  • Ubicomp is about making computers invisible.

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Ubiquitous computing = mobile computing + intelligent


Technology View

  • Computers everywhere – embedded into fridges, washing

    machines, door locks, cars, furniture.

  • Intelligent environment.

  • Mobile portable computing devices

  • Wireless communication– seamless mobile/fixed.

    User View

  • Invisible – implicit interaction with your environment.

  • Augmenting human abilities in context of tasks

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Ubicomp vs. Virtual Reality

  • Should we live in virtual computing world? Or should computing come out and live in our physical world?

  • VR is about simulating physical world & putting people inside virtual computing world. (Limited applications & activities.).

  • Ubicomp is about bringing computing to people’s physical world,

    integrating with everyday objects and activities.

  • Ubiquitous computing is an integration of human factors, computer science, engineering, and social sciences.

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Ubiquitous, Mobile, and Nomadic Computing

  • Nomadic computing: “portable”; no mobility while connected.

  • Mobile computing: “on-the-go”, e.g., while sitting on a train; possibility of network connections remaining open.

  • Ubiquitous computing:

    computing everywhere… OR

    computers everywhere…most of them


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  • Computing embedded and enhancing physical objects.

  • Achieve intelligence through interconnection of physical objects.

  • Achieve intelligence through location awareness (without AI)

    For example:

    Automated call forwarding (context awareness – should where the person is)

    lighting control  smart sensor wall - control heating and lighting.

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Early work


  • very small – smart badge with user info, calendar, diary, etc.

  • allow personalized settings to follow a user

  • Carried around by a person

  • Hundreds in a room

    • Remote controllers

    • Badges

    • Tags / Labels (RFID)

    • Locating system (tags as library catalogs)

    • Animate static physical objects (active calendar, active map)

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  • Foot-scale Ubicomp


    • A sheet of paper / tablet PC.

    • Portable computers but not laptop


  • Tens in a room

    • Like scrap papers that can be grabbed and used anywhere, no unique ID.

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  • larger display – whiteboard size.

  • Personalized electronic bulletin boards.

  • Multiple pens.

  • Meeting capture.

  • Lots of bandwidth available because they’re plugged

    into the wall

  • White board with e-chalk

    Shared white board with remote participants.

  • Video screen.

  • Electronic Bookcases

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Current technology

  • Portable information appliances

    – laptops, notebooks, and sub-notebooks

    – hand-held computers

    – PDAs and smart phones

  • Wireless communication networks

    – multiple networks “covering” the globe

  • Internet:

    – TCP/IP& de-facto application protocols

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  • Common user interface for workstation and mobile device applications.

  • Adaptive information display.

  • Flexible voice based input-output.

  • Voice recognition + text to speech conversion.

  • Gesture recognition.

  • Intelligent agents

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Mobile computing

  • Mobile computing - wireless transmission.

  • Uses a computing device.

  • Many types of mobile computers have been introduced since the

    1990s, including the:

    Personal digital assistant

    Enterprise digital assistant

    Smart phone


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Mobile computing Vision

  • Universal connectivity – anywhere, anytime

  • Accommodate heterogeneity of networks and communicators.

  • Ubiquitous intelligent environment - embedded computers everywhere

  • Easy user interaction

  • Context independent access to services + context dependent


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  • How to integrate mobile communicators into complex information infrastructures?

  • What effect will they have on work and leisure?

  • Privacy

  • How to develop and manage adaptable, context-aware software systems?

  • What support is needed within the network?

  • Power supplies

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Integration of Mobile Systems

  • Not stand alone devices.

    Need to interact with complex legacy information systems

    eg large databases – merging updates, displaying tables etc.

  • Systems development

    Requirements specification for adaptable systems

    Component composition to meet global QoS, security,

    reliability & performance requirements.

  • Mobility models

    Behaviour specification and analysis

    Modelling context aware systems

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Context Aware Computing

It is powerful and longlasting, concept in human computer


Interaction with computation is by explicit acts of communication (e.g. pointing to a menu item), context is implicit (e.g. default setting).

Goal of context-aware computing is to acquire and utilize information about the context of a device to provide services that are appropriate to the particular people, place, time, events, etc.

For example, a cell phone will always vibrate and never beep in a concert, if the system can know the location of the cell phone and the concert schedule

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Context Adaptation

A context adaptive system enables the user to maintain a

Certain application (in different forms) while roaming

between different wireless access technologies, locations,

devices and even simultaneously executing everyday tasks

like meetings, driving a car etc.

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Issues : Context Awareness

  • Current location

    Need location detection e.g. GPS or base station Indoors – radio beacon, IR.

  • User activity

    Walking, driving a car, running for a bus – how to detect this?

  • Ambient environment

    In theatre, alone, in meeting

  • Local resources or services available

    Device capabilities

  • Screen, input, processing power, battery life ….

  • Current QoS availability – particularly for radio links

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Intelligent Environment

  • An intelligent environment is a location (e.g. home, office, hospital, etc) that is equipped with sensors, actuators and computers that are networked with each other and the internet.

  • The components are controlled by "intelligent agent" software that knows the preferences of the occupants.

  • It tailors the environment to suit them.

  • The occupants can talk to the environment using speech and natural language and the sensors can monitor the environment.

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Smart Dust

  • Autonomous sensing and communication in a cubic millimeter – “dust motes”.

  • "Smart dust" devices are tiny wireless micro electro mechanical sensors (MEMS) that can detect everything from light to vibrations.

  • Sensors for temperature, humidity, light, motion …. with bidirectional radio or laser + battery.

  • Typical Applications:

    -- Defence related battlefield sensors, motion detectors etc.

    -- Inventory control on boxes which communicate with trucks, plane etc to tell

    you where they are.

    -- Product quality monitoring – vibration, humidity, overheating.

    -- Car component monitoring.

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Smart Dust

  • Smart paint monitors vibrations and detect intruders.

  • Changes colour to react to temperature, lighting etc.

  • Intelligent glass can filter sunlight, become opaque no need for curtains.

  • Smart garments or injectable sensors for people monitoring.

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  • What means of communication?


    Light based

  • Batteries would be impractical power source for 100K processors per person.

  • Solar cells are not suitable for all environments.

  • Solar cells, fuel cells, body heat power?

  • Power not speed is the key issue for future processor


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Major Challenges

Hardware Prototype Issue:

  • Power consumption: impossible to change batteries to many ubicomp devices frequently.

  • Balance of HW/SW feature: display, network, processing, memory, storage capability, multitasking, QoS, etc.

  • Ease of expansion & modification (integration vs. modular design).

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Network Issue:

  • Wireless Media Access (802.11, Bluetooth, Cellular Networks).

  • Quality of Services (RSVP, etc).

  • Ubicomp devices changing network attachment (Mobile IP).

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Application Issue:

  • “Applications are of course the whole point of ubiquitous computing”.

  • Locating people (active badges)

    Automated call forwarding

    Tracking down people for meeting

    Watching general activity in a building (feel in touch with

    surrounding environments)

  • Shared drawing in virtual meeting

    Scalability to 5000 peoples (multicast for bandwidth


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  • Interactions will be cross multiple organisational boundaries specification, analysis and integration for heterogeneous OS, databases, firewalls, routers.

  • Everything worth hacking gets hacked.

  • Need for secure ‘out of the box’ set up that can identify friend or foe - level of trust.

  • Small communicators, with confidential data, are easily lost or stolen – biometric authentication.

  • Necessary security technology exists.

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  • Location service tracks movement to within metres.

  • Clearly indicate you are being sensed or recorded + user control to stop recording or control distribution of information.

  • You are now predictable System can co-relate location, context and behaviour patterns

  • Do you want employer, colleagues or insurance company to know you carry a medical monitor?

  • Tension between authentication and anonymity – business want to authenticate you for financial transactions and to provide ‘personalized’ service web sites.

  • Constant spam of context dependent advertising

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  • Huge, complex systems

    Billions of processors

    Multiple organisations

    Managing physical world, controlling sensors, actuators

  • Hacker and virus paradise

  • System propagates false information about individuals or organisation.

  • Complexity of s/w installation on a workstation or server – how do you cope with billions?

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Proposed Management Solution

  • Intelligent agents, mobile agents, policy.

  • QoS Management

    Fat pipes and large storage can convert media streams to

    short traffic bursts in core network but still needed for wireless


  • Adaptive self-management is the only answer

    Partitioned domains of responsibility

    Genetic algorithms may be suitable for long-term

    strategy but need more deterministic solutions for

    short term decision making

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Video Links

Presentation – The dawning age of ubiquitous computing

By Adam Greenfield

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMXox8IJvmE&feature=related

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eubo2AIBiBw&feature=related

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS0DBLFtAfQ&feature=related

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GRyEnZMaig&feature=related

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-zBZh-eLBY&feature=related

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiS5Z-yRczY&feature=related

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFISKd6xef0&feature=related

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8iGGP8uCa4&feature=related

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