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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

Ubiquitous computing

Spring 2008

Presented By:

Ishita Trivedi

what is ubiquitous computing ubicomp
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.
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
ubicomp vs virtual reality
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.
ubiquitous mobile and nomadic computing
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


  • 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.

early work
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)
  • 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.
  • 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
current technology
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

  • 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
mobile computing
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


mobile computing vision
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


  • 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
integration of mobile systems
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

context aware computing
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

context adaptation
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.

issues context awareness
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
intelligent environment
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.
smart dust
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.

smart dust23
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.
  • 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


major challenges
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).
Network Issue:
  • Wireless Media Access (802.11, Bluetooth, Cellular Networks).
  • Quality of Services (RSVP, etc).
  • Ubicomp devices changing network attachment (Mobile IP).
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


  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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?
proposed management solution
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

video links
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