Ubiquitous computing

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Ubiquitous computing (or "ubicomp") is a concept in software engineering and computer science where computing is made to appear anytime and everywhere. In contrast to desktop computing, ubiquitous computing can occur using any device, in any location, and in any format. A user interacts with the computer, which can exist in many different forms, including laptop computers, tablets and terminals in everyday objects such as a refrigerator or a pair of glasses. The underlying technologies to support ubiquitous computing include Internet, advanced middleware, operating system, mobile code, sensors, microprocessors, new I/O and user interfaces, computer networks, mobile protocols, location and positioning, and new materials.

Contents

This paradigm is also described as pervasive computing, [1] ambient intelligence, [2] or "everyware". [3] Each term emphasizes slightly different aspects. When primarily concerning the objects involved, it is also known as physical computing, the Internet of Things, haptic computing, [4] and "things that think". Rather than propose a single definition for ubiquitous computing and for these related terms, a taxonomy of properties for ubiquitous computing has been proposed, from which different kinds or flavors of ubiquitous systems and applications can be described. [5]

Ubiquitous computing touches on distributed computing, mobile computing, location computing, mobile networking, sensor networks, human–computer interaction, context-aware smart home technologies, and artificial intelligence.

Core concepts

Ubiquitous computing is the concept of using small internet connected and inexpensive computers to help with everyday functions in an automated fashion. For example, a domestic ubiquitous computing environment might interconnect lighting and environmental controls with personal biometric monitors woven into clothing so that illumination and heating conditions in a room might be modulated, continuously and imperceptibly. Another common scenario posits refrigerators "aware" of their suitably tagged contents, able to both plan a variety of menus from the food actually on hand, and warn users of stale or spoiled food [6] .

Ubiquitous computing presents challenges across computer science: in systems design and engineering, in systems modelling, and in user interface design. Contemporary human-computer interaction models, whether command-line, menu-driven, or GUI-based, are inappropriate and inadequate to the ubiquitous case. This suggests that the "natural" interaction paradigm appropriate to a fully robust ubiquitous computing has yet to emerge – although there is also recognition in the field that in many ways we are already living in a ubicomp world (see also the main article on natural user interfaces). Contemporary devices that lend some support to this latter idea include mobile phones, digital audio players, radio-frequency identification tags, GPS, and interactive whiteboards.

Mark Weiser proposed three basic forms for ubiquitous computing devices [7] :

Ubiquitous computing devices proposed by Mark Weiser are all based around flat devices of different sizes with a visual display. [8] Expanding beyond those concepts there is a large array of other ubiquitous computing devices that could exist. Some of the additional forms that have been conceptualized are: [5]

In Manuel Castells' book The Rise of the Network Society , Castells puts forth the concept that there is going to be a continuous evolution of computing devices. He states we will progress from stand-alone microcomputers and decentralized mainframes towards pervasive computing. Castells' model of a pervasive computing system, uses the example of the Internet as the start of a pervasive computing system. The logical progression from that paradigm is a system where that networking logic becomes applicable in every realm of daily activity, in every location and every context. Castells envisages a system where billions of miniature, ubiquitous inter-communication devices will be spread worldwide, "like pigment in the wall paint".

Ubiquitous computing may be seen to consist of many layers, each with their own roles, which together form a single system:

History

Mark Weiser coined the phrase "ubiquitous computing" around 1988, during his tenure as Chief Technologist of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Both alone and with PARC Director and Chief Scientist John Seely Brown, Weiser wrote some of the earliest papers on the subject, largely defining it and sketching out its major concerns. [7] [9] [10]

Recognizing the effects of extending processing power

Recognizing that the extension of processing power into everyday scenarios would necessitate understandings of social, cultural and psychological phenomena beyond its proper ambit, Weiser was influenced by many fields outside computer science, including "philosophy, phenomenology, anthropology, psychology, post-Modernism, sociology of science and feminist criticism". He was explicit about "the humanistic origins of the 'invisible ideal in post-modernist thought'", [10] referencing as well the ironically dystopian Philip K. Dick novel Ubik .

Andy Hopper from Cambridge University UK proposed and demonstrated the concept of "Teleporting" – where applications follow the user wherever he/she moves.

Roy Want, while a researcher and student working under Andy Hopper at Cambridge University, worked on the "Active Badge System", which is an advanced location computing system where personal mobility that is merged with computing.

Bill Schilit (now at Google) also did some earlier work in this topic, and participated in the early Mobile Computing workshop held in Santa Cruz in 1996.

Ken Sakamura of the University of Tokyo, Japan leads the Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory (UNL), Tokyo as well as the T-Engine Forum. The joint goal of Sakamura's Ubiquitous Networking specification and the T-Engine forum, is to enable any everyday device to broadcast and receive information. [11] [12]

MIT has also contributed significant research in this field, notably Things That Think consortium (directed by Hiroshi Ishii, Joseph A. Paradiso and Rosalind Picard) at the Media Lab [13] and the CSAIL effort known as Project Oxygen. [14] Other major contributors include University of Washington's Ubicomp Lab (directed by Shwetak Patel), Georgia Tech's College of Computing, Cornell University's People Aware Computing Lab, NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, UC Irvine's Department of Informatics, Microsoft Research, Intel Research and Equator, [15] Ajou University UCRi & CUS. [16]

Examples

One of the earliest ubiquitous systems was artist Natalie Jeremijenko's "Live Wire", also known as "Dangling String", installed at Xerox PARC during Mark Weiser's time there. [17] This was a piece of string attached to a stepper motor and controlled by a LAN connection; network activity caused the string to twitch, yielding a peripherally noticeable indication of traffic. Weiser called this an example of calm technology . [18]

A present manifestation of this trend is the widespread diffusion of mobile phones. Many mobile phones support high speed data transmission, video services, and other services with powerful computational ability. Although these mobile devices are not necessarily manifestations of ubiquitous computing, there are examples, such as Japan's Yaoyorozu ("Eight Million Gods") Project in which mobile devices, coupled with radio frequency identification tags demonstrate that ubiquitous computing is already present in some form. [19]

Ambient Devices has produced an "orb", a "dashboard", and a "weather beacon": these decorative devices receive data from a wireless network and report current events, such as stock prices and the weather, like the Nabaztag produced by Violet Snowden.

The Australian futurist Mark Pesce has produced a highly configurable 52-LED LAMP enabled lamp which uses Wi-Fi named MooresCloud after Moore's Law. [20]

The Unified Computer Intelligence Corporation launched a device called Ubi – The Ubiquitous Computer designed to allow voice interaction with the home and provide constant access to information. [21]

Ubiquitous computing research has focused on building an environment in which computers allow humans to focus attention on select aspects of the environment and operate in supervisory and policy-making roles. Ubiquitous computing emphasizes the creation of a human computer interface that can interpret and support a user's intentions. For example, MIT's Project Oxygen seeks to create a system in which computation is as pervasive as air:

In the future, computation will be human centered. It will be freely available everywhere, like batteries and power sockets, or oxygen in the air we breathe...We will not need to carry our own devices around with us. Instead, configurable generic devices, either handheld or embedded in the environment, will bring computation to us, whenever we need it and wherever we might be. As we interact with these "anonymous" devices, they will adopt our information personalities. They will respect our desires for privacy and security. We won't have to type, click, or learn new computer jargon. Instead, we'll communicate naturally, using speech and gestures that describe our intent...

This is a fundamental transition that does not seek to escape the physical world and "enter some metallic, gigabyte-infested cyberspace" but rather brings computers and communications to us, making them "synonymous with the useful tasks they perform". [19]

Network robots link ubiquitous networks with robots, contributing to the creation of new lifestyles and solutions to address a variety of social problems including the aging of population and nursing care. [22]

Issues

Privacy is easily the most often-cited criticism of ubiquitous computing (ubicomp), and may be the greatest barrier to its long-term success. [23]

An article by Linda Little and Pam Briggs on this privacy issue states that:

These are the kinds of privacy principles that have been established by the industry – but over the past two years, we have been trying to understand whether such principles reflect the concerns of the ordinary citizen. Some of the key research questions we have been addressing are: What are users' key concerns regarding privacy management in a ubiquitous context and do they reflect 'expert' privacy principles? Do these concerns vary as a function of context? Will users have enough confidence in privacy management procedures to hand-over management and administration of their privacy preferences? Motahari, et al., (2007) argue people do not have a complete understanding of the threats to their privacy. While users of ubicomp systems are aware of inappropriate use of their personal information, legal obligations and inadequate security they are less aware of setting preferences for who has access and any social inferences that can be made by observations by other people. They further argue a holistic approach is needed as traditional approaches and current investigations are not enough to address privacy threats in ubiquitous computing. Recognising – in line with a number of other researchers (Harper & Singleton, 2001; Paine, et al., 2007) – that privacy concerns are likely to be highly situation-dependent, we have developed a method of enquiry which displays a rich context to the user in order to elicit more detailed information about those privacy factors that underpin our acceptance of ubiquitous computing. [24]

Public policy problems are often "preceded by long shadows, long trains of activity", emerging slowly, over decades or even the course of a century. There is a need for a long-term view to guide policy decision making, as this will assist in identifying long-term problems or opportunities related to the ubiquitous computing environment. This information can reduce uncertainty and guide the decisions of both policy makers and those directly involved in system development (Wedemeyer et al. 2001). One important consideration is the degree to which different opinions form around a single problem. Some issues may have strong consensus about their importance, even if there are great differences in opinion regarding the cause or solution. For example, few people will differ in their assessment of a highly tangible problem with physical impact such as terrorists using new weapons of mass destruction to destroy human life. The problem statements outlined above that address the future evolution of the human species or challenges to identity have clear cultural or religious implications and are likely to have greater variance in opinion about them. [19]

See also

Related Research Articles

Context awareness is a property of mobile devices that is defined complementarity to location awareness. Whereas location may determine how certain processes around a contributing device operate, context may be applied more flexibly with mobile users, especially with users of smart phones. Context awareness originated as a term from ubiquitous computing or as so-called pervasive computing which sought to deal with linking changes in the environment with computer systems, which are otherwise static. The term has also been applied to business theory in relation to contextual application design and business process management issues.

Smart device electronic device connected via different wireless protocols to its environment

A smart device is an electronic device, generally connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, Zigbee, NFC, Wi-Fi, LiFi, 3G, etc., that can operate to some extent interactively and autonomously. Several notable types of smart devices are smartphones, smart cars, smart thermostats, smart doorbells, smart locks, smart refrigerators, phablets and tablets, smartwatches, smart bands, smart key chains, smart speakers and others. The term can also refer to a device that exhibits some properties of ubiquitous computing, including—although not necessarily—artificial intelligence.

Mobile device Small, hand-held computing device

A mobile device is a computing device small enough to hold and operate in the hand. Typically, any handheld computer device will have an LCD or OLED flatscreen interface, providing a touchscreen interface with digital buttons and keyboard or physical buttons along with a physical keyboard. Many such devices can connect to the Internet and interconnect with other devices such as car entertainment systems or headsets via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular networks or near field communication (NFC). Integrated cameras, the ability to place and receive voice and video telephone calls, video games, and Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities are common. Power is typically provided by a lithium battery. Mobile devices may run mobile operating systems that allow third-party apps specialized for said capabilities to be installed and run.

Calm technology or Calm design is a type of information technology where the interaction between the technology and its user is designed to occur in the user's periphery rather than constantly at the center of attention. Information from the technology smoothly shifts to the user's attention when needed but otherwise stays calmly in the user's periphery. Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown describe calm technology as "that which informs but doesn't demand our focus or attention."

Ambient intelligence electronic environments that are sensitive and responsive to the presence of people

In computing, ambient intelligence (AmI) refers to electronic environments that are sensitive and responsive to the presence of people. Ambient intelligence is a vision on the future of consumer electronics, telecommunications and computing that was originally developed in the late 1990s by Eli Zelkha and his team at Palo Alto Ventures for the time frame 2010–2020. In an ambient intelligence world, devices work in concert to support people in carrying out their everyday life activities, tasks and rituals in an easy, natural way using information and intelligence that is hidden in the network connecting these devices. As these devices grow smaller, more connected and more integrated into our environment, the technology disappears into our surroundings until only the user interface remains perceivable by users.

Smart environments link computers and other smart devices to everyday settings and tasks. Smart environments include smart homes, smart cities and smart manufacturing.

Intelligent Environments (IE) are spaces with embedded systems and information and communication technologies creating interactive spaces that bring computation into the physical world and enhance occupants experiences. "Intelligent environments are spaces in which computation is seamlessly used to enhance ordinary activity. One of the driving forces behind the emerging interest in highly interactive environments is to make computers not only genuine user-friendly but also essentially invisible to the user".

Paul Dourish British computer scientist

Paul Dourish is a computer scientist best known for his work and research at the intersection of computer science and social science. Born in Scotland, he is a professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, where he joined the faculty in 2000. He is a Fellow of the ACM, and winner of the CSCW 2016 "Lasting Impact" award. Dourish has published three books and over 100 scientific articles, and holds 19 US patents.

Context-aware computing refers to a general class of mobile systems that can sense their physical environment, and adapt their behavior accordingly.

A pervasive game is a Video, Role Playing (RPG), or Live Action Role Playing (LARP) game where the gaming experience is extended out in the real world, or where the fictive world in which the game takes place blends with the physical world. The "It's Alive" mobile games company described pervasive games as "games that surround you", while Montola, Stenros and Waern's book, Pervasive Games defines them as having "one or more salient features that expand the contractual magic circle of play spatially, temporally, or socially." The concept of a "magic circle" draws from the work of Johan Huizinga, who describes the boundaries of play.

Ubiquitous robot is a term used in an analogous way to ubiquitous computing. Software useful for "integrating robotic technologies with technologies from the fields of ubiquitous and pervasive computing, sensor networks, and ambient intelligence".

Gregory Dominic Abowd is a computer scientist best known for his work in ubiquitous computing, software engineering, and technologies for autism. He is the J.Z. Liang Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he joined the faculty in 1994.

Anind Dey Canadian academic

Anind Dey is a computer scientist. He is the Dean of the University of Washington Information School. Dey is formerly the director of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. His research interests lie at the intersection of human–computer interaction and ubiquitous computing, focusing on how to make novel technologies more usable and useful. In particular, he builds tools that make it easier to build useful ubiquitous computing applications and supporting end users in controlling their ubiquitous computing systems.

Fabio Paternò is Research Director and Head of the Laboratory on Human Interfaces in Information Systems at Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell'Informazione, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche in Pisa, Italy.

The Telecooperation Office (TECO) is a research group at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe, Germany. The research group is in the Institute of Telematics, and is attached to the Chair for Pervasive Computing Systems, currently held by Michael Beigl.

Pervasive informatics is the study of how information affects interactions with the built environments they occupy. The term and concept were initially introduced by Professor Kecheng Liu during a keynote speech at the SOLI 2008 international conference.

Intelligent street is the name given to a type of intelligent environment which can be found on a public transit street. It has arisen from the convergence of communications and Ubiquitous Computing, intelligent and adaptable user interfaces, and the common infrastructure of the intelligent or mixed pavement.

Albrecht Schmidt is a computer scientist best known for his work in ubiquitous computing, pervasive computing, and the tangible user interface. He is a professor at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich where he joined the faculty in 2017.

Alice Jane Bernheim Brush is an American computer scientist known for her research in human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing and computer supported collaborative work (CSCW). She is particularly known for her research studying and building technology for homes as well as expertise conducting field studies of technology. She is the Co-Chair of CRA-W from 2014-2017.

Urban informatics refers to the study of people creating, applying and using information and communication technology and data in the context of cities and urban environments. Various definitions are available, some provided in the Definitions section. Urban informatics is a trans-disciplinary field of research and practice that draws on three broad domains: people, place and technology.

References

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  2. Hansmann, Uwe (2003). Pervasive Computing: The Mobile World. Springer. ISBN   9783540002185.
  3. Greenfield, Adam (2006). Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing. New Riders. pp. 11–12. ISBN   9780321384010.
  4. "World Haptics Conferences". Haptics Technical Committee. Archived from the original on 16 November 2011.
  5. 1 2 Poslad, Stefan (2009). Ubiquitous Computing Smart Devices, Smart Environments and Smart Interaction (PDF). Wiley. ISBN   978-0-470-03560-3.
  6. "Ubiquitous Computing Environment Threats and Defensive Measures". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  7. 1 2 Weiser, Mark (1991). "The Computer for the 21st Century". Archived from the original on 22 October 2014.
  8. Weiser, Mark (March 23, 1993). "Some Computer Science Issues in Ubiquitous Computing". CACM. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  9. Weiser, M.; Gold, R.; Brown, J.S. (1999-05-11). "Ubiquitous computing". Archived from the original on 10 March 2009.
  10. 1 2 Weiser, Mark (17 March 1996). "Ubiquitous computing". Archived from the original on 2 June 2018.
  11. Krikke, J (2005). "IEEE Xplore Abstract – T-Engine: Japan's ubiquitous computing architecture is ready for prime time". IEEE Pervasive Computing. 4 (2): 4–9. doi:10.1109/MPRV.2005.40.
  12. "T-Engine Forum Summary". T-engine.org. Archived from the original on 21 October 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  13. "MIT Media Lab – Things That Think Consortium". MIT . Retrieved 2007-11-03.
  14. "MIT Project Oxygen: Overview". MIT . Retrieved 2007-11-03.
  15. "Equator". UCL . Retrieved 2009-11-19.
  16. "Center of excellence for Ubiquitous System" (in Korean). CUS. Archived from the original on 2 October 2011.[ dead link ]
  17. Weiser, Mark. "Designing Calm Technology" . Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  18. Weiser, Mark; Gold, Rich; Brown, John Seely (1999). "The Origins of Ubiquitous Computing Research at PARC in the Late 1980s". IBM Systems Journal. 38 (4): 693. doi:10.1147/sj.384.0693.
  19. 1 2 3 Winter, Jenifer (December 2008). "Emerging Policy Problems Related to Ubiquitous Computing: Negotiating Stakeholders' Visions of the Future". Knowledge, Technology & Policy. 21 (4): 191–203. doi:10.1007/s12130-008-9058-4. hdl:10125/63534.
  20. Fingas, Jon (13 October 2012). "MooresCloud Light runs Linux, puts LAMP on your lamp (video)". Engadget.com. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  21. "Ubi Cloud". Theubi.com. Archived from the original on 2 January 2015.
  22. "Network Robot Forum". Archived from the original on October 24, 2007.
  23. Hong, Jason (2005). "An architecture for privacy-sensitive ubiquitous computing": 310.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  24. Little, Linda; Briggs, Pam (2009). "Privacy Factors for Successful Ubiquitous Computing". International Journal of E-Business Research. 5 (2): 20.

Further reading