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Dagstuhl Ubicomp - Breakout Session

Ubiquitous computing applications in public spaces

Chair: Anatole Gershman

We assumed four types of enabling technologies/infrastructures:

  1. The ability to tag and track people and objects
  2. Ubiquitous sensor networks (RFID sensors, cameras, microphones, temperature, infrared, etc.)
  3. Ubiquitous wireless packet communication (could be either 802.11 or Bluetooth)
  4. Universal service directories (enabling the discovery of local services - could be based on UDDI)
We discussed the following public places and services that might be available:


  • Wide range of flight and status information
  • Distance check-in (from the car or by entering the airport)
  • Personalized views of airport information People and object tracking
  • Direct communication with other people at the airport
  • Sign translation and guidance

Modern airports also contain shopping malls. All services that might be available at shopping malls are also relevant to airports.

Shopping Malls

  • Access to personal information (I can access my wardrobe or refrigerator while shopping at a mall)
  • 3-rd party customer services (shopping ideas, reviews, comparisons)
  • Personal discount coupons valid for the next 10 min
  • Parking, license plate reading to provide convenience and to gather marketing information
  • Product tagging with RFID to enable product location, self-service checkout, gathering of marketing data, inventory control, etc.

Beaches and Parks

  • Shark sensor networks
  • Sun Exposure and other health related alerts
  • Tides, currents, temperature and other measurements
  • Meeting people with similar interests
  • Attractions, events, etc. Status information, reservations, etc.

Mountain Tops and other extremes

  • Use of Smart dust to create an instant network in an inaccessible space
  • Use of robots in extreme conditions such as deep sea
  • Status of team members, their location, vital signs, etc.


  • Food sensors and advice to consumers (allergies, nutrition, etc.)


  • Automatic distancing of cars on a highway
  • Electronic signs
  • Telematics - distance monitoring of vehicles and their functioning, in-vehicle information services, etc.


  • Tracking of kids around the room (activities, playmates, etc. giving a more meaningful picture than a simple webcam)
  • Sense drawings and other activities results (a parent can get a kid's drawing in real time)




ETH ZurichDistributed Systems Group
Last updated July 7 2005 04:32:10 PM MET ml