Archive for August, 2010

George Murray

Ubicomp Moving Toward Mainstream

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In a previous post about the iPad, I introduced why I think the iPad and tablets have a place in the mainstream consumer’s everyday life. What I’ve found is that many of the attributes that make the iPad appealing and successful are also aspects that make incremental progress towards a computing concept called ubiquitous computing (ubicomp).

In this post I’ll give a brief intro to ubiquitous computing: it’s concepts, history, and current state. Most of this I’d like to be in service of us (those of us making devices) finding solutions for today out of these various historic and futurist perspectives. If we agree that the iPad fits ubicomp criteria, and we know the futurist path of ubicomp all the way to it’s ideal (networked t-shirts!), we may be able to derive a path for the consumer devices we’re working on today. We may also be able to detect future problems before they arrive. Let’s see where we can get…

Take a look at this short Intel commercial:

This commercial features a series of technological ah-ha moments. From video games to the internet, wireless internet and finally Intel’s 2010 Core processors (which features a very ubicomp ability of scaling power) each moment exhibits a technology that is not fully understood until personally experienced.

One could imagine another scene at the end:

Two 20-something, upper-middle-class men are hanging out watching an uneventful World Cup match at what appears to be a “man night”; Pizza boxes are strewn around a basement room with a Star Wars figurine collection on display in the background. One guy passes an iPad to another, sharing a YouTube video of a keyboard playing cat (or a very smart TED talk),  in sheer delight, the recipient exclaims ”It’s like you’re HOLDING YouTube in your hands!”

This is one of the promises of ubiquitous computing.

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