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[19SEP2010] From Proximity to UbiComp: A Direction

In this week, I got to know what proximity is and also developed a simple “hello world” program. The building of enabled technology impressed me so much that I could not help wanting to master using the entire toolkit. However, I realize that toolkit-oriented approach is not a reasonable way of research. Proximity toolkit, or any other one, just serves as tools. They could hardly be the sources of great ideas. On the contrary, we are easy to be limited by such toolkit. For example, what we have been focusing on is producing visual input on the SmartBoard, without giving a thought that other types of output are also available.

I would like to brainstorm my thesis topic in this way: technologies such as Proximity enables us to sense people’s action and possibly activities in their daily life; how can we improve their life using such technologies? Firstly, we do not go into the intricate and colorful content of Proximity. We vaguely interpret it as a kind of sensing technology that reflects people’s state and motion. Then we try to connect such ability to what we can improve in real life. For example, we can build a family media player that plays according to relations between family member and the screen as well as between family members themselves.

However, on one hand, we should be engaged in such brainstorming, coming up with various of real world applications. On the other hand, we cannot be indulged in popping up one or two application at a time and call it research. In my understanding, any application or technology, must be grounded and must be theoretically reasonable. Why should we use proximity in this way? We must give a convincing reason.

Now I have at least two ways of brainstorming. One is designing a game, an exertion game or educational game. The other is develop real world application such as an automatic door or a public information display.

Moreover, there are two kinds of interactions in Proximity technology, namely, explicit interaction and implicit interaction. In my opinion, we should focus mainly on implicit interaction while explict interaction can only serve as a compliment. Implicit interaction is about how people kinetic states (e.g. position, orientation, velocity, etc.) imply in their personal or social settings.

I will try to think in these two ways and based on this principle.


About Xiang 'Anthony' Chen

Making an Impact in Your Life


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