Sunday Apr 15, 2007

notd - SPOTs, ORBs, BarCodes ... Mark Weiser's Ubiquitous Computing is Closer to Reality...

Photo of Sun SPOT kit

We are steadily moving towards Mark Weiser's Ubiquitous Computing, beyond PCs and mobile phones, into a world with robots, virtual worlds (Second Life, DarkStar, plain old software development...) and mapping elements between these worlds (like Extreme Feedback Devices, ORBs and bar codes.

The Project Sun SPOT investigates a way to build these devices and they recently made available a development kit. One recent use of SPOTs has been in Project BlackBox ([1], [2]) If you are interested in more details, check out these JavaOne events.

I find the uses of SPOTS quite intriging and I am trying to get one kit for my group to play with and another to make available as a prize to whoever comes with the best idea. Start thinking and stay tuned for more details on the contest.

Sunday Apr 01, 2007

NOTD - (NYT) Bar Codes and Mobile Phones

First post in a new category. Notd is like the unix motd, but with "News" instead of "Message". I'll make up the details of the category as I go, but the general topic will be a piece of daily news that seems specially interesting (to me) for one reason or another; let's see how long I can keep it up.

Downtown Tokyo showing one of the new Bar Codes

The NY Times has a piece on the new Bar Codes designed for Camera Phones. The basic idea is that these bar codes will be everywhere in the physical world; you just take a picture of the bar code and the software on your camera will decode it to pull the data from the web. Within this basic premise the possibilities seem unlimited: real-estate information, public transit, retail prices, driving directions, ads in print, etc, etc.

Given the market penetration of camera phones, and the increased network connectiviy, this seems a real winner. As the NYTimes puts it, the cellphone as the universal control. Add some locale awareness, some voice recognition, voice synthesis... The adoption may be very quick, we will see.