Rapid Prototyping of Ubiquitous Computing Applications: Tools & Frameworks

Posted in Conferences, Companies, Science, Development on December 06, 2008

Pervasive or ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) applications can support people's everyday activities in the physical world by leveraging advances in sensor technologies and computing infrastructures. Designing ubicomp applications is challenging because our everyday activities are more complex, dynamic and less structured than the tasks supported by traditional desktop computing. Ubicomp design is difficult, time-consuming, and requires a high level of technical expertise, especially with sensor technologies. To address this, I created a set of rapid prototyping tools and frameworks. My early work with Topiary introduces high-level abstractions, such as maps and scenarios, for designers to easily model location contexts and specify location-based behaviors. Topiary also allows a design to be tested in the field via a Wizard of Oz approach, without deploying a location sensor infrastructure. My recent work is focused on activity-based ubicomp prototyping, a process for enabling long-term activities (such as keeping fit) — a larger unit for design than the tasks that are the focus of traditional design. To support such a process, I created ActivityDesigner, a system that allows designers to create functional prototypes of ubicomp applications based on field observations, and easily deploy and test these prototypes in situ.

Yang Li is a research associate in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Washington. He works in the areas of human-computer Interaction and ubiquitous computing, focusing on activity-based ubiquitous computing, rapid prototyping tools and pen-based interaction techniques. Previously, he was a postdoctoral researcher in EECS at the University of California at Berkeley. He received his PhD in computer science from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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March, 24 2008

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