12:45 PM, Thursday, February 14, 2002
Room 104, Gates Computer Science Building

A Glimmer of the Future in Nomadic Computing

John J. Barton
Hewlett Packard Laboratory, Palo Alto


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About the talk:

Physical hyperlinks connect physical entities -- people, place, or things -- to virtual resources on the Web. These hyperlinks can be direct, like infrared beacons emitting URLs or indirect like radio-frequency tags combined with identifier-lookup services. Nomadic users of handheld web browsers can traverse links they encounter, giving them simple context-dependent views of resources around them without tracking the users. By combining GPS and electronic compasses we can even create virtual beacons that appear to be planted in the physical world. Printers, projectors, and picture frames that accept hyperlinks allow these users to bring bits of the virtual world into their physical environment.

Building on this web-based technology, our department at HP Labs has been experimenting with: 1)richer context through a web server that merges XML resources for entities defining a context, 2) extensions of web clients to include a wide variety of environmental sensors, 3) integration of handheld web appliances and web services, and 4) solutions for usability and configuration of systems for nomadic users. In addition to end-user technology, we have been developing tools for ubicomp development, including a scenario simulator and small single board computers that add wireless networking to PC peripheral devices. (This talk will include material from our collaborators at HP Labs and in Prof. A. Fox and M. Baker's group at Stanford University.)

About the speaker:

John Barton works on software infrastructure to support coordinated data input from digital appliances like cameras and PDAs. This work is part of the HP Labs Cooltown project. Before joining HP in 1998, he worked IBM's T. J. Watson Research Center. There he wrote the Jalapeno Java Virtual Machine boot image writer and managed the Java Technology group. Before that he worked on the "Montana" research project that led to IBM's VisualAge C++ v 4.0 product and co-author "Scientific and Engineering C++" with Lee R. Nackman. He has a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master's degree in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology.