Information Technology Reference
In-Depth Information
Chapter 4
Disappearing hardware
Although the physical world is far from being a single, interactive computing
platform as many experts believed, it is under everybody's eyes that we
are more and more dependent on computer systems, nowadays embedded in
a growing number of everyday life objects, often already connected in
networks. It is also true that, today, using a computer is still a difficult task
for many, where much of the effort is spent handling the complex dialogue of
interacting with the inanimate box rather than on the task itself, which
compelled us to use the computer in the first place.
Currently, personal computers are much more than an inanimate box, but
they still require knowledge, experience and effort for their correct use. Ideally,
computer systems should infer a users' intention by a small set of gestures or
commands and then, as much as possible, perform the task autonomously. Much
of the research herein discussed is aimed at designing a new paradigm for
computer systems, in which computing capabilities are embedded in everyday
life physical objects. This concept, now enabled by the current technology
advances, was already introduced in 1990s by Weiser, who termed it Ubiquitous
Computing in his seminal work ' The Computer for the Twenty-first Century ' [1].
Instead of the traditional point-and-click interface, these systems will enable a
more natural interaction depending on where they are. The object should be, in
other words, aware of the surrounding environment and be capable to sense
other objects around it, communicating with them and keeping memory of its
own past activity [2]. These computing objects will then be capable to operate
depending on the context, showing a sort of intelligent behaviour .
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