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In this area, a remote display environment is proposed by researchers of
the University of Osaka [14] to deploy large, wall-mounted displays in public
areas that interacts as remote devices with cellular phones and PDAs.
4.2 Personal systems
On the contrary, personal systems are those that aim at providing an
infrastructure that moves with the user himself. Wearable computers are one
way to build such systems; however, the common perception of them built of
a head-up display, one-handed keyboards and belt-attached PCs does not
exactly fit the idea of a disappearing, unobtrusive system. Instead, a sensor
infrastructure that is embedded on a man's coat is a better example, although
computing capabilities of such systems is still rather limited. MIThril is
a prototype of such systems [15]. Developed by MIT researchers, MIThril is
a context-aware , networked set of sensors (including a thermometer for
body temperature, heart beat and pulse sensor and a set of microcameras
and microphones) embedded on a coat that interacts with the surrounding
environment, exchanging personal information among the people present at
any given time.
Invisibility: problems and limits
As with every other technology that involves a paradigm shift in our every-
day habits, practical implementation of ubiquitous systems is still hindered
by a set of problems and limits. The following subsections will attempt to
highlight the most limiting ones.
5.1 Size and power consumption
Technology advances on both microprocessor size and performances and
memory capacity are both of extreme importance to build ubiquitous
disappearing systems. While for a PC it would be intolerable that one appli-
cation grinds to a halt because of another one running on the background, this
is not an issue for single task devoted systems as in the case of ubiquitous
ones. However, while it is desirable to make devices smaller and smaller as it
would be easier to hide them in the environment, too small dimensions
become a problem from the interaction point of view, and size cannot be
decreased beyond a certain point for those components responsible of direct
interaction with the user. Would this not be a problem, having many small
devices distributed in the environment may soon become unmanageable
as it would be difficult to track and handle all of them at once. Power
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