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Courses > Embedded(Ubicomp) 2006S

Embedded Interactive Systems (for Ubiquitous Computing)

Spring Semester, 2006
Computer Science and Information Engineering Department  (資訊工程學系與研究所)
Graduate Institute of Networking and Multimedia (資訊網路與多媒體研究所)
National Taiwan University (國立臺灣大學)
Class Time: Monday 2:20 ~ 5:10
Room: switch to CSIE 310

smart tray

A smart tray for motivating good child eating behavior (a lab project)


"The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it." Mark Weiser, "Computer for the 21th Century," Scientific American, September, 1991.

Pervasive and ubiquitous computing is how computing will be used in the future. It is about moving beyond the traditional desktop computing model, into embedding computing into everyday objects and everyday activities. The vision is that the virtual (computing) space will be seamlessly integrated with our physical environment, such that we as people cease to take notice of computing artifacts. In this course, we will focus specifically on the following topics to realize this vision of ubiquitous computing:

  • Outdoor/indoor localization systems
  • Smart embedded objects
  • Ambient and tangible interfaces
  • Security and privacy
  • Intelligent environments

This is a research-level course with the goal to prepare graduate students and senior undergraduate students for research in the area of ubiquitous and pervasive computing. This course will have two main components: paper readings and hands-on projects. The papers will be drawn mainly from recent conference proceedings. In the hands-on projects, students will form teams to explore actual design and prototype of ubiquitous computing systems or applications. This course will be taught in English.


  • Instructor: Hao-hua Chu (朱浩華), Room 518, email: hchu (at)
  • Teaching Assistant: Bing You, Room 336/338, email: cwyou2004 (at)


Students must have creativity. Students are expected to have (or learn on their own) necessary programming and hardware skill to implement their projects.


Class participation will account for 30% of the overall grade. The other 70% will come from your project.


We believe that the most effective learning comes by doing it. Students are expected to form teams to explore actual design and prototype of compelling, ubiquitous computing applications or system components in one semester. The project can demonstrate some aspects of ubiquitous computing concepts and show some level of integration between virtual computing environments with physical environments.

To ensure that the projects go smoothly, we will have the following checkpoints for projects. (1) Project idea: students will propose project ideas that are fun, can be realizable within one semester, can be built using existing equipments, and have some research components. (2) Project proposal: students will propose team structure, define project goals and needed equipments, and propose plans to prototype the projects. Students are expected to submit written documents (500 ~ 1000 words) and post them on the ProjectList06 page of the course WIKI website. Final project demonstration: students will demonstrate their working prototype at the end of the semester. In addition, students are also expected to submit a project report on the project page of the course WIKI website, detailing motivation, objective, related work, design, implementation, and evaluation.

The proposed dates for these project checkpoints are listed below:

  • Project idea presentation (week 5, 3/20/2006)
  • Project proposal presentation (week 9, 4/24/2006)
  • Proposal progress (week 13, 5/22/2006)
  • Final project demonstration (week 18, 6/19/2006)

Students must have creativity. Students are expected to have (or learn on their own) necessary programming and hardware skill to implement their projects.


Lecture Topics Readings Weekly Questions
2/20/2006 Introduction  
2/27/2006 UBICOMP Vision

(V1) Mark Weiser, "The Computer for the 21th Century," Scientific American, September 1991. (file) * Presenter: HaoChu

(V2) Mark Weiser, "Some computer science issues in ubiquitous computing," Communications of the ACM, 36(7):75-85, July 1993. (file) * Presenter: Peggy

(V3) Winograd, T., *From computing machinery to interaction design*, In Peter Denning and Robert Metcalfe (eds.), Beyond Calculation: The Next Fifty Years of Computing, Springer-Verlag, 1997, 149-162. (file) * Presenter: Kinda

(V4) Mark Weiser, John S. Brown, "The Coming Age of Calm Technology," 1996. (file) * Presenter: Peter

(Optional) Robert W. Lucky, *Connections*, IEEE Spectrum Magazine, March, 1999. (file)

3/6/2006 Context Awareness & Smart Objects (I)

(C1 Context-awareness survey) G. Chen, D. Kotz, "A Survey of Context-Aware Mobile Computing Research," Technical Report TR2000-381, Department of Computer Science, Dartmouth College, November 2000. (pdf) * Presenter:Henry

(C2 Sensors survey) Michael Beigl, Albert Krohn, Tobias Zimmer and Christian Decker, *Typical Sensors needed in Ubiquitous and Pervasive Computing*, First International Workshop on Networked Sensing Systems (INSS) 2004, Tokyo, Japan, June 22-23. 2004.(pdf) * Presenter: Heidi

(C3 Toolkit) D. Salber, A. K. Dey and G. D. Abowd, *The Context Toolkit: Aiding the Development of Context-Enabled Applications*, CHI 1999. (pdf) * Presenter: Jen-Hao


3/13/2006 Context Awareness & Smart Objects (II)

(C4 Smart cup) H. Gellersen, M. Beigl, H. Krull, "The Mediacup: Awareness Technology Embedded in an Everyday Object," HUC 1999. (pdf) * Presenter: kinda

(C5 Smart mirror) Nicolas Roussel, Helen Evans, Heiko Hansen, "Mirrorspace: using proximity as an interface to video-mediated communication," Ubicomp 2003. (pdf) * Presenter: kinda

(C6 Attentive objects) Pattie Maes, "Attentive Objects: Enriching people's natural interaction with everyday objects," INTERACTIONS, 7~8, 2005. (pdf) * Presenter: kinda

(C7 Smart chair) S. Mota and R. W. Picard (2003), "Automated Posture Analysis for Detecting Learner's Interest Level," Workshop on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition for Human-Computer Interaction, CVPR HCI, June, 2003. (pdf) * Presenter: LiShan

(C8 smart kitchen) Leonardo Bonanni, Chia-Hsun Lee, Ted Selker, "CounterIntelligence: Augmented Reality Kitchen," CHI 2005. (pdf)
* Presenter: Hao-ji Wu (external)



Context Awareness & Smart Objects (III)

Project Scenario Presentation

(C9 Smart table) A. Schmidt, M. Strohbach, K. van Laerhoven, A. Friday, H. Gellersen, "Context Acquisition Based on Load Sensing," Ubicomp 2002. (pdf) * Presenter: Peggy

(C10 Smart dining table) Keng-hao Chang, Shih-yen Liu, Hao-hua Chu, Jane Hsu, Cheryl Chen, Tung-yun Lin, Chieh-yu Chen, Polly Huang, "Diet-Aware Dining Table: Observing Dietary Behaviors over Tabletop Surface," Pervasive 2006. (pdf) * Presenter: Kenghao Chang (external)

3/27/2006 Context Awareness & Smart Objects (IV)

(C11 proactive) Starvos Antifakos, Florian Michahelles, and Bernt Schiele, "Proactive Instructions for Furniture Assembly," Ubicomp 2002. (pdf) * Presenter: Peter

(C12 Smart emotion decor) Urico Fujii and Ann Poochareon, "KU: iyashikei-net," Ubicomp 2004. (pdf) * Presenter: Peggy

(C13 Intimate objects) Joseph Kaye and Liz Goulding, "Intimate Objects," DIS 2004. (pdf) * Presenter: Peggy

(C14 Household communication) Kathryn Elliot, Carman Neustaedter, Saul Greenberg, "Time, Ownership and Awareness: The Value of Contextual Locations in the Home," Ubicomp 2005. (pdf) * Presenter:LiShan [


4/10/2006 Location System (I)

(L1 Survey Paper) J. Hightower, G. Borriello, "Location Systems for Ubiquitous Computing," IEEE Computer, August 2001. (pdf) * Presenter: Henry

(L2 Ultrasound-RF) A. Ward, A. Jones, A. Hopper, "A New Location Technique for the Active Office," IEEE Personal Communications, Vol. 4, No. 5, October 1997, pp 42-47. (pdf) * Presenter: Jen-Hao

(L3 Ultrasound-RF) N. B. Priyantha, A. Chakraborty, and H. Balakrishnan. "The Cricket Location Support System," Mobicom 2000.
(pdf) * Presenter: kinda



Location systems (II)

Project Proposal Presentation

(L4 Wifi fingerprinting vs. propagation model) P. Bahl and V. N. Padmanabhan, "RADAR: An In-Building RF-Based User Location and Tracking System," INFOCOM 2000. (pdf) * Presenter: Henry

(L5 proxity) J. Krumm, K. Hinckley, *The Nearme Wireless Proximity Server*, Ubicomp 2004.
(pdf) * Presenter: Peter

4/24/2006 No class



5/1/2006 Location systems (III)

(L6 Adaptation)Yi-chao Chen, Ji-rung Chiang, Hao-hua Chu, Polly Huang, Arvin Wen Tsui, "Sensor-Assisted Wi-Fi Indoor Location System for Adapting to Environmental Dynamics," ACM MSWIM 2005. (pdf) * Presenter: Yi-chao Chen (external)

(L7 Collaboration) Li-wei Chan, Ji-rung Chiang, Yi-chao Chen, Chia-nan Ke, Jane Hsu, Hao-hua Chu, *Collaborative Localization - Enhancing WiFi-Based Position Estimation with Neighborhood Links in Clusters*, Pervasive 2006. (pdf) * Presenter: Ji-rung Chiang (external)

(L8 Footprint) Kenji Okuda, Shun-yuan Yeh, Chon-in Wu, Keng-hao Chang, Hao-hua Chu, *The GETA Sandals: A Footprint Location Tracking System*, Loca 2005. (pdf) * Presenter: Shun-yuan Yeh (external)

Location systems (IV)

(L9 Pressure floor) Robert J. Orr and Gregory D. Abowd, "The Smart Floor: A Mechanism for Natural User Identification and Tracking," CHI 2000. (pdf) * Presenter: Peggy

(L10 sound) James Scott and Boris Dragovic, "Audio Location: Accurate Low-Cost Location Sensing," Pervasive 2005. (pdf) * Presenter: Peter

(L11 GSM fingerprinting) Veljo Otsason, Alex Varshhavsky, Anthony LaMarca, Eyal de Lara, "Accurate GSM Indoor Localization," Ubicomp 2005. (pdf) * Presenter: LiShan

5/22/2006 Interaction (I)

(I1 Ubicomp from UI perspective) Ishii, H., "Bottles: A Transparent Interface as a Tribute to Mark Weiser," in IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems, Vol. E87-D, No. 6, pp. 1299-1311, June 2004. (pdf) * Presenter Henry

(I2 Tangible interface: toy) Hayes Solos Raffle, Amanda J. Parkes and Hiroshi Ishii, "Topobo: A Constructive Assembly System with Kinetic Memory," CHI 2004. (pdf) * Presenter: kinda

(I3 Tangible interface: illuminating clay) Piper, B., Ratti, C., and Ishii, H., *Illuminating Clay: A 3-D Tangible Interface for Landscape Analysis*, CHI 2002. (pdf) * Presenter: Jen-Hao


Interaction (II)

Project Progress Presentation

(I4 Tangible interface: table) Gian Pangaro, Dan Maynes-Aminzade, Hiroshi Ishii, "The Actuated Workbench: Computer-Controlled Actuation in Tabletop Tangible Interfaces," UIST 2002. (pdf) * Presenter: LiShan

(I5 Ambient display) Wisneski, C., Ishii, H., Dahley, A., Gorbet, M., Brave, S., Ullmer, B. and Yarin, P.(1998), "Ambient Displays: Turning Architectual Space into an Interface between People and Digital Information," in Proceedings of International Workshop on Cooperative Buildings !CoBuild '98), (Darmstadt, Germany, February 1998), Springer Press, pp. 22-32.
(pdf) * Presenter: Jen-Hao

(I6) Ryokai, K., Marti, S., Ishii, H. "Designing the World as Your Palette," CHI 2005. (pdf) * Presenter: Peter

6/5/2006 Interaction (III)

(I7 Phidgets) S. Greenberg, C. Fitcheett, "Phidgets: Easy Development of Physical Interfaces through Physical Widgets," UIST 2001. * Presenter: Peggy

(I8 Everywhere display) Gopal Pingali, Claudio Pinhanez, Anthony Levas, Rick Kjeldsen, Mark Podlaseck, Han Chen, Noi Sukaviriya, "Steerable Interfaces for Pervasive Computing Spaces," Percom 2003. (pdf) * Presenter: Henry

(I9 Frameless display) Claudio Pinhanez, Mark Podlaseck, "To Frame or Not to Frame: The Role and Design of Frameless Displays in Ubiquitous Computing Applications," Ubicomp 2005. (pdf) * Presenter: Kinda

6/12/2006 Interaction (IV)

(I10 Hyperdragging) J. Rekimoto, M. Saitoh, "Augmented Surfaces: A Spatially Continuous Work Space for Hybrid Computing Environments," CHI 1999. (pdf) * Presenter: Peggy

(I11 Digital family portrait) Mynatt, E.D., Rowan, J., Jacobs, A., Craighill, S. "Digital Family Portraits: Supporting Peace of Mind for Extended Family Members," CHI 2001. (pdf) * Presenter: Peter

(I12 Intel carenet display) Sunny Consolvo, Peter Roessler, and Brett Shelton, "The Carenet Display: Lessons Learned from an In Home Evaluation of an Ambient Display," Ubicomp 2004. (pdf)
* Presenter: Jen-Hao

6/19/2006 Activity Recognition

(A1 RFID based activity recognition) M. Philipose, K. Fishkin, M. Perkowitz, D. Patterson, D. Hahnel, "The Probabilistic Activity Toolkit: Towards Enabling Activity-Aware Computer Interfaces," IRS-TR-03-013, Nov. 30, 2003. (pdf) * Presenter: Henry

(A2 wearable activity recognition) Ling Bao, Stephen S. Intille, "Activity Recognition from User-Annotated Acceleration Data," Pervasive 2004. (pdf)

(A3 state sensors activity recognition) Emmanuel Munguia Tapia, Stephen S. Intille, Kent Larson, "Activity Recognition in the Home Using Simple and Ubiquitous Sensors," Pervasive 2004. (pdf) * Presenter: LiShan

6/26/2006 Final Project Presentation


  Optional Readings


  • (RFID limitations) Kenneth Fishkin, Bing Jiang, Matthai Philipose, and Sumit Roy, "I Sense a Disturbance in the Force: Long-range Detection of Interactions with RFID-tagged Objects," Ubicomp 2004. (pdf)

Location systems

  • (camera vision) J. Krumm, S. Harris, B. Meyers, B. Brumitt, M. Hale, and S. Shafer (2000), "Multi-camera Multi-person Tracking for Easyliving," IEEE Workshop on Visual Surveillance, July 2000. (pdf)
  • (3D model) R. Harle and A. Hopper (2003), "Building World Models by Ray-Tracing within Ceiling-Mounted Positioning Systems," Ubicomp 2003. (pdf)
  • (FM radio) J. Krumm, G. Cermak, E. Horvitz,"Rightspot: A Novel Sense of Location for a Smart Personal Object," Ubicomp 2003, Oct. 2003. (pdf)
  • (passive RFID) S. Willis, S. Helal, "A Passive RFID Information Grid for Location and Proximity Sensing for the Blind User," University of Florida Technical Report Number TR04-009. (pdf)
  • (self-survey) J. Scott, M. Hazas, "User-Friendly Surveying Techniques for Location-Aware Systems," Ubicomp 2003. (pdf)

Context awareness & Smart Objects

  • (Smart skin using pushpins) J A Paradiso, J Lifton and M Broxton, "Sensate Media - Multimodal Electronic Skins as Dense Sensor Networks," BT Technology Journal. Vol. 22, No. 4. October 2004. (pdf)
    • Project page (video and other papers): []
  • (u-texture) Naohiko Kohtake, Ryo Ohsawa, Takuro Yonezawa, Yuki Matsukura, Mawayuki Iwai, Kazunori Takashio, Hideyuki Tokuda, *u-Texture: Self-organizable Universal Panels for Creating Smart Surroundings*, Ubicomp 2005.
    • Project URL: []
  • (cooperation) M. Strohbach, H. Gellersen, G. Kortuem, and C. Kray, "Cooperative Artefacts: Assessing Real World Situations with Embedded Technology," Ubicomp 2004. (pdf)
  • (smart furniture) Equator Project, "Domestic Experience & Weight Furniture". (pdf)
    • Project URL: []


  • (Tangible interface) Ishii, H. and Ullmer, B.(1997), "Tangible Bits: Towards Seamless Interfaces between People, Bits and Atoms," CHI 1997. (pdf)
  • (Ambient display: pinwheel) Ishii, H., Ren, S. and Frei, P., "Pinwheels: Visualizing Information Flow in an Architectural Space," CHI 2001. (pdf)

Social Network

  • Nathan Eagle and Alex Pentland *Social network computing*, UbiComp 2003. (pdf)
  • Jonathan Gips, Alex Pentland, *Mapping Social Network*, Percom 2006.

Security and Privacy Protection

  • * M. Langheinrich, "Privacy by Design - Principles of Privacy-Aware Ubiquitous Systems," Ubicomp2001, September, 2001. (pdf)
  • Marc Langheinrich, "A Privacy Awareness System for Ubiquitous Computing Environments," Ubicomp 2002. (pdf)
  • (Information space approach) X. Jiang, J. Landay, "Modeling Privacy Control in Context-Aware Systems," IEEE Pervasive Computing, July-September, 2002, pp 59-63. (pdf)
  • J. Alex Halderman, Brent Waters, and Edward W. Felten, "Privacy Management for Portable Recording Devices," In Proceedings of the 2004 ACM Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society (WPES 2004) (pdf)
  • Khai N. Truong, Shwetak N. Patel, Jay W. Summet and Gregory D. Abowd, "Preventing Camera Recording by Designing a Capture-Resistant Environment," Ubicomp 2005. (pdf)
  • (info granularities) U. Hengartner, P. Steenkiste, "Access Control to Information in Pervasive Computing Environments," HotOS, 2003. (pdf)



Some project ideas are described below.

  • Smart object(s): embed computing, e.g., using Telos sensor node(s), to create collaborative, smart everyday objects (e.g., wall, dresser, medicine cabinet, book shelf, etc.). These smart embedded objects can support "natural user interaction" with users.
  • Persuasive objects: create smart objects that are not only aware of human behavior but can change or shape human behavior. For examples, can you design a dresser that not only monitor a person's clothing preference, but can improve his/her fashion sense?
  • Energy-aware indoor localization: come up a way to reduce the amount of energy consumption on a mobile unit in a localization system.
  • Ubicomp games: create a game that is played both in the digital and physical world (see the Ubicomp 2001 workshop on Ubicomp games
  • Ambient display or tangible UI: use Phidgets to build ambient display or tangible UIs.
  • Social computing

It is highly recommended to browse related courses for the types of projects that students in other universities had done and get project ideas. For examples, you can browse through the MIT media lab research abstracts to see what types of ubicomp projects people are thinking and building. Hopefully, your project ideas have similar levels of creativity. Projects that have inter-disciplinary flavors are strongly encouraged, e.g. arts, music, social interaction, psychology, etc.