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Courses > Ubicomp 2005S

Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing

Spring Semester, 2005
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: Tuesday 9:10 ~ 12:10
Room: CSIE 310


Geta sandals for indoor locationg self-tracking (a course 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 & 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 study the following topics to realize this vision of ubiquitous computing: (1) software infrastructure for pervasive computing that can support the integration between our physical space and virtual computing space, (2) sensors and sensor network that can capture and disseminate context information, (3) context-aware applications that use context information to create intelligent everyday objects and applications, (4) embedding computing into everyday objects, (5) user interfaces for ubiquitous computing, (6) security and privacy to protect access to user context information, (7) migration where an application context can migrate from one computing environment to another computing environment, (8) spontaneous interaction where appliances and services can seamlessly interact and interoperate with each other with little or no prior agreements, and (9) social computing that apply ubiquitous computing techniques and everyday computing artifacts to improve our social lives.

This is a graduate-level course with the goal to prepare undergraduate seniors and graduate students for research in the ubiquitous computing. This course will have two main components: paper readings and hands-on projects. The papers will be drawn from IEEE Pervasive Computing Magazines, as well as supplements from 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.

  • outdoor/indoor localization systems
  • smart embedded objects
  • ambient & 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 & 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: Edwin Teng, : 資336, email: r93019 (at)


Students should have some background in operating systems, distributed systems, computer networks, and mobile computing.  Students are expected to have (or learn on their own) necessary programming 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 (mobile) 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 project 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, 3/22/2005)
  • Project proposal presentation (week 9, 4/26/2005)
  • Proposal progress (week 13, 5/24/2005)
  • Final project demonstration (week 18, 6/20/2005)

Hardware Equipments:

HW equipments that can be used or purchased (if we don’t have already) for project use are listed below. However, this does not mean to be a restrictive list. You are free to browse the Internet for anything you need within a reasonable budget.  You can browse through MIT courses on "Sensor Systems for Interactive Environments" and "How to make almost anything". If you have questions about equipments (e.g., to order them), please send email to TA.


Some project ideas are described below.
  • Embed sensors & networking capabilities to create collaborative, intelligent everyday objects (e.g., wall, dresser, medicine cabinet, book shelf, etc.)
  • Use an indoor location system to Library guide system where it can direct a user to the bookshelf from a mobile device
  • Apply RFID to everyday objects
  • Ubicomp games where a player’s physical context drives the games (see the Ubicomp 2001 workshop on Ubicomp games
  • Applications for location-based messages (see GeoNotes from SICS, ActiveCampus from UCSD, E-Graffiti from Cornell, or Location-Linked Information from MIT)
  • Build physical user interfaces using Phidgets
  • Build an application using Berkeley Motes

It is highly recommended to browse related courses for the types of projects that students in other universities had done.


Sensors, gadgets and mobile devices cost money, so we are looking for industry funding to sponsor these equipments. In return for their sponsorship, they may ask us to make available our project results on the course home page in the public domain, free of charge. We may need to give them live demonstration of our projects at the end of the semester. In addition, our projects may be restricted to use certain software / hardware platforms provided by our industry sponsor. If you have any problems or questions about this, please drop by my office to talk about this.


Lecture Topics Readings
2/22 Introduction  
3/1 History Mark Weiser, "The Computer for the 21th Century," Scientific American, September 1991.

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

Mark Weiser, John S. Brown, "The Coming Age of Calm Technology," 1996.

M. Satyanarayanan, "Fundamental Challenges in Mobile Computing," Fifteenth ACM Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing, May 1996.

(Optional) M. Satyanarayanan, "Pervasive Computing: Vision and Challenges," IEEE Personal Communications, August, 2001.

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

3/8 Localization (I) Survey Paper) J. Hightower, G. Borriello, "Location Systems for Ubiquitous Computing," IEEE Computer, August 2001. ** Presenter: [heyelcric]

(Ultrasound-RF based method) 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. ** Presenter: [CL]

(Ultrasound-RF based method) N. B. Priyantha, A. Chakraborty, and H. Balakrishnan. "The Cricket Location Support System," Mobicom2000, August, 2000, pp. 32-43. ** Presenter: [heyelcric]

(WiFi based method) P. Bahl and V. N. Padmanabhan, "RADAR: An In-Building RF-Based User Location and Tracking System," IEEE INFOCOM 2000, Vol. 2, March, 2000. ** Presenter: [Willy]

3/15 Localization (II)
(Pressure floor based method) Robert J. Orr and Gregory D. Abowd, "The Smart Floor: A Mechanism for Natural User Identification and Tracking," CHI2000, April 1-6, 2000. ** Presenter: [Victor]

(FM radio based method) J. Krumm, G. Cermak, E. Horvitz,"Rightspot: A Novel Sense of Location for a Smart Personal Object," Ubicomp 2003, Oct. 2003. ** Presenter: [Shih-yen]

(RFID based method) 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. ** Presenter: [burt]

(Vision based method) 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. ** Presenter: [Feis]

3/22 Localization (III) & Project scenario presentations

(Automated location survey) J. Scott, M. Hazas, "User-Friendly Surveying Techniques for Location-Aware Systems," Ubicomp 2003, Oct, 2003. ** Presenter: [Willy]

(Adaptive !WiFi radiomap) J. Yin, Q. Yang, and L. Ni, "Adaptive Temporal Radio Maps for Indoor Location Estimation," Percom 2005. ** Presenter: EdwinTeng

(Reducing !WiFi calibration efforts) X. Chai, and Q. Yang, "Reducing Calibration Effort for Location Estimation Using Unlabeled Samples," Percom 2005. ** Presenter: EdwinTeng

3/29 Localization (IV)
(Footprint based method) K. Okuda, S. Yeh, C. Wu, K. Chang, H. Chu (2005), "The GETA Sandals: A Footprint Location Tracking System," to appear in Workshop on Location- and Context-Awareness (!LoCa 2005), in Cooperation with Pervasive 2005 , May 2005. ** Presenter: [heyelcric]

(Deriving 3D model) R. Harle and A. Hopper (2003), "Building World Models by Ray-Tracing within Ceiling-Mounted Positioning Systems," Ubicomp 2003, Oct 2003. ** Presenter: [Victor]

(WiFi based method) J. Krumm, K. Hinckley, "The Nearme Wireless Proximity Server," Ubicomp 2004, Sept, 2004. ** Presenter: [heyelcric]

(Locating RFID tags) D. Hahnel, W. Burgard, D. Fox, K. Fishkin, and M. Philipose, "Mapping and Localization with RFID Technology," In Proc. of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2004. ** Presenter: [Haward]

(Optional Magnetic based method) E. Prigge and J. How, "Signal Architecture for a Distributed Magnetic Local-Positioning System," Sensors Journal, IEEE, Volume:4, Issue:6, Dec. 2004. ** Presenter: [Feis]

4/12 Intelligent Artifacts I

(Survey paper) G. Chen, D. Kotz, "A Survey of Context-Aware Mobile Computing Research," Technical Report TR2000-381, Department of Computer Science, Dartmouth College, November 2000. ** Presenter: [Haward]

(Smart things platform) D. Salber, A. K. Dey and G. D. Abowd, "The Context Toolkit: Aiding the Development of Context-Enabled Applications," CHI '99, May, 1999. pp. 434-441. ** Presenter: [haoji]

The following two short papers count as one presentation ** Presenter: ShinJan

(Smart cup) H. Gellersen, M. Beigl, H. Krull, "The Mediacup: Awareness Technology Embedded in an Everyday Object," HUC-99, September, 1999, pp 308-310.

(Smart mirror) Nicolas Roussel, Helen Evans, Heiko Hansen, "Mirrorspace: using proximity as an interface to video-mediated communication," Ubicomp 2003. [File]

(Smart pushpin) J. Lifton, D. Seetharam, M. Broxton, J. Paradiso, "Pushpin Computing System Overview: A Platform for Distributed, Embedded, Ubiquitous Sensor Networks," Pervasive 2002, pp. 139-151. ** Presenter: [burt]


Intelligent Artifacts II

(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 TR 574 [File] ** Presenter: [Victor]

(Smart kitchenware) J. Kaye, "White Paper: Counter Intelligence," MIT Media Lab, June 1999. [file] ** Presenter: [haoji]

(Smart landmine) W. Merrill, L. Girod, B. Schiffer, D. !McIntire, G. Rava, K. Sohrabi, F. Newberg, J. Elson, W. Kaiser, "Dynamic Networking and Smart Sensing Enable Next Generation Landmines," IEEE Pervasive Magazine, Oct-Dec 2004. [File] ** Presenter: [Sffish]

(Smart furniture) A. Schmidt, M. Strohbach, K. van Laerhoven, A. Friday, H. Gellersen, "Context Acquisition Based on Load Sensing," Ubicomp 2002. [File] ** Presenter: [Shih-yen]

(Optional smart furniture) Equator Project, "Domestic Experience & Weight Furniture". [webpage] [webpage] ** Presenter: [toung]

4/26 Intelligent Artifacts III & Project Proposal Presentations (Smart chemical containers) M. Strohbach, H. Gellersen, G. Kortuem, and C. Kray, *Cooperative Artefacts: Assessing Real World Situations with Embedded Technology*, Ubicomp 2004. [File] ** Presenter: [Feis]

The following two short papers count as one presentation ** Presenter: [Sffish]

(Smart clothhangers) T. Matthews, H. Gellersen, K. V. Laerhoven, A. Dey, "Augmenting Collections of Everyday Objects: A Case Study of Clothes Hangers as an Information Display," PerCom 2004.

(Smart emotion decor) Urico Fujii and Ann Poochareon, "KU: iyashikei-net," Ubicomp 2004. [File]

5/3 Interaction (tangible interface) I

(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. [File] ** presenter [CL]

(Tangible interface) Ishii, H. and Ullmer, B.(1997), "Tangible Bits: Towards Seamless Interfaces between People, Bits and Atoms," in Proceedings of Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems CHI '97), (Atlanta, March 1997), ACM Press, pp. 234-241. [File] ** presenter: [Haward]

(Tangible interface: toy) Hayes Solos Raffle, Amanda J. Parkes and Hiroshi Ishii, "Topobo: A Constructive Assembly System with Kinetic Memory," CHI 2004. [File] ** presenter: [Shih-yen]

(Tangible interface: illuminating clay) Piper, B., Ratti, C., and Ishii, H., "Illuminating Clay: A 3-D Tangible Interface for Landscape Analysis," in Proceedings of Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '02), (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, April 20 - April 25, 2002), pp. 355-362. [File] ** presenter: [Sffish]

5/10 Interactions II

(Tangible interface: table) Gian Pangaro, Dan Maynes-Aminzade, Hiroshi Ishii, "The Actuated Workbench: Computer-Controlled Actuation in Tabletop Tangible Interfaces," UIST 2002. [File] ** Presenter: [Shih-yen]

(Ambient display) Wisneski, C., Ishii, H., Dahley, A., Gorbet, M., Brave, S., Ullmer, B. and Yarin, P., "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. [File] ** Presenter: [haoji]

(Ambient display: pinwheel) Ishii, H., Ren, S. and Frei, P., "Pinwheels: Visualizing Information Flow in an Architectural Space," in Extended Abstracts of Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '01), (Seattle, Washington, USA, March 31 - April 5, 2001), ACM Press, pp.111-112. [File] ** Presenter: ShinJan

K. Ryokai, S. Marti, H. Ishii, "I/O Brush: Drawing with Everyday Objects as Ink," CHI04, April, 2004. ** Presenter: ShinJan

(Optional) I. Siio, J. Rowan, E. Mynatt, "Finding Objects in Strata Drawer," CHI2003, April, 2003. ** Presenter: [CL]

5/17 Interactions III

(Phidgets) S. Greenberg, C. Fitcheett, "Phidgets: Easy Development of Physical Interfaces through Physical Widgets," UIST2001, November, 2001, pp 209-218. ** Presenter: ShinJan

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

(Hyperdragging) J. Rekimoto, M. Saitoh, "Augmented Surfaces: A Spatially Continuous Work Space for Hybrid Computing Environments," CHI99, May, 1999. ** Presenter: [Victor]

(MIT House_n Project) S. S. Intille, "Designing a Home of the Future," IEEE Pervasive Computing, Volume 1, Issue 2, April-June, 2002, pp. 70-81. ** Presenter: [CL]


Ubiquitous healthcare (Display) I & Projct Progress Reports

(Digital family portrait) Mynatt, E.D., Rowan, J., Jacobs, A., Craighill, S. "Digital Family Portraits: Supporting Peace of Mind for Extended Family Members," Proceedings of Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, (Apr 2001) pp.333-340. [File] ** Presenter: [burt]

(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. [File] ** Presenter: [haoji]

(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. [File] ** Presenter: [Feis]

5/31 Ubiquitous healthcare (Activity Recognition) II

(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. [File] ** Presenter: [Feis]

(Caremedia: vision based activity recognition) Chen, D., Wactlar, H., Yang, J., "Towards Automatic Analysis of Social Interaction Patterns in a Nursing Home Environment from Video," 6th ACM SIGMM International Workshop on Multimedia Information Retrieval (MIR'04), in Proceedings of ACM Multimedia 2004, New York, NY, pp. 283-290, October 10-16, 2004. [File] ** Presenter: [Feis]

(Wearable sensor based activity recognition) P. Lukowicz, H. Junker, M. Stager, T. von Buren, G. Troster, "Wearnet: A Distributed Multi-sensor System for Context Aware Wearables," UbiComp 2002: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, September 2002, pages 361-370, Springer-Verlag. ** Presenter: [burt]

(Wearable sensor based activity recognition) K. Van Laerhoven and H.-W. Gellersen. "Spine versus Porcupine: a Study in Distributed Wearable Activity Recognition," In Proceedings of the eighth International Symposium on Wearable Computers, ISWC 2004, Arlington, VA. ISBN: 0-7695-2186-X; IEEE Press, 2004, pp. 142-150. [File] ** Presenter: [toung]

6/7 Security & privacy protection

M. Langheinrich, "Privacy by Design - Principles of Privacy-Aware Ubiquitous Systems," Ubicomp2001, September, 2001. [File] ** Presenter: EdwinTeng

Marc Langheinrich, "A Privacy Awareness System for Ubiquitous Computing Environments," Ubicomp 2002. [File] ** Presenter: EdwinTeng

(Information space approach) X. Jiang, J. Landay, "Modeling Privacy Control in Context-Aware Systems," IEEE Pervasive Computing, July-September, 2002, pp 59-63. [File] ** Presenter: [burt]

Stephen A. Weis, Sanjay E. Sarma, Ronald L. Rivest, Daniel W. Engels, "Security and Privacy Aspects of Low-Cost Radio Frequency Identification Systems," First International Conference on Security in Pervasive Computing, Boppard, Germany, March 12 - 14, 2003. [File] ** Presenter EdwinTeng

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) [File] ** Presenter [Haward]

(Optional: adjusting info granularities) U. Hengartner, P. Steenkiste, "Access Control to Information in Pervasive Computing Environments," HotOS, 2003. [File] ** Presenter: [toung]

6/19 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

6/13 Reflection N. Davies and H. Gellersen. "Beyond prototypes: challenges in deploying ubiquitous systems," IEEE Pervasive Computing, Jan-Mar. 2002, pp. 26-35. [File] ** Presenter: [toung]

R. Want, G. Borriello, T. Pering and K. I. Farkas. "Disappearing Hardware," IEEE Pervasive Computing, Volume 1, Number 1, January-March 2002, pp. 36-47. [File] ** Presenter: [toung]

G. D. Abowd, Elizabeth D. Mynatt and T. Rodden. "The Human Experience," IEEE Pervasive Computing, Volume 1, Number 1, January-March 2002, pp. 48-58. ** Presenter: [Willy]

D. Estrin, D. Culler, K. Pister, G. Sukhatme, "Connecting the Physical World with Pervasive Networks," IEEE Pervasive Computing, Volume 1, Number 1, January-March 2002, pp. 59-69. [File] ** Presenter: [Willy]

6/20 Final Project Demonstration



  • Shih-yen Liu
  • Tung-yen (Toung) Lin
  • Shin-jan Wu
  • Burt Lien
  • Haward
  • Shun-yuan (Heyelcric) Yeh
  • Willy Chiang
  • CL Wang