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Courses > Ubicomp 2009S

Ubiquitous and Pervasive Computing

Spring Semester, 2009
Computer Science and Information Engineering Department
Graduate Institute of Networking and Multimedia
National Taiwan University
Class Time: Tuesday 2:20 ~ 5:10
Room: CSIE 310

from flickr

Course Description:

"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.

Ubiquitous and pervasive computing (UbiComp/PerCom) is about 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:

  • UbiComp vision and criticism
  • Smart everyday objects and context awareness
  • Ambient and tangible interfaces
  • Localization system
  • UbiComp software system

This is a research-level course with the goal of preparing graduate students and senior undergraduate students for research in the area of ubiquitous and pervasive computing. This course will have three main components: in-class discussion, hands-on projects, and paper reading. Somehow different from previous semester, "in-class discussion" is expected to dominate this course's learning process. Papers will be used as references to generate ideas for discussion. In the hands-on projects, students will form teams to explore actual design and prototype of ubiquitous computing systems or applications.


  • Like to verbally communicate your ideas (we have not decided whether to use Chinese or English for discussion)
  • Some programming and hardware experiences (design and prior HCI experience are plus)
  • Creativity

Teaching Staff and Office Hours:

  • Instructor: Hao-hua Chu (朱浩華), Room 518, email: hchu (at)
  • Teaching assistant: Ted Lai (賴宗德), Room 336/338, email: ....

Course WiKi Page:

  • Only for course participants (wiki)

Course Schedule

Lecture Topics Readings Exercises
2/18 Introduction course description (ppt) & UbiComp introduction (ppt)
2/25 Reading List Overview

Sign up paper presentation & scribes

How to use course WiKi?

"How to give a great research talk" from Microsoft Research (talk)


3/4 Ubicomp Vision & Criticism

Mark Weiser. The computer for the 21th century, Scientific American. September 1991.pdf

Mark Weiser, John S. Brown. The coming age of calm technology. 1996. pdf

Optional: 鄧兆旻, 未來科技大勢:極簡的科技與消失的電腦, 數位時代雙週 2005/03/15. (UbiComp explained in Chinese) pdf



3/11 Tangible bits

Hiroshi Ishii, Brygg Ullmer. Tangible bits: towards seamless interfaces between people, bits and atoms. CHI 1997. pdf

Hayes Solos Raffle, Amanda J. Parkes, Hiroshi Ishii. Topobo: A Constructive Assembly System with Kinetic Memory. CHI 2004. pdf


3/18 Ambient display

C. Wisneski, H. Ishii, A. Dahley, M. Gorbet, S. Brave, B. Ullmer, P. Yarin. Ambient displays: turning architectual space into an interface between people and digital information. in Proceedings of International Workshop on Cooperative Buildings CoBuild, 1998. pdf;

Barry Brown, Alex S. Taylor, Shahram Izadi, Abigail Sellen, Joseph Jofish Kaye, Rachel Eardley. Locating family values: a field trial of the Whereabouts clock. UbiComp 2007. pdf;


3/25 Project idea presentation






4/1 Design basics

Donald Norman, The Design of Everyday Things, Chapter 1

(criticism #2) Donald Norman. Three Challenges for Design. Interaction, 2007. pdf






No class


Hao at CHI 2009 conference

4/15 Smart objects

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

J. Scheirer, R.W. Picard. Affective objects. MIT Media Lab, March 2000. pdf;


4/22 Smart objects

Joseph Kaye, Liz Goulding. Intimate Objects. ACM DIS 2004. pdf

Lars Hallnas, Johan Redstrom. Slow technology: designing for reflection. PUC 2001. pdf;



4/29 Persuasive objects I

(Intro) Phillip King, Jason Tester. The landscape of persuasive technologies. CACM, May 1999. pdf Plus: Garrry Martin, Joseph Pear. Behavior modification - what it is and how to do it. 7th Edition, Prentice hall, 2002. (first 4 chapters). ;



Project plan presentation

5/6 Persuasive objects II

Jin-Ling Lo, Pei-yu (Peggy) Chi, Hao-hua Chu, Seng-cho T. Chou. Pervasive Computing in Play-based Occupational Therapy for Young Children. to appear in IEEE Pervasive Computing Magazine.

H. Gellersen, M. Beigl, H. Krull. The Mediacup: awareness technology embedded in an everyday object. HUC 1999.pdf Also Ju-Chun Ko, Yi-Ping Hung, Hao-hua Chu. Mug-Tree: a playful mug to encourage healthy habit of drinking fluid regularly. UbiComp 2007. pdf


5/13 Cyber physical systems & sensor network

E. A. Lee, "Cyber Physical Systems: Design Challenges," EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley, Technical Report No. UCB/EECS-2008-8, January 23, 2008.pdf

Aman Kansal, Michel Goraczko, and Feng Zhao, "Building a Sensor Network of Mobile Phones," ACM/IEEE IPSN, April 25-27, 2007, Cambridge, MA, USA.pdf



UbiComp tools

Project progress

S. Greenberg, C. Fitcheett. Phidgets: easy development of physical interfaces through physical widgets. UIST 2001.pdf

Bjorn Hartmann, Leith Abdulla, Manas Mittal, Scott R Klemmer. Authoring Sensor-based Interactions by Demonstration with Direct Manipulation and Pattern Recognition . CHI 2007. pdf


5/27 Localization I

(Survey) J. Hightower, G. Borriello. Location Systems for Ubiquitous Computing. IEEE Computer, August 2001. pdf;

(WiFi fingerprinting) P. Bahl and V. N. Padmanabhan. RADAR: an in-building RF-based user location and tracking system. INFOCOM 2000. pdf;


6/3 Localization II

Shwetak Patel, Khai Truong, Gregory Abowd, PowerLine Positioning: A Practical Sub-Room-Level Indoor Location System for Domestic Use. UBICOMP 2006. pdf

R.H. Harle, A. Hopper, The Potential for Location-Aware Power Management, UBICOMP 2008. pdf



6/10 Final Project demonstration videos  
Video and report submission



Optional readings

David Tennenhouse. Proactive computing. CACM May 2000. pdf;

James Scott and Boris Dragovic. Audio location: accurate low-cost location sensing. Pervasive 2005. pdf

Ho-Lin Chang, Jr-Ben (Ben) Tian, Tsung-Te Lai, Hao-Hua Chu, Polly Huang. Spinning beacons for precise indoor localization. Sensys 2008. pdf

Sunny Consolvo, David W. McDonald, Tammy Toscos, Mike Y. Chen, Jon Froehlich, Beverly Harrison, Predrag Klasnja, Anthony LaMarca, Louis LeGrand, Ryan Libby, Ian Smith, James A. Landay. Activity Sensing in the Wild: A Field Trial of UbiFit Garden, CHI 2008. pdf

Mitchell Page, Andrew Vande Moere. Evaluating a wearable display jersey for augmenting team sports awareness. Pervasive 2007. pdf;

E. D. Mynatt, J. Rowan. A. Jacobs. A., S. Craighill. Digital family portraits: supporting peace of mind for extended family members. ACM CHI 2001. pdf;

K. Ryokai, S. Marti, H. Ishii. designing the world as your palette. CHI 2005. pdf;

(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;

The tangible UI talk from Hiroshi Ishii (MIT Media Lab) at NUS

Jen-Hao Chen, Pei-Yu Peggy Chi, Hao-Hua Chu. Pervasive Computing in a Smart Kitchen for Nutrition-Aware Cooking. submitted to IEEE Pervasive Computing Magazine.

Jason Nawyn, Stephen S. Intille, Kent Larson. Embedding behavior modification strategies into a consumer electronic device: a case study. UbiComp 2006. pdf;

Gregory Abowd, Elizabeth Mynatt. Charting past, present and future research in Ubiquitous computing. TOCHI 7(1), 2000. pp. 29-58.pdf;

(criticism #1) Yvonne Rogers. Moving on from Weiser's Vision of Calm Computing: Engaging UbiComp Experiences. UBICOMP 2006. pdf;

Mark Weiser. Some computer science issues in ubiquitous computing. CACM, 36(7):75-85, July 1993. (html);

(criticism #2) Kasim Rehman, Frank Stejano, George Coulouris. Visually interactive location-aware computing. UBICOMP 2006.

(Ultrasound-RF) N. B. Priyantha, A. Chakraborty, and H. Balakrishnan. The Cricket location support system. Mobicom 2000. pdf;

Arvin Wen Tsui, Hao-hua Chu. Unsupervised learning for solving RSS hardware variance problem in WiFi localization. in submission. pdf

(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;

D. Dearman, A. Varshavsky, E. D. Lara, K. Truong. An exploration of location error estimation. UbiComp 2007. pdf;

Hao-Ji Wu, Ho-Lin Chang, Chuang-Wen You, Hao-Hua Chu, Polly Huang. Modeling and optimizing positional accuracy based on hyperbolic geometry for the adaptive radio interferometric positioning system. LOCA 2007. pdf;

(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;

(Survey of context-aware computing) 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)

S. S. Intille, K. Larson, E. Munguia Tapia, J. Beaudin, P. Kaushik, J. Nawyn, R. Rockinson. Using a live-in laboratory for ubiquitous computing research. Pervasive 2006.pdf;

J. Krumm, K. Hinckley. The Nearme wireless proximity server. UbiComp 2004. pdf;

Chueh-Min Cheng, Meng-Fang Chung, Ming-Yang Yu, Ming Ouhyoung, Hao-Hua Chu, Yung-Yu Chuang. ChroMirror: A Real-Time Interactive Mirror for Chromatic and Color-Harmonic Dressing. CHI 2008.

(Domesticity) William W. Gaver, Jake Beaver, and Steve Benford. Ambiguity as a resource for design, ACM CHI 2003. (pdf)

(Domesticity) W. Gaver, J. Bowers, A. Boucher, A. Law, S. Pennington, and N. Villar. The history tablecloth: illuminating domestic activity. DIS 2006. (pdf)

(Tool) Yang Li, James A. Landay. Activity-Based Prototyping of Ubicomp Applications for Long-Lived, Everyday Human Activities. CHI 2008.

Claudio Pinhanez, Mark Podlaseck. To Frame or Not to Frame: The Role and Design of Frameless Displays in Ubiquitous Computing Applications. UBICOMP 2005. (pdf)

William W. Gaver, Jake Beaver, and Steve Benford. Ambiguity as a resource for design, ACM CHI 2003. (pdf)

(Smart tablecloth) W. Gaver, J. Bowers, A. Boucher, A. Law, S. Pennington, and N. Villar. The history tablecloth: illuminating domestic activity. DIS 2006. (pdf)

- (Overview) Jurgen Bohn, Vlad Coroama, Marc Langheinrich, Friedemann Mattern, Michael Robs. Living in a world of smart everyday objects - social, economic, and ethical implications. Journal of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment. 2004. pdf

Kenji Okuda, Shun-yuan Yeh, Chon-in Wu, Keng-hao Chang, Hao-hua Chu. The GETA sandals: a footstep location tracking system. PUC 2007. pdf; Presenter: ?



  • Class discussion (30%)
  • Final Project (70%)


  • 1/23/2008: preliminary website is up.