Ambient Information Display

Jones, Paul Robert (2007). Ambient Information Display MPhil Thesis, School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, University of Queensland.

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Author Jones, Paul Robert
Thesis Title Ambient Information Display
School, Centre or Institute School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Professor Neil Bergmann
Subjects 08 Information and Computing Sciences
Abstract/Summary Ambient Information Displays provide alternate means of displaying information that does not require the direct attention of the user. As the amount of information that people need to process each day grows, alternative methods of information consumption need to be explored. Ambient Displays provide a way of doing this by exploiting people’s peripheral processing capabilities. Significant previous research has investigated the development of different types of displays and analysed the ways that users interact with these displays. Commercial Ambient Information services in the form of wireless devices driven from central servers are available overseas. Little research however has been performed in the field of reusable frameworks for the display of Ambient Information. This work explores two assertions: Many apparently different Ambient Displays can be characterised in terms of a number of common functional modules. The common modules can be developed and reused to greatly simplify the implementation of later Ambient Displays, without each type of display needing to have the same inputs, outputs, or management methodologies. After a background exploration into devices, software structures and the current stateof- the-art in ambient technologies, an iterative development process is utilised to characterise in detail the components required. These components are to be reusable across multiple displays, so that subsequent implementations can be built more quickly and economically. The completion of the iterative process results in a number of developed components that were reused through each of these example displays. To validate the choice of components, a number of thought-experiment style implementations are conducted, where each potential application is analysed and an implementation utilising the developed components is proposed. The fundamental aspect of the proposed set of components is “Scenario Based Information Transformation”. The assertion is that displays consist of transformations of data from one form to another; the underlying work performed by any given application can be modelled in terms of a transformation scenario. To support applications based on top of scenarios, the following components are required: - Underlying web framework – providing the basic environment in which to develop applications. - Executors – application installed on local user’s machines, performing the actual transformation work in taking data from sources and transforming it for the outputs. - Authentication/Identity Management – web application supporting the OpenID protocol, and managing identity information for each user. - Configuration Storage – allowing for the separated/private storage of user information. - Scenario Dispatch – providing the bridge between web applications and the underlying communication method for executors. Analysis of a range of typical applications shows that using these components, applications that monitor different physical or electronic data sources and produce outputs in many varied forms using a variety of communications technologies can be easily developed. In parallel to the software development, hardware output devices are explored. SunSPOT wireless sensor devices and lost-cost USB connected devices are both investigated, each providing quite different experiences and usage possibilities, and allowing several demonstration applications to be fully implemented and tested. The results of this work confirm that it is possible to share components between ambient displays, and to characterise many different displays in terms of a set of common functional components. Display authors need not build the entire infrastructure for new displays, lowering the cost barrier for the design of new displays, and the introduction of new data sources into an ambient information environment.

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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 15:38:11 EST