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Location Systems


For several years, we have been interested in context-aware computer systems, which automatically configure themselves based on what's happening in the environment around them. An example might be a videophone system with many cameras placed around a room, which would continuously select a camera view in which the user could be seen, thus allowing that user to wander freely around the room during the videophone conversation.

Such systems must gather information about their current context from sensors distributed throughout the environment (in the above example, the location and orientation of the user and cameras). In fact, location and proximity seem to be the types of information most useful to context-aware systems, so we have concentrated on developing sensors that can measure these qualities. Active Badges were used for our first experiments with context-aware systems, but we've since moved on to look at other location sensors, including:

The Bat system - Fine-grained ultrasonic location for indoor environments.
Our RFID tagging system - A low-cost, low-infrastructure proximity identification sensor.
Ultrawideband (UWB) radio - Novel radio technology for in-building positioning and WLANs.

Much of our work is used to support the Sentient Computing project here at AT&T Laboratories Cambridge.


Mike Addlesee
Joe Newman
Paul Osborn
Andy Ward


Page last modified on 28/9/01

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