Visiting the pervasive computing labs @ Johannes Kepler University in Linz

It is always great to visit the pervasive computing labs in Linz – always new and cool research to see. Looking at my my Google News-Alert it seems that the term “pervasive” is dominate by Alois 🙂

Alois Ferscha showed me their interaction cube. It is a really interesting piece of research and the background and argument of the cinematic of the hand shows a deep insight. There are some slides on the Telekom Austria Cube that are worthwhile to look at. It is interesting that he has gone successfully the full cycle from concept to product (image is taken from the slide show).

We talked about location systems and what options are available on the market. In Linz they have one room where they have high accuracy tracking based on an array of InterSense systems. Our experience in Bonn with the ubisense system has been mixed so far. Perhaps there are different technologies to come (or we have to develop them).

PhD defence of Mario Pichler in Linz

This Morning Mario Pichler defended his PhD dissertation at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz. One central theme he investigated in his research was how innovation happens between technology push and application/market pull. It is scientifically a very interesting argument when looking at applied research. However considering successful products, especially products from Asia and in particular Korea, it appears that focusing on technology innovation can be a strong and successful strategy.

In the ubicomp community it seems that technology driven projects are seen very critical and that there seems to be a need to justify ubicomp research with applications. The arguments for it is simple – if we let technology drive development we end up with things nobody needs. But I am less and less believing in this argument – many of the things we use daily (phone, SMS, internet, cars) are there because technology has created the need and we did not really need them. Obviously there is a need for communication, entertainment and mobility but this is abstract and the concrete technologies used are not easy to be directly deduce from them.

In Austria they have a general exam as part of the PhD viva. I learnd something about the history of the term dead reckoning (see for a discussion on the Etymology of the term).