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Extrovert Gadgets

Objective

The aim of the project is to adapt the notions and principles of component-based architectures, to the world of tangible objects. Hardware and software components will be embedded into objects or appliances, in order to give them sensing, computing and communication abilities, thus turning them into eGadgets. The project designs and validates a generic framework that will allow artefacts to collaborate seamlessly, and develops the necessary infrastructure and the tools that will enable people to intuitively associate heterogeneous eGadgets and compose distributed ambient systems called eGadgetWorlds. Within an eGadgetWorld, eGadgets interact to exhibit a collective behaviour that exceeds the sum of their individual capabilities. In order to meet the specific requirements of these systems, which arise mainly from the usually small size of the artefacts, the soft real-time performance requirements, and the need to avoid upsetting the task models of people, the project has applied a combination of component-based software engineering, knowledge representation, real-time systems design and design for acceptability techniques.

OBJECTIVES
To achieve the above, the project has:
- Specified a Gadgetware Architectural Style (GAS), containing the appropriate design vocabulary, configuration rules and semantic interpretation;
- Developed the necessary hardware and software modules, infrastructure and sample artefacts, which were used to realise carefully selected scenarios;
- Validated the completeness and appropriateness of GAS and will provide guidelines on how to develop other styles for different application domains.

DESCRIPTION OF WORK
Results: Already in its third year, the project has yielded several types of results: Concepts and methodologies:
- GAS v2.0, a generic and scalable framework shared by eGadget developers, eGadgetWorld designers and users, which has been implemented into GAS-OS;
- The GAS ontology defines the vocabulary that enables the interoperability among heterogeneous eGadgets. It is based on a public core ontology of basic terms and rules and enables the development of application-specific (possibly private) higher-level ontologies that define different semantic interpretations;
- The eGadgets style, a set of guidelines for the form and interaction design of eGadgets;
- The GASification methodology, a structured set of actions, processes and techniques in order to turn objects into eGadgets.
Tools and infrastructure:
- GAS-OS, a Java-based modular operating system, which runs on autonomous resource-constrained eGadgets. It provides interfaces to hardware components, and local management of resources (including sensors, actuators, memory and computing). It allows eGadgets to publicise their properties and services in an intuitive way and supports people in managing eGadgetWorld associations by establishing P2P channels using different wireless networking protocols. It also employs an intelligent mechanism, which unobtrusively monitors people's usage of the system and makes slight adaptations to improve performance;
- The eGadgetWorld Editor, a graphical tool that facilitates people in composing and managing their own eGadgetWorlds. It uses GAS-OS and has been tailored to run on PCs or PDAs;
- eGadget board, a specially designed hardware architecture that manages the communication between GAS-OS and the sensor / actuator networks of an eGadget.
Studies:
- A formal model for the specification of eGadgetWorlds has been developed;
- Several simulation-based studies on the scalability of concept have been conducted regarding aspects such as networking, disc overy and routing protocols, sensor networks and multiple agents.
Demonstrators:
- More than ten eGagdets have been developed and debugged, each having different sensor types. FPGAs have been used to drive sensor networks and PDAs to provide computation and wireless communication functions;
- Two examples of eGadgetWorlds have been implemented and installed for public use in exhibitions.
Evaluation:
- Expert appraisal by experts who evaluated the concepts and used mock-ups to compose eGadgetWorlds;
- User evaluation by conducting public hands-on sessions with at least 20 people;
- Long-term evaluation by installing the eGadgetWorlds in the iDorm and let its inhabitants to use them for some time.
The project has:
-Specified a Gadgetware Architectural Style (GAS), containing the appropriate design vocabulary, configuration rules and semantic interpretation;
-Developed the necessary hardware and software modules, infrastructure and sample artefacts, which were used to realise carefully selected scenarios;
-Validated the completeness and appropriateness of GAS and will provide guidelines on how to develop other styles for different application domains. The results of the project were:
-GAS (versions: 1,2,3, & final), a generic and scalable framework shared by eGadget developers, GadgetWorld designers and users, which has been implemented into GAS-OS;
-The GAS ontology which defines the vocabulary that enables the interoperability among heterogeneous eGadgets. It is based on a public core ontology of basic terms and rules and enables the development of application-specific (possibly private) higher-level ontologies that define different semantic interpretations;
-The eGadgets style, a set of guidelines for the better interaction design of eGadgets;
-The GASification methodology, a structured set of actions, processes and techniques in order to turn objects into eGadgets. Tools and infrastructure:
-GAS-OS, a Java-based modular middleware, which runs on autonomous resource-constrained eGadgets. It provides interfaces to hardware components, and local management of resources (including sensors, actuators, memory and computing). It allows eGadgets to publicise their properties and services in an intuitive way and supports people in managing GadgetWorld associations by establishing P2P channels using different wireless networking protocols. It also employs an intelligent mechanism, which unobtrusively monitors people's usage of the system and makes slight adaptations to improve performance;
-The eGadgetWorld Editor, a graphical tool that facilitates people in composing and managing their own eGadgetWorlds. It uses GAS-OS and has been tailored to run on PCs or PDAs;
-eGadget board, a specially designed hardware architecture that manages the communication between GAS-OS and the sensor / actuator networks of an eGadget.
-a miniaturised processing bord embeded into artefacts Studies;
-A formal model for the specification of GadgetWorlds has been developed;
-Several simulation-based studies on the scalability of concept have been conducted regarding aspects such as networking, discovery and routing protocols, sensor networks and multiple agents. Demonstrators:
-More than twelve eGagdets have been developed, debugged, tested, and used, each having different sensor types. FPGAs have been used to drive sensor networks and PDAs to provide computation and wireless communication functions;
-Two examples of GadgetWorlds have been implemented and installed for public use in exhibitions (DCTales2003, BHCI2003, DCJamboree2003, UBICOMP2002, Doors2002).
-An additional GadgetWorld example has been implemented and runs in the iDorm at University of Essex. Evaluation:
-Expert appraisal by experts who evaluated the concepts and used mock-ups to compose GadgetWorlds;
-Expert evaluation against the Cognitive Dimensions Framework/
-User evaluation by conducting public hands-on sessions (39 people);
-User evaluation by installing the e-Gadgets technology in the iDorm and let 7 subjects to use them for some time.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

RESEARCH ACADEMIC COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
Address
61, Riga Feraiou Street
26221 Patras
Greece

Participants (2)

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK - NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, CORK
Ireland
Address
Western Road
Cork
UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX
United Kingdom
Address
Wivenhoe Park
CO4 3SQ Colchester