Places ring bells for UK scientists

Places ring bells for UK scientistsSteve Bush
Almost everyone has an alarm clock that goes off at a predetermined time, but how about an alarm that goes off at a predetermined place, perhaps as your train reaches a certain station.
Researchers at the University of Kent at Canterbury have been developing the technology behind such devices.
“It’s part of our work in context awareness, trying to make devices aware of certain aspects of the environments,” said research associate Jason Pascoe. Kent has been making experimental devices for some time.
“In an early experiment we put together a prototype tourist guide which could offered relevant information as it was taken around,” he said.
The development of this kind of tourist guide device is not unique to Kent, but what may be is its extension to note-taking and other PDA-like activities. “We have made a Palm Pilot-based device for ecologists in Africa that records the position at which information is entered and another, using an Apple Newton, for archaeologists,”said Pascoe.
The extra computing power available in the Newton, according to Pascoe, allows differential GPS to be used to log position within 5m. The Palm Pilot version uses straight GPS and works to 100m.
Part of Pascoe’s contribution to the project has been the development of software utilities, which Pascoe is calling a Context Information Service to aid the development of time, space and other context-sensitive applications.


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