Ubiquitous Computing

One of the criticisms of ubiquitous computing is the privacy risk: a “smart room” can easily be used for surveillance in the wrong hands. Bradley Rhodes, Nelson Minar, and Josh Weaver argue for wearable computing as a solution:

The wearable perspective suggests that instead of putting sensors and cameras in the room, put them on the person. In the purest form, the wearable user would do all detection and sensing on her body, requiring no environmental infrastructure at all.


Worth noting that this is a suggestion from a time when “wearable computing” meant a goofy backpack of hardware tethered to a google-glass heads-up display. Usually complete with a complex keyboard sculpted around the hand for input. The point: the smartphone form factor got there first. We can get by with a combination of a personal screen (with some amount of privacy unless someone is looking over your shoulder) and sensors in the environment.

Steph Ango imagines ubiquitous computing providing heightened senses:

  • Across scale — far and near, binoculars, zoom, telescope, microscope
  • Across wavelength — UV, IR, heatmaps, nightvision, wifi, magnetic fields, electrical and water currents
  • Across time — view historical imagery, architectural, terrain, geological, and climate changes
  • Across culture — experience the relevance of a place in books, movies, photography, paintings, and language
  • Across space — travel imersively to other locations for tourism, business, and personal connections[^]
  • Across perspective — upside down, inside out, around corners, top down, wider, narrower, out of body
  • Across interpretation — alter the visual and artistic interpretation of your environment, color-shifting, saturation, contrast, sharpness