A few Japanese cities have embedded hundreds of electronic tags and road sensors in their pavement, sidewalks, and street furniture to help both tourists and the handicapped get around; The watch-style version of the Ubiquitous Communicator reads tags and retrieves relevant data from the database server.
"A Japanese-government sponsored research consortium that include five chip makers and 17 other Japanese high-tech firms, has announced that the T-Engine, a ubiquitous computing platform is ready for prime time. The engine is featured in a IEEE Computer Society article [PDF] and discussed more on Windley's Technometria." - - Japanese T-Engine Enables Ubiquitous Computing @ /.
"A postage-stamp-size computer display incorporated into eyeglasses - the visual equivalent of a 32-inch to 40- inch screen at 10 feet - might soon be possible in a form that will appeal to the average user’s imagination and pocketbook."
"By the following 2006 Christmas season at the latest it is likely that every new portable player and mobile device sold will be offering virtual display eyeglasses as part of the package or as an optional accessory."
"Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport is spearheading the testing of the UID Center’s Autonomous Movement Support Project. Electronic tags embedded in pavement stones and street furniture will supply users with location-specific information “anytime, anywhere, to anyone." In the cities of Kobe and Tsuwano, hundreds of electronic tags and road sensors have been embedded in the pavement, sidewalks, and street furniture, providing information to tourists about historical sites and to wheelchair users about obstacles."
"When entire cities are "tagged," robots can be equipped with ucode readers and make deliveries of food or medicine. The city of Fukuoka in southern Japan has created a "robot-friendly" zone in the city center. It has adjusted the streets and changed traffic rules to let robot engineers test robots, and the public’s reactions, in public spaces. Whether T-Engine becomes a global standard remains to be seen. Given the potential market for ubiquitous computing technology, the Japanese technology will no doubt meet with competition."
"But Ken Sakamura has already succeeded in giving the notion of ubiquitous computing a new dimension. He notes that an electronic tag embedded in a medicine container or in a pavement stone doesn’t need to know what it is or where it is. Its “intelligence” is in the database and the rule sets it contains. The potential for possible applications is limited only by the imagination."
"T-Engine technologies are finding their way into a wide variety of environments, from homes to automobiles. Toyota Home, a subsidiary of the carmaker, built the Toyota Dream House PAPI, an intelligent house filled with Tengine boards. It’s part of the Nagoya Expo, which opened on 25 March of this year. In an emergency, Toyota’s Prius hybrid automobile can supply the Toyota home with electricity. The house gives new meaning to Le Corbusier’s famous exclamation that a dwelling is “a machine for living."
cross-posted to omnitelligence