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Master Thesis: Concept and Implementation of a Framework for Dynamic Interaction with Smart Objects

Title:
Concept and Implementation of a Framework for Dynamic Interaction with Smart Objects


Description:
The number and influence of portable computers like smartphones, for example, has been steadily growing over the past years. Smartphones are now regularly used to ease the interaction with real world objects. For example, the user can interact with a location by checking in using a social network. The user can also interact with the location by communicating his feedback through an online website. However, the interaction between user and object usually takes place online and not directly between user and object.

Many social networks (e.g., Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Foursquare) offer the user the possibility to give a statement about his interaction with the real world. For example, the user can check-in into a shop to broadcast that he is currently at this location. The check-in usually takes place via an app that lets the user choose his current location from a list. To ease the selection process for the user, the app uses positioning techniques to limit the possible locations shown in the list.  The problem here is that it can be very time consuming for the user to select the correct location if the positioning techniques give inaccurate results. In addition, the interaction between physical world and social network is counterintuitive and complicated for the user. He has to open the corresponding app on his phone, tell the app that he wants to check-in, and select his location. During the entire process the physical and the virtual world are completely disconnected.

These examples can be generalized on most electronic interactions with objects. For example, if a mobile application needs the precise temperature at its current location but does not have any means to measure it, the user has to manually enter the temperature. In this case, the user acts as a middleman reading the temperature from a thermometer and entering it into the app, while it would be much better if the app could get the temperature directly by interacting with the thermometer.

Physical tags could solve these problems and allow users to interacting with "smart objects" more directly. A smart object in this context is an object that is equipped with a tag to allow the user to read information from the object, but also to write additional information to the object.

Using radio frequencies, a shop could be "tagged", for example, by placing an RFID tag at the entrance. This tag could enable the user check-in at this shop just by entering it. Besides check-ins, tags could also be applied to other physical objects like consumer goods so that users could easily "like" the products. This form of interaction would also be more intuitive and direct for users. Instead of looking for the product online and then "linking" it, the user could just tap his smartphone on the product. Besides that interaction, it is also possible to read information from sensors, like for example reading the temperature from thermometers.


Challenges:

  • Determine appropriate technologies to allow for dynamic interaction with objects
  • Develop an ontology and a concept to interact with smart object
  • Implement a Framework that encapsulates the ontology
  • Develop an Android application based on the framework


Prerequisites:

  • Programming skills in Java
  • Experience in Android development
  • Preferably knowledge about tagging technologies like barcodes and NFC
  • Interest to work in the field of mobile applications


Supervisor: , ,

Type: Master Thesis

Duration: 6 months

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TU Berlin - Service-centric Networking - TEL 19
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