The engineering journal IEEE Pervasive Computing has a special edition on the twenty years of the Ubiquitous/pervasive computing trope. It’s actually a commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Mark Weiser’s seminal article, “The Computer for the 21st Century” first published in Scientific American in September 1991.
Some relevant articles:
““Ubicomp Systems at 20: Progress, Opportunities, and Challenges,” by Ramón Cáceres and Adrian Friday, is a fascinating retrospective on 20 years of systems-oriented ubiquitous computing research. They also discuss remaining challenges to taking ubicomp systems to the point where they indeed become ubiquitous.
The second article, “Interacting with 21st-Century Computers,” by Albrecht Schmidt, Bastian Pfleging, Florian Alt, Alireza Sahami Shirazi, and Geraldine Fitzpatrick, focuses on the research challenges of designing the interface between humans and ubicomp systems.
In “From Context Awareness to Socially Aware Computing,” Paul Lukowicz, Alex “Sandy” Pentland, and Alois Ferscha consider the evolution of this area and present a thought-provoking vision of the future in which reliable recognition of complex contexts and activities is possible
“Pervasive Tabs, Pads, and Boards: Are We There Yet?” Maria Ebling and Mary Baker consider how far toward Weiser’s vision we have come with respect to commercial deployments of the devices he described. This review evaluates the commercial success of tabs, pads, and boards and discusses their real-world use.
In the article, “20 Years Past Weiser—What Next?” Alois Ferscha discusses the results of a large-scale European initiative to collect a list of challenges in the area of pervasive computing.
The European theme continues with an interview with Norbert Streitz who reflects on the early days of ubiquitous computing and the role of the Disappearing Computer initiative in helping to shape the European research landscape in the field.“
Why do I blog this? Because this kind of special issue is a good occasion to understand what mattered as important for a community of researchers. Curiously (or maybe not), the perspective is largely focused on devices and technicalities, and less about people, culture and usage