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What is Ubiquitous Computing?

Computing power doubles about every two years, and an equally rapid performance increase applies to other important technological parameters such as storage capacity and communications bandwidth. This continuing trend means that in the foreseeable future, computers will become considerably smaller, cheaper, and more abundant. Computing will be ubiquitous.

In particular, we can expect tiny processors and sensors being integrated into more and more everyday objects – household appliances, toys, tools, but also such mundane things as pencils and clothes. All these devices will be interwoven and connected together by wireless networks. There are, of course, some important challenges that need to be addressed when building such an "Internet of everyday items." Highly scalable software infrastructures and new interaction paradigms are just two examples.

A world filled with smart and interacting everyday objects offers a whole range of fascinating possibilities. Some foresee a future where computers, functioning invisibly and unobtrusively in the background, serve people in their everyday lives, freeing them to a large extent from tedious routine tasks. But will technology make people happier? Since ubiquitous computing will pervade almost every aspect of our lives, possible economic consequences, but also social aspects such as privacy, will become issues of prime importance. Ubiquitous computing clearly has the power to change the world!

Below we mention some articles that further explain the technologies, visions, and the implications of ubiquitous computing. For more information on ubiquitous computing and our research activities within that domain, please visit our research overview web page or see the detailed descriptions of our research topics.

Selected Publications

See the Publications of the Distributed Systems Group page for a full listing of our publications.

ETH ZurichDistributed Systems Group
Last updated February 13 2017 02:58:07 PM MET ml