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Pervasive Wireless

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The Rutgers radio grid is the first large-scale shared research facility that researchers can use to study multiple wireless devices and network technologies. “The sort of real-world complexity, dealing with real-world numbers that [the test bed] allows you to do, is something that really makes it quite unique,” says Tod Sizer, director of the Wireless Technology Research Department at Lucent Technologies’ Bell Labs.

Sizer’s group is working with Raychaudhuri to build cognitive-radio boxes that can be programmed to employ a wide variety of wireless standards, such as RFID, Wi-Fi, or cellular-phone protocols.

While hordes of researchers are developing new networked devices, Raychaudhuri says it is the standardization of communications protocols that will make pervasive computing take off. In just five years, he believes, networks of embedded devices will be all around us. His aim is to reduce “friction” in daily life, eliminating lines, saving time in searching for objects, automating security checkpoints in airports, and the like. “You save 10 seconds here, two minutes there, but it’s significant,” he says. He claims that just a 2 percent reduction of friction in the world’s economy could be worth hundreds of billions of dollars in productivity. “Each transaction is small, but the benefit to society is very large.”

OTHER PLAYERS
Pervasive Wireless

David Culler – Operating systems and middleware for wireless sensors
University of California, Berkeley

Kazuo Imai – Integrating cellular with other network technology
NTT DoCoMo, Tokyo, Japan

Lakshman Krishnamurthy and Steven Conner – Wireless network architecture
Intel, Santa Clara, CA

Home page image courtesy of Steve Moors.

 
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