Speckled computing: is it infectious?

On September 9 a ‘coffee morning’ in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University will discuss speckled computing. That’s a new term to me and possibly to you, but this kind of computing may have educational applications, as the speakers will explain. Bloggers may find the abstract interesting, so I attach it here.

Abstract: D.K. Arvind from the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh and E. Scanlon from IET, Open University will lead a discussion on speckled computing and potential applications in education. Eileen Scanlon will discuss the experiences of the Personal Inquiry project, the Inquiry Learning cycle and potential applications in the area of modelling. D.K. Arvind will discuss the concepts of speckled computing and the range of work being carried out under the banner of the Research Consortium in Speckled Computing, based at Edinburgh.

A specknet is a collection of autonomous specks which provides distributed services: each speck is capable of sensing the physical world and processing the sensed data under program control; the specks themselves are connected as a wireless network and collaborate to process information in a distributed manner.

Specknets link the digital world of computers to the physical world of sensory data. A network of Orient specks on the person, for example, is capable of tracking the orientation of the limbs, and this information can be stored, manipulated and accessed remotely over the internet. Computing with specknets, or Speckled Computing, affords new modes of unencumbered interaction with the digital world, in which the physical environment is the primary site of interaction.

The Orient specks have been used for fully wireless, full-body 3-D motion capture of human motion in a variety of applications:
• real-time manipulation of characters in digital animation and virtual worlds
• interaction with physical robots and teaching them behaviours such as walking
• biomechanical analysis of the golf swing, cricket strokes, Tango and break dancing
• health-care (physiotherapy, gait analysis, non-invasive wireless respiratory rate monitoring)
• analysis of throwing and balancing skills in pre-school children
• exploratory learning of concepts in physics such as projectile motion.

David Hawkridge

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