Smart-Its – Restaurant Demo

Smart objects in a restaurant setting. Smart-Its are small, generic, cheap computational devices that can be used for post-hoc computational enhancement of everyday objects. In the form factor of a sticker, they allow objects to perceive their environment, communicate with peers, and have customisable behaviour. They are meant as a technical platform for easily implementing working prototypes of ubiquitous computing applications. As a project, Smart-Its was part of the European Union’s Disappearing Computer initiative. It involved a number of European research groups, among others the PLAY Studio (Interactive Institute) and the Future Applications Lab (Viktoria Institute) both located in Göteborg.

The part of the project in which I was involved while working at the Future Applications lab was a restaurant application – a collaboration among PLAY, FAL, ETHZ and students from the IT-University in Göteborg. It involved the development of scenarios and a demo environment of smart objects supporting dynamic work flows, information display, and new interactions in a restaurant setting. Implemented prototypes demonstrated ad-hoc networking, distributed sensing, and collective intelligence among multiple objects. The ability of the Smart-Its platform to convey these principles was then evaluated when demonstrated to non-technical design students. The design and implementation of the demo environment are described in [Mazé], its evaluation in [Ljungblad], and further potentials of the Smart-Its platform described in [Holmquist] (see publication list below). The restaurant demo was exhibited at the European Union’s Disappearing Computer Jamboree in connection to the UbiComp 2002 conference.

In this project, I participated in the implementation of the demo environment, in its set-up and exhibition at the DC Jamboree (in which I was in charge of the logistics for the Smart-Its project), as well as in the evaluation of the restaurant application demo.

Official Project Websites
- Smart-Its project
- Smart-Its in Göteborg
- Restaurant application

Restaurant Demo Project Team
- Play Studio, Interactive Institute: Ramia Mazé, Peter Ljungstrand
- IT-University in Göteborg: Magnus Nilsson, Tobias Rydenhag, Hanna Landin
- ETH Zurich: Stavros Antifakos, Timo Ahonen
- Future Applications Lab, Viktoria Institute: Lars Erik Holmquist, Lalya Gaye, Sara Ljungblad, Tobias Skog

Publications
- Mazé, R., Ljungstrand, P., Nilsson, M., Rydenhag, T., Gaye, L., Holmquist. L.E. Smart-Its Go to Dinner: Scenarios for Context-Aware Technology in Restaurant Application. 2nd Disappearing Computer Jamboree, Göteborg, Sweden (2003). [pdf]
- Ljungblad, S., Skog, T., Gaye, L. Are designers ready for Ubiquitous Computing? A Formative Study. CHI 2003, Fort Lauderdale, USA (2003). [pdf] [poster]
- Holmquist, L. E., Gaye, L., Gellersen, H.-W., Schmidt, A., Strohbach, M., Schiele, B., Antifakos, S., Michaelles, F., Beigl, M. Building Intelligent Environments with Smart-Its. Emerging Technologies, Siggraph 2003, San Diego, USA (2003). [pdf]