Virtual Board

Pervasive Computing is a research area dealing with embedded systems, real-time and distributed computing. A major topic is the diffusion of digital elements into a real-world environment, enriching it with 'smart' artifacts that provide new, more natural interaction paradigms.

Enhancing commonplace appliances with computing power and the ability to transmit data over wireless links creates a perspective, where interaction with all things over global networks becomes a reality.

Cellular phone networks are today the socially most influential networks. These have been in use mainly as a means for point-to-point communication, or for one-way information flows. Another restriction imposes the fact that both ends have to be ready for communication simultanously.

We have overcome this barrier and enhanced cellular phone networks to evolve into an asynchronous multi-user communication medium by incorporating projection displays in public areas as an asynchronous, visual broadcast medium.

The Virtual Board is a wireless messaging- and notification system and demonstrates the use of GSM/GPRS networks for multi-user communicaton.

A digital pen resembling its analog ancestors can be used to 'write' messages to (virtual) boards in lecture rooms, public display areas or billboards.

A variant using normal GSM-telephones is in use since autumn 2000 at University of Linz, where students may post questions in lectures with large boards. It has proven as a precious tool for supporting the communication between teacher and students.

A notification server on the presenation
notebook reacts to events issued by a
communication layer, in this case a
GSM-Modem, and displays incoming
messages for public discussion.

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University of Linz
Institut f. Praktische Informatik
Univ. Prof. Dr. Alois Ferscha
Altenbergerstr. 69
A-4040 Linz