Digital Aura

The vision of pervasive computing tells us that the future landscape of smart appliances and smart spaces will be one in which literally “everything” is con-nected to “everything”, interacting in a collaborative and coordinated way. A whole new class of problems related to the interaction among humans and ma-chines comes along with this prospect, possibly better approached based on new thought models of “interaction”, than based on the classical understanding of computing. In esotericism, the aura of a person (or a thing) is “an oval shaped, etheric, sub-tle, invisible emanation or exhalation” that radiates from the body in a spatially limited range, dense and thick in the portion nearest to the body, and thins out as the distance from the body increases.

The individual “auras” of persons or things can be built on the proximity area of a wireless sensor node, determined from the received radio signal strength (or the signal to noise ratio, SNR), as available from many wireless MAC layers for technologies like Bluetooth, RFID or IrDA. In our approach, a self describing interest profile, encoded in XML, is being attached to each individual object, and exchanged among objects that have approached physical proximity to each other. This whole concept of spontaneous interaction based on the metaphor of a “digital aura” has been implemented using the Autonomic Peer Systems framework.

Digital Aura Interaction: Person-to-Person, Person-to-Object, Object-to-Object


A. Ferscha, M. Hechinger, R. Mayrhofer, M. dos Santos Rocha, M. Franz, R. Oberhauser
Digital Aura
Advances in Pervasive Computing. A Collection of Contributions Presented at the 2nd International Conference on Pervasive Computing (Pervasive 2004), Austrian Computer Society (OCG), Vienna, Austria, Vol. 176, pp. 405-410, ISBN: 3-85403-176-9, April 2004.
Digital Aura - Towards Ad-Hoc Interaction in Context
Österreichisches Forschungsinstitut für Artificial Intelligence, (invited talk), Vienna Austria, December 3, January 2002.