Vehicle tracking and RFID

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Wired has 2 stories about RFID this week.
The first one “RFID: To Tag or Not to Tag ” is a good explanation of what RFID is and what it can be used for.

The second one is about e-Plate, a British project to use active RFID tag to track cars.

The British government is preparing to test new high-tech license plates containing microchips capable of transmitting unique vehicle identification numbers and other data to readers more than 300 feet away.

The point of the test is to see whether microchips will make number plates harder to tamper with and clone, said U.K. Department for Transport spokesman Ian Weller-Skitt.

Many commuters use counterfeit plates to avoid the London congestion charge, a fee imposed on passenger vehicles entering central London during busy hours.

e-plate RFID-tagged license plate

This project has similiarities with the ongoing ODOT research project here at OSU, so it will be interesting to compare the results of both experiments. I will need to look at a more detailled description of their system . For example, I didn’t see anything how they plan to manage privacy, like the use of a privacy bit or similar systems

Ubiquitous Computing in the Real World

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I found a call for participation (PDF) for a special issue of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing Journal.

For this special issue we solicit contributions that map and report on such developments, and highlight the effects of bringing ubiquitous computing to the real world:

  • What are the limitations of ubiquitous systems implementation in the real world in terms of economics, regulation, business realities and market situation and can the cost be justified?
  • Which systems can work outside the laboratory? Are the available infrastructures able to cater for the massive data flows created by auto-identification for example? What are the actual systems architectures that have been proven to effectively support the required workloads?
  • When ubiquitous systems are deployed what are the changes that bring to people’s lives? What changes are effected in people’s private lives at a personal and family level and what are the changes to social etiquette?
  • Is the ubiquitous computing world a utopia, which can never be reached because reality is messy? Can the vision of computing for all turn into a nightmare of surveillance and no privacy?
  • Can we reverse decades of technology as conqueror to achieve “calm technology”?
  • And above all, is the ubiquitous computing world a world which people seem happy to live in?


International Journal of Usability Studies

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Here is a call for submission for a new journal to be launched at the end of this year. It deals with several areas that my thesis’ research covers so I am considering submitting a paper.

The Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA) announces the launch of a new publication in the fourth quarter of 2005, the Journal of Usability Studies.
This publication will be a peer-reviewed, on-line journal dedicated to promoting and enhancing the practice, research, ethics, and education of usability engineering.