Photos Spare Cycles MythBusters

Paper: InfoStick

InfoStick: an interaction device for Inter-Appliance Computing
Naohiko Kohtake, Jun Rekimoto, and Yuichiro Anzai
Keio University
Sony CSL Interaction Labs

Device summary: a handheld stick-like device with a camera, LCD, and UI buttons (select, get, put), as well as a computer worn on the waist for video processing. The computer also provides a wireless connection. A BASIC STAMP II drives the controls and logic on the stick.

Summary reaction: this particular implementation seems to be a reaction to some of the problems with IR beacon/RFID-based systems (e.g. media blocks). These IR/RFID systems push the cost of providing content to the content providers and consumers in order to lower the cost of the actual content transport (e.g. InfoStick, mediaBLOCK). The cost of the providing information is pushed into the InfoStick: in order to provide content all you have to do is have visual tag that the InfoStick can recognize with it's camera.

It's unclear which is making the better tradeoffs. Obviously the current implementation of the InfoStick is far too large and expensive to be useful, and I couldn't forsee it's price dropping below $300 anytime soon (in comparison to similarly featured PDAs). Something like DataTiles, on the other hand, could be made on the order of pocket change, which facilitates exchanging them with other people like CD-Rs. Also, without additional functionality, it's unclear to me that users would carry around an expensive InfoStick device, resulting in the where-did-I-put-my-car-keys scenario.

On the other hand, the InfoStick does have the attractive feature that almost anything can be an information provider, including paper/posters. If the InfoStick pursued an Acrobat Distiller-like approach (e.g. push functionality into the printer driver), it's even conceivable that these markers could start to
proliferate. However, it's not clear to me that this couldn't just be done with RFID tags instead, which have much cheaper sensing. If they can make a photo-copier that staples, they can certainly make one that affixes RFID tags.

The InfoStick also has the nice feature of an on-board LCD display and wireless access. DataTiles demonstrates one clever way of keeping the "device" cheap without having these features, but it does require the user to walk up to the reader to verify the content.

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on May 14, 2003 12:08 PM.

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