Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing

Welcome to the class website for the Fall 2010 Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing course, CS7470. This course is cross-listed for undergrads as CS4605 and for Industrial Design students as ID4833.

Lectures are held 1:35PM - 2:55PM Tuesday and Thursday in Weber SST III 1.

Most supplementary lessons on prototyping equipment will be held in the Tech Square Research Building.


Gregory D. Abowd (abowd AT
Office: Tech Square Research Building, Third Floor, Room 329
OR Health Systems Institute, 2nd Floor, Room 210B
Office Hours: by email appointment


Tae-Jung Yun (tjyun AT
Office: Tech Square Research Building, Third Floor, Room 330
Office Hours: by email appointment


Krumm, J. (2009). Ubiquitous Computing (1st ed.). Chapman & Hall/CRC.


Everyone in the class will be expected to read the required readings and to sign up for the additional readings. We will expect each student who signs up for additional readings to be able to comment on those readings and they will be required to produce a 1-paragraph summary of the reading that is relevant to the class lecture after class. Each student needs to do this twice during the semester as part of the class participation grade. We will give quizzes in class (unannounced) to test for the required reading.

Sign up for the additional readings here

Semester Calendar

This calendar will be updated as the semester progresses.

Date Class Required Readings Additional Readings Project
Aug. 24 Class Introduction
Aug. 26 History of Ubicomp Chapter 1 of text book; Weiser SciAm article, reproduced in IEEE Pervasive Issue 1(distributed)
Aug. 31 Project Introduction and Ideas I / History of Ubicomp Find error in Krumm foreword
Sept. 2 Project Introduction and Ideas II / Intro to Wearable Computing The challenges of wearable computing: Part 1 The challenges of wearable computing: Part 2 (requires GTID and password to log into library account)
Sept. 7 Power and Heat Heat dissipation in wearable computers aided by thermal coupling with the user Energy scavenging for mobile and wireless electronics A brief history of wearable computing, by Brad Rhodes The Invention of the First Wearable Computer. E.O. Thorp (requires GTID and password to log into library account) Time and Time Again: Parallels in the Development of the Watch and the Wearable Computer From Backpacks to Smartphones: Past, Present, and Future of Wearable ComputersISWC Brochure Application Design for Wearable ComputingVallerio and Zhong. Energy-Efficient Graphical User Interface Design Thad Starner. Heat Dissipation in Wearable Computers. Paradiso, J., and T. Starner, "Energy Scavenging for Mobile and Wireless Electronics"
Sept. 9 Project organization
Sept. 14 General computing research challenges in ubicomp Some computer science issues in ubiquitous computing Software engineering issues for ubiquitous computing (requires GTID and password to log into library account)
Sept. 16 The Mobile Decade (Guest Speaker: Josh Marinacci)
Sept. 21 Chapter 2 on Ubicomp Systems Chapter 2
Sept. 23 Chapter 2 on Ubicomp Systems Chapter 2
Sept. 28 Textiles E-broidery: Design and fabrication of textile-based computing A Construction Kit for Electronic Textiles and Wiki files
Sept. 30 Textiles E-broidery: Design and fabrication of textile-based computing A Construction Kit for Electronic Textiles and Wiki files
Oct. 5 Design
Oct. 7 update from Ubicomp 2010 Exam 1 turn-in
Oct. 12 Chapter 7 on Location Chapter 7
Oct. 14 Chapter 4 on Field Studies Chapter 4
Oct. 19 No Class
Oct. 21 More on Field Studies Activity sensing in the wild: a field trial of ubifit garden Farther Than You May Think: An Empirical Investigation of the Proximity of Users to Their Mobile Phones Please look at the second publication on the site Froehlich, J., Chen, M., Consolvo, S., Harrison, B., & Landay, J. (2007) "Sensors and Surveys: Collecting Qualitative and Quantitative Data on Human Attitudes, Behaviors, and Activities via Mobile Phones Lessons learned from eClass: Assessing automated capture and access in the classroom From the war room to the living room: decision support for home-based therapy teams Project 1 Paper and Video
Oct. 26 Giovanni Iachello on ubicomp in industry
Oct. 28 Surface Interaction technologies (Craig Tashman) and collaboration (Tony Tang) Stacey D. Scott, Karen D. Grant, Regan L. Mandryk: System Guidelines for Co-located, Collaborative Work on a Tabletop Display. ECSCW 2003: 159-178 Low-cost multi-touch sensing through frustrated total internal reflection ThinSight: integrated optical multi-touch sensing through thin form-factor displays
Nov. 2 RFID (Travis Deyle)
Nov. 4 Context-Aware Computing Chapter 8 Understanding and using context Support for context-aware intelligibility and controlFrom awareness to connectedness: the design and deployment of presence displays
Nov. 9 Privacy in Ubiquitous Computing Chapter 3 Privately querying location-based services with SybilQuerySenseCam: A retrospective memory aid End-user privacy in human-computer interaction Project2 proposal
Nov. 11 Privacy in Ubiquitous Computing Chapter 3
Nov. 16 Privacy and Ubicomp case studies Read either PAL or Reno papers PAL papers: Mobile HCI 2004, CHI 2006; Reno papers: SOUPS 2005, Ubicomp 2005 The Personal Audio Loop: Designing a ubiquitous audio-based memory aidPrototyping and sampling experience to evaluate ubiquitous computing privacy in the real world Control, deception and communication: Evaluating the deployment of a location-enhanced messaging serviceDeveloping Privacy Guidelines for Social Location Disclosure Applications and Services
Nov. 18 Chapter 6, From GUI to UUI
Nov. 23 Class Review/Possible Videos
Nov. 25 No Class
Nov. 30 Demo Sign up for the demo
Dec. 2 Demo Sign up for the demo
Dec. 7 Final presentations Sign up for the final presentation for Dec. 7 Project 2 Paper and Video
Dec. 9 Final presentations Sign up for the final presentation for Dec. 9
Dec. 14 2:50-5:40 Final exam Recommendations for exam questions

How-To Seminars

We will be offering seminars outside of class on the following topics:

  • Soldering and Basic Electrical Prototyping
  • Microcontroller Programming
  • 3D-Printer, Laser Cutter, and Vacuum Form Machine
  • Sewing and Conductive Textiles

For more info, take a look at the Seminars page.

IRB/Ethics Certification

Regardless of whether you think you will be conducting a user study or not for your projects, you are required as part of your grade in this course to be certified to do human subjects research. Please follow these steps:

  1. Go to the CITI website
  2. Register for a new account with Georgia Institute of Technology as the Participating Institution and your GT ID # as your Employee #
  3. Choose Group 2 - Social/Behavioral
  4. Choose the Basic Course and complete all of the modules
  5. After completing all the modules, your completion report will be submitted to the IRB. Please check that it has been updated in their system within 48 hours by logging in at Georgia Tech's IRBWise website.
  6. To get credit for completing this assignment, please print out and bring your CITI training completion report on Thursday, September 9th

Note: If you already have certification from a previous class or research project, all you need to do is the final step above.

Getting IRB Approval for a User Study

If you are doing a user study for Project 2, you need to get an IRB Protocol submitted ASAP. Normally, the approval process takes 3-4 weeks, and you must have approval before beginning a user study.

In order to submit a protocol, go to the IRBWise website and log in. On your main account page, go to “My Protocols” and click “Submit New Protocol.” This will take you to a web form that you will need to fill out. For Research Personnel, make sure to have Thad as the primary investigator (PI) and everyone in your group as students.

Here is a sample webform filled out for a past approved protocol that you can base yours on. You will also need to write up and submit an informed consent form, plus any evaluation protocol or recruitment emails/flyers that you use. Here is a sample of the informed consent document that you can base yours on. Here is a sample of the evaluation protocol that you can base yours on.

After you finish all this, you must notify Gregory in person to get him to submit the form.


This is a project course and centers around two main projects.

The tentative dates for the two projects are listed in the calendar above.

Groups for the projects can consist of four people. Remember that the students enrolled in this class have a wide range of skills - from hardware to software to design - so it would be wise to find groupmates who compliment your own abilities.

Due to the smaller number of Industrial Design students enrolled in the course, there can be a maximum of only one Industrial Design student per group. If your group does not have an Industrial Design student, then you will need to set up a meeting with Professor Zeagler to review your design decisions.

Please ensure that the project you end up choosing fits the following criteria:

  • It doesn't already exist. If you can find a paper or other work that covers the work you propose to do, try again.
  • It's gradable. We want to give good grades for good work, but we need to be able to evaluate your results.

If you are unsure about your project idea, just email or come talk to us.

Here are a list of project ideas that we would enjoy seeing groups pick up, however you may also explore any idea you like, so long as you can defend your choice.

Once you have formed a group and chosen a project, please list your group here by September 10th. By default, you should asssume 4-5 students per team. Any deviation from that number of people in the group needs to be cleared by the instructors.

Your group will then need to write up your idea and submit a proposal following the Proposal Guidelines by September 14th.

Your group will need to submit your paper and video following the Project1 Paper/Video Guidelines by October 21st.

Your group will need to submit your Project 2 proposal following the Proposal Guidelines by November 9th. You do not need to provide a paper copy. Please upload your team proposal at T-Square by one of your team members.

Project 2 papers will follow the same format and guidelines as Project 1 papers with one important difference: it will be in a four page format instead of two page. Please note that this means either two pages front-and-back or four pages front.

Here are the Project 2 papers.


  • Class Participation - 10%
  • Exams - 40%
  • Project 1 - 20%
    • Proposal - 5%
    • Project work - 10%
    • Paper & Video - 5%
  • Project 2 - 30%
    • Proposal - 5%
    • Project work - 10%
    • Paper & Video - 10%
    • Presentation - 5%

Grades will be posted on T-Square.


Gallery of interesting links

The Art of Prototyping Intelligent Appliances

Other Lectures


IEEE Xplore - requires GTID and password to access

ACM Digital Library - requires GTID and password to access

Google Scholar

Georgia Tech Library's Web Localizer WAG the Dog - a very useful tool for finding papers


Arduino - electronics prototyping hardware

Wiring - electronics development hardware

Sensor Wiki - tutorials and information on sensors

Using WiiMote with Flash - good for anyone who wants to collect gesture data, while user is playing a game

Sparkfun Electronics - good for getting hardware to use for your projects.

Instructables - how-to's on many topics.

Digi-Key and Mouser - source for electronic components, small and large.

Ack Electronics - an electronic component store near the Georgia Tech campus.


See our lab's hardware resources page for details of available equipment.

Also take a look at our lab's howto pages for local how-to's.

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