• Between the 18th and 23th of November 2003, Essex group attendended the project final review, which was held in Ivrea, Italy. Click HERE for a selection of photographs taken from that event.
The eGadgets project is part of the Disappearing Computer Programme. The funding for this project is derived from the European Union's Fifth RTD Framework. In particular the project is funded under the Information Societies Technology (IST), Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) initiative. The FET programme is somewhat unusual in that, according to its own description, "it is open to considering bold ideas whose realisation would involve high risks. The philosophy is to let people try things out - even if these things are only based on a dream, or a hunch, with the promise of really leading to something in the future".
The concept of eGadgets is to create a conceptual and technological framework that will allow ordinary people to assemble and "direct", with ease, a collection of network aware computer based products (e.g. cellphones, music-players, washing machines, heating systems etc) to provide collective functionality to empower their lives beyond that possible by today's stand-alone products. There is a widely held view by manufacturers of consumer goods that to substantially increase the future market for such goods, new techniques and frameworks are needed. In the terminology adopted by this project, individual devices are called eGadgets; collections of connected eGadgets are called GadgetWorlds; the conceptual and technological framework is referred to as Gadgetware Architectural Style (GAS).
The Essex Role:
The aim of the project is to develop and validate the Gadgetware Architectural Style (GAS): a generic framework shared by both gadget designers and users together with some sample eGadgets and GadgetWorlds. GAS will provide a design framework and operating environment that will enable artefacts to communicate and co-operate in a consistent comprehensible and predictable way. As mentioned above, GAS will allow ordinary people to construct customised assemblies of e-gadgets supporting the user in some particular environment (a GadgetWorld) to perform tasks that reflect personal needs or wishes giving rise to emergent functionality. An example of a GadgetWorld might be a room in an intelligent-building in which environment and entertainment based eGadgets work together to form an integrated interactive environment. An innovative aspect of the project being worked on at Essex will involve the application of artificial intelligence methods such as fuzzy logic and behaviour based architecture (more commonly found in mobile robotics) to eGadgets to provide useful amounts of intelligent functionality. The main Essex challenge to this work is to develop compact reasoning and learning mechanisms that are able to deal with the numerous inputs and highly dynamic environments (both in the physical and network sense) that will characterise GadgetWorlds. This project builds on existing research that is described on our web site papers are available for interested applicants.
Partners (additional web info now included):
The eGadgets project involves three international partners (CTI Patras Greece, NMRC Cork and the University Of Essex) a number of consulting companies. The project's main site is maintained by CTI at their eGadgets site and most of the discussion and documentation can be found there.
University of EssexeGadgets
Intelligent Inhabited Environments Group, Department of Computer Science
University of Essex