Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Research Objects and Location beacons

Day two of Digifest kicks off with a session from Carol Goble, professor of Computer Science at Manchester University

Really interesting session about research methods, and how our knowledge flow is too slow. Research is published as a PDF, or as spreadsheets and the supporting data is embedded in a paper. Can be difficult to get at the actual data and often very hard to reproduce the actual experiments as methods are not included.

This is especially important in computer science, as researchers need to be able to inspect the software used in the research. Her assertion was that broken software equals broken science.

She introduced the concept of research objects, which I found fascinating. Rather than explain them, it's probably better to look at the web site if you're interested.
It's all about metadata......

Then a session on "bringing location indoors" using location sensors, iBeacons, GPS etc indoors. Floor plans extremely important. Lots of clever algorithms enable things to work together.

IBeacons. Low energy Bluetooth devices. Prices start at $5. Use some clever nanotechnology to stick to surfaces. An app will detect them from about 1m away. They work either in the background creating a proximity circle around the device which detects when you enter it, or ranging, which is when the app searches for any beacon in range. In theory can get pinpoint location from 3 beacons, but not very accurate at the moment.

Can use them to identify movement between location, eg by setting up virtual tripwires. Can use this for navigation.
Also use them for nearables. Finding and gathering content about specific nearby objects.

Some example use cases:
Indoor navigation
Estates and buildings reporting and ticketing esp for accessibility issues. Eg open an app and it will already know where you are so can flag a problem immediately.
Student recruitment events/open days, esp navigation and information
Conference and event navigation, better than maps
Social location sharing
Smart lecture room, to pick up digital information eg lecture notes
Study desk reservation
Student attendance monitoring which we're hoping to roll out soon using our iSheffield app. Details in an Ombiel press release.

Apple and Google both offering "submit a floor plan" service currently prioritising big commercial venues

Projection of a floor plan into 3d can make it easier to find your way round.

Good session, and we perhaps need to think about what else we can use the iBeacons for in our lecture theatres in addition to attendance monitoring.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

No comments: