There is more to Context than Location

Albrecht Schmidt, Michael  Beigl and Hans-W. Gellersen

TecO, University of Karlsruhe,  Germany,,


Context is a key issue in interaction between human and computer, describing the surrounding facts that add meaning. In mobile computing research published the parameter location is most often used to approximate context and to implement context-aware applications. We propose that ultra-mobile
computing, characterized by devices that are operational and operated while on the move (e.g. PDAs, mobile phones, wearable computers), can significantly benefit from a wider notion of context. To structure the field we introduce a working model for context, discuss mechanisms to acquire context beyond location, and application of context-awareness in ultra-mobile computing. We investigate the utility of sensors for context-awareness and present two prototypical implementations - a light sensitive display and an orientation aware PDA interface. The concept is then extended to a model for sensor fusion to enable more sophisticated context recognition. Based on an implementation of the model an experiment is described and the feasibility of the approach is demonstrated. Further we explore fusion of sensors for acquisition of information on more sophisticated contexts.


Adaptive User Interface, Context-Awareness, Handheld Computing, Sensor-based UI, Ultra-Mobile Computing, Wearable Computing,


Computers & Graphics Journal, Elsevier, Volume 23, No.6, December 1999, pp 893-902

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