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Theses

Self-describing objects with tangible data structures

Arnab Sinha 1 
1 ACES - Ambient computing and embedded systems
IRISA - Institut de Recherche en Informatique et Systèmes Aléatoires, Inria Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique
Abstract : Pervasive computing or ambient computing aims to integrate information systems into the environment, in a manner as transparent as possible to the users. It allows the information systems to be tightly coupled with the physical activities within the environment. Everyday used objects, along with their environment, are made smarter with the use of embedded computing, sensors etc. and also have the ability to communicate among themselves. In pervasive computing, it is necessary to sense the real physical world and to perceive its “context” ; a high level representation of the physical situation. There are various ways to derive the context. Typically, the approach is a multi-step process which begins with sensing. Various sensing technologies are used to capture low level information of the physical activities, which are then aggregated, analyzed and computed elsewhere in the information systems, to become aware of the context. Deployed applications then react, depending on the context situation. Among sensors, RFID is an important emerging technology which allows a direct digital link between information systems and physical objects. Besides storing identification data, RFID also provides a general purpose storage space on objects, enabling new architectures for pervasive computing. In this thesis, we defend an original approach adopting the later use of RFID i.e. a digital memory integrated to real objects. The approach uses the principle where the objects self-support information systems. This way of integration reduces the need of communication for remote processing. The principle is realized in two ways. First, objects are piggybacked with semantic information, related to itself ; as self-describing objects. Hence, relevant information associated with the physical entities are readily available locally for processing. Second, group of related objects are digitally linked using dedicated or ad-hoc data structure, distributed over the objects. Hence, it would allow direct data processing - like validating some property involving the objects in proximity. This property of physical relation among objects can be interpreted digitally from the data structure ; this justifies the appellation “Tangible Data Structures”. Unlike the conventional method of using identifiers, our approach has arguments on its benefits in terms of privacy, scalability, autonomy and reduced dependency with respect to infrastructure. But its challenge lies in the expressivity due to limited memory space available in the tags. The principles are validated by prototyping in two different application domains. The first application is developed for waste management domain that helps in efficient sorting and better recycling. And the second, provides added services like assistance while assembling and verification for composite objects, using the distributed data structure across the individual pieces.
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Arnab Sinha. Self-describing objects with tangible data structures. Artificial Intelligence [cs.AI]. Université Rennes 1, 2014. English. ⟨NNT : 2014REN1S024⟩. ⟨tel-01062441⟩

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