[Principle]

As various types of digital communication networks including the internet and mobile phones, have become widespread, there has been not only a rise in demand for broadband networks, such as fiber-optic networks but also an emphasis on the importance of ubiquitous networking that supports our lives sensitively by embedding communication capabilities in devices even smaller and surrounding us. Therefore, our laboratory aims for establishing infrastructure protocols for the next generation communication and its system to achieve a ubiquitous computing environment that supports our lives more sophisticatedly by embedding micro-computers and communication capabilities in all physical objects around us and having them operate on cooperative processing and exchanging information with each other. To achieve this aim, we are working to establish computer network protocols and build a system with the following features:

1. Real-time Communication Protocols
2. Security
3. Ultra Tiny Computers
4. Effortless Operation
5. Human Friendly Interface
6. Calm Computing
7. Realization of Human Lives Supporting Functions with Improved Cooperative and Adjusting Processing

[Overview]

Realtime communication protocols
A basic protocol to achieve a ubiquitous computing environment requires (soft) real-time system that enables responding according to our behaviors and all sorts of events that make up our lives and societies. Especially, the part that controls intelligent equipments (actuators) around us requires even more improved real-timeness.

Security
To imagine one of the dreams that can be realized by a ubiquitous computing environment, for example, take a future road transportation system. The image of such a transportation system has been like sending an instruction from your car navigation system to have the bath at your home prepared in time for your arrival. To make a reality out of this scenario, it is necessary to prevent a malicious person from operating your bath.
Moreover, counter-measures against cyber attacks, cracking and cyber-terrorism are required. In order to protect a ubiquitous computing environment from attacks via the network, it is vital to develop secure communication protocols and secure communication systems. Now that the omnipresence (ubiquity) of network infrastructures is rapidly increasing, technical development to improve security is an urgent need.

Research case : Real-time PKI for embedded equipments

Ultra Tiny Computers
In a ubiquitous computing environment, computers and communication capabilities are embedded in enormous number of small equipments. Therefore, it is important that each node is small and compact. To improve omnipresence (ubiquity) of computing and communication capabilities, being able to downsize each node is essential.

Research case : Providing information using mobile terminals with ultra tiny chips embedded

Effortless Operation
What is important in realizing a network protocol for ubiquitous computing is that even general users who do not have much knowledge of computers can easily ensure the security of their equipments, confidentiality of stored information and communications, etc. Even now, there are various types of secure protocols, but most of them require operations that need technical knowledge, such as management of authentication and/or encryption keys and acquisition of certificates from the certificate authority (CA), causing difficulty for common users. Consequently, our research issue this time is to develop secure communication protocols that are simpler and easier-to-use by using tamper-resistant hardware. These protocols will realize a general-purpose security infrastructure that is easy-to-use, packaged, strong and stable, and will enable general users who do not have much knowledge of computers to enjoy the benefits of secure communication infrastructure.

Human Friendly Interface
Ubiquitous computing supports our lives by embedding computing and communication capabilities in physical objects around us. Therefore, one of the important points of view is how to support humans. In a ubiquitous computing environment, the boundary between humans and computers, in other words, human interfaces require technologies, such as “Augmented Reality”, “Mixed Reality” and, more commonly, “Context Awareness”. In this research, research and development of a supporting method that is more natural and convenient for us and realization of such a user-friendly environment will be pursued.

Research case : Location detection with a Multimodal method
Research case : Ubiquitous information space
Research case : Providing information using mobile terminals with ultra tiny embedded chips

Calm Computing
As the number of nodes will be enormous in a ubiquitous computing environment, even more than in the traditional distributed environment or the internet environment, Calm Computing technology which consumes various types of resource reduces consumption amount of various types of resources, such as electric amount to be used by a single node. In the traditional information communications technology, importance was placed on research and development which aims at maximizing performance and convenience, and not much importance was placed on research and development in accordance with the needs to achieve maximum resource-savings. Protocols and systems to be achieved in this research issue will realize such power-savings and resource-savings.

Cooperative Processing in Ubiquitous Computing Environments
In a Ubiquitous Computing environment, our lives are supported sophisticatedly not only by a lot of nodes that exist, but also by having them operate with “cooperative” and “adjusting” process. Examples of such operations include automatically opening a window when the room temperature rises and automatically closing the window and switching on an air conditioning if someone starts playing the piano in the room and makes a noise. Such cooperative and adjusting processing operations must be carried out among enormous number of computers that are embedded everywhere. Research and development on communication systems, information exchange methods, programming systems for software with functions ultra distributed will be conducted.

Platform Systems for Ubiquitous Computing Research
In order to conduct research and development on such ubiquitous computing and a ubiquitous networking environment, the systems in which all hardware, kernels, middleware and various types of application software can be redesigned and/or modified by itself are essential. Consequently, our laboratory has been developing platform systems for ubiquitous computing environment research. In the current IT, the boundary between cutting-edge research and commercial systems is extremely vague. In other words, it is in the situation where even cutting-edge technology ends up in the market after a very short development time. Therefore, our laboratory has been building platform systems that have good commercial values, not experimental systems that are used only within laboratories.

Research case : Platforms for ubiquitous research and development

[Research papers and articles]

- 2003
- 2002