The annual Cyberposium conference at Harvard Business School looked at new markets made possible by pervasive computing on January 18, 2003. Here are some selected quotes.
Tiny computers that blend into the fabric of our daily lives are starting to help us live healthier lives, predict the breakdown of our machines -- and may potentially invade our privacy.
While there are some 150 million CPUs, or central processing units, in computers worldwide, there are 7.5 billion micro controllersóchips that act as sensing and control devices.
At MIT, researchers are studying how dime-sized sensors located in light switches, medicine cabinet doors, chairs, and other invisible locations throughout the house can help with biometric health monitoring, said Stephen Intille, technology director. The goal: Keep the elderly living at home as long as possible, reducing healthcare costs and providing peace of mind to families.
In addition to commercial and industrial applications, these nearly invisible computers, and wearable computers, will help consumers with their desire to get rid of all the gadgets proliferating in their lives, said MIT professor Sandy Pentland, director of research for MIT Lab Asia. We won't carry them, we'll wear them.
We might wear them, but will they send information without our agreement?
Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Center for eBusiness at MIT, recalled that traffic cameras scattered throughout Singapore have been used to spy on people.
But Richard Barnwell, vice president of services at Axeda, said monitoring devices used in a healthcare setting are subject to strict regulation. His company's devices, for example, cannot be placed directly on a piece of medical equipment in some cases; it must reside nearby.
So, don't worry, be happy!
Stephen Intille noted that home sensors would be used with the permission of the user. He said also that people should be more concerned with the arrival of cell phones that report your location via GPS satellite. "I'll know you are in a parking lot next to a cancer treatment center," he said.
Other subjects were discussed at Cyberposium 2003, including "biotechnology, healthcare, environment and energy, emerging technologies, entrepreneurship, and international opportunities."
Source: Sean Silverthorne, Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, February 3, 2003
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