Smart Furoshiki: A Context Sensitive Cloth for Supporting ...


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Smart Furoshiki: A Context Sensitive Cloth for Supporting ...

  1. 1. Smart Furoshiki: A Context Sensitive Cloth for Supporting Everyday Activities Ryo Ohsawa, Kei Suzuki, Takuya Imaeda, Masayuki Iwai, Kazunori Takashio, and Hideyuki Tokuda Keio University, Graduate School of Media and Governance, 5322 Endo, Fujisawa, Kanagawa, 252-8520 JAPAN {ryo, suzuk, che, tailor, kaz, hxt} Key words: Furoshiki, Smart Cloth, RFID, Context Awareness 1 Introduction This paper introduces a novel system for supporting everyday activities. Recent researches have proposed the embedding of computers and sensors in user environments so as to provide assistance in certain scenarios [1]. However, it is difficult for users to make the environments. Our goal is to develop a technology that will enable novice users to create such environments easily. In order to achieve this goal, we have developed a sensorized cloth called ``Smart Furoshiki." Fig. 1. Furoshiki: Japanese Traditional Wrapping Cloth [2] Furoshiki, which is a type of traditional Japanese cloth used to wrap merchandise, is large, square-shaped, and flexible. It is also used as a tablecloth and as a cloth to cover or wrap different objects. The Smart Furoshiki can
  2. 2. 2 Ryo Ohsawa et al. identify objects that are covered by it or placed on it and recognize user actions such as wrapping, covering, and bending. Based on these user contexts, applications can assist users. Researches aimed at realizing a smart carpet or smart tablecloth that is capable of identifying objects placed on it have been conducted in the past [3] [4]. The Smart Furoshiki, in comparison to the abovementioned cloths, can change its shape with greater flexibility. Therefore, users can use the Smart Furoshiki both as a carpet and as a tablecloth. 2 Concept: A Context Sensible Cloth Fig. 2. An example of furoshiki’s usage [2] An advantage of furoshiki is its ability in assisting in the wrapping of various objects such as a box, bottle, fruit, etc. The method employed for wrapping a box with a furoshiki is shown in Fig.2. Further, a furoshiki is also used as a table cloth, cover, etc. The Smart Furoshiki concept involves obtaining user contexts and providing support in daily life. In order to obtain user contexts, the Smart Furoshiki can detect a user’s operations on it and identify objects placed on it. 3 Method The prototype of the Smart Furoshiki is shown in Fig.3. The antenna of the Smart Furoshiki is made of conductive fabrics [5] so that it can be bent in a flexible manner. The antenna connects an RF reader with a battery. The RF reader also has a Bluetooth module to enable it to communicate with appliances.
  3. 3. Smart Furoshiki: A Context Sensitive Cloth for Supporting Everyday Activities 3 Fig. 3. The prototype of Smart Furoshiki The Smart Furoshiki has two features. One is that it can identify objects that are placed on it or are covered by it. The other feature is its ability to recognize human actions such as wrapping, covering, and bending. The surface of the Smart Furoshiki can recognize RFID tags, thereby enabling it to identify objects placed on it. Fig. 4. The Smart Furoshiki contains eight embedded RFID antennas and is capable of recognizing its own shape This prototype contains eight embedded RFID antennas (in Fig.4), and it can recognize 13.56 MHz passive RFID tags. The RFID reader uses the eight antennas based on a timesharing system in order to prevent radio wave collisions between the antennas. The reading distance ranges from 0 to 180 mm according to the tag size. Since the Smart Furoshiki uses 13.56 MHz radio
  4. 4. 4 Ryo Ohsawa et al. frequency, it is influenced by metals. Therefore, the range of the Smart Furoshiki would change depending on the environment that it is located in. In order to solve this problem, a calibration algorithm was implemented in the Smart Furoshiki. Furoshiki is used for various purposes. The Smart Furoshiki can recognize user actions such as laying, covering, and hanging. In order to detect these actions, the Smart Furoshiki should be capable of recognizing its own shape. In our approach, tiny RFID tags are embedded in the Smart Furoshiki. The image on the left of Fig.4 shows the antenna and tag layout of the Smart Furoshiki. According to this image, antenna 1 usually reads tag 1. However, if the Smart Furoshiki is folded, as shown in the image on the right, antenna 1 reads tag 4, thereby recognizing its folded form. 4 Applications This section discusses the effectiveness of the proposed system in actual applications supporting daily activities; some examples are depicted by the images in Fig.5. We start off by explaining three applications. Each application detects different user actions and the shape of the Smart Furoshiki in each of them is different. We assume that objects of everyday use are attached with RFID tags so that the Smart Furoshiki can detect their presence. Fig. 5. 1: Smart Desk, 2: Security Cover, 3: Smart Wrapping, 4: Smart Wall
  5. 5. Smart Furoshiki: A Context Sensitive Cloth for Supporting Everyday Activities 5 4.1 Smart Desk Smart Desk is a desk covered with the Smart Furoshiki. In one application of this desk, the Smart Furoshiki supports collaboration between media and actuators placed on it (the image one in Fig.5). When a user wishes to watch a movie on a PDA, he/she places the PDA as well as a DVD media, positioned near the PDA, on the Smart Furoshiki. In this application, the PDA is able to detect the DVD media and play the corresponding media content. In another application, when a user leaves his/her work desk and covers objects placed on the desk with the Smart Furoshiki, he/she can lock the objects to prevent other people from using them (the image two in Fig.5). If an unauthorized person uncovers the Smart Furoshiki, a security system immediately sets off an alarm. In order to uncover the Smart Furoshiki, the user's identifying object must be placed on it. 4.2 Smart Wrapping Since the Furoshiki is essentially used for wrapping objects, the Smart Furoshiki is equipped to recognize wrapped objects and their shape. Nowadays, sensor RFID tags are equipped with additional devices to aid vendors; for instance, RFID tags could be equipped with an acceleration sensor [6] or a temperature sensor [7]. When such tags are embedded in the Smart Furoshiki, the user is able to determine the characteristics of the wrapped object (the image three in Fig.5). For example, if a user wishes to carry a bottle of wine wrapped in the Smart Furoshiki, he/she will be able to determine the characteristics of the bottle and therefore, handle it with care. 4.3 Smart Wall Another useful application can be realized by hanging the Smart Furoshiki on a wall, like tapestry (the image four in Fig.5). In an office, people often pin memos on the wall in order to remember them easily. In this application, when a user writes a memo with an electronic pen [8]} and pins it on a Smart Furoshiki hung on the wall, the memo appears on a PC or a mobile device. In Fig.5, the Smart Furoshiki is separated into 4 areas based on the priority of the task, such as ``Emergency task" and ``Pending task."
  6. 6. 6 Ryo Ohsawa et al. 4.4 Historical Data Analysis In order to determine user context from historical data, we use a middleware called ``OreDesk [9]." OreDesk calculates the ``relation index" and ``active index" values for each object based on user operations. The relation index indicates how closely one object is related to another. For conveying the relation index, the Smart Furoshiki reminds users about objects left behind on it. The active index indicates a user's interest in an object. For conveying the active index, the Smart Furoshiki extracts a user's preference from his/her daily behavior in the real world. 5 Experiments We have conducted two experiments on the Smart Furoshiki prototype. First, in order to evaluate its basic performance, its sensing area is measured in three dimensions. Second, we have conducted a feasibility test in typical scenarios. 5.1 Sensing Area Measurement The result of a measurement is shown in Fig.6. The left image of the figure indicates a horizontal sensing area. The blue line indicates an antenna embedded into the Smart Furoshiki. The antenna, which is a 200 × 200 (mm2) square, can identify the RFID tag that is placed on an orange area. In the case when an antenna is in the neighborhood of another one, the sensing area is more spread on account of electromagnetic induction. In the case of the figure, the right, left, and front areas are more spread than the back area. The right image in Fig.6 is a vertical sensing area extending from A to B in the left image. The center of an antenna has the largest sensing area. On account of electromagnetic induction, the sensing area is widely spread across the antenna line.
  7. 7. Smart Furoshiki: A Context Sensitive Cloth for Supporting Everyday Activities 7 Fig. 6. Left: Horizontal Sensing Area; Right: Vertical Sensing Area 5.2 Feasibility Test in Typical Scenarios We have conducted a feasibility test in typical scenarios. In one scenario, users lay the Smart Furoshiki on an office desk. In another one, the Smart Furoshiki is used on a dining table. We selected objects that are often used in these situations and experimented to ascertain which objects the Smart Furoshiki can recognize. We used a square 45×76 mm2 Tag-it RFID tag that is shaped like a business card [10]. We attached these tags both above and under an object. In order to attach them to metal materials, On-Metal tags were prepared. The results of our experiments are shown in Table 1. The 13.56 MHz radio signal that the Smart Furoshiki emits is strongly influenced by aluminum and metal materials. Using the On- Metal Tag, the influence on the Smart Furoshiki by such materials becomes negligible. However, when a large metal object such as a PC and a display covers an object, the Smart Furoshiki cannot recognize it. Table 1. Sensing accuracy of the objects
  8. 8. 8 Ryo Ohsawa et al. 6 Future Work The Smart Furoshiki prototype that we proposed should enable connecting an RF reader, which is too big for users to carry easily. We are developing the next Smart Furoshiki version. A tiny RF reader and a small li-ion battery are embedded in it. This will make it portable. 7 Conclusion We have developed a Smart Furoshiki prototype and have implemented many applications that assist users. This study describes the experimentation with this Smart Furoshiki prototype. Reference 1. Christian Muller-Tomfelde Shin’ichi Konomi Norbert Streitz, Peter Tandler. Roomware: Towards the next generation of human-computer interaction based on an integrated design of real and virtual worlds. In J. Carroll, editor, Human Computer Interaction in the New Millenium, pages 553–578. Addison-Wesley. 2. Japan furoshiki association. 3. Masaaki Fukumoto and Mitsuru Shinagawa. Carpetlan: A novel indoor wireless networking and positioning system. In Ubicomp, pages 1–18, 2005. 4. E. R. Post, M. Orth, P. R. Russo, and N. Gershenfeld. E-broidery: design and fabrication of textile-based computing. IBM Syst. J., 39(3-4):840–860, 2000. 5. Masato Tanaka and Jae-Hyeuk Jang. Wearable microstrip antenna for satellite communications. IEICE Transaction on Communications, August 2004. 6. OMRON Corporation. 7. Ltd Oki Electric Industry Co. 8. Pentel. Pentel airpen. 9. Ryo Ohsawa, Kazunori Takashio, and Hideyuki Tokuda. Oredesk: A tool for retrieving history data based on user’s operations. In Proceedings of IEEE International Symposium on Multimedia 2006 (ISM2006), 12 2006. 10. Texas Instruments Inc. Tag-it. Transaction on Communications, August 2004.