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Project Aura: toward distraction-free pervasive computing

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4 Author(s)
Garlan, D. ; Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA, USA ; Siewiorek, D.P. ; Smailagic, A. ; Steenkiste, P.

The most precious resource in a computer system is no longer its processor, memory, disk, or network, but rather human attention. Aura aims to minimize distractions on a user's attention, creating an environment that adapts to the user's context and needs. Aura is specifically intended for pervasive computing environments involving wireless communication, wearable or handheld computers, and smart spaces. Human attention is an especially scarce resource in such environments, because the user is often preoccupied with walking, driving, or other real-world interactions. In addition, mobile computing poses difficult challenges such as intermittent and variable-bandwidth connectivity, concern for battery life, and the client resource constraints that weight and size considerations impose. To accomplish its ambitious goals, research in Aura spans every system level: from the hardware, through the operating system, to applications and end users. Underlying this diversity of concerns, Aura applies two broad concepts. First, it uses proactivity, which is a system layer's ability to anticipate requests from a higher layer. In today's systems, each layer merely reacts to the layer above it. Second, Aura is self-tuning: layers adapt by observing the demands made on them and adjusting their performance and resource usage characteristics accordingly. Currently, system-layer behavior is relatively static. Both of these techniques will help lower demand for human attention.

Published in:

Pervasive Computing, IEEE  (Volume:1 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

April-June 2002

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