"The Phone With a Brain"
Financial Times (11/19/03) P. 11;
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Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT) researchers have
created a prototype context-aware cell phone called
SenSay, which combines a global positioning system,
sensors, and a personal digital assistant to gather
information about the user, his location, and his
current activity so that calls can be forwarded or
For instance, if the user is having lunch, SenSay notes
this from the location system and a "to-do" list
indicating a lunch appointment; the phone then disables
its ringing feature and automatically sets itself to
vibrate. By checking the location, the to-do list, and
user schedule, the device can decide to send all calls
to voice mail--but if the caller stresses urgency, the
system will text the caller to call back in a few
minutes, and then vibrate and provide a text message to
the user about the expected call.
Callers can also use SenSay to access the user's
calendar and determine if the user is running behind.
SenSay's sensory array includes an accelerometer to read
motion, a temperature and heat flux sensor, a
microphone, a light sensor, and galvanic skin response
sensors. "The time it takes to hand off or receive
vital information is greatly reduced [with SenSay],"
boasts Asim Smailagic of Carnegie Mellon University's
Institute for Complex Engineered Systems.
Issues that need to be addressed before SenSay is ready
for civilization include integration and storage
problems, as well as ease-of-use and the product's
incompatibility with conventional fixed-line phone
users. CIT expects to commercialize SenSay in two years
in partnership with Intel, while technology analysts
think the device will be a niche product favored by
CEOs, travelers, military officers, and students.
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