Cooltown Demos for the 7th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking.

John J. Barton, Tim Kindberg, Salil Pradhan, Jean Tourrilhes and the Cooltown project at HP Labs.

Cooltown Project Introduction

The Cooltown Project works to create new ways for nomadic users to interact with pervasive services as they encouter them[CT]. These nomads will be equipped with enhanced mobile computing equipment and the areas they visit will be enhanced with pervasive computing resources. Numerous challenges must be overcome to support nomadic users with handheld devices, including establishing connectivity, discoverying resources, enabling their use "on the fly" as users need them. On the other side, supporting pervasive services requires system designs for heterogeneous clents with intermittent and ad hoc connectivity; these systems must succeed within highly dynamic environments where software, hardware, and communications infrastructure changes constantly.

Our approach to this arena begins with the observation that web systems successfully provide services to heterogeneous clients that appear -- as far as the services can tell -- unpredictably and with little preceding interaction[WBNCS]. We work with handheld wireless web clients extended with technology that allows URLs to be sensed from the users environment. These URLs link the handheld device to local area services. By exploring sensing technology that is localized, like infrared[esquirt], short-range radio frequency identifier tags, or bar-codes[tags], we can offer location dependent services without location tracking[location]. The web paradigm gives us an "ad hoc", on-the-fly interaction solution; we added location dependence to get a solution for nomadic users.

On the services side we develop web servers for pervasive deployment in electronic devices that nomadic users may encounter [ChaiServer]. These servers must operate in memory and processor constrained devices like printers, projectors, scanners, busses, cars, and similar equipment. They must be designed for secure interaction with a wide variety of clients and they must be convienent to administer.

In addition to services for individual devices, we also develop services that support directories of devices organized into "places" [PlaceManager], generalizationof such support to organization of resources for people and devices[PresenceManager], support configuration of services [InternetRadio], registration of devices into directories[PhysReg], discovery of resources [beacon], and coordination of device interactions [ADS]. Together this work creates links between the physical world that the nomadic user is moving through and the virtual electronic world that their wireless web connection allows them to access. We call these links "web presense" for people, places, and things in the physical world[PPT].


For the benefit of our European colleagues who were not able to see our Mobicom demos last year, we will repeat a couple of demos that illustrate infrared beacons as links between the physical and virtual world. In addition we will show an improved version of "physical registration" that allows administration of a pervasive computing space with handheld devices. Our two new demos, "Web Sign" and "connection-diversity" expand the Cooltown theme in exciting new directions.

"Web Sign" combines GPS and an electronic compass with a location-to-URL lookup service to create a unique information discovery system. Using new algorithms and system design, Websign allows a user to point at buildings or landmarks and obtain a corresponding URL. The user's experience is one of "virtual beacons": they have the sense that markers have been placed on entities in the physical world for their benefit. We'll demonstrate Web Sign in an HP Jornada equiped with 802.11 and running Windows CE.

"Connection-diversity" expands the notion of network handoff downscale to highly localized networks. Starting with an infrared connection, that can, for example, serve as location-authentication, an Internet connection can be established that can roam directly on to a wireless radio connection. We will demonstrate connection-diversity using a Linux laptop moving seamlessly from IRDA to 802.11 and back.


[CT] CoolTown home page.

[WBNCS]A Web-Based Nomadic Computing System. Tim Kindberg and John Barton. Computer Networks, 35 (2001) 443-456, Elsevier (

[esquirt]"Key CoolTown Software is Available Free"

[tags]Ubiquitous and contextual identifier resolution for the real-world wide web (Tim Kindberg). HP Labs Tech. report HPL-2001-95. Submitted to Ubicomp 2001.

[location]Location Awareness in HP's CoolTown A position paper for the W3C/WAP Workshop on Position Dependent Information, Sophia Antipolis cedex, France, 15-16 February, 2000.

[ChaiServer] HP ChaiServer White Papers.

[PlaceManager]Caswell, D. and Debaty , P. Creating web representations for places. Proc. Second International Handheld and Ubiquitous Computing Symposium, HUC'2000, Bristol, England, 2000.

[PresenceManager]Philippe Debaty and Debbie Caswell. "Uniform Web Presence Architecture for People, Places, and Things", HPL-2000-67, to be published in the IEEE Personal Communications Special Issue on Pervasive Computing

[InternetRadio]Customized Internet Radio V. Krishnan and G. Chang, Proc. 9th International World Wide Web Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 2000.

[PhysReg] "Physical Registration: Configuring Electronic Directories using Handheld Devices" John Barton, Tim Kindberg, and Shreyas Sadalgi. Submitted to IEEE Personal Communications and HPL Technical Report HPL-2001-119, May 2001.

[ADS]"Making Computers Disapper: Appliance Data Services" Andrew C. Huang, Benjamin C. Ling, John J. Barton, Armando Fox. To appear in the proceedings of the 7th Annual Int'l Conf. on Mobile Computing and Networking, July 2001.

[PPT] People, Places, Things: Web Presence for the Real World, Tim Kindberg, John Barton, Jeff Morgan, Gene Becker, Ilja Bedner, Debbie Caswell, Phillipe Debaty, Gita Gopal, Marcos Frid, Venky Krishnan, Howard Morris, Celine Pering, John Schettino, Bill Serra. Presented at 3rd IEEE Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications WMCSA 2000 December 7-8, 2000 Monterey Marriott, Monterey, California, USA