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Recently, many types of mobile devices with high-level computing capabilities, such as cellular phones, PCSs, digital cameras, and high-performance PDAs, have come into widespread use. In 2000, some of these devices became capable of short range wireless communication empowered by the Bluetooth TM technology. Our research area is the computing environments in which such mobile devices are organically
connected each other.
On this page, we would like to introduce the Bluetooth technology and ad-hoc networking as an example of our projects.
Some time ago, each of peripheral devices, such as mice, keyboards, and printers, used to require a dedicated cable to be connected to a PC. Now, thanks to the Universal Serial Bus (USB), they only need a standard cable. In near future, the Bluetooth technology will throw all the cables out of our computing environments.
What is Bluetooth? It is a short range wireless communication technology developed by leading computer and communication companies in the world. IBM is one of the five founding companies. The name Bluetooth comes from the king of Denmark, who controlled Denmark and Norway in the 10th century. We expect that the Bluetooth technology will unite the worlds of cellular phones and data communications as the king did in Scandinavia. We have been devoted to developing its specifiation in collarboration with Watson Research Center in New York.
The Bluetooth technology connects nearby devices at a data rate of 1 Mbps. It automatically searches for devices within its radio range (10 m) and connects them. We can get rid of the troublesome operations to find a connector at the back of the PC to plug a cable in it. Over two thousand companies have adopted the Bluetooth technology for such ease of use.
Perhaps you have no Bluetooth device yet. But if you have been to any exhibition on electronics or computers, you have surely seen some Bluetooth devices. We also demonstrated a watch shaped computer with the Bluetooth technology at San Jose Bluetooth Developers' Conference in December 2000.
Some companies including IBM is already shipping Bluetooth products by the end of 2000. All digital devices such as cellular phones, PDAs, and game machines will be ready to communicate each other with the Bluetooth technology in early 2001.
A large scale of infrastructures are behind the network you are using now, such as servers, routers, gateways, phone lines. When we want to use a network in a meeting, we have to hold the meeting in a room with those facilities and might even pay for that. Don't you think it is more convinient if a network could autonomously be generated at the instance we meet together? We are studying how to construct a network at any place, any time, and with anybody by means of the Bluetooth technology.
The Bluetooth technology can connect devices each other easily. However, just a connection does not mean construction of a network. We need a machanism that manages the network as the infrastructure of a conventional network does. Furthermore, the Bluetooth wireless communication can reach no more than 10 meters, and supports only eight active devices in a cell. In order to overcome these limitations, we are going to deploy multi-hop network, in which information is relayed by intermediate devices from the source to the destination. We are working on the mechanism for the devices to construct a network autonomously and to forward packets toward the destinations.
We are also working on a new way of communication, completely different from conventional networks. Unlike usual networks, where packets are addressed to particular devices, the destination of the information are specified by attributes of the devices, such as locations, time, and users' preferences. We are going to implement it on top of the Bluetooth wireless technology.
|Last modified 20 December 2000|