Context is king, or at least will be as a world increasingly stitched together by sensors matures.
That's how Ian Chen, executive vice president of Sensor Platforms, views things from his perch, where EE Times
has identified him as one of the 40 key technologists to watch in the coming years.
find all these apps that will help you find where you parked your car
as long as you have the presence of mind to write down where you left
it," Chen says. "If I have that much presence of mind, I don't really
need the phone, do I? Why can't the phone figure out that you're now
walking and that you parked your car right there? That's what we mean
by user context."
Chen is part of a team that has transformed
Sensor Platforms from a semiconductor company into a software company,
one that aims to bring a lot of intelligence to your phone. In the
spring of 2012, Sensor Platforms rolled out a library of software
algorithms and middleware designed, according to company claims, to
interpret users' contexts and intents by using data from multiple
sensors in mobile devices.
Says Chen: "If you're like a typical
office worker, you only use sensors 6 percent of your waking hours. We
think the other 94 percent have some value as well. Sensors should
really be working for you."
"We came to the conclusion that if
sensors are going to be everywhere, then it comes to a point where we
really need to get people together--rocket scientists talking to
neuroscientists about what is the signal we really want to get, like
muscle tension that tells the device you're holding the phone out in
front of you."
Chen sees the "phone" as we know it today likely
remaining the vital human-digital interface it's been in the early days
of the smart phone's existence.
"Even Star Trek has a
communicator badge. That's still a phone!" Chen said. "I think it's
probably still going to be a human-to digital device. The only other
device is an implant and I'm not sure I like that too much."
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