The NEMO project is an EPSRC-funded collaborative effort by the Departments of Computing, Management Science and Psychology at Lancaster University aimed at the inter-disciplinary investigation of ubiquitous computing technologies and embedded wireless systems for industrial workplaces. The focal point of the project is the development and use of ‘smart artefacts’, i.e. work-related objects such as tools and containers augmented with embedded computing, sensing and wireless communication capabilities.
The project runs for four years, and involves close collaboration with world-leading companies including Agilent, BP, Carillion and In Touch. This is an exciting development in which ubiquitous computing is applied to the enhancement of physical work processes in industrial environments.
The project concentrates on three core aspects:
- The development of embedded ubiquitous computing technologies and embedded wireless sensor systems
- The investigation of peoples’ understanding and use of ubiquitous computing technologies in industrial environments
- The investigation of how this technology will change the nature of organizations.
The aim of this interdisciplinary project is to lay the foundation for ubiquitous activity support systems – both in terms of practical provision of tools and platforms, and in understanding of the impact of these systems on the behaviour and perception of human actors and processes within organizations. At the core of this project lies the idea of networked physical entities, work-related objects such as tools, artefacts and goods augmented with capabilities for sensor interpretation, life-long context maintenance and cooperative decision making. The vision of networked physical entities represents a radical departure from the prevailing wireless sensor network approach by relocating decision-making competence from the back-end infrastructure to “where the action is”. Networked physical entities promise self-organizing activity support systems that are able to handle decisions when and where they are required. This new quality will extend the reach of activity support systems to new application scenarios with important implications for safety-critical applications.