Early this week, during a lecture at Guelph by Dr. Denko, I was introduced to the idea of ubiquitous computing. The idea was coined in the 1980's by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Weiser" target="_blank" title="Mark Weiser - Wikipedia" >Mark Weiser</a> at the Xerox Parc Lab. An extremely simplified definition of ubiquitous computing on the laboratory website is where technology recedes into the background of our lives. One person has many computers of various sizes and capabilities that aid the person in such a way that he/she takes for granted the computers are even there.
<center><img title="Brain-Computer-Interface" src="/uploads/2008/07/brain-computer-interfaces-241207-300x242.jpg" alt="A brain computer interface for reading signals from the human mind" width="300" height="242" /><br/>An example of a Brain-Computer-Interface </center>
One interesting way I've heard it described both in the lecture and on the laboratory website is that is roughly the opposite of virtual reality. This definition seems strange to me because with the computers everywhere it almost is like the boundary between what is real and what is virtual becomes blurred.
What happens if in the future we can interface the computers with the human mind? While the definition of virtual reality is a human inside a computer created world, ubiquitous computing of the future could become a mix of computer created worlds and the imagination of the individual user. This area is quite interesting to me, and there are still many questions, perhaps this wil be a future area of research.