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Technical Details

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Ubimark is an information environment created by Dr. Sorin Adam Matei and his students at Purdue University, in which information fixated in or on physical objects is connected to digital and Internet resources. The environment employs a number of digital codes called ubilinks, which are encoded using a variety of conventions (bar or 2d code) to store information on or in physical objects (primarily print materials, but extensible to any physical objects, from household appliances to historical monuments). The information is readable by digital devices, fixed and mobile, sendable via communication networks to any other mobile or fixed information device where it can be processed, executed, or visualized in a variety of ways. One of the simplest scenarios is that in which an ubilink (the digital tag printed to a sticker applied to an object) is read by a cell phone. The cell phone reads the ubilink with the help of a camera and a dedicated software installed on the telephone. The information contained on the ubilink is decoded by the cell phone and handled according to its nature. If the information stored in the ubilink is a URL, the phone data connection will be used for retrieving the resource found at that address. (E.g., an ubilink attached to an appliance retrieves the user manual). If the information contains software code, that code could be executed by the phone and some result will be presented to the viewer. A more sophisticated scenario is that in which the information scanned by the cell phone (again, a URL) is passed to a dedicated website, on which the user doing the scanning has a profile. If the user is logged into the website at the time of the scanning through a nearby computer terminal, the URL scanned from the ubilink will be displayed both on the mobile device AND on the nearby computer terminal. The display on the computer terminal takes place automatically, being controlled by the server, whose behavior (command to display the image) is triggered by the cell phone. A graphic user interface action or a numeric command on the cell phone triggers a specific behavior on the nearby display. For example, clicking on a link on the page displayed both by the cell phone and by the display triggers a new page load both on the cell phone and on the nearby screen. In effect, the cell phone becomes a remote control for webpages shown on the nearby display.
This latter architecture relies on an authentication system that bridges and controls the display behavior on multiple devices. A more advanced system, to be applied on Local Area Networks, automatically monitors the user location, identifies her position relative to the nearest display, determines if the display is visible to the her, and visualizes on that display information she is accessing with her mobile device. This scenarios includes privacy controls, which allow the user to be visible or not to the system or to visualize or not the information on a nearby display.

The most immediate application for the Ubimark system is a publishing environment which combines print books, ubilinks, a centralized Internet based interactive information repository and computer displays. A mobile phone ubilink reader reads and converts ubilinks into Internet URLs. The URLs point to a variety of resources: static webpages, vector animations, videoclips, map locations, 3D models, dynamic data flows, action scripts, applications, etc. The URLs are passed on to a server running a number of scripts and applications that trigger the appropriate computation jobs. The results of these jobs are then passed on both to the mobile device and to a nearby display. The information displayed on the mobile device is further used to manipulate the information visible on the nearby display.

The latest feature of our site is its ability to display information in 3D. Watch the video below for details.

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