It is clear that privacy will be a future requirement of all system software. Existing software architectures often require developers to build privacy provenance features individually, and users can only manage their privacy through the functions implemented by the software developers. However, these individually built features often take a lot of effort to build and result in a great deal of interface inconsistency, if the developers even considered privacy at all.
My thesis focuses on providing architectural support for building privacy-sensitive ubicomp apps. In the proposed architecture, developers can expend less effort on building privacy features, and users can have unified and consistent control/awareness of their personal data, which is independent of the features offered by the developers.
Being connected is only the first step of the digital transformation, making the physical world a remote-controllable platform. The connected world's primary value would be on the numerous automation and optimizations enabled by the digital representation.
Towards this problem, I am interested in building (1) the digital representation for real-world tasks, (2) the automation that can save people from tedious and repetitive tasks, and (3) the optimization that can do the jobs that most people cannot do.
In the foreseeable future, the number of connected devices will continue to increase as long as (1) the value of each device can justify the cost; (2) users can manage these devices; (3) and the technical architecture can support the communication. But, supporting trillions of devices will require a fundamentally different architecture, which requires us to further push all three perspectives.
I am working on a set of projects to enable new applications based on sensor collaboration, allow individual users to manage thousands of devices, and design modern architecture to scale the device operations.
Positioning is more than navigation, but a critical proxy to understand the context in ubiquitous computing. Allowing each device to know the nearby devices/people's fine-grained positions can unlock numerous application possibilities, such as cross-device interaction, user activity recognition, etc.
I argue that we should architect a ubiquitous spatial tracking layer into the future operating system for each connected device, providing spatial awareness access like GPS API today. As the developer calls the positioning API, it will return a list of 2/3D positions of nearby devices/people with confidence scores.