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  Ambient Intelligence with Tangible Objects  
    Executive summary  
   
   

The generic research, based on Ambient Intelligence with Tangible Objects, is envisaged to create technological results exploitable for creation of a new generation of entertainment robotics, as well as development of truly flexible production technology. Pervasive computing have been identified as a core technology in the struggle to improve competitiveness on the global marked, in industry in general, and in this context in the entertainment industry specifically.

Even though the motivation for the two cases differs, the same keywords are repeated:

  • Flexibility, in the sense of non-repetitive tasks.
  • Self-organization, in the sense that system behavior is achieved through the way the systems are organized.

In entertainment robotics current technology in entertainment is based on one central controller performing all processing, even though a few of these products puts emphasis on constructionist aspects. This artifact conception of central control has serious limitations. For example, the artifacts are often (and mostly) isolated from the environment and between each other. Secondly, in most cases, they appear to be difficult to handle, especially for young users. Furthermore, the central control entertainment robots are often made specifically for one or few play scenarios, and the costumer expensive per play scenario is therefore high. Using ambient intelligence with tangible objects, which suggests distributing control to units with processing power and communication capabilities, will enable the development of more generic and intelligent LEGO bricks, which can be build together in many forms, forming multiple play scenarios. With distributed intelligence in the LEGO bricks, the user will be allowed to develop complex behaviors of “intelligent” artifacts in a simple manner that does not demand extensive knowledge of neither programming languages nor modern artificial intelligence research. This will enable younger user to be targeted, and the marked for entertainment robotics to be extended.

In flexible production technology the global market place has significantly increased the need to be more competitive and costumer-driven. Not only is it critical to lower cost while improving production and distribution capabilities, but this must be done while competing for the loyalty of the customer. Increasingly, organizations are moving to models of mass customization and one-to-one relationships with their customers. In the context of production companies, this means that customers may be able to specify specialized production models, product lifecycles become increasingly short, and the diversity of production series will narrow – perhaps to the production series of one for the individual customer. Approaching the market in this way, it becomes possible to build and sustain relationships with customers, even to the point of charging them slightly higher prices but for even better, personal products and services. This is a significant challenge for existing businesses.

The manufacturing systems of today are largely automated – however, with present automation technology, such systems have been designed for production in large quantities, requiring economies of scale, resulting in low flexibility. Approaching mass customization with this existing manufacturing system paradigm is often infeasible or impossible. In order to approach the one-to-one vision, the development and introduction of flexible and re-configurable manufacturing systems is necessary. In order to develop a flexible production environment intelligence and communication power will be distributed to production equipment of all forms. This will enable production equipment of different types to interact with each other, autonomously handling low-level decisions as part of the collective production platform. A high-level shop floor control system will handle communication with other systems, distribute overall tasks, ensuring that overall schedule is being achieved, and track the complete status of the entire system.

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Area homepage
TangO:
www.tangibleobjects.dk
Area Manager
Bent Bruun Kristensen
the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute for Production Technology
University of Southern Denmark
Campusvej 55
DK-5230 Odense M

Phone: 6550 3539
Fax: 6615 7697
Email: bbk@mip.sdu.dk

   CfPC©, updated: 14-nov-05