Introducing ubiquitous computing through videos

Students and technical professionals can quickly gain an introduction to a variety of topics in pervasive/ubiquitous computing by watching online research videos. Of course, watching videos is no replacement for reading papers (yes, starting with Weiser’s) and using an excellent textbook, such as John Krumm‘s ubicomp fundamentals. Yet, videos can quickly convey many basic ubicomp ideas in an engaging manner.

Good places to look for videos are the usual suspects: Vimeo and YouTube. Additionally, many conferences now allow uploading videos as support material for papers, and conferences such as Ubicomp and Pervasive have tracks dedicated to video submissions (see e.g. Ubicomp 2012 and Pervasive 2012).

In my 2010 intro ubicomp course I used the following videos, grouped by general topic area:

Field studies:

  1. Project54 police radio study (YouTube)
  2. Tagging photographs using voice commands (YouTube)
  3. Linking with Flickr using voice commands (YouTube)
  4. AmbiKraf (YouTube)
  5. HealthLine: Information Access for Community Health Workers in Developing Regions (YouTube)
  6. LINC, An Inkable Digital Family Calendar (YouTube)
  7. Rexplorer – an urban interactive game for tourists (YouTube)


  1. Sharing data on public displays: academic transcript example (YouTube)
  2. Sharing data on public displays: family pictures example (YouTube)
  3. Sharing data on public displays: map example (YouTube)
  4. Multi-user interaction using handheld projectors (YouTube)
  5. Empathy mirror (YouTube – removed) (Website)
  6. How to hack RFID-enabled credit cards for $8 (YouTube)
  7. IBM RFID commercial (YouTube)
  8. Minority report – mall scene (YouTube)
  9. RFID parking access control long range system (YouTube)
  10. Sensecam: Cambridge day out (YouTube)
  11. The Ambient Clock (YouTube)
  12. The RFID Ecosystem Project (YouTube)

User interfaces:

  1. Natural User Interfaces: Utilizing physiological data (YouTube)
  2. Skinput: Appropriating the body as an input surface (YouTube)
  3. 10GUI: 10 finger multitouch user interface (YouTube)
  4. BumpTop 3D multi-touch desktop (YouTube)
  5. Ford SYNC and Pandora (YouTube)
  6. Google Maps navigation (Beta) (YouTube)
  7. Microsoft Courier in action (YouTube)
  8. Microsoft Research: Project Gustav (YouTube)
  9. Microsoft future vision: productivity (YouTube)
  10. Microsoft’s vision of the future (Parody) (YouTube)
  11. Microsoft future vision: Windows home concept (YouTube)
  12. Microsoft future vision: manufacturing (YouTube)
  13. Microsoft future vision: personal health (YouTube)
  14. Microsoft future vision: banking (YouTube)
  15. Microsoft future vision: retail (YouTube)
  16. NanoTouch (YouTube)
  17. Reboard (YouTube)
  18. The invisible train (YouTube)
  19. Searchvox (website)

Of course this list is now 2 years old – time to update!