The aim of this project is to develop community computing systems that supports users' everyday-life and community formation by affording them regional information bases through mobile agents in a open space such as a street corner. Though almost all conventional computing environments are for indoor use, our project is for a open space because the living environments where people is mainly interacting each other are outdoor. Thus we enlarge the computing environments by Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) with mobile communication capability to support the human everyday-life in a real world.
We implemented the following softwares on PDA (Figure 9) that supports the communications among the persons who don't know each other in a community and evaluated it through practical use (See  and Figure 9). To support forming of a new community among the participants of an international conference, the ICMAS'96 Mobile Assistant Project was conducted to increase the opportunity to have real meetings. The aim of the project was to facilitate the communication among the participants like E-mail and to provide various information needed in the conference. The project provided (1) E-mail service, (2) conference, personal, and tourist information services and (3) forum and meeting arrangement services.
|(a) PDA with handy phone||(b) Participants of the experiment|
The main functions in this project are as follows.
|(a) Action Navigator||(b) InfoCommon|
|(c) Community Viewer|
In order to determine how mobile computing is used in conferences and how its use differs from that of desktop computing, we analyzed a large amount of log data. It appears that mobile computing is used whenever needed. Except for the reception (in the evening on 11th) and excursion (in the afternoon on 12th), the system was continuously used even during technical presentations. People sometimes retrieved related information via PDAs while listening to a presentation. People use PDAs even after the conference, especially in their hotels after dinner. The highest peak in use, the midnight of December 10th, shows that PDAs are actively used just before the technical program starts.
Servers TD> A>