Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Design and implementation of a framework for building distributed smart object systems


A smart object system encompasses the synergy between computationally augmented everyday objects and external applications. This paper presents a software framework for building smart object systems following a declarative programming approach centered around custom written documents that glue the smart objects together. More specifically, in the proposed framework, applications’ requirements and smart objects’ services are objectified through structured documents. A runtime infrastructure provides the spontaneous federation between smart objects and applications through structural type matching of these documents. There are three primary advantages of our approach: firstly, it allows developers to write applications in a generic way without prior knowledge of the smart objects that could be used by the applications. Secondly, smart object management (locating, accessing, etc.) issues are completely handled by the infrastructure; thus application development becomes rapid and simple. Finally, the programming abstraction used in the framework allows extension of functionalities of smart objects and applications very easily. We describe an implemented prototype of our framework and show examples of its use in a real life scenario to illustrate its feasibility.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.

    Ballagas R, Memon F, Reiners R, Borchers J (2007) iStuff mobile: rapidly prototyping new mobile phone interfaces for ubiquitous computing. In: Conference on human factors in computing systems (CHI 2007), pp 1107–1116

  2. 2.

    Ballagas R, Ringel M, Stone M, Borchers J (2003) iStuff: a physical user interface toolkit for ubiquitous computing environments. In: Conference on human factors in computing systems (CHI 2003), pp 537–544

  3. 3.

    Ballagas R, Szybalski A, Fox A (2004) Patch panel: enabling control-flow interoperability in ubicomp environments. In: 2nd IEEE annual conference on pervasive computing and communications (PerCom 2004), pp 241–252

  4. 4.

    Bardram JE (2005) The Java context awareness framework—a service infrastructure and programming framework for context-aware applications. In: The 3rd international conference on pervasive computing (Pervasive 2005), pp 98–115

  5. 5.

    Capra L, Emmerich W, Mascolo C (2001) Exploiting reflection and metadata to build mobile computing middleware. In: Workshop on middleware for mobile computing. Co-located with Middleware 2001, Heidelberg, Germany, Nov. 2001

  6. 6.

    Dey AK, Abowd G, Salber D (2001) A conceptual framework and a toolkit for supporting the rapid prototyping of context-aware applications. Human-Comput Interact 16(2-4):97–166

  7. 7.

    Edwards WK, Newman M, Sedivy J, Smith T, Izadi S (2002) Challenge: recombinant computing and the speakeasy approach. In: 8th annual international conference on mobile computing and networking (MobiCom 2002)

  8. 8.

    Edwards WK, Bellotti V, Dey AK, Newman MW (2003) Stuck in the middle: the challenges of user-centered design and evaluation of infrastructure. In: ACM conference on human factors in computing systems (CHI 2003)

  9. 9.

    Eliassen F, Andersen A, Blair G, Costa F, Coulson G, Hansen VGO, Kristensen T, Plagemann T, Rafaelsen H, Saikoski K, Yu W (1999) Next generation middleware: requirements, architecture and prototypes. In: 7th IEEE workshop on future trends in distributed computing systems

  10. 10.

    Englander R (1997) Developing Java beans. O’Reilly and Associates

  11. 11.

    Fielding RT (2000) Architectural styles and the design of network-based software architectures. PhD thesis, University of California, Irvine

  12. 12.

    Fujinami K, Kawsar F, Nakajima T (2005) Awaremirror: a personalized display using a mirror. In: 3rd third international conference on pervasive computing (Pervasive 2005), pp 315–332

  13. 13.

    Greenberg S, Fitchett C (2001) Phidgets: easy development of physical interfaces through physical widgets. In: 14th annual ACM symposium on user interface software and technology (UIST 2001), pp 209–218

  14. 14.

    Hanaoka K, Takagi A, Nakajima T (2006) A software infrastructure for wearable sensor networks. In: The 12th IEEE international conference on embedded and real-time computing systems and applications (RTCSA 2006), pp 27–35

  15. 15.

    Iseminger D (2000) Com+ developer’s reference. Microsoft Press

  16. 16.

    Johanson B, Fox A, Winograd T (2002) The interactive workspaces project: experiences with ubiquitous computing rooms. IEEE Pervasive Comput 1(2):67–74

  17. 17.

    Kawsar F, Fujinami K, Nakajima T (2005) Augmenting everyday life with sentient artefacts. In: 2005 joint conference on smart objects and ambient intelligence: innovative context-aware services: usages and technologies (sOc-EUSAI 2005)

  18. 18.

    Kawsar F, Fujinami K, Nakajima T (2007) Experiences with building intelligent environment through sentient artefacts. In: 3rd IET international conference on intelligent environments (IE’07)

  19. 19.

    Kawsar F, Nakajima T (2007) Persona: a portable tool for augmenting proactive applications with multi-modal personalization support. In: 6th international conference on mobile and ubiquitous multimedia (MUM 2007)

  20. 20.

    Messer A, Kunjithapatham A, Sheshagiri M, Song H, Kumar P, Nguyen P, Yi KH (2006) Interplay: a middleware for seamless device integration and task orchestration in a networked home. In: 4th annual IEEE international conference on pervasive computing and communications (PerCom 2006), pp 307–316

  21. 21.

    Mowbray TJ, Zahavi R (1995) The essential corba: system integration using distributed objects. Wiley, New York

  22. 22.

    Nakajima T, Lehdonvirta V, Tokunaga E, Kimura H (2008) Reflecting human behavior to motivate desirable lifestyle. In: The conference on designing interactive systems (DIS 2008), pp 405–414

  23. 23.

    Nakazawa J, Edwards WK, Ramachandran U, Tokuda H (2006) A bridging framework for universal interoperability in pervasive systems. In: The 26th international conference on distributed computing systems (IEEE ICDCS 2006)

  24. 24.

    Olsen D, Nielsen T, Parslow D (2001) Join and capture: a model for nomadic interaction. In: 4th annual ACM symposium on user interface software and technology (UIST 2001), pp 131–140

  25. 25.

    Roman M, Hess CK, Cerqueira R, Ranganathan A, Campbell RH, Nahrstedt K (2002) A middleware infrastructure for active spaces. IEEE Pervasive Comput 1(4):74–83

  26. 26.

    Sousa JP, Garlan D (2002) Aura: an architectural framework for user mobility in ubiquitous computing environments. In: 3rd working IEEE/IFIP conference on software architecture, pp 29–43

  27. 27.

    Waldo J (1999) The Jini architecture for network-centric computing. Commun ACM 42(7):76–82

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Jong Hyuk Park.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kawsar, F., Nakajima, T., Park, J.H. et al. Design and implementation of a framework for building distributed smart object systems. J Supercomput 54, 4–28 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11227-009-0323-4

Download citation


  • Smart object
  • Middleware
  • Pervasive Systems