Ambient computing is a newish phrase without a clear definition. We use it here to refer to a slower, social form of computation which occurs and is visualised through the participation of network actors.
On a personal note back in the mid-90's I worked together with Manu Luksch on Ambient Information Systems and visual semantics which later led to the Ambient TV project.
Below are a few links we gather for further discussion:
In computing, ambient intelligence (AmI) refers to electronic environments that are sensitive and responsive to the presence of people. Ambient intelligence is a vision on the future of consumer electronics, telecommunications and computing that was originally developed in the late 1990s for the time frame 2010–2020. In an ambient intelligence world, devices work in concert to support people in carrying out their everyday life activities, tasks and rituals in an easy, natural way using information and intelligence that is hidden in the network connecting these devices (see Internet of Things). As these devices grow smaller, more connected and more integrated into our environment, the technology disappears into our surroundings until only the user interface remains perceivable by users.
The ambient intelligence paradigm builds upon pervasive computing, ubiquitous computing, profiling, context awareness, and human-centric computer interaction design and is characterized by systems and technologies that are (Zelkha et al. 1998; Aarts, Harwig & Schuurmans 2001):
- embedded: many networked devices are integrated into the environment
- context aware: these devices can recognize you and your situational context
- personalized: they can be tailored to your needs
- adaptive: they can change in response to you
- anticipatory: they can anticipate your desires without conscious mediation.
Ambient intelligence is closely related to the long term vision of an intelligent service system in which technologies are able to automate a platform embedding the required devices for powering context aware, personalized, adaptive and anticipatory services. Where in other media environment the interface is clearly distinct, in an ubiquitous environment 'content' differs. Artur Lugmayr defined such a smart environment by describing it as ambient media. It is constituted of the communication of information in ubiquitous and pervasive environments. The concept of ambient media relates to ambient media form, ambient media content, and ambient media technology. Its principles have been established by Artur Lugmayr and are manifestation, morphing, intelligence, and experience.
A typical context of ambient intelligence environment is a Home environment (Bieliková & Krajcovic 2001).
Ambient devices represent a new niche of consumer electronics characterized by their ability to be perceived at-a-glance (also called "glanceable"). Ambient devices use pre-attentive processing to display information (ZIEGLER, 2012) and are aimed at minimizing the user’s mental effort. Associated fields include Ubiquitous Computing and Calm Technology. The concept in question is also closely related to what is usually referred to as The Internet of Things. (DAECHER, GALIZIA, 2015)
The New York Times Magazine announced ambient devices as one of the Ideas of the Year in 2002 on the heels of a start-up company, Ambient Devices, releasing their first product Ambient Orb, a frosted-glass ball lamp which maps information to a linear color spectrum and displays the trend in the data. Other products in the ambient genre have since been produced, such as the wifi-enabled 2008 Chumby, and in October 2012 the more sophisticated, 52-LED device MooresCloud (a reference to Moore's Law) from Australia.
Initial research on ambient devices began at Xerox Parc with a paper co-written by Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown entitled Calm Computing. Associated fields include Ubiquitous computing (also known as Ubicomp) and Calm technology.