Time for my FYP :) Internet Pyjamas!!!

**Here's a log of what's going on regarding my FYP**

  1. Came back frm SEP and found out from Prof Cheok that i am assigned to the internet pyjamas project for my fyp
  2. Arranged to meet with Roshan, the research engineer
  3. Tasked to research on possible modes of communication between the doll and the haptic suit which may be in different countries!
  4. Possible ways that i have thought of are bluetooth technology, WAP, GPRS and WiFi.
  1. Met with Prof Adrian Cheok and have been asked to do the wireless communication for the output to the suit and vice versa. He mentioned that the connection must be continuous and the wearer does not have to do anything with regards to this wireless communiation. (06 Sept. ) He wants the suit to be connected to the wireless local area network at home all the time. So he has ruled out Bluetooth as it consumes to much power and does not want the person to have to carry his handphone with him all the time.

The Story so far : A doll is hugged by a user and this doll senses the pressure of the hug and at the same time changes colour to reflect the degree of warmth generated by the hug. A signal is then sent to the haptic suit which is worn by someone else and the hugging action is mimicked by the haptic suit. The haptic suit will inflate or deflate accordingly and change its colour as well. The problem is how far the distance is between the doll and the haptic suit. If doll and suit are in different countries, what form of communication is best? Is it feasible to utilize handphones which will send the signals over the mobile network ?

Problems faced -

  • How far are is the suit from the doll? Within the same country else? Assumed to be in separate countries.
  • What kind of communicative device is implanted in the doll? Currently taken to be bluetooth
  • How big is the doll so that i can fit the necessary equipment in? Project aims to minimize size of doll.
  • What is the cost involved?

Current Thoughts -
When the doll is hugged, a signal is sent ( via bluetooth,WiFi or infrared??) to a phone and this phone transmits the information to another phone in another region (via GPRS?). The signal is then finally sent to the haptic suit (via bluetooth,WiFi or infrared??) where the hugging action is mimicked. Transmission of data using a laptop would be too cumbersome as compared to the lighter and more portable handphone.
At the moment i will ignore the security aspects of each form of communication. I assume that nobody would want to hijack the signals sent to a hugging suit.

I am currently looking at different types of wireless interfacing :

WiFi , Bluetooth, Infrared, WAP, GPRS….

WiFi technology - A wireless technology brand owned by the WiFi Alliance to improve the wireless local area networks based on current IEEE802.11 standards.

Includes different standards 802.11a/b/g. 802.11a is not compatible with 802.11b/g.
Advantages of 802.11a : fast maximum speed, frequencies are regulated so that other signal frequencies cannot disrupt comunication.
Disadvantagesof 802.11a : higher cost and a shorter range signal

Advantages of 802.11b : Costs the least and signal is also not easily disrupted.
Disadvantagesof 802.11b : Slowest maximum speed and signal may be disrupted by home devices.

Advantages of 802.11g : Fast maximum speed with a good signal range which is not easily disrupted.
Disadvantagesof 802.11bg : Costs more than 802.11b and the signal frequency is unregulated so home devices might disrupt communications.

Equipment required : Wireless access point (AP - connected to edge of wired network, Infrastructure mode) and a wireless network adaptor (to interface a computer to a network). Most network adaptors are already preinstalled on laptops. This wireless card (NIC) can be used for Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) too.

Bluetooth technology - developed separately from WiFi technology. Bluetooth is really meant for supporting short range and low bandwidth devices. Short range would correspond to about 10m or so. Bluetooth hardware also costs less to manufacture compared to WiFi related hardware.
Currently , bluetooth is predominantly found in the networking of PDAs and mobile phones with PCs.

Given 3 types of operating ranges :
Class 3 radios – have a range of up to 1 meter or 3 feet
Class 2 radios – most commonly found in mobile devices – have a range of 10 meters or 30 feet
Class 1 radios – used primarily in industrial use cases – have a range of 100 meters or 300 feet
Commonly used radio for Bluetooth is class 2.

Pros : Bluetooth commonly uses only about 2.5mW of power as it is designed to consume only very little power

WiFi v Bluetooth : More setup is required for Wi-Fi as it is better for full-scale networks because it provides for a faster connection, better range from the base station and better security than Bluetooth. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluetooth)
Essentially, Bluetooth serves as a cable replacement for appliances while Wi-Fi is a cable replacement only for local area network access.

Infrared Communication - Is electromagnetic radiation which is used in short range communication amongst computer peripherals and personal digital assistants. It is one of the most common ways for controlling appliances like a remote and a television.

Bluetooth vs Infrared technology : From what I have found Bluetooth is faster and also does not need a line of sight between the devices concerned. Furthermore, Bluetooth can be used to connect 1 to many devices as compared to Infrared where only a 1 to 1 connection is allowed. Infrared cannot penetrate walls as well.

WiMax technology - Also developed separately from WiFi and is designed for LONG range networking as compared to wireless LAN. This would correspond to several kilometers. WiMax provides an alternative to satellite internet services. It is based on the IEEE 802.16 WAN communications standard.
Equipment required : WiMax base station and WiMax antennas. WiMax antennas are set up outdoors and are not small enough to be integrated into laptops yet.

WAP - Wireless Application Protocol

WAP supports dial up networking IP, point to point protocol, SMS(short message service) and GPRS(General packet radio system). Its main purpose is to enable access to the internet via a handphone or PDA. Some early problems of WAP include the specification requirements which meant that there were many optional features and and under specified requirements which meant that not all devices would be perfectly compliant. As such, different phones has different responses to the data received. For example some phones would not accept a page more than 1 kb in size and others even crashed.

Requirements :

  • Mobile phone with a WAP browser
  • SIM card which supports data transfer
  • setting up of the phone to a WAP access point. Connection is possible via dial up or GPRS. Dial up is charged by the minute and GPRS by the kilobyte

Pros : Most of the phones in the market come with WAP enabled browser meaning one can access WAP enabled pages but not HTML.
Cons : If connecting by GPRS an access point node (APN) is needed

ps: GPRS is a way to connect to the internet and WAP is a seaparate form of internet for mobile phones. WAP phones will not have access to the usual www pages, only WAP ready pages. However, WAP can make use of the GPRS to connect to the WAP network.

GPRS - General Packet Radio Service

Available for users of GSM and IS-136 phones.GPRS is a protocol for the transmission of data over a mobile phone network. GPRS data transfer is usually charged by per kilobyte of transferred data. GPRS can be used for WAP, SMS, MMS or for certain internet applications as well.

Here's a quick look at some GPRS rates taken form the M1 website.

Country Territory Network Operator GPRS/WAP
Australia Yes Optus A$0.02 per KB
China China Mobile S$0.005 per KB (Minimum charge: 10KB)
Hongkong PEOPLES HK$0.06 per KB (Minimum charge: 1KB)

www.miworld.com.sg/roam/miworld_roam.jsp?link=ppu&content=gprs&cat=roam for more details

Pros : Payment is made for amount of data transferred and not online time.
Internet session can be suspended to receive an incoming call

Cons : The correct access point node(APN) must be specified for the phone to function correctly using GPRS as different operators have different such access points which are used for varying services.

For eg.

  • WAP access point - allows connection to WAP services
  • MMS access point - For picture messaging
  • Internet access point - for web browsing and email

After Thoughts

Bluetooth and Infrared are for communication between devices when a computer is not needed and so are very suitable to transmit data from the doll to the mobile phone. With the advantages of Bluetooth over Infrared listed above, I think using bluetooth to transmit data from the doll to the phone would be a good choice.
Since the aim is to minimize the size of the doll, it would make sense to assume that the user will carry the doll with him everywhere he goes be it in his car or office. It would thus be convenient to send the signal via GPRS using his handphone to the other handphone which might be in another corner of the world. In this way, internet access is not necessary.
All the user has to do is carry his handphone with him which is ubiquitious nowadays and the doll.
A simple picture would look like this :

Doll----bluetooth ----> Handphone ----GPRS----> Handphone ----bluetooth ----> Haptic Suit

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