Ambient Computing, Inc.

Ambient Computing, Inc. was founded in 2000 in Lawrence, Kansas to develop and commercialize technologies for pervasive computing and networking environments. The core approach was based on an architecture for coordinating sensor and control networks while maintaining preferences, location awareness, and security. The architecture was designed and implemented in 2000 and 2001, and a paper was presented at the 2002 High Performance Embedded Computing Workshop at MIT Lincoln Laboratory .

In January of 2002 Ambient Computing, Inc., was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project by the National Science Foundation to demonstrate the system architecture by coordinating wireless sensors and environmental control devices. Ambient Computing developed custom hardware Wireless Sensing & Control Device that included a Rabbit Semiconductor processor, integrated with a USB host controller, and several sensors. The USB host controller was used to interface to a 802.11b adapter, and device drivers were written to allow the Rabbit processor to communicate with other systems using the 802.11 network. A novel approach for the configuration of wireless parameters of embedded systems with limited user interfaces was developed, and a paper discussing the idea was presented at the 2003 High Performance Embedded Computing Workshop at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. The successful system demonstrated the technical and commercial feasibility of integrating the telemetry data from sensor networks and distributed control systems, and served as a proof of concept for the coordination architecture. The Information & Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC) at the University of Kansas aided in the evaluation of the systems as part of a sub-award on the grant.


Ambient Computing extended the architecture proven with the prototype, and utilized their distributed control software to develop its first product, a WiFi hot spot solution tailored for the cable industry. The complete solution included custom developed access points, captive portals, secure authentication and billing, support for subscription and prepaid calling card accounts, provisioning, and management interfaces (CLI, HTTPS, SNMP). The product was deployed in a field trial in September 2002, followed by a production system in March 2003.

Ambient Computing, Inc. ceased operations in Fall 2003.