Ubiquitous computing for health applications.

Ubiquitous computing for health applications.

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  • May 26, 2018
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It is now 30 years since Marc Weiser first coined the term “ubiquitous computing”. In his extraordinary conception, the then chief scientist at Xerox PARC came up with a set of principles that would regulate the role and shape of computers in the twenty-first century. According to Weiser’s vision, computers should “help to do something else”, “be quiet invisible servants”, “extend our unconscious”, and “create calm”. This was nicely summarised in the famous introductory paragraph of his most renowned article (Weiser 1991): “the most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it”.

It is fair to say that Weiser’s vision has driven the evolution of technology to a large extent. Ubiquitous computing in particular has changed quite a lot over the years, and it has proven to be a reference field in technology, helping to develop new revolutions such as the internet-of-things. What makes, perhaps, ubiquitous computing a field of special interest is the fact that it combines very well with multiple application domains. One main domain is healthcare, an area growingly in need of smart and efficient solutions to deal with the current and future societal demands. Ubiquitous technology is already enabling the implementation and administration of personalized health and wellbeing services, which intelligently react and adapt to the ever-changing needs of users. In doing so, this field addresses a wide range of challenges, including but not limited to disease monitoring, support diagnosis, or coach on wholesome behaviours, among others.

In this special issue we collected various interesting works describing some of the latest research and development achievements in ubiquitous computing for health and wellbeing applications. We have clustered them around three main health and wellbeing aspects these works delve into respectively: physical behaviour, cognitive and emotional behaviour, and social behaviour.