[Ubicomp] Blindspots in Ubiquitous Computing Research?

A while back, I was talking to a student in CMU's Engineering and Public Policy, whose work was on figuring out where the best places to put biosensors are, to protect the water supply. It struck me that, despite the fact that ubiquitous computing was supposed to be about the merging of the physical and the virtual using wireless technologies and sensors, there was absolutely no work I could think of in the ubicomp area that could help her in any way.

Why is this? Here was a real, compelling, and immediate problem that society is facing, but one that no one I know in what is generally considered the ubicomp research community is addressing. Are we too focused on the interactive aspects of ubicomp? Is it because we have a different intellectual heritage? Is it a lack of connections in the social networks of these communities? Or is it just a large blindspot in ubicomp research?

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