Knowledge Representation in Smart Objects

Smart Objects in a Virtual World


The coming Internet of Things will usher in a semantic world (analogous to the semantic web) where physical objects will be networked so that they can communicate with each other and with humans.  This paper identifies protocols that smart objects will need to follow and how to use today’s 3D virtual worlds to better simulate and better understand protocols for tomorrow’s smart world.
The protocols can be added to a real or virtual world object that make it into a smart(er) object.  We describe how to do this in the real world using technologies like RFID and smart phones but demonstrate this using 3D virtual worlds where an avatar passing by smart objects can use a universal remote (which could be a smart phone in the real world) to read an object’s API and control the object.  We demonstrate this in a healthcare setting in Second Life.

Project Overview


  • Objective
    • to gain an understanding of  “smart objects”.
    • to learn how to design “smart objects”. 
  • Long term aim
    • world of ordinary objects => semantic world of smart objects


Everything is Alive project

  • Initially focused on RFID middleware => use 3D virtual worlds to model the future Internet of Things.
  • Advantages
    1. modeling is low cost
    2. modular services we develop will transfer to the real world   

Interface ordinary objects have

  • different kinds of interfaces.
  • physical interface
  • aesthetic appearance interface
  • functional interface
  • power interface
  • implicit identity
  • implicit ownership
  • compositional interface
  • corresponding repair manual ...

Additional interfaces for smart object  

  • Explicit identity
  • Security
  • APIs supported
  • Object-to-object communication
  • Human-to-object communication
  • Plug-ins
  • Driver Update…

What makes smart object smart

  • have to support all the interfaces to be smart?
    • No, as long as they can add additional interfaces. 
  • all the smarts located inside the object? 
    • No, they might be contained in many different ways.

challenge for widespread adoption of smart objects

  • Smart objects v. Unintelligent objects
    • Criteria: cost, reliability, functionality, and ease of use.
  • soft controllers import different object interfaces.
    • Can be either simpler or more complex depending on the user.

Virtual World to develop smart object protocols

  • uniform and simple ways to manage a smart world. 
  • give us a way to learn to manage and manipulate smart objects
  • Simulation helps people imagine how new devices would change the world. 


Prototype of smart objects and soft controller

Simulating devices in a virtual world

  • new means of understanding how devices operate, and how to repair devices.
  • can be available anywhere in the world for low or no cost.
  • simulations as having a useful place in our view of how we can control the real world

Nursing Training

Problems and solutions

  • Most people don’t know if the object is scripted or how to use that.
  • => Standard interoperability infrastructure for smart objects
  • Separating the interface of a device from the implementation benefits
    • Developer : reduce costs of designing physical interfaces
    • End user : interface style can be familiar

Toward a semantic world

  • WWW: URL
  • Virtual world: x/y/z location
    • Real world with RFID tags
  • The real or virtual objects have unique identities, which can be associated with additional information.
  •  “semantic web” => “semantic world” 


  • Akihiro Eguchi, Craig W Thompson. “Towards a Semantic World: Smart Objects in a Virtual World,” International Journal of Computer Information Systems and Industrial Management, Volume 3, 2011. pp. 905-911. [View Download]
  • Akihiro Eguchi, Craig W Thompson. “Smart Objects in a Virtual World,” Inquiry Journal of Undergraduate Research, University of Arkansas, Volume 11, 2010. pp. 3-8.
  • Akihiro Eguchi, Craig W Thompson. “Towards a Semantic World: Smart Objects in a Virtual World,” Web Virtual Reality and Three-Dimensional Worlds Workshop (IADIS WEB3DW2010), Freiburg, Germany, July 26-31, 2010. pp.488-493.
  • Akihiro Eguchi. "Smart Objects in a Virtual World," Poster presentation. Cyber Infrastructure Days Conference, May 16-17, 2010.
  • Akihiro Eguchi, Craig W Thompson. “Smart Objects in a Virtual World,” Conference on Applied Research in Information Technology, Acxiom Laboratory for Applied Research, Conway AR, April 9, 2010. 
  • Akihiro Eguchi, Craig W Thompson. “Smart Objects in a Virtual World,” X10 Workshop on Extensible Virtual Worlds, venue: Second Life, March 29 - April 2, 2010.
Akihiro Nakashima,
Nov 11, 2011, 12:18 PM
Akihiro Nakashima,
Nov 11, 2011, 12:32 PM
Akihiro Nakashima,
Nov 11, 2011, 12:13 PM