To know whether any free seat is available in the cafeteria or library, MIT students do not need to physically explore it themselves. All such information is just a click away for them now because of a newly upgraded wireless network that has been installed in the 9.4 million square foot campus.
MIT’s wireless network does not merely rest at telling the availability of free seats, but goes much beyond this. It tells in precise terms and numbers as how many people are presently occupying any spot within the campus. To provide this service to students, MIT researchers have developed electronic maps that keep a tab on different locations within the campus on a 24×7 basis. The information is fed on to these maps through laptops, wireless PDAs or even Wi-Fi equipped cell phones.
“With these maps, you can see down to the room on campus how many people are logged on,” said Carlo Ratti, director of the school’s SENSEable City Laboratory, which developed the maps. “You can even watch someone go from room to room if they have a handheld device that’s connected.”
Researchers behind this experiment are hopeful that the network in the campus will result in better planning of the campus life and will help the students in utilizing their time more fruitfully.