Active Badge

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This Active Badge from Olivetti Research was used by Piers Wombwell at Network Computing on Newmarket Road, Cambridge. The Active Badge is a system for the location of people in an office environment; members of staff wore the badges that transmitted signals providing information about their location to a centralised location service, through a network of sensors.

The upstairs of (what later became) Acorn House, Newmarket Road, was kitted out with sensors for the Active Badge along the top of the walls. A RISC OS application could display the location of anyone in the upstairs, superimposing the person's name on top of a Drawfile plan of the building.

This one was used at Acorn in the Network Computing division (set up to develop the Oracle NC). Acorn Online Media were based at the old Acorn building on Newmarket Road, and only had the top floor. Downstairs was vacant until the rest of Acorn (what because ART) moved in and so the system was never installed there. Because the toilets were through the same door as the stairs to downstairs, if you ever went downstairs for some time you were displayed as being in the toilet.

It was only used for a few months in 1996, and phased out as more people switched to using Windows PCs. The main intention of the Active Badge (to use remote desktops) was never implemented for RISC OS.

Date : Unknown

Manufacturer : Olivetti

Physical Description : Badge

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH33918. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

Scan of Document: Active Badge

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