Connecting ad hoc with palpable devices

Say you had a laptop and say you really needed to access the internet, but network connections around you kept coming and going. This challenge is at the core of PalCom’s application area “Transient Locations”

Although current networking technology allows for a wide array of connection possibilities keeping a live connection in dynamic surroundings can be a challenge;
you might enter an area no longer covered by WIFI, your mobile phone might fail or you might exceed the limits of your LAN cable.

However annoying for everyday uses, in the context of emergencies and major incidents keeping a system online might not only be a matter of convenience but of life and death. PalCom’s prototype RASCAL, for Resilience and Adaptivity Scenario for Ad-hoc Links, helps to ensure the connection.

Keeping contact

The RASCAL prototype ensures both that the connection is not lost and that significant attempts are made to ensure that information reaches its target. The idea is that the user, e.g. a police man or fire chief at an accident site, needs not be concerned about which connections are available at any given time; he/she simply uses the application and RASCAL ensures that the most appropriate available connection is always used based on current network topology, connection quality, the priority of the information to send, etc.

An autonomous agent

The choice of connection is made by a software agent, a decision-making entity on the device that acts on behalf of the user. It monitors the status of the PalCom device, investigates failures, informs the user about them, and not least, either resolves the failure or proposes alternative means of obtaining the service in question. With an autonomous agent as “middle man” the user does not need to be constantly aware of technological issues in order to access and use the services required.

Contact details

Roberto Ghizzioli
Software research engineer
Whitestein Technologies AG
Pestalozzistrasse 24
8032 Zürich
Phone: +41 44 256 5026
E-mail: rgh(at)


Dominic Greenwood
Head of Innovation, Advanced Technologies
Whitestein Technologies AG
Pestalozzistrasse 24
8032 Zürich
Phone: +41 44 256 5014
E-mail: dgr(at)

Last Modified: 16 March 2007, © PalCom