Whether it is a weekday or weekend, imagine a life with your Ultrabook™ always 'on' your desk or your backpack. YtoX lets you control and extend the capabilities of your Ultrabook™ using interesting recipes. You can customize the recipes to do interesting things for you, to make your personal and work life easier.
YtoX leverages the sensors (like compass, accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light sensor, GPS) available in the Ultrabook™, to make it intelligent and for better use of the device.
How does it work?
The general form a recipe is "If X then Y", where X is a trigger and Y is an action.
A Trigger is a set of conditions, bound together by ANDs and ORs. A condition is a combination of left expression, right expression and a comparison operator (like less than, equal to, near to, etc). An expression is a valid combination of predefined tokens. A token can be a predefined parameter (like location, time, app, battery power, etc.) or an operator or a routine/function.
An Action is a task which is executed whenever the conditions of the corresponding trigger match. Actions can be simple like showing a toast-notification (or) advanced like video recording.
Eventhough the recipes sound more technical, the GUI for creating/customizing recipes will be quite user friendly.
YtoX comes with a predefined set of recipes. Some of them are:
- Remind me of my first appointment tomorrow when I turn on the device after 10pm.
- Remind me to keep the umbrella and raincoat in my backpack if it is going to rain the next day.
- When I leave from work, remind me to buy milk.
- Automatically reply "I'm in a meeting, will ping you back", when a friend starts a chat during a meeting.
- Notify me if I'm not traveling in one of my usual routes.
- Remind me to leave the bike/car for service, if I haven't visited the showroom for 3 months.
- Post the location to Facebook (or Twitter) when I'm in my favorite restaurant for more than 20 minutes.
- Remind me to visit the gym if haven't been there for 3 days.
- Show me the Scorpio horoscope everyday at 8am.
- Email me all latest news related to Steven Sinofsky.
- Launch the Photos app if I shake the device.
- Start playback if a wired headset is connected.
- Mute the volume when a meeting starts, and revert back when the meeting ends.
- Record the audio for all meetings or a particular meeting scheduled in Outlook.
- Capture photos when my device is used in new place.
- Reply "Battery is draining, will call you on mobile", when my wife starts a chat and battery is < 20%.
- Adjust the brightness if I'm reading for more than 2 minutes.
- Open Google if I draw 'S' gesture on the screen.
- When I save an excel document in "My Documents" folder, copy it to my Dropbox.
After installing YtoX, you have to teach YtoX something about your world, like:
- Known Locations (like home, work, parents home, canteen, etc.)
- Special People (like spouse, sister, boss, etc.)
- Known Gestures (like diagonal swipe, S shape, etc.)
These configurations can be done using Control Panel component of YtoX. Apart from these, YtoX will maintain a known set of locations like Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, Sydney, Newark Airport, etc., so that you can create recipes like "When I leave Taj Mahal, upload today's photos from My Pictures folder to Flickr" (or) "When I enter Newark Airport, message my boss about my arrival via Facebook".
As discussed earlier, a token can be a constant or variable or routine or operator. Unlike typical mathematical expressions, the YtoX tokens will be of advanced data-types.
The following table throw some light on data-types of tokens:
Routines are functions/methods written to
operate on tokens to get some meaningful information. The following table lists some of the
routines in YtoX:
Scope is used to apply temporal limits on a routine.
YtoX exposes some predefined events and recipes can be hooked to these events. When that event occurs, the associated recipes will be executed. All the other recipes which are not associated with any event are executed by Engine at regular intervals. Some of the events in YtoX are:
- Device rotated to landscape
- Device rotated to portrait
- Device is shaken
- Device power on
- New chat
- Location changed
- Email received
- New news article (captured via RSS or push notification)
- New device connected
- Meeting started
- Meeting ended
- Left from a known location
- Entered into a known location
Each event will be fired with some parameters. The values of these parameters can be used in expressions. For example, 'New chat' event will contain 'who' and 'channel' as parameters, 'who' is the name of the person who initiated the chat and 'channel' is the chat client (like Gtalk, Facebook, etc.). 'New device connected' will contain 'device-type' as parameter which can be 'microphone', 'camera', etc.
Some of the activities that can be integrated with recipes are listed:
Having understood the above concepts, building recipes is simpler.
Recipe: Remind me to keep the umbrella and raincoat in my backpack if it is going to rain the next day.
Trigger: IF getWeather( TOMORROW ) == RAINY
Action: NOTIFY( "Wanna soak in rain? If no, pack your umbrella and raincoat now." )
Recipe: Remind me to leave the bike/car for service, if I haven't visited the showroom for 3 months.
Trigger: IF totalDays( lastVisit( SHOWROOM ) ) >= 90
Action: NOTIFY( "There is no service indicator in your bike? Take your bike to the showroom today before it ruins a day." )
Recipe: Start playback if a wired headset is connected.
Event: ON new device connected
Trigger: IF device-type == MICROPHONE
Action: Launch Music app
Recipe: Reply "Battery is draining, will call you on mobile", when my wife starts a chat and battery is < 20%.
Event: ON new chat
Trigger: IF from == WIFE and getBatteryRemaining() < 20
Action: ReplyToChat( "Will call you shortly" )
YtoX contains three components, namely Control Panel, Recipes and Engine.
The Control Panel has options to let YtoX know about your world (as explained above in the section 'YtoX Configuration'). You can even start/stop the Engine from the Control Panel. Refer this screenshot:
The Recipes component allows you to create new recipes or customize available recipes. Recipes is a fullscreen WPF desktop app with metro-like tiles. Tiles approach will be easy to use for scenarios like 'touch to select and enable/disable the recipe from bottom bar'.
The Control Panel and Recipes can be launched from taskbar also.
The Engine is a Windows Service that runs in the background to execute the actions of matching recipes over time. Engine will be responsible for executing both event-based recipes and interval-based recipes. Engine will be power aware, i.e. it will stop executing the recipes if it receives a 'critical battery-low' event, and the execution will resume once the device is connected to a power source.
Platform: YtoX is a traditional Windows Desktop app (with reference to WinRT APIs) and fits well into 'Productivity' category. It is being developed with "Visual Studio Ultimate 2012" with .NET 4.5 as target framework. Persistency (saving and loading of data) is achieved via JSON files.
External Dependencies (so far): NAudio, AForge.NET, MongoDB BSON Library.
Why the name "YtoX"
Well, "X tends to Y" is the usual mathematical paradigm, where X is a trigger and Y is an action. But most of the time, we know what action we require before we sit to determine the conditions that trigger it. So, "Y tends to X" will be more appropriate for our day-to-day tasks isn't?
- 22 Oct 2012 - Initial Draft
- 23 Oct 2012 - Experimental work with WinRT APIs
- 24 Oct 2012 - YtoX Phase1 source
Do watch this article for source code and screenshot updates.
As a personal note to AppInnovation Contest organizers, a fully functional YtoX with be ready by Round 2 deadline 21 Nov 2012. Most of the recipes listed in this article will be available, at the time of release. In fact, the power of YtoX lies in supporting more & more data-types, routines, events and activities. And given the completely customizable nature of YtoX, more and more recipes can be added after the release.
Please use 'Browse Code' option at the left to see the amount of work done so far.
Hello World!! I am an ardent programmer with passion for computers and gadgets. Developing utilities, games, libraries and custom controls are my favorites. I love algorithms and solving them programmatically is my favorite pastime. I write articles, most of them are in my personal website http://www.codeding.com.