With the emergence of the Ambient Intelligence (AmI) paradigm, Intelligent Environments became a reality and have already permeated various domains of everyday life such as work, health, entertainment and education. The Intelligent Classroom of ICS-FORTH, adheres to the human-oriented nature of AmI environments -whose primary goal is to satisfy the needs of the people living in them- and features a collection of interdependent technologically-enhanced artefacts (i.e., desk, teacher’s workstation, whiteboard) that are capable of exchanging information and communicating with each other, offering a unified interaction experience. The student’s desk is a key classroom artefact, where students spend most of their class time, so this work aspiring to enhance their daily educational activities introduces an Intelligent Desk, namely modDesk, featuring a modular design. Its construction allows customizable surfaces to be added or removed on demand, so as to support the specific and different needs of each course. Considering that related studies recommend to equip students with a display along with an appropriate input method as it would be beneficial for the educational process, the surfaces of modDesk feature built-in monitors and input devices, but also enable students to connect their handheld devices (e.g., Smartphones, Tablets). Via sophisticated mechanisms the desk identifies any external devices that are docked to its surface or that are in close proximity, and determines the capabilities they offer. Based on the identified capabilities, modDesk adapts to offer better support to the student. This new generation desk aims to further increase students’ engagement and motivation, providing hands-on experience and offering personal study spaces featuring specialized equipment.
This work aims to investigate how the amenities offered by Intelligent Environments can be used to shape new types of useful, exciting and fulfilling experiences while watching sports or movies. Towards this direction, two ambient media players were developed aspiring to offer live access to secondary information via the available displays of an Intelligent Living Room, and to appropriately exploit the technological equipment so as to support natural interaction. Expert-based evaluation experiments revealed some factors that can influence the overall experience significantly, without hindering the viewers’ immersion to the main media.
Abstract— Considering the prevalence of Ambient Intelligence, this work aims to enhance the interaction between farmers and Intelligent Environments, in order to support their various daily Agricultural activities, aspiring to improve the quality and quantity of cultivated species. Towards this direction, the Greta system was designed and developed, following a user-centered design process, permitting farmers/agronomists to easily monitor and control an Intelligent Greenhouse via a set of useful and usable applications. Greta offers a progressive web app (PWAs) targeting PCs, handheld devices, and technologically-enhanced artifacts of Smart Homes, while it also delivers an Augmented Reality application that visualizes the greenhouse’s interior conditions in a sophisticated manner, and provides context-sensitive assistance regarding cultivation activities. In more detail, the system interoperates with the ambient facilities of an Intelligent Greenhouse allowing end-users to: monitor the conditions inside the greenhouse, remotely control the state of various actuators, be notified regarding the available/active automations, be aware of the optimal conditions for their plants to grow and receive relevant guidelines, be informed regarding any diseases, and communicate with experts for receiving treatment advice. This work describes the design methodology and functionality of Greta, and documents the results of a series of expert-based evaluation experiments.
High stress levels and sleep deprivation may cause several mental or physical health issues, such as depression, impaired memory, decreased motivation, obesity, etc. The COVID-19 pandemic has produced unprecedented changes in our lives, generating significant stress, and worries about health, social isolation, employment, and finances. To this end, nowadays more than ever, it is crucial to deliver solutions that can help people to manage and control their stress, as well as to reduce sleep disturbances, so as to improve their health and overall quality of life. Technology, and in particular Ambient Intelligence Environments, can help towards that direction, when considering that they are able to understand the needs of their users, identify their behavior, learn their preferences, and act and react in their interest. This work presents two systems that have been designed and developed in the context of an Intelligent Home, namely CaLmi and HypnOS, which aim to assist users that struggle with stress and poor sleep quality, respectively. Both of the systems rely on real-time data collected by wearable devices, as well as contextual information retrieved from the ambient facilities of the Intelligent Home, so as to offer appropriate pervasive relaxation programs (CaLmi) or provide personalized insights regarding sleep hygiene (HypnOS) to the residents. This article will describe the design process that was followed, the functionality of both systems, the results of the user studies that were conducted for the evaluation of their end-user applications, and a discussion about future plans.
This work blends the domain of Precision Agriculture with the prevalent paradigm of Ambient Intelligence, so as to enhance the interaction between farmers and Intelligent Environments, and support their various daily Agricultural activities, aspiring to improve the quality and quantity of cultivated plants. In this paper, two systems are being presented, namely the Intelligent Greenhouse and the AmI seedbed, targeting a wide range of agricultural activities starting from planting the seeds, caring each individual sprouted plant up to their transplantation in the greenhouse, where the provision for the entire plantation lasts until the harvesting period.
While the body of research focusing on Intelligent Environments (IEs) programming by adults is steadily growing, informed insights about children as programmers of such environments are limited. Previous work already established that young children can learn programming basics. Yet, there is still a need to investigate whether this capability can be transferred in the context of IEs, since encouraging children to participate in the management of their intelligent surroundings can enhance responsibility, independence, and the spirit of cooperation. We performed a user study (N=15) with children aged 7-12, using a block-based, gamified AR spatial coding prototype allowing to manipulate smart artifacts in an Intelligent Living room. Our results validated that children understand and can indeed program IEs. Based on our findings, we contribute preliminary implications regarding the use of specific technologies and paradigms (e.g. AR, trigger-action programming) to inspire future systems that enable children to create enriching experiences in IEs.
The proliferation of Internet of Things devices and services and their integration in everyday environments led to the emergence of intelligent offices, classrooms, conference, and meeting rooms that adhere to the paradigm of Ambient Intelligence. Usually, the type of activities performed in such environments (i.e., presentations and lectures) can be enhanced by the use of large Interactive Boards that—among others—allow access to digital content, promote collaboration, enhance the process of exchanging ideas, and increase the engagement of the audience. Additionally, the board contents are expected to be plenty, in terms of quantity, and diverse, in terms of type (e.g., textual data, pictorial data, multimedia, figures, and charts), which unavoidably makes their manipulation over a large display tiring and cumbersome, especially when the interaction lasts for a considerable amount of time (e.g., during a class hour). Acknowledging both the shortcomings and potentials of Interactive Boards in intelligent conference rooms, meeting rooms, and classrooms, this work introduces a sophisticated framework named CognitOS Board, which takes advantage of (i) the intelligent facilities offered by the environment and (ii) the amenities offered by wall-to-wall displays, in order to enhance presentation-related activities. In this article, we describe the design process of CognitOS Board, elaborate on the available functionality, and discuss the results of a user-based evaluation study.
Sleep is important for many vital functions. Unfortunately, many people suffer from sleep-related problems, which have negative consequences on sleep quality and therefore on quality of life. Considering the important health benefits of a good night’s sleep, it is crucial to investigate technological solutions that promote and improve sleep hygiene. To that end, the HypnOS framework for “Intelligent Homes” is introduced, aiming to improve the sleep quality of home residents by monitoring their sleep and providing personalized recommendations to overcome sleep-related issues. It describes the design process that was followed, presents its functionality, reports the findings of an expert-based evaluation of the HypnOS mobile app and discusses future plans.
Acknowledging the omnipotent impact of technology on the domain of education, we have pursued the vision of a student-oriented and educator-friendly “Intelligent Classroom” that supports students in their journey to acquiring knowledge. The classroom simulation space located within the AmI Facility provides an ideal testbed for assessing the effects of intelligent technologies on key aspects of the educational process. Designing and developing ambient applications that shape the “Intelligent Classroom” is an ongoing activity and an open research endeavour, integrating and assessing emerging technologies that introduce new educational opportunities and interaction paradigms.
A basic understanding of problem-solving and computational thinking is undoubtedly a benefit for all ages. At the same time, the proliferation of Intelligent Environments has raised the need for configuring their behaviors to address their users’ needs. This configuration can take the form of programming, and coupled with advances in Augmented Reality and Conversational Agents, can enable users to take control of their intelligent surroundings in an efficient and natural manner. Focusing on children, who can greatly benefit by being immersed in programming from an early age, this paper presents an authoring framework in the form of an Augmented Reality serious game, named MagiPlay, allowing children to manipulate and program their Intelligent Environment. This is achieved through a handheld device, which children can use to capture smart objects via its camera and subsequently create rules dictating their behavior. An intuitive user interface permits players to combine LEGO-like 3D bricks as a part of the rule-based creation process, aiming to make the experience more natural. Additionally, children can communicate with the system via natural language through a Conversational Agent, in order to configure the rules by talking with a human-like agent, while the agent also serves as a guide/helper for the player, providing context-sensitive tips for every part of the rule creation process. Finally, MagiPlay enables networked collaboration, to allow parental and teacher guidance and support. The main objective of this research work is to provide young learners with a fun and engaging way to program their intelligent surroundings. This paper describes the game logic of MagiPlay, its implementation details, and discusses the results of a statistically significant evaluation conducted with end-users, i.e. a group of children of seven to twelve years old.