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.
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.
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.
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.
In the domain of education, an Intelligent Classroom that employs Ambient Intelligence technologies can not only improve learning and student performance, but also support educators with the various educational tasks, such as lecturing, course preparation and classroom management. Given that the board is one of the key artifacts of any classroom, using technology to enhance it offers students and educators rich opportunities by providing access to a wide range of applications, capturing and maintaining a simultaneous focus of attention for large learner groups, supporting collaboration and encouraging discussion. To this end, this work presents the CognitOS Classboard, an educator- and student- oriented framework, employed on the “Intelligent Classroom Board” - a wall-to-wall projected interactive board- offering a variety of tools and applications aiming to support lecturing and enhance the learning process. Aiming to create highly engaging and fascinating learning experiences for the students, the CognitOS Classboard apart from offering access to useful educational applications, features sophisticated mechanisms that can transform the classroom into an immersive environment on demand. It supports multimodal interaction through touch, mid-air gestures, voice commands, and user position tracking, while a tablet and a desktop application were developed for permitting the management and overview of the board. This paper reports the functionality of the “CognitOS Classboard” and the findings of an evaluation experiment conducted with User Experience experts.
This paper explores a new approach to a teacher’s workstation in the context of the intelligent classroom of the 21st century. Nowadays, the term “intelligent” is not only associated with efforts to incorporate smart/mobile devices into the learning experience (distance learning, educational games/apps, etc.), but also to equip the physical environment of the classroom with technologically enhanced objects. These technologically augmented artefacts (Student Desk, Interactive Classroom Board and Educator’s Workstation) are embedded discreetly in the classroom’s environment. One of the main concerns in designing and developing such artefacts is to facilitate seamless interaction between educators and students, as well as to enable unobtrusive monitoring and supervision of the students by the educators. This paper presents LECTOR Podium, a system that liberates teachers from the confinement of a desk and introduces a flexible and empowering workstation in the form of a smart arm-chair. This arm-chair assumes the role of a control center, enabling the educator to monitor and operate every feature and artefact of the intelligent classroom.
This paper explores the general concept of the classroom of the future from a technological perspective, and proposes a set of indicative key facilities that such an environment should incorporate. Over the years, there has been an abundance of related research work aiming to build a “smarter” classroom, initially incorporating distance learning, educational games, and intelligent tutoring systems. More recently, many approaches have revolved around the advancements in the domains of Ambient Intelligence and Internet of Things, resulting in the enhancement of the traditional classroom equipment and furniture with processing power and interaction capabilities (e.g. intelligent desk, smart whiteboard) and the integration of emerging solutions in teaching and learning methods (e.g. AR, VR). The proposed intelligent classroom though is a holistic approach towards a student-centric educational ecosystem, which will incorporate state-of-the-art technologies to support (among others) alternative pedagogies, learning through immersive hands-on experiences and collaboration via flexible class layouts. To that end, this paper reports the various ambient facilities of the classroom and the accompanying software, while a prototype of this environment is currently under development in the AmI Facility of FORTH-ICS.
ICS-FORTH has recently initiated AmI-Garden, a smart farming project in the framework of its Ambient Intelligence Research Programme. A small experimental IoT greenhouse has been constructed and equipped with polycarbonate cover sheets and all the necessary infrastructure and hardware (automatic window-roof opening/closing, sliding door, fan installation for heating/cooling, vegetable breeding lamps etc.). Inside the greenhouse, a network of wireless sensors is used to measure environmental conditions and parameters, such as air/soil temperature and moisture, sunlight level, soil conductivity, quality and level of chemical ions in irrigation water, etc. The sensors communicate through IoT gateways to the greenhouse’s data centre for storage and post-processing. The system comes with pre-installed agricultural scenarios, a set of activity flows based on environmental conditions that are ideal for each plant species and are monitored in the greenhouse as explained above. The scenarios currently contain parameters to predict common diseases of the plants, as well as unexpected changes in the greenhouse’s microclimate. For example, the irrigation process is built as an agricultural scenario using data from current plant status and past data in order to establish the optimal amount of water to irrigate. The parameters of this scenario are based on specific plant breed and environmental variables. The intelligence behind the scenarios is based on critical limits and thresholds to create cultivation rules. On top of this rule based process, event-driven activation of various automations in the greenhouse is provided, for example, automatic humidity/temperature control, soil fertilisation (hydro fusion) and precise irrigation. Various sets of raw data are produced and ingested into the system, as the life cycle of each one of the plants evolves, in order to be used as the main input for the system’s actuations based on the agricultural treatment scenarios.
The emergence of Intelligent Classrooms, and in particular classrooms equipped with facilities for identifying the students’ attention levels, has raised the need for appropriate student-friendly tools that not only facilitate application hosting, but also acts as the means to re-engage inattentive students in the educational process. This work presents CognitOS, a web-based working environment that hosts several types of applications (i.e., exercises, multimedia viewer, digital book) that are utilized as channels to present interventions dictated by the intelligent decision-making mechanisms of the attention-aware classroom. This paper presents the functionality of CognitOS and the design process followed for its development.